Finally finished getting Darrell's 1986 Camaro IROC Z back together last night. Started working on it Sunday. Figured the starter solenoid or starter was bad. I had spark from the battery to the starter. So, it wasn't the cable between the starter and battery. That cable is a failing point some times.
Everything in the engine compartment on that car is jammed in tight. Removing a starter is usually a very easy job. Two bolts holding it in place, most times. Three with this car. For some reason Chevy likes to mix domestic and metric bolts. Just to make you work a little bit harder? I removed the entire assembly: starter and starter solenoid (its attached on the top, next to the block). Without removing the exhaust headers, the starter must pass through a very tight hole, obstructed by the wheel assembly which has to be raised as well to get the starter out. Took an hour to long and an extra beer to get the starter out and off of the car. Plus, it started raining, and the windows in the car where down. Put up my canopy over the car to keep it dry. Red neck, shade tree mechanic. woooohooooo.
Took the starter to O'Reillys to be tested. Bad solenoid, $13. Holy crap, that's pretty cheap. (Ford's mount the solenoid on the fender wall, picture above) No use replacing the starter they cost around $75, at least the last one I replaced. Two little bolts holding the starter solenoid to the starter housing. Damn head of the bolt broke off flush on one side. The other came out easily. No problem, vise grips on the exposed threads on the other end and I'll get the bolt. Nope, damn bolt broke flush on that end. Sheeeeeeeit. Easy job turning into major pain in the ass. Drill is at work. Used the Dremel to drill out the bolt. Burned up my Dremel, but did get a hole through the bolt. It's hardened steel so it doesn't drill easily, just breaks easily. Threaded a screw in the hole to back out the rest of the bolt and the damn housing on the starter broke. Sheeeeeeit. Now, I need a new starter. It's only $34 at O'Reillys. Damnit, had I know it was so cheap, I wouldn't have wasted 2+ hours drilling and trying to remove the freakin' bolt.
By the time I got back from the autoparts store it was getting late. Tried for awhile to get the starter in that evening, but couldn't get the starter solenoid side to spin around in the small opening to mount the starter. Wasn't until last night, I tried a few more times, but it wouldn't work. Ended up taking the starter solenoid off the starter and that was enough clearance to mount the starter. So, 2 days later the car is back on the road. So much for easy repairs.