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Need help with starter issue

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 80vette, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. 80vette
    Joined: Nov 16, 2008
    Posts: 53


    I've come to the "well" a couple times with my '32 hiboy build and you guys have always come thru for me. I have a new issue. Finally got the deuce wired and tried to fire it up. Had issues right from the start with the starter not turning the engine over.

    Engine is a GM Performance crate 350. I have a 86 Camaro T-5 bolted to it and had trouble getting the correct flywheel/clutch combo to fit into the bellhousing. Got that problem fixed and have a 10.4" clutch assy bolted to an 11" flywheel. Only config that wiould fit into the bellhousing.

    Have an aftermarket hi-torque starter I got from Murray's and it bolts to the block straight up. Here's the problem....Initially I thought I had an electrical issue and fought that. Finally pulled the cover off the front of the bellhousing and stuck a mirror in there and reallized that sometimes the pinion does NOT enter the flywheel and if it does it won't retract...I tried shimming the starter to get clearance no to avail. had up to .25" of shims betwen the starter and the block.

    Went to a starter rebuild house and he's no help. Not knowing what the "original p/n for the starter is he couldn't cross ref to what I needed.

    What I have determined is I have a Hitachi hi-torque chrome mini with a 9 tooth pinion ( 25mm ) diameter and the mount is a 2 bolt straight across configuration.

    I will call the GM perf ctr today to see if they can shed some light on this config and what the proper starter is.

    I know this is a basterized config but being the optimist I am there HAS to be an answer. PLEASE don't tell me I have to get a new bellhousing/clutch assy.......YIKES!!!!!

    ANY help/suggestion will be GRFEATLY appreciated.

  2. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,221


    If the bell was off, you could actually see the tooth contact, and sort it out.

    I pulled the starter pinion out and stuck a 5/16 nut behind it to keep it out, and then put the starter in to see what I had for gear mesh and clearance.

    If that's written correctly, that's 1/4 INCH? yikes. If you mean 25 Thou, then go more until the gear retracts every time....but that's still guesswork without ever knowing if it has enough gear lash.
  3. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949


    Did you notice what it had for a rear main seal,the later ones you can see it.Older one are in side.I think they changed in mid 80s.
    If the older style you may want to try a 77 starter.If you didn,t shim the flywheel any starter should work.
  4. OldBuzzard
    Joined: Mar 8, 2008
    Posts: 878


    From what I have heard you can't just swap a mini starter onto just any old block. What is the range of years your block is made for??

  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,501


    can you rotate the engine by hand?

    Can you fit a normal 1970s vintage 350 starter in the car?
  6. I ran into a similar problem with my SBC and all GM parts (including the starter). I bought a '95 350 truck engine (1 pce rear seal engine). The factory GM starter came with the '95 engine (it was basically a factory mini-starter ... much smaller and lighter weight than the usual GM starter). I decided to install the starter on an '83 305 (2 pce rear seal engine). The starter gear kept getting stuck in the ring gear and no matter how much I shimmed it, it would still get stuck. I actually (at one point) removed one of the two starter bolts, loosened the other one so the starter would hang and the starter gear was still stuck. The starter came (as mentioned before) from a 1995 350 truck engine. The exact same starter is in my father in-laws '96 4.3 S10 (I know this because I gave him my starter when his crapped out). I was not aware that GM V8 starters were different (other than the usual straight and staggered for the large and small flywheels). After further inspection it was found that the smaller starter had something like 10 teeth and the regular starter had one tooth more (I only tried the '95 starter because I liked it small size). I ended up just installing the "regular" style for the flywheel size that I am running.

    By the way, my car (at present) has a 1983 305 (2 pce rear seal) with a 1980 Camaro/Corvette bellhousing and flywheel (11") and a NWC GM T5 (from a V8 Camaro) with the S10 rear housing installed.

    Unfortunately I do not have any part numbers, I just used stuff I had lying around but for whatever reason the smaller GM starters seem to be a tooth short on the gear and once I changed to the regular style starter (larger factory GM) my starter issues were gone.

    I should clarify, the smaller starter was not missing a tooth as in broken off ... it simply had one less tooth than the regular one. Why the smaller starter worked on the '95 and also in the '96 S10 is beyond me but there was definitely a difference in tooth count and there was definitely a problem when installed on my 305 (and an '80 350 before that).

    I think (going on memory here) that the 11" flywheel uses the "staggered" bolt starter and the smaller flywheel uses the "straight" bolt pattern. I "don't think" it matters whether the engine has a 1 pce or a 2 pce rear seal but maybe that is where I went wrong ... maybe there really is a difference.

    Good luck
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  7. 80vette
    Joined: Nov 16, 2008
    Posts: 53


    Borntoloze...thnks to you and all for the input. My config sounds exactly like yours. The engine as I stated is a GM Performance crate and is equivalent to 350 up to 1979....had 1 piece rear seal and the starter mounts on the right side to the block with 2 vertical bolts. I see the are THREE holes there but this starter uses two of them in a straight configuration.

    I was at the Discount Auto near me to return a part and was talking to the Mgr. He builds 61 Chevy's and ran into the same problem...same crate engine...same srtarter from Murrays Speed. He tried 2 different stock starters ...3510's I believe he said and neither worked. He fought with the Mini starter for a did hang in the ring gear for a while but now 6 years later it's fine.

    I determined I have the 12.75" flywheel and a 10.4" clutch assy. driving the T-5. I'll be back in the garage starting from ground zero this shims and going from there. I'll keep you all posted. I'll be going to the Turkey run Friday and picking a lot of brains up there too.

    Again thnx to all for the input.

  8. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,397

    from Mass

    "starter mounts on the right side to the block with 2 vertical bolts. I see the are THREE holes there but this starter uses two of them in a straight configuration."

    I thought this set-up required the use of a 153 tooth flywheel. But that's with everything being stock Chevy.
  9. This is a pretty informative link on fly wheel to block changes.
    Discusses one and two piece rear main seals and the associated crank changes that have a change in fly wheels and flex plates.

    You can remove the battery cable and energize the solenoid only to check your clearances.
    The proper starter bolts should be used, with the knurled shoulders. Shims may get you to the proper alignment in one plane, but slop in the bolt holes of the starter body will allow the nose to move and throw your alignment off in the other. Thus creating the same symptoms but from another problem.

    This is a pretty common issue and plenty of folks have ran into it. Most fix it by going to the starter that matches the rest of the engine.

    For a hotrodder this should be fairly easy to sort out with some info and ingenious thoughts.
    Spacers, bolt sleeves, and maybe a support bracket.

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