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Sm block Chevy starter issues

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mack57, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    Hi all,
    Still working away on my '48 Chevy. The latest is the starter grinds sometimes.... Replaced it, shimmed it out.... Shimmed it back, and sometimes she grinds....
    Thoughts/suggestions? It's an '84 305 w/TH350.

    Thanks, Mack


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  2. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962

    davidbistolas
    Member

    Warped flywheel?
     
  3. Cerberus
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,381

    Cerberus
    Member

    Bad ring gear on flex plate? Some gear teeth may be severely worn.
     
  4. hot rust
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 695

    hot rust
    Member

    is the flywheel a 168 or 172 tooth flywheel? both carry different starters. check the application to make sure it is the correct starter. then, if it's a 172 tooth one the best fix for the problem is to find a starter that has a cast iron nosecone on it versus an aluminum. napa has these and i believe the application is a starter for a 71 c-10 thru 30 with a smallblock 400 engine. not 100% sure though but you can look at the pics on the computer at napa to make sure it has a cast iron nose. on most of these the nosecone has a dual bolt pattern on it, straight across bolts or diagonal. also when installing the starter make sure you have the starter brace on it that fastens to the case bolt up to the side of the block, this especially if you use a aluminum nosecone. the problem lies in the nosecone as chances are it's a aftermarket item not a gm manufactured one therefore tolerances aren't the same. i have never had a starter problem once i did these things correctly. on the flywheel as far as it being warped, was this the case before you changed starters? if it was that could be a problem also. so check it. and as stated above make sure flywheel has no missing teeth. hope this helps hot rust
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013

  5. I realize it's not the most traditional of starters but the mini starters work with both sbc flywheels, HRP
     
  6. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Don't you mean 168 or 153?
     
  7. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,304

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    153 0r 168 is what i was thinking...


    :cool:
     
  8. Maybe not your problem but I ask because I've run into it before. Are you using the correct knurled starter bolts ? The knurling just above the threads has to fit halfway up into the block and halfway in the starter to do it's job. That's the reason the threads in the block don't start until 1/2" or so up inside the holes. This is what positively locates the starter in perfect alignment with the flywheel. If you're using hardware store bolts or bolts that are the wrong length you will have trouble. There are several different bolts used depending on the application. Long used with Aluminum nose starters, meduim length used with cast iron nose starters, short used with the outer holes in the Aluminum nose starters made for the smaller flywheels and in later years there were some oddbal bolts that had SAE threads but 15mm heads as well as some that were all metric. Make sure you have the correct bolts or you're just chasing your tail. To compound things there are different thickness shims available so you can fine tune the engagement as well as straight shims and "Z" shaped shims used with staggered bolt pattern starters although the straight shims can be made to work in their place.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  9. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Best move you could make.
     
  10. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    HRP,
    That seals it. I'm going with the mini.
    Thanks all!! The car is driving pretty well now & am having a ball with it!!!

    Mack


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  11. If it only grinds some times I am going to fathom a guess that it is hitting a bad spot on the ring gear. Remove your inspection cover, take a majic marker and mark your flex plate so that you can see when it comes all the way around. Now turn it by hand and inspect it.
     
  12. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,524

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    X2 on the correct bolts.
     
  13. Yep, make sure you have the correct bolts. Also, are you using the bracket that bolts the back of the starter to the block?
     
  14. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,664

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    I had more trouble with mini starters than stock. After nothing but grief and shimming escapades, I went to a new full sized starter on my 327, and all was well again.
    Make sure your starter clearances are correct, and you have the correct length and style bolts. Pull the solenoid off the starter, and mount the starter on the engine. Pull the solenoid to engage the starter, and use a 1/16" allen wrench to slip into the flywheel/starter gear mesh. If it wont go in there's not enough clearance and it needs a shim.
     
  15. M224SPEED
    Joined: May 12, 2010
    Posts: 171

    M224SPEED
    Member
    from Missouri

    X3 on the bolts,learned that the hard way 40 years ago !!!
     
  16. masters9661
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 38

    masters9661
    Member

    We have one particular sbc which has given plenty of grief with starter/flywheel engagement. Several nosecones, the bracket to the block, and proper bolts, still having problems. Removed solenoid (as previously mentioned) realized we had to much clearance with no shims. Solved by filing the aluminum nosecone (where it contacts the engine block) to allow the starter gear deeper in to the starter ring. Haven't had issues since.
     
  17. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Guys always toss that out and it makes good sense, but have you guys shopped for a Chevy starter lately? A lot of times, they don't have a provision for mounting that bracket. At least, that's what I found when I was having problems with my starter.
     
  18. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    A mini may have to be shimmed just like a regular starter. It's not a miracle cure. From what I've learned, a Chevy starter needing shims is a hit or miss type deal. Maybe you'll need them, maybe you won't.

    And this is in recent years. I can remember 15 years ago, if you put on a new starter, you didn't need shims. Hell, we used to throw them away on the way home from the parts store. Made in Mexico. Made in China. Take your pick.
     
  19. It's probably been about 15 years since I swapped in a new or rebuilt starter. I never ever had to shim one to make it work.
     
  20. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    It seems like I've got a mismatched stsrter.... I'll check....


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  21. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    Meaning a mismatched starter to flywheel. I need to make sure if the flywheel is 153 or 168?



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  22. I went through 3 regular starters on my 327,all kinds of shims,different bolts and cringed with embarrassment at the horrible sounds of the starter try to eat the flywheel.

    I bought a brand new GM mini starter and never had a problem again.

    We all find what works for us a throw out suggestions based on our successes. HRP
     
  23. Belchfire8
    Joined: Sep 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,541

    Belchfire8
    Member

    Fought and fought a starter problem on a SBC for months, several starters, every combo of shims, no shims, etc. etc. Finally gave up and took it to a "performance" type shop. They fought it for four days, even tried their "known good" shop starter, same results. They finally took the engine block numbers to the local starter/alternator rebuilder down the road. They said it was the wrong starter for that engine, they provided the correct starter for that engine number and i haven'thad a problem since.
     
  24. drptop70ss
    Joined: May 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,172

    drptop70ss
    Member
    from NY

    This is the easiest way to check the need for shims either way. No need to kick out the starter drive, just check the clearance between the shaft the starter gear rides on and the flexplate teeth. 1/8" is what you want, use a drill bit as a gauge.

    [​IMG]

    I had a 472 caddy that the starter would make horrible noises and had already broken one starter nose. Set the clearance as above and now smooth and quiet cranking.
     
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,768

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    That's the key on the mini starter though (Brand new GM factory unit) the ones guys are fighting with are the after market units with no nose cone and the drive hanging out in mid air.


    BACK TO THE SUBJECT AT HAND.

    Mack57 probably the simple way is to mark the flexplate and count the teeth as you turn it around a full turn. Guys who are used to looking at them can often eyeball one in the car and tell what it is but my eyes aren't that good.


    Here in the PNW the rebuilder that supplies a lot of the local parts houses either puts the mounting face of GM starters on the belt sander or machines them to give a flat machined finish and I'd lean toward the belt sander thing with some of the people doing the work not knowing a thing about getting them square.
     
  26. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,271

    upspirate
    Member

    Weird thing on my 32 truck,I never had a noise or engagement problem with my mini starter from Summit or Jegs(I forget which it was....came on the truck)

    I had the short and fire at the solenoid due to a loose cap nut that fell and wedged between the cable stud and the starter housing, and had the starter checked and the solenoid replaced (not from the short),now it grinds some....same starter, same bolts,same block.
     

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