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Old 08-23-2006, 11:24 AM
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350 starter won't line up right-?

I'm replacing a starter in my 350 sbc and I cannot seem to be able to line it up with the proper clearance. The directions say to install the motor first without shims, poke a screwdriver thru a small hole and pry the pinion gear into the flywheel and check clearance with a wire gauge .020-.060". If there is excess clearance shim on the inside under the bolt next to the block. If not enough, shim on the other side. First there is no way you can get anything into the hole and pry the gear back. You end up prying against the starter housing. I have tried shimming one side, then the other, both sides as well as adding additional shims other than came with the starter. When I turn the key three times out of ten or eight times out of ten the gear hits the flywheel. After steveral attempts to start the gear may enter the flywheel and start the car. I want 100%. What am I doing wrong-?
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 31 Ford A
I'm replacing a starter in my 350 sbc and I cannot seem to be able to line it up with the proper clearance. The directions say to install the motor first without shims, poke a screwdriver thru a small hole and pry the pinion gear into the flywheel and check clearance with a wire gauge .020-.060". If there is excess clearance shim on the inside under the bolt next to the block. If not enough, shim on the other side. First there is no way you can get anything into the hole and pry the gear back. You end up prying against the starter housing. I have tried shimming one side, then the other, both sides as well as adding additional shims other than came with the starter. When I turn the key three times out of ten or eight times out of ten the gear hits the flywheel. After steveral attempts to start the gear may enter the flywheel and start the car. I want 100%. What am I doing wrong-?
I am assuming this is an aftermarket minni starter! If you take a small screw driver you can catch the back of the gear and pull it forward from the front of the starter I am not sure which small hole you are trying to go thru? you can even grab the gear with a pair of pliers and pull it forward when it is forward stick a paper clip between the gear and flywheel it should go in easily if you try just shimming and trying you will have a hard time getting there you need to pry the gear forward and check.
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:19 PM
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Starter won't lineup-?

The starter is a standard 350 starter. I was told that there were several variations of this starter for the 350. Nose length being one. I was told that if the first starter worked, have it rebuilt. Cost-$42. Cost of rebuilt $38. Sounds like the answer to me. The good boys at NAPA said they would take the one I have in it now back. They still had my original. It pays to shop at a quality outfit like NAPA.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:27 PM
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When you say it is (hitting the fly wheel) Do you mean it is grinding a lil? Normally when you add shims you are lowering the mounting point and bringing the starter closer to the flywheel. With no shims installed that is normally the furthest away the starter can be from the flywheel.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:37 PM
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Just my version

I replaced a starter that i got from napa thirty-eight times in seven months on my 350, i new what the problem was i just didnt want to fix it, but when the boys at napa refused to give me anymore starters guarenteed or not i decided to fix it. My fly wheel was bad and after changing the starter so many times i stripped the bolt hole out so when i turned the key the starter would slightly shift causing it to grind. you shouldnt need the shims ive never used them in my life and the only problem was this one. due to my own laziness and denial that i would have to pull the motor.
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:24 PM
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Shimming GM starters...

What I do is pull the solenoid off, yes, even on brand new starters. I get it right before I even hook up the wiring.

To remove the solenoid, there is a small bolt, and maybe a spacer if hi-torque, under the copper strap coming out of the motor that connects to the solenoid. Pull this bolt out, and the spacer if it is used. Now remove the solenoid mounting bolts and the solenoid will be loose. Twist slightly either direction to allow the locating tab to come loose, and the spring inside will push it off the nose cone. Set the solenoid and spring aside, and bolt the starter up to the block, no shims.

Pull the plunger back away from the nose cone, and the Bendix gear will index with the ring gear, if not, turn it slightly until the gears mesh.

Now you need your test shim, an ordinary large paperclip works well for this. What you want to do is get one of the Bendix teeth to line up directly between the ring gear teeth, turn the flywheel/flexplate slightly until it does, and insert your test shim into the gap between the ring gear teeth. It should slip right in.

If it is too tight, loosen the mounting bolts and insert a thin sheetmetal shim under both bolts, and retighten to check again. Dropping the starter away from the block pad increases clearance.

If it is too loose, cut a shim in half and shim under only the outboard bolt between starter and block. This tilts the starter in towards the ring gear teeth.

When I have the starter shimmed properly I write down on the back of the reg paperwork the date serviced and where any shims go, and how thick they are. I then drop the starter back out and reassemble the solenoid.

Spring goes in the solenoid (either way) and it slides onto the plunger, then twist to get the locating tab seated and line up the starter motor strap to the terminal. I then reinstall the terminal bolt(and spacer) loosely, then install and tighten the solenoid bolts snug, then tighten the terminal bolt snug. No need to be He-man on these.

Then I hook up the wiring to the starter, put the bolts in loose, reinstall my proper shims (if used) and torque it up to the block.

If it's already installed....LISTEN when cranking!

If it grinds when cranking and stops when the key is released the clearance is too loose, this will break the nose cone so get it shimmed up right, buddy!

If it sounds like it grinds when the key is released then it is shimmed too tight. Either situation is bad, so take the time to do it right.

If the starter is shimmed properly, and it still makes grinding noises, the ring gear teeth are bad. A lot of times its easier and faster to yank the motor to change it out, especially with 4x4 trucks. And don't trust a new flywheel/flex plate to be straight out of the box. I did just that on one of my brother's Chevy 4x4's, and we ended up yanking the motor to put in a new, STRAIGHT flexplate...

I have run into starters that needed the inboard pad on the nose come ground down when shimming revealed that more than 2 were necessary. If you need more than 2 shims consider this as an option. Many times the aluminum nose cone needs to be slightly reshaped to fit a specific block/ring gear combo, and it's not butchery to do this if done right.

Quiet is good, no matter the steps taken to get that way...

Doc

Last edited by DrChop; 08-23-2006 at 06:32 PM. Reason: One more thing...
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buick80Regal
I replaced a starter that i got from napa thirty-eight times in seven months
WOW!
32 starters in 28 weeks ... My God!
You WERE in denial, weren't you?

That NAPA store was obviously mis-managed ... You would have gotten a maximum of about 3 from me when I worked at a NAPA store.

One bad one ... Sure. No problem.
Two bad ones in two weeks? ... Well ... maybe it was a bad batch.
Three in less than 3 weeks??? ... Look buddy, you've got more problems. This is the last one I'm handing over @ N/C. If this one craps out too, I want you to take it to a shop of my choice, and have the shop foreman or owner call me.

Just more proof, unfortunately, that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Dude, you're screwing things up for everybody when you try to pull crap like that.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:51 PM
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Isnt there a difference??

Does Chevy make a standard tooth flywheel?? I was under the impression the chevy has a 132 tooth and 136 tooth flywheel. could it or would it make a difference???
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DV8
Does Chevy make a standard tooth flywheel?? I was under the impression the chevy has a 132 tooth and 136 tooth flywheel. could it or would it make a difference???
I used to work in the auto parts biz and from 15 years ago I still have numbers running through my head.... Chevy made two flexplates. One was 153 tooth (p/glide) and 168 tooth for th350, th400s and I assume for later model o/d transmissions.

I guarantee this to work, 31 Ford A. Use a part number 3510S (staggered bolt pattern) if you have the larger flexplate. Use part number 3664S (straight across bolt pattern) if you have the 153 tooth flexplate. Find a starter that has the small @ .015" - .020" notches where the mounting flange meets the block, like in this pic. Problem solved.

Forgot to mention...This will totally eliminate the need for shims.


Last edited by cruzn65impala; 08-25-2006 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:22 PM
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Never had any luck with shims. If the starter is noisey when installed, I yank it out and go get another. Just my experiences.

Mark
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmark
Never had any luck with shims. If the starter is noisey when installed, I yank it out and go get another. Just my experiences.

Mark
You must look for a starter with the notches my friend. Guaranteed to work.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:05 PM
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Try sticking a 1/8" drill bit or other rod between the top of a flywheel tooth and the starter shaft. If it fits real good, you shouldn't need shims.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:17 PM
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I read in the instruction book that came with a new starter that you can insert a 1/8" allen wrench between the flywheel and the bendix shaft to determine the proper clearance.

I've always been able to manipulate the slop in the starter (pushing towards, or pulling the starter away from the motor) before tightening the bolts to solve clearance problems. Only had to shim one or two starters to make work.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BstMech
I read in the instruction book that came with a new starter that you can insert a 1/8" allen wrench between the flywheel and the bendix shaft to determine the proper clearance.

I've always been able to manipulate the slop in the starter (pushing towards, or pulling the starter away from the motor) before tightening the bolts to solve clearance problems. Only had to shim one or two starters to make work.
I've never had to check for the proper clearance "by the book", or use shims and have never had a problem while using the aforementioned method. I'm tellin' ya guys, get a starter with the notches. Your starter and flexplate will live a long happy life, as well as your sanity.

Flywheels are for stick transmissions.
Flexplates are for automatics.

I'm honestly not tryin' to be a smart-arse, just trying to help out those that don't know, there is a difference.

Last edited by cruzn65impala; 08-25-2006 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruzn65impala
Flywheels are for stick transmissions.
Flexplates are for automatics.

I'm honestly not tryin' to be a smart-arse, just trying to help out those that don't know, there is a difference.
Exactly why I used the term FLYWHEEL .

What is the theory behind the notches that allows them to overcome mass production tolerance variances?
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