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Old 05-25-2010, 11:14 AM   #1
lgbyblock
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Angry 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

Hope someone can give me a little advice on this issue. I've had this car/motor since 1968. It finally got so tired that I rebuilt it. After a 30 over bore, I put it all back together with new pistons, same cam, crank, flywheel etc. Rotated the crank every time I put in a piston. With the heads on and plugs out, I can turn it over with by the crank nut. It's basically stock. I did put on a new ring gear and bought a new starter. When I got the motor back in the car, I couldn't get the starter to turn it over - bendix jammed in the flywheel ring gear. Long story short...took the motor out, tried the old starter - same result. Replaced the ring gear thinking it was the wrong one. Same result with both the old starter and the new starter. I've tried it with the starter/oil pan bracket and without it. Took the clutch and pressure plate off and tried to manually engage the bendix but still can't get it to work. I've never had a problem with flathead starters before but I'm flummuxed here. I'm sure I've forgotten other things I've tried but you get the idea. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
flathead4d
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

I'm assuming the starter tries to engage but jams against the ring gear. Correct? If so then the only thing i Can think of is the mounting plate the starter is attached to. There are two different plates used and each one puts the starter on a different angle in relation to the flywheel ring gear. Just a thought. Keep us posted.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #3
thunderbirdesq
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

My experience with having the auto starter plate on a stick car is that it will engage and start the engine, it just makes a helluva ratchety racket. I don't think that's the problem but doublecheck to be sure. The stick plate starter mounting surface is parallel to the plate mounting flange, the auto is not by a few degrees.

The new ring gear is the only thing I can think of that would cause this, can you compare it to the original that you took off?
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:52 AM   #4
19Fordy
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

Go here: Starter plate and bell housing must "match."
http://www.flatheadv8.org/bellhousing.pdf
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:55 PM   #5
lgbyblock
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

It's the same bell housing/starter plate that's been on the car forever.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:05 PM   #6
19Fordy
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

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Originally Posted by lgbyblock View Post
It's the same bell housing/starter plate that's been on the car forever.
OK. could it be that the ring gear is installed backwards? (A wild guess.)
Question: Is the starter Bendix working and moving so that it engages the flywheel?
Does the starter work when you remove it and apply 12 volts to it?
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
lgbyblock
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

No, I don't have the old gear. The machine shop that surfaced the flywheel replaced the ring gear. I thought that too so bought a new on from Mac's which is where I got the new starter - both are for the 51 v8. They mesh fine off the car.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:09 PM   #8
lgbyblock
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

yes to both questions, ring gear is on correctly.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:14 PM   #9
thunderbirdesq
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

Sounds like you might have an electrical problem then, do you have a good solid engine ground? Fully charged battery? 12V to the starter?
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:22 PM   #10
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

So tapers on teeth point back, then? If you hook up starter set on the ground does Bendix move the gear forward??
I assume Bendix on old starter is the old one, so you didn't get an AT Bendix with the different toothage. Have you mentioned everything that was changed or machined abaft the actual engine block?
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:48 PM   #11
lgbyblock
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

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So tapers on teeth point back, then? If you hook up starter set on the ground does Bendix move the gear forward??
I assume Bendix on old starter is the old one, so you didn't get an AT Bendix with the different toothage. Have you mentioned everything that was changed or machined abaft the actual engine block?
Yep, both the old and new starters (the new starter has a "modern" bendix) work fine off the car. Bendix gears are the same. I've used a charged 12 volt battery plus a 225 amp starter boost which gets me a pretty hot spark. Nothing was changed behind the block and the flywheel appears to be the correct distance from the block. When the motor was in the car the battery cables were hooked up. Out of the car I have used heavy duty jumper cables plus the charger cables. One thing I haven't done, but this thread made me think of, is to connect the 12 volt with a ground strap and a real battery cable. Maybe the jumper cables can't conduct enough amps to turn the motor. I doubt this is the answer but I just keep trying whatever comes to mind.
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:03 PM   #12
19Fordy
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

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Originally Posted by lgbyblock View Post
Yep, both the old and new starters (the new starter has a "modern" bendix) work fine off the car. Bendix gears are the same. I've used a charged 12 volt battery plus a 225 amp starter boost which gets me a pretty hot spark. Nothing was changed behind the block and the flywheel appears to be the correct distance from the block. When the motor was in the car the battery cables were hooked up. Out of the car I have used heavy duty jumper cables plus the charger cables. One thing I haven't done, but this thread made me think of, is to connect the 12 volt with a ground strap and a real battery cable. Maybe the jumper cables can't conduct enough amps to turn the motor. I doubt this is the answer but I just keep trying whatever comes to mind.
BINGO! I bet that's the problem. I tried to turn my brand new Ford Ranger 12V starter over with battery cables out of the car and it wouldn't budge. Installed it with the battery and correct cables and it worked fine..
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:01 AM   #13
thunderbirdesq
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Default Re: 51 Ford V8 rebuild/starter mesh problem

Yeah, +1 on getting the cables hooked up, especially the engine ground strap. You can have all the voltage in the world and it still won't crank it over if it can't find it's way back to ground.
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