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Sounds like the ring gear touching the starter when accelerating??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 2many projects, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. :confused:I have 2 SBC powered rods both with the same illness.
    On moderate to heavy throttle acceleration they both make a ringing clatter sound.
    They both are running hi torque mini starters.
    It sounds very similar to a spark knock (severely loud) but maybe more metallic sounding.
    The little roadster has a Hamburg mini starter, the sedan has a chrome no-name mini starter.
    Is this a common ailment with these mini starters?
    I've shimmed them but without a lot of success. Maybe I should shim them more?
    A friend told me he has excellent luck with GM-Delco hi torque mini starters.
    Do you guys run into the noise problem too? :confused:
  2. pinstripebob
    Joined: Dec 2, 2007
    Posts: 117

    from Carmel, IN

    That's weird, I have the same problem. Light to medium acceleration around 2000-2250 RPM I get this loud, annoying ringing clattering sound. I always thought it was just some weird resonance with my exhaust. I have a 168 tooth flywheel and one of those mini starters.
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.
  3. Steel Coupes
    Joined: Jul 22, 2006
    Posts: 80

    Steel Coupes
    from Midwest

    There is a circular spacer about .050 that spaces the starter back away from the mounting block of the mini-starters, take the small screws out that go thru that aluminum mounting block get the spacer and put it in, problem will be solved.
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.
  4. Had the same problem on my Caddy 501 motor.
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.

  5. Are you using the "starter motor specific, knurled bolts" when bolting the starter to the block?
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.
  6. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,290


    Is the spacer available through a parts house or would you get it from the place that sells the mini-starter????
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.
  7. Yes, I use the knurled bolts in both of my cars.
    Good question...........where do you find those circular spacers?
    It would move the starter drive away from the ring gear and maybe eliminate this nagging problem.
    After 2 of these engines doing this, the noise is really wearing thin on me.
    Anyone else know of a fix?
  8. youreviltwin
    Joined: Oct 21, 2008
    Posts: 69

    from fl

    guys my buddy and i had the same problem with his 80's sbc c10. we replaced starters, flywheels, shimmed them all the way shim by shim starting from none and nothing fixed the problem. we ended up finding out it was the thrust bearings in the motor that keep the crank from moving forward and rearward. it usually goes in between the middle crank journals. when those wear out they allow the crank to walk under heavy acceleration which can cause it to push out enough to touch things.

    best bet is if what you try doesnt fix it drop the oil pan and remove the crank journal that holds the thrust bearing and check the thrust bearing for visual wear. you can even check for clearance in them with a feeler guage to get an idea of how much play it has. or you can disconnect the trans and put a dial guage set up to the end of the flywheel or the nose of the crank and physically move the crank from the flywheel or the crank pulley depending the way you set up the dial guage and see how much it moves the dial guage. i do not know the service max that will call it to be addressed but i can find it out for you on the gm and some ford small blocks and some big blocks if you give me the specifics of the motors and really plan on checking this. i say this cause i can find out from my GM teachers i still keep in touch with but it will take some time to find out the info for you since id have to call them, ask them for the info, and wait for them to look it up and get back at me. i am almost sure most GM small blocks have its certain specs along with the big blocks.
    Hotrodjohn71 likes this.
  9. Steel Coupes
    Joined: Jul 22, 2006
    Posts: 80

    Steel Coupes
    from Midwest

    Yes, usually starter shops that have the mini-starters will have them. They actually should come with the starter because it's a common problem. But some don't include them.

    I just had the same thing on an SBC, when you'd gas it it would barely touch and would also do it when you put it in reverse, or if you brake torqued it. Went to local starter shop and got one.

    Go to Google images "mini starter shims" , there's a bunch of pictures of them.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  10. This weekend I found a cure for the annoying sound of my ring gear clashing with the mini starter pinion gear.
    This was occurring on moderate to heavy acceleration on 2 of my SBC powered rods.

    They both showed tight clearance between the ring and pinion gear. Problem was neither the Chevy dealer and most starter/alternator repair shops and speed shops could come up with any kind of part number for the needed mini starter spacer.

    These are the oblong shaped spacer on the back end of the mini starter where it attaches to an adapter block which then attaches to the bottom of the engine block.
    These spacer are not the commonly available shim you use to move downward or change the angle of the starter.

    Most place I spoke to told me if I buy a new starter from them they come already packed with the spacers.
    Who wants to spend $200 ++ for shims when you don't need the starter.

    Another key to the fix is using a good quality pair of knurled bolts.

    Tilton Engineering coughed up the kit I needed. The bag of goodies includes enough to do 2 starters, the oblong 3 bolt hole spacers,the round disc spacers, knurled bolts directions all the stuff to silence this problem.

    After 4000 miles of pinging in the roadster and a few hundred miles in the new build sedan they both sound ping and clatter free.

    It's nice to be able to negotiate a freeway on ramp, climb a hill or just boot it without the horrible detonation type sound. Just too bad it took me sooooo long to figure it out.
  11. I like the way you're thinking, I hadn't even considered that! :eek:

    Now, out of all the people who've said they had this same problem, I wonder how many have a third pedal in their cars?:confused: Manual transmission cars seem to put more stress on the thrust bearing than automatics do.
  12. I had this happen on my Pontiac 400 that I race with a Powermaster Mini starter. It was hitting big time. All I did was elongate the holes in the mini starter and kicked it back an 1/8". Its now been 7 years and no problems with coming loose or shifting.
  13. AntiBling
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 612


    Hmm, what if you got an auto and a regular starter? I picked up a '65 Buick Electra with a 401 Nailhead and auto, I thought it was just the exhaust too but now this thread has me wondering. It only happens when I get on it.
  14. As of today I've put 100 miles on 2 of my cars with SBC drive-trains. The starter shims and spacers I purchased from Tilton plus the correct knurled bolts seemed to have corrected this long time, very annoying noise I've been living with.
    Nothing worse than taking off and wanting to enjoy the music of your twice pipes then have this awful pinging noise drown out all your fun.
    Hey, not to mentions the half teeth it removed from my ring gear in my poor '32.
    Only wish now I was smarter about 4000 miles ago.
  15. 39 All Ford
    Joined: Sep 15, 2008
    Posts: 1,531

    39 All Ford
    from Benton AR

    I like the big ugly old style starters, too bad I HAD to go "mini" in my last two builds.
  16. youreviltwin
    Joined: Oct 21, 2008
    Posts: 69

    from fl

    actually it was auto but manual wouldve made it worsen quicker. it was an 83 c10 so im sure somewhere in its life it hauled a few big loads which can help wear any part of your vehicle down esepcially being hard on the engine. its just an idea. we went through so many different theoryies and starters, flywheels, and all that it that what it turned out to be. wouldnt hurt to check if nothing else is working.
  17. Craig Owens
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 464

    Craig Owens

    I don't mean to hi jack your thread, but I have the opposite problem. I'm using a Hitachi mini starter on a SBC with a 168 tooth Hughes flexplate. Most of the time, it works great, and it never touches when the engine is running, but once in awhile...usually when there are about a hundred people standing there for me to start up, the starter will make this hideous grinding noise as the starter pinion hits the flywheel. In my application, the starter pinion just barely engages the flywheel, maybe only an eighth inch or less. There are no shims to remove from the starter and adding shims would only space the starter further from the flywheel. I can see a section of about 8 or 10 teeth on the ring gear where the starter pinion has chewed the teeth a bit. I cleaned the burrs off these teeth with a file, but the problem still occurs once in awhile. I'm using ARP knurled starter bolts, so that shouldn't be a cause of the problem.

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