April 8, 2009 at 9:20 am #232574
I have probably mentioned a few times that I have a Starter problem. When I first started working on the car and tried to get it running (hadn’t been started since 2001), installed a new battery but got nothing but a “click”. I found that the Solenoid was bad, replaced it and started the car easily. I noticed right away the typically 2 out of three times the starter would spin before engageing. I’ve checked the flywheel pretty thoroughly and though the teeth are a little “chewed”, none are missing.
I know starters are cheap, but I am bugged by what is causing this one to misbehave and I don’t want to replace it only to find that there is another problem. The starter itself works great when it does engage. The mechanical starter “dog” seems to work fine when I remove and bench test. There is a copper electrical contact that mates when the “dog” is fully extended. Can that be the problem? There doesn’t seem to be any adjustment.
Anyway, your thoughts, and experience appreciated.
RichApril 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm #238612James CochranParticipant
Is the starter alignment good? I ran into that problem before where it worked great on the bench, but would either not engage the flywheel or would grab it. I adjusted the alignment with some shim washers since my starter was actually slightly too close to the flywheel even tho it was the correct replacement starter. I did not have problems with it again, it worked smoothly and correctly. You may want to check out Youtube for videos like this one on starter problems, which happened to be on an MG.
Keep us posted.
JamesApril 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm #238613
Ford starter with external solenoid?
Sounds like the bendix spring on the starter is shot. The solenoid is nothing but a switch, so it’ll work or not work. Those Ford starters are not that expensive. If you get one locally and the problem still exists, you can bring it back.
I actually use the FoMoCo style external solenoid with my GM starters. GM had a problem with their starter mounted solenoids getting “heat washed” and the starter would not work until the thing cooled off. The external FoMoCo solenoid eliminates this problem.April 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm #238614
James and Mark,
Thanks, I guess I’ll just buck up and buy a new one. I may mess around with shimming, per James suggestion, a bit before I do. The starter is very easy to access on this car. Two mount bolts and the electrical cable connection and it’s out.
RichApril 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm #238615James CochranParticipant
Here is a link.
It seems that Chevy (GM) has more shimming issues than Ford. My wife reminded me that it was on my GM that I shimmed and not the Mustang. It’s worth a look if it is shimming. It sounds like a new starter may be in order.
JamesApril 10, 2009 at 11:35 am #238616
Starters that mount to the bell housing can’t really be shimmed. it only moves the starter in or out, not farther away from the flywheel/flexplate ring. This only makes more or less of the starter gear mesh with the ring gear.
GM starters bolt to the engine block. Shimming moves the starter pinion away from the flywheel/flexplate teeth. It only works if the starter pinion is too close to the ring gear.
If you starter is not engaging due to a bad bendix spring or other internal electrical problem, all the shimming in the world won’t help.April 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm #238617
I’m a mechanic by nature and experience. My dad was an aircraft mechanic and could troubleshoot and fix just about anything. I learned a lot from him. That sometimes creates a problem for me in that I always want to know why something doesn’t work and my first impulse is always to try to fix it. I look at a starter as a very simple device. A motor with a bendix that causes a gear to slide forward on a splined shaft in order to engage BEFORE spinning. So, I was just trying to figure out what would make it intermittently begin to spin before engaging?
So, for what it’s worth, here’s what I suspect. This is an excerpt from a googled article on Ford starters;
Ford also issued a nonstandard starter, a direct-drive “movable pole shoe” design that provided cost reduction rather than electrical or mechanical benefits. This type of starter eliminated the solenoid, replacing it with a movable pole shoe and a separate starter relay. The Ford starter operated as follows:
- The operator closed the key-operated starting switch.
- A small electric current flowed through the starter relay coil, closing the contacts and sending a large current to the starter motor assembly.
- One of the pole shoes, hinged at the front, linked to the starter drive, and spring-loaded away from its normal operating position, swung into position. This moved a pinion gear to engage the flywheel ring gear, and simultaneously closed a pair of heavy-duty contacts supplying current to the starter motor winding.
- The starter motor cranked the engine until it started. An overrunning clutch in the pinion gear uncoupled the gear from the ring gear.
- The operator released the key-operated starting switch, cutting power to the starter motor assembly.
- A spring retracted the pole shoe, and with it, the pinion gear.
This starter was used on Ford vehicles from 1973 through 1990, when a gear-reduction unit conceptually similar to the Chrysler unit replaced it.
I still think that the problem is that heavy duty contact is closing before the pinion gear is fully engaged with the ring gear. Anyway, I’ll probably just replace it, but I may just have to tinker with it a little first.
RichBelfay39913.615474537April 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm #238618
That’s some good stuff. I think you are correct about about the contact disengaging before the starter fully engages the flywheel ring gear.
Don’t forget to post the fix here too. I am interested in hearing what the heck is causing the problem too!
I used to pull stuff apart like your Dad did. I should start doing that again now, but most of the junk they make today can’t be fixed the way we used to. At least most of our TD cars are made from older parts that can be repaired.April 13, 2009 at 9:43 am #238619Steve CritesParticipant
Rich and gang;
As a “Ford guy” I’ll put in my 2 cents.
Ford starters either work or don’t. Why?…. they’re Ford Starters!!!
When they act up, it’s either the starter or the flywheel (flexplate). No adjustment, no shims, no nothing except maybe a sacrifice to the great FoMoCo.
RingoApril 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm #238620
I think you are right. I took it all apart this weekend and decided now that the problem is mechanical. When I exercise the mechanical pinion gear engage mechanism it seems to land the pinion gear at a different point on the shaft every time. The mechanical parts are all stamped metal and the tolerances seem to follow a basic +/- 1/8″ rule. Just too much slop to get it to engage consistently and no way to adjust.
I think Mark was also right way back in this thread when he suspected the bendix SPRING. It seems to be the one vital part that makes up for all the SLOP. If it’s weak, then the mech engagement is inconsistent.
Anyway, I’m satisfied that it can not be fixed. Thanks for all the help and advice. New starter it is!
RichBelfay39916.5106944444May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am #238621
As many of you know, I registered this car at the beginning of May and have been driving the heck out of it ever since. That same starter that I complained about ‘ad nauseum’ with the intermittent “premature spinning” problem has definitely “healed”. It has not ever exhibited the same problem since the temps went above 50 degrees. Go figure!
RichMay 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm #238622GeoffreyParticipant
One thing I have noticed is that these cars do not like the cold. When I had the car in Buffalo it was only driveable 3 months out of the year. Mainly because it hates to run in the cold weather. On a side note I just recently had to replace the solenoid on my starter too. I racked up about 300 miles on my “Stella” in the past 2 weeks, but in the afternoon it’s almost too hot to drive her! Between the black vinyl seats and chrome shift knob I’m losing lots of skin!
Glad to hear she starts fine now-
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.