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Old 09-21-2008, 02:27 PM
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350 SBC Block Damage from Starter

I recently took the motor out to freshen it up and change gaskets, fluids, etc. and noticed that there is a section of the block that is missing due to starter damage. Now this explains why the starter would only engage half of the time!!!

I have already replaced the flywheel because the teeth were virtually gone and purchased a new starter. I am hesitant about what I should do now though because the threads are stripped out and the normal starter bolt will just fall out when trying to bolt it on! So in light of this, what do I do? I can purchase an Ez-Lok thread insert and re-tap the mounting hole, but will this provide enough strength to keep the starter from moving around and chewing the flywheel to bits? I am also looking at buying one of the GM braces off of eBay to provide additional support.

I need some guidance from someone who has had this happen before and can point me in the right direction. Thanks!!!




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Old 09-21-2008, 02:49 PM
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wow big chunk outta that one!
IMO without removing the block to properly repair I would install the insert and reweld the missing metal.
it would be hard as hell to weld up the hole and redrill straight while engine is in the car for sure.
Also the mounting surface shouldnt have any paint on it.
otherwise the starter wont sit flush.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinksta
I recently took the motor out to freshen it up and change gaskets, fluids, etc. and noticed that there is a section of the block that is missing due to starter damage. Now this explains why the starter would only engage half of the time!!!

I have already replaced the flywheel because the teeth were virtually gone and purchased a new starter. I am hesitant about what I should do now though because the threads are stripped out and the normal starter bolt will just fall out when trying to bolt it on! So in light of this, what do I do? I can purchase an Ez-Lok thread insert and re-tap the mounting hole, but will this provide enough strength to keep the starter from moving around and chewing the flywheel to bits? I am also looking at buying one of the GM braces off of eBay to provide additional support.

I need some guidance from someone who has had this happen before and can point me in the right direction. Thanks!!!



This is common damage found on Chevy's that are not using the forward bracket on the starter. That bracket is often overlooked as it appears to be too small to react any substantial load from the starter, so many people omit it. In reality, it is a significant part of stiffening the stater mounting by providing a 3 point mount that triangulates the forces involved in cranking the engine. When that bracket is missing the stater wants to bend and twist on the forward mounting bolts. This places a lot of side load on the cast mounting boss, which it really isn't strong enough to support so the side blows out. This usually signals the end of the block's useful life as there isn't a sufficiently good and inexpensive way to repair this. Inserts can't replace the strength of the missing casting and welding cast iron is expensive and hardly ever successful even with full block heating which also leads into re-machining all surfaces.

However, this can be utilized with a Micky Mouse repair by running a suitable bolt all the way thru and putting a nut on the top. You need to drill out the remaining threads just enough to pass the bolt body. The upper surface is not flat and without pulling the engine there isn't any way to get it flat. However, the answer lies in a spherical washer see this url http://www.jwwinco.com/products/sect...-ni/index.html

This will adjust the surface you have to one that will allow a nut to greet the bolt at the proper angle and load the attaching surface without binding. Starters put out a lot of force, I'd use a grade 8 bolt and nut. The Chevy started uses a knurled bolt shank for a tight fit in the starter housing. You can duplicate this fit with some thin shim stock wrapped around the bolt to get a tight body fit in the starter. Lookie here for laminated steel shim stock a sheet of .002 ought to do ya. http://www.directindustry.com/prod/p...842-37960.html

Then just bolt it together. You'll have to fight with the shim stock, too tight will want to fight getting the bolt in, so a loose enough to pass the bolt body without it catching and bending, or pulling the stock will be necessary.

This isn't the end-all/ be-all fix; but it ought to get you going and last several years.

Bogie
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies and great advice!

The starter already had a similar solution where someone had passed a longer bolt through the block enough to get a nut on top to create more holding force. I will get some new grade 8 bolts, nuts, and lock washers tomorrow to try and remedy this. I think one of our local fastener stores carries the shim metal so I'll be sure to pick some of that up also.

As for the starter brace, will the OEM GM brand that people often sell on eBay work with my 350 / SM465? Like this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Start...mZ220282516139

I've never seen a picture of what one looks like and where exactly the brace mounts. I could kill the previous owner for not having one on there in the first place!!!
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:21 PM
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starter boss broken on SBC.

Actually, you're in luck in that you have a manual transmission. If you have a 168 tooth flywheel then you're really in luck. Just get one of the older style cast iron bellhousings that had the starter motor bolted to the bellhousing and you're set. Plus, the older cast iron bellhousing is open on the bottom (has a sheet metal covering the bottom opening), so you can work on the clutch without removing the bellhousing first. Normally, for the guys running an automatic, I tell them to get the blanchard ground steel plate sold by the Classic Chevrolet vendors, and used to put a modern automatic transmission against the old 265's, that only had bellhousing/Powerglide adapter ring mounted starters. You may also be able to use a different starter that has the mounting bolts staggered; or a mini starter. I think that all depends on how the block is drilled however. Or, you could also get a scattershield that has provisions for the bellhousing mounted starter.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinksta
Thanks for the quick replies and great advice!

The starter already had a similar solution where someone had passed a longer bolt through the block enough to get a nut on top to create more holding force. I will get some new grade 8 bolts, nuts, and lock washers tomorrow to try and remedy this. I think one of our local fastener stores carries the shim metal so I'll be sure to pick some of that up also.

As for the starter brace, will the OEM GM brand that people often sell on eBay work with my 350 / SM465? Like this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Start...mZ220282516139

I've never seen a picture of what one looks like and where exactly the brace mounts. I could kill the previous owner for not having one on there in the first place!!!
That's the correct bracket. One end bolts to the block, the other end to the stud coming off the end of the starter.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinksta
Thanks for the quick replies and great advice!

The starter already had a similar solution where someone had passed a longer bolt through the block enough to get a nut on top to create more holding force. I will get some new grade 8 bolts, nuts, and lock washers tomorrow to try and remedy this. I think one of our local fastener stores carries the shim metal so I'll be sure to pick some of that up also.

As for the starter brace, will the OEM GM brand that people often sell on eBay work with my 350 / SM465? Like this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Start...mZ220282516139

I've never seen a picture of what one looks like and where exactly the brace mounts. I could kill the previous owner for not having one on there in the first place!!!
Yes that's the correct bracket.

When your at the bolt store see if they have a spherical washer, the area you're running the nut on isn't flat. The washer I'm talking about looks something like the business end of a ball joint. The base will take the angle of the casting it's resting against and the upper half will align with the base on one side and the angle of the nut on the other. This way the nut is clamping to a flat surface which will keep the bolt from trying to slide sideways under the clamping load.

You'll find the bracket does much to keep the starter aligned.

Bogie
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie
Yes that's the correct bracket.

You'll find the bracket does much to keep the starter aligned.

Bogie
It will help keep it aligned. People would also do well to remove the solenoid while installing these starters and make use of the shims provided. Shimming that space between the flywheel and starter cog to the width of a match stick will go along way in making their starters last. Not to mention saving wear on the flywheel.
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