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Technical SBC starter won't fit

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tom Noller, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Tom Noller
    Joined: Nov 14, 2015
    Posts: 55

    Tom Noller
    Member
    from Iowa

    Guys - I'm totally frustrated with this SBC project in my Kaiser. First the old bell housing was wrong and was interfering with a clutch that was too big for it, so I bought a new housing that would accommodate the 162 tooth flywheel & clutch. NOW the starter won't fit. How many different starters are there for a simple Chevy small block? I have an "old" model starter that fits the old housing and this newer one I thought would work. I'm beginning to hate this project and I don't want to feel that way...
    upload_2016-3-26_15-55-3.jpeg
     
  2. Tom Noller
    Joined: Nov 14, 2015
    Posts: 55

    Tom Noller
    Member
    from Iowa

  3. Is that a car or a truck bellhousing? Have you tried it without the sheet metal piece? Unfortunately there are quite a few variations of the nose cone piece.
     
  4. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    First of all, what engine are you working with? Basically, when it comes to the Gen 1 SBC engines, there were only two flywheel/flexplates used, 168 tooth and a 153 tooth. They take different starter motors also. Straight across bolts on the starter nose works with the smaller, 153 tooth; staggered bolt with the 168 tooth. THEN, the older style bellhousing mount starter works only with a 168 tooth. Hard to tell in your photos just what you have, but the starter looks like a staggered bolt pattern for the larger 168 tooth. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     

  5. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019

    Rex_A_Lott
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It can be frustrating.Unless you have to have the original look, I'd buy a mini starter , and you can mount it either way. Has better torque also, if you have the compression jacked up. Good Luck!
     
    afaulk likes this.
  6. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Basically the small flywheel uses a starter with the bolt holes in line and the big flywheel uses a starter with diagonal bolts. But there are starters with cast iron noses and starters with aluminum noses. It's been a while, but I think you might have to trim the dust cover for the starter with an aluminum nose if it was originally for the cast iron nosed starter.

    Like was said above, try it without the shield and see if it fits.
     
  7. Tom Noller
    Joined: Nov 14, 2015
    Posts: 55

    Tom Noller
    Member
    from Iowa

    Thank you so much, Guys! Very helpful.
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,252

    squirrel
    Member

  9. miller
    Joined: Aug 5, 2006
    Posts: 484

    miller
    Member
    from New Jersey

    ...after looking at the picture of the metal flywheel cover,....I see a bolt head that I don't recall seeing on the bell housing where the starter meets the bell housing,....could the head of this bolt stop the starter from going into the proper place?...miller
     
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,252

    squirrel
    Member

    I seem to recall seeing that bolt in that spot on the 80 chevy truck I had....cleared the aluminum nose starter just barely.
     
  11. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,665

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    You had to have the bolt out to deal with the starter.
     
  12. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,504

    Torkwrench
    Member

    A starter for a 57 - 61 283 with a TurboGlide, (NOT Turbo 350 or Turbo 400), works with a 168 tooth flywheel. It also has a smaller sized nose that fits the stick shift bellhousings without any modifications.

    The TurboGlide starters are block mounted and use 3 bolts. This is about the only parts of a TurboGlide car that were any good. The transmissions themselves were crap. A TurboGlide starter snout can be used with either a regular starter or a high torque one.
     
  13. miller
    Joined: Aug 5, 2006
    Posts: 484

    miller
    Member
    from New Jersey

    ....I know you did not ask but how would you be able to set the gap between the starter gear and the flywheel gear with the flywheel cover shown in the pictures when you get the starter to fit?....Miller
     
  14. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Pretty tough setting the gap on anything that doesn't have a removable cover on the bottom of the bellhousing. I worked in a starter shop for lots of years and never set the gap with a paperclip or ?? It was mostly - if the starter hangs in you move it out, if it's noisy you move it in. But that was just rule of thumb.
     
  15. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    True. That paper clip trick is great, if the engine assembly is on a stand. In the car, total pain in the ass. Chevey really screwed up on the design of SBC starters and their mounting.
     
  16. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Fred,
    I don't think the GM starter design is really a problem. If you're using all new factory GM parts, I don't think there is much chance that you'd need to shim the starter at all. Problems come in with aftermarket parts that might not have quite the quality control as factory, the block is a little messed up or using used or rebuilt parts.

    But I could be wrong.
     
  17. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    I was referring to the pain of figuring out how many shims to use, having to set pinion gap, etc. Why not make a starter that just bolts up right in the first place. It also seems like this frustration has gotten more frequent in recent years. I can remember, years ago, that replacing a starter was a 10 minute job. No shims were needed, the starters just bolted on.
     
  18. For stick shift cars, I use the truck style bellhousing. Eliminates the bolt to the block woes. For automatics, when I pick up an engine, I try to get it with the starter. If it needs to be rebuilt, I want my OG starter done. Problems come up with installing a cheap rebuilt unit where the nose cone may not work well with the rest of the mating parts.
     
  19. 54fierro
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 493

    54fierro
    Member
    from san diego

    I have a block that must have been machines wrong or something. It's always needed shims to get the gear closer.
    It's a 71 block, I finally pulled it and filed down the nose miunting to get it right without shims.
    This was also the first time I've measured the tooth clearance. I pulled the solenoid but it was still a PITA

    I suppose if it ever goes out I'll be swapping the nose cone onto the new starter.
     
  20. And don't forget to use real GM starter mount bolts....not hardware 3/8ths long bolts. The GM starter bolts are a shade bigger in diameter and won't allow the starter to get cocked while under load.
     
    shawnsauto1 likes this.
  21. drptop70ss
    Joined: May 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,172

    drptop70ss
    Member
    from NY

    Manual transmission starters used a cast iron nose, they can also be used with automatics but are needed to be able to fit into the bellhousing and flywheel shield.
    Instead of the paperclip deal I use a 1/8" drill bit and the non cutting side has to fit exactly between the rod that the starter gear slides on and the teeth of the flexplate, works great. I had a caddy 472 that was cracking starter noses from bad alignment, grinding up the starter gear and turning over the engine slow. Set it with the 1/8" pin and now quiet and fast turning.
    I would set up the clearance with the bellhousing off and then reassemble with the needed shims.
    And as stated use the right bolts with the larger knurled section below the threads to fit tightly into the block...may want to put the bracket on the back of the starter that everyone throws away too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,999

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And one just popped up in the classifieds.

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/index.php?threads/1013836/


    Traditional?
     
  23. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,575

    brady1929
    Member

    Great info here
     

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