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Username Post: Starter grind        (Topic#348464)
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-29-17 01:09 PM - Post#2716275    

I ran a search and didn't seem to find anything that resembled this issue. My car has a bit of an issue starting, most notably when hot. When I say hot, I mean normal running temp ranges (185-195) which during the cooler months here, it tends to stay around. Something I've noticed is if it's just a quick run to the gas station around the corner, it seems fine. If I put some distance on her, even though the engine temp stays perfect, it gets worse. I just replaced my flexplate this weekend due to the teeth being ground to crap on the stock one. I'm running a TCI SFI 29.1 flex plate with 168 teeth. The starter is a stock chevy 168 tooth starter (SBC). The ring gear on the old plate where the gear was damaged only had about 2/3rds of the gear ground down, like the starter wasn't fully engaging the gear. The first starter in the car just gave up one night in a wal mart parking lot. The second starter lasted a while, then started grinding bad on starts on occasion. I replaced it one night and it was fine for months. Then the same thing happened. I replaced the starter AGAIN, and it started fine. The next day is when I noticed the flex plate would only start the car if I turned the engine about a quarter turn by hand before I tried to start it. It would just grind on the dead teeth. I put the new flex plate in and replaced the starter once again just to be safe (I mean the warranty covered it, so why not?) and it started fine for 3 days. Of course it cooled off a lot between starts. I drove the car across town, stopped and put gas in, then hit the starter and it turned, ground, turned, then fired up without me getting off the key. Been that way for about for the past 2 days, so I only drive it to work and home knowing that it cools off completely in between and it starts without a complaint. Obviously I need to fix this issue. I don't want to replace the plate again for a long time. I've read a couple ideas including a heat shield for the starter since my long tubes run right next to it, new cables for better power transfer, running the solenoid off a relay instead of the key, and running the ignition to a switch so the motor will spin, then hitting the switch to light it up since my base timing is 20 degrees with no vacuum advance. I would love some input here, and yes, I know, I should probably get a gear reduction starter, but sometimes my wallet disagrees with those thoughts.



 




IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3219

Reg: 04-15-05
11-29-17 01:19 PM - Post#2716276    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

There is a long time accepted practice to "set the starter" by shimming, to get the gear engagement correct. I will outline:

Remove the solenoid, so the drive gear can be inserted into the flywheel ring gear teeth by hand, and sill stay in place for the test/setting

Remount the starter on the block

Use as a gauge, a regular size small paper clip, unbend it so you can insert it between the drive gear and ring gear teeth

Engage the drive gear into the ring gear

Try to engage the paper clip between gear teeth

If the clip goes in easily, no problem

If the clip does not pass between the gear teeth, shim starter to allow the clip to pass between the gear teeth

When shimming is complete, reinstall the solenoid, and wire up

This used to be the accepted Chevrolet factory service method for shimming starter drive gears to ring gears, just FYI.



 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-29-17 01:43 PM - Post#2716278    
    In response to IgnitionMan

When you say between the gears, do you mean on the tip of the gear or literally between the engagement side of the gear?



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
11-29-17 02:07 PM - Post#2716280    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

Do you have the proper knurled bolts mounting the starter to the block?
Are the knurled bolts in decent shape?
Do you have the brace at the front of the starter to the block?

You adjust the gear backlash with the shims, which is the space between teeth. Once you know the backlash is good then you can consider other solutions if it's still not working right.

There is also a proper amount the gear should engage into the flexplate. I recommend you look up youtube videos on the subject from reputible sources like Powermaster for example.




 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 28464
someotherguy
Age: 47
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
11-29-17 02:45 PM - Post#2716288    
    In response to 65_Impala

  • 65_Impala Said:
Do you have the proper knurled bolts mounting the starter to the block?
Are the knurled bolts in decent shape?
Do you have the brace at the front of the starter to the block?


All of the above as well as check the bolt holes for any signs of cracking. May need to clean the pad then spray it again with brake cleaner and wipe away quickly to see if there's a tell-tale wet area showing you a crack radiating from a bolt hole.

Richard

06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8


 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-29-17 02:51 PM - Post#2716291    
    In response to 65_Impala

Bolts are correct and fit tight in the starter, never had and have never used a brace for the starter, never had an issue until now in the past 13 years, but if all else fails it's worth a go, bolts are tightened to as tight as I can get em in the space provided since it's impossible to get a socket on one of the bolts with my headers still attached, and wouldn't taking off the solenoid just leave me with a starter casing and an engine block in my way now that I think about it?



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
11-29-17 03:03 PM - Post#2716296    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

No solenoid means you can pull the plunger to extend the gear and the gear will stay out. You might be able to pry it out with a screwdriver but you'll have to hold it out while checking.



 
Bad56Sedan 
"11th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 854
Bad56Sedan
Loc: Pasadena, Texas
Reg: 04-29-04
11-29-17 06:47 PM - Post#2716323    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

have you busted any starter snouts?

VC56S 2 door Sedan, 37 Years

[image]http://chevytalk.org/sm/3564.jpg[/image]


 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-30-17 06:36 AM - Post#2716367    
    In response to Bad56Sedan

Makes sense. Never had a motor that did this to me before so I've never really learned the ways of checking them. Solenoid off is for engagement. Awesome, should make things easier. And no, I haven't broken any snouts. They just give up eventually. The one that quit in wal mart had me thinking my battery died even though it was 2 days old. Turns out it wasn't the battery.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
11-30-17 06:55 AM - Post#2716369    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

Forgot to ask. What changed between the 13 years of having good luck and all the failures happening?



 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-30-17 07:09 AM - Post#2716371    
    In response to 65_Impala

The short block and the car. Some machine work for balancing and boring. Aluminum heads. A bit more compression. Basically, a lot.



 
beagrizzly 
"9th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 1769
beagrizzly
Age: 67
Loc: south texas
Reg: 08-04-12
11-30-17 08:12 AM - Post#2716383    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

You said the warranty covered it. You didn't happen to purchase a starter from Auto Zone, did you?
I bought a suburban from a friend. He had just replaced the starter. He left the receipt in the glove box. I used the warranty for 5 starters. The last one left me stranded between Houston and Corpus Christi for several hours.
I was having the very same problems you described, I bought one from an A.C. Delco distributor. Put over 100000 miles on that one without an issue.

Griff

if you're gonna be a bear.....................



 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-30-17 08:20 AM - Post#2716386    
    In response to beagrizzly

That just so happens to be exactly where said starter came from. Works fine for a while, then attempts to murder your ring gear.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
11-30-17 09:15 AM - Post#2716395    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

  • Junkyardwarrior Said:
The short block and the car. Some machine work for balancing and boring. Aluminum heads. A bit more compression. Basically, a lot.



So everything, meaning nothing working from the past really applies to what you have now.

I'd switch to a starter from a mid 90's pickup myself. Gets you a smaller permanent magnet unit.



 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3219

Reg: 04-15-05
11-30-17 10:54 AM - Post#2716411    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

The reference to the paper clip as a measuring device is used between drive and ring gear tooth faces on one side of each, facing each other, with the other sides of that gear tooth against each other.

In other words, will the paper clip wire pass between the two gear teeth when the teeth are hard against each other on their other sides??

In this explanation, I had assumed you already had the correct starter holder bolts, and starter, seems my assumption was right on target.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
11-30-17 11:38 AM - Post#2716418    
    In response to 65_Impala

Still no brace. GM installed them for a reason.



 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
11-30-17 02:52 PM - Post#2716441    
    In response to 65_Impala

I might go for the mid 90's starter. If it will bolt up, might as well. I'll also check the engagement with that cleared up. Funny bit, I never knew that the starters were braced. Honestly I don't think I've ever seen one in my life, at least if I did I didn't recognize the fact. No car I've ever bought had the brace. Was always curious as to what that stud was for though.



 
wagonman100 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 13924
wagonman100
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Reg: 11-27-04
11-30-17 08:12 PM - Post#2716483    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

A lot of starters are missing the brace. None of my cars have ever had one when I bought them. You are also experiencing heat soak, which can benefit from a heat shield. But I've always used a remote solenoid with great results. Some people consider it a band aid fix that doesn't address the real issue, but I say you can't argue with results. By all means, check you gear clearance, but if you don't get grinding when the engine is cold the clearance probably isn't the issue. When you get heat soak, there is more resistance in the circuit and causes the starter not to engage as hard as it does when the engine is cold and you get grinding. Your timing certainly doesn't help either. A mini starter is a good investment also. You'll get more clearance near the header as well.

Jay
Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints.

1999 Silverado Z71 4X4 extra-cab short bed
1983 Malibu Fauxmad - tubbed
1978 El Camino Kustomized
1972 Monte Carlo
1957 210 handyman wagon
1957 Nomad sport wagon


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 28464
someotherguy
Age: 47
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
12-01-17 06:59 AM - Post#2716513    
    In response to wagonman100

I've seen more than a few full size starters with the brace still intact, but definitely they are in the minority. I have yet to see a mini starter with a brace, but I have seen a pic that shows they exist.

I second the advice on swapping to the OEM style mini starter, though. They pack a lot of power in a small size. And avoid the "lifetime warranty" Autozone garbage.

Richard

06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8


 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
12-01-17 09:14 AM - Post#2716537    
    In response to someotherguy

Make sure to buy the correct bolts for the mini-starter at the same time you get the starter.



 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
12-01-17 01:17 PM - Post#2716564    
    In response to 65_Impala

Trust me I don't play with starter bolts. Always get the right ones. I've dealt with that torture before. What year truck should I get that starter for? I'm gonna get one brand new of course, but I just want to make sure I get the correct year range. I'm going to get new battery cables while I'm at it just to make sure they don't cause a problem.



 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3219

Reg: 04-15-05
12-01-17 05:56 PM - Post#2716592    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

RUN A BRACE, even if you have to fabricate one up.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3923

Reg: 12-29-02
12-01-17 09:02 PM - Post#2716612    
    In response to Junkyardwarrior

Mid 90's pickup. I expect every engine size is the same, but just go with a 5.7L starter to make sure. Personally, I'd get a new Bosch starter. If not that, then a new ACDelco.



 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 28464
someotherguy
Age: 47
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
12-02-17 07:46 AM - Post#2716634    
    In response to 65_Impala

It's a hideously grungy example, but here's the starter in question (complete with heat shield.) Both styles were available on these trucks so when they ask, you want the gear reduction design. This one came off a '98 7.4, but the style began appearing right around '94 on the fullsize trucks.



Richard

06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8


 
Junkyardwarrior 
Contributor
Posts: 262

Loc: Yuma AZ
Reg: 02-25-15
01-04-18 11:55 AM - Post#2719996    
    In response to someotherguy

I ended up going with a Powermaster protorque 9100 starter because pep boys has a promotional code for it so I got it for 103 bucks. It seems to have solved the problem so far.



 




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