1961 XKE OTS ignition problem : no cranking, just rapid clicks

1961 XKE OTS ignition problem : no cranking, just rapid clicks when I pushed the start button. Battery ok and fully charged. How do I proceed with trouble shooting ? Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Check for corrosion on the battery terminals and earth points.


I’d start by confirming all the big connections are clean and tight.

Rapid clicking often means not enough current is getting to the starter.

I checked and cleaned the battery terminal connections, but still rapid clicks with no cranking. What next?

A 3.8 solenoid has a secret button on the bottom of it. Push that and see if it cranks. If it does, you’ll likely need a new solenoid.

Did you also check the connections at the starter?

I did check all the connections. Rapid machine gun-like clicking is most likely due to low cranking amp/voltage. I jump started with another battery and it cranked and started up. So the old correct battery has deteriorated and has low cranking amp/voltage. Time to replace. Can you suggest which battery I should buy? What is the cranking amp spec I should buy?

Can anyone please recommend a battery brand and model that will fit a 1961 XKE OTS ?

Well, if you want something that looks very original and commensurate with your car, check out the Lucas batteries at Batterycentralmall.com. In general, you want the Lucas Group 22 but you need to consult with them directly as far as locations for the positive and negative post.

1 Like

Hello, If it’s not any of the obvious like the battery, or the battery terminals, you may look at other things that maybe considered suspect like the starter or starter or starter solenoid specifically ground wiring and last bur not least the starter switch. Have a great day…

I have a Series 2 so you will need to confirm that an S1 uses the same size but a Group 35 from WalMart or Costco is an effective and economical alternative. Peel the labels off to make it less jarring, add a Lucas label if you wish:

Hi Harvey,

I followed your instruction and ordered the group 22 battery from batterycentralmall. But why group 22 ? Just curious. Thank you for all your advice/help on this great forum. Your advices have always been spot on in my clutch, brake, ignition etc. in the past. I look forward to getting the new battery and start to enjoy driving this 1961 xke for a change instead of fixing one problem after another.

Hi Es,
All I know is that the group 22 will fit, with room to spare. It is not a perfect fit but at least it is not too big.
Hopefully you identified the positions of your positive and negative posts and relayed that info to them. There are at least 3 different options. And 61 cars may be worst regarding on they fly changes as they got the manufacturing techiques worked out.

I don’t know if they told you but the Lucas reproduction battery is actually a smaller modern AGM battery that is hidden in an old style “tar top” case. So you will want to use a modern smart charger with an AGM setting if you need to keep it topped up, etc.