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Username Post: '89 Suburban Starter Alternatives        (Topic#366003)
djackson210 
Contributor
Posts: 117

Age: 38
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Reg: 01-31-19
08-04-21 05:47 AM - Post#2824444    

I'm working on an '89 Suburban SBC350 with long tube headers. The starter heat shield is resting right up against the header.

I know mini high torque starters can be bought from online retailers all day. But I seem to remember reading somewhere that 454 vortec trucks came with gear reduction starters that are significantly smaller than mine & have more oomph.

My question is, can I buy a starter for a 454 vortec & have it bolt right up to my SBC350? If not, what are some other recommendations for a starter with a smaller footprint to keep it as far away from the header as possible?

I don't necessarily need more oomph, but if I can have it as a bonus I'll take it.

Any help/info is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

'91 Chevy C1500 SC LWB
'89 Suburban 4WD


 
someotherguy 
Senior Moderator
Posts: 29499
someotherguy
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
08-04-21 10:59 AM - Post#2824475    
    In response to djackson210

The factory started using mini-starters (gear reduction) in many truck applications beginning around 1994. A new gear reduction starter will have more than enough power to crank your 350, no need for anything special unless you have some high compression modified monster in there.

Pick a good brand and be sure you get the correct bolts. The ones that mount the mini are shorter, and the correct bolts (actual starter bolts) are critical to a proper installation. Missing the target on this one ends up with broken starters, broken starter bolts, damaged blocks...

The GM part # for the shorter starter bolts is 12338064 and is super cheap even from the dealer, couple bucks each, so don't overpay online (I've seen some outrageous prices.)

Do note that you can generally buy a brand new starter cheaper than the rebuilds (plus your fullsize starter might not be accepted for the core charge) just beware the new ones are likely all from China, if that bothers you. It bugs me a bit but there aren't many options and I am running "new" AC Delco mini-starters on both trucks we have right now (2006 Silverado SS's with the 6.0 LQ9) and they have been fine.

Richard

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


 
djackson210 
Contributor
Posts: 117

Age: 38
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Reg: 01-31-19
08-05-21 01:57 PM - Post#2824569    
    In response to someotherguy

Richard, as always, thank you my good man for confirming what I vaguely remember reading on the internet.

I think I might go the junkyard route first since I have 3 of them in town. All within 20-25 mintues of each other.

I hate Chinese junk too. That's why I'd rather see if I can get lucky & find an OEM one at the junkyard first. Worst case scenario if I have to "rebuild" it myself, there's a starter & alternator shop here in town that supposedly doesn't sell, or use Chinese parts. No idea who in the USA would still make brushes, but ya never know right.

Thanks again for the most excellent information. And I'll definitely not be buying any crazy over priced shortened starter bolts. Hell I might get lucky & find those at the junkyard too.

'91 Chevy C1500 SC LWB
'89 Suburban 4WD


 
someotherguy 
Senior Moderator
Posts: 29499
someotherguy
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
08-05-21 06:44 PM - Post#2824590    
    In response to djackson210

You're more than welcome.. and it's great to hear you still have a local starter/alternator shop you can visit for a rebuild on a boneyard piece. Sounds like a perfect plan!

I've seen a couple different failure modes on these minis - they will slow-crank for a ridiculously long time and then start cranking normal speed (who knows why), or begin a semi-slow crank that is the warning that it will soon quit cranking altogether. These normally sound "fast" when operating properly so if the one you get doesn't sound like it's spinning significantly faster (the starter motor itself, not the engine cranking speed) than the old direct-drive starter, go ahead and get the rebuild.

Richard

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


 
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