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Old 11-13-2006, 10:09 AM
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84' 350 SBC Starter Problems

Ok, I've got an 84' C10 with the origional 350 and trans that I'm restoring. When we first got this truck the starter sounded like crap and would just grind on the flexplate 9 out of 10 times. So eventually we replaced the flexplate by pulling back the trans. Installed a new starter, and it seemed to of worked perfectly. After 3 or 4 starts though, it started grinding again and wouldn't engage on the flexplate. So I loosened the starter bolts a little, tightened them right back up, and it worked! This tells me it wasn't a problem with the flex plate of starter drive, so what else could it have been?

Started the engine a few more times, no problem, but the starter sounded like it was whining and not meshing entirely correctly with the flexplate. After about 6 more starts, it started grinding again. I went out and bought a pack of shims. However, there's a slight problem. With this starter the nose cone covers the starter gear completely so I can't get at it with a screwdriver to check the needed clearance. I slapped a few half shims in on the outter bolt since it sounded like there was too much clearance. Worked great, for a while. For a whole day of tuning the engine, the started worked fine, and even the next morning. It started grinding again that evening though. Same deal, if I loosen the bolts and tighten them back up, it works.

This is really getting old, considering this is a brand new flexplate, and it's already starting to wear spots in it. I would have just had the origional starter rebuilt but the one that was on it when we got the truck wasn't the origional, and wasd the cause of the worn flexplate. Any help would be most appreciated.

Here's what the starter looks like. Note the nose cone has a ver small opening, and the top, where it mounts to the block, it flat and not raised.
http://www.cisoldit4u.com/images/starter2.JPG

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Last edited by Gokussj5okazu; 11-13-2006 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:06 AM
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I slapped a few half shims in on the outter bolt since it sounded like there was too much clearance. Worked great, for a while.


you should put a starter shim accrossed both bolts.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:19 AM
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Since I had battles with starters, let me ask some questions. Are you using the correct starter bolts? the bolts should have a shoulder on them and they should have a knurled section under the shoulder on the bolt itself. Are you using a starter brace? are the grooves in the starter clean with no grease and dirt? the shoulders on the bolts fit into the grooves on the starter to prevent it from moving, that`s why the starter grinds is because it`s moving around, the inner bolt acts as a pivot and the outer bolt gives it just enough movement to make it grind. Here`s what I did to fix it. I cleaned the grooves in the starter, I made sure I was using the correct bolts with no washers on them of any kind, I cleaned the bolts, then installed and snugged them down enough to assure the shoulders were in the grooves, then I used a 1/2 inch drive ratchet and put the whammy on them, tightened them real well, since I`ve not had a problem with any starter at all, and I`ve installed many since I did it that first time. If the groove in the starter is buggered due to the starter moving around then use a flat tip screw driver to remove the metal.
I`ll stress again, make sure the shoulders are in the grooves before you tighten them and tighten them good with a 1/2 drive ratchet. This should take care of your problem. Adding a brace will also help, but if the starter is did the way I just discribed, you really don`t need the brace.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:26 AM
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How are the bolts are they right ones and straight?

I just had a starter bolt snap last week after 30 years use it decided that was enough. Luckily happened in driveway.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:28 AM
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do you have the right starter

theres two different starters for these 350s is it a straight bolt or off set bolts and what size ring gear on the flex plate
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:51 PM
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Alright, I just got back in from trying a few things. I tried a 1/16th shim across both bolts, and it wouldn't even turn over, just grind. Put a 1/32th on the outter bolt with the full 1/16th and it turned over about 3 times, the 4th time it just just started grinding. So I removed the full one and put a total of 1/8" on the outter bolt. This worked for 6 or so tried then started grinding. My friend looked down at the starter though and discovered that the front end was moving up and down about 1/2", so I assume that is what's causing the grinding.

The bolts are the stock ones and are perfectly straight, I checked that already. They have the shoulders that seat them in the started, and there's no play in the bolt holes, and they have that knurled section. The flexplate is 168 tooth, and it's the offset bolt pattern. I'm going to torque the bolts down real good, holefully that'll work or I'll try getting the front bracket to put on.
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:07 PM
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you might have to

grind the nose cone off to make clearance i had to do this to three starters when i had a 350 off set starter once you grind the tip down it should be better
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:30 PM
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Thanks everyone, I fineally got it, or so it seems. I had to go out and grab a new starter bolt after I discovered the outter one had some flat threads. Luckily the block threads seemed just fine. I left in half a 1/16th shim and torqued the bolts doen to 29ft/lbs, and it sounds great. So far it's started over 10 times perfect, hopefully there'll be no flukes tomorrow. Now on to my next problem.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:16 PM
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truly solved

Your last post says you appear to have solved the problem. I'm having the exact same problem with my SBC.
Wonder if your problem was truly solved by really socking down the starter bolts?
Should it matter which bolt you tighten first?

I'm pulling my hair out with this problem. One little tweak and the starter goes from grinding and missing completely to engaging and getting stuck and will not disengage unless I pull the battery terminal off.....

I've tried used starters, new from the parts store (rebuilt), shims, no shims, I have the front brace on already, nothing seems to work.

Any other ideas out there?
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