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Old 06-23-2008, 07:21 PM
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Drilling Hole for Starter

How many of you guys have had to drill the hole for the starter on a 400 chevy block? I have one that I need to drill since I am using a 153 tooth flexplate and a Hitachi mini starter that has the straight bolt pattern. What size hole would I need to drill for a 3/8"-16 tap? I figured I would bolt the starter on with one bolt, line it up and use the starter mounting block as a guide, will it work? Going with a 168 tooth flexplate is not an option for me due to the packaging constraints with headers and no room. Any help and advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:07 PM
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Te tap drill size for a 3/8"-16 tap is a 5/16" drill bit.
Why not just get the right starter that matches the flywheel and block.

tap drill size chart
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:36 PM
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F-Bird88 that's what I was wondering about. He said packaging constraints. He could get a staggered pattern mini starter for 168tooth. The good ones can be clocked in several different angles. They cost a little more but should be easier than drilling for the straight pattern.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:30 AM
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As I said before, I have space issues and using a 168 tooth flexplate is not an option, besides that I already have the Hitachi mini starter, the flexplate, and other parts for this setup that worked fine on my 355 that I took out and my thought is this, "if it's not broke don't fix it" and I really would like to use what worked before. My budget is all but used up and spending upwards of 200.00 is not in the bank at this time. I've been since March trying to tie up the loose ends and this one caught me by surprise. I hope to have this puppy running in the next couple of weeks. I just finished painting the engine compartment and still have to clear it. The block is painted and ready to start assembly but I would like to take care of this first. Thanks for the input and advice which I will keep in mind.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:41 AM
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Is the starter notched to clear the oil pan? If not then you are going to have a heck of a time getting it in there and will end up grinding on it. If it was designed for the 153 tooth started then it should be notched.

The other problem is that you will have real difficultly getting the starter perfectly parallel with the flexplate and if you don't get it just right you will chew up starters and flexplates in a hurry.

The locations of the starter bolt taps are very precise (which is why they are a pain to get in sometimes) you will probably need to make up some sort of Jig and use a dial indicator to get it just right. See if you can exchange that starter for the right one or get a cheapie off ebay. Either way you will come out ahead.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:50 AM
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The starter is notched to clear the pan so that is not an issue. I haven't seen or heard of anyone selling a mini starter that has the offset bolt holes for 153 tooth flexplate and that is the problem. I have the parts from previous 355 and it is all good and as I said room is at a premium for me with headers. This was the first combo that didn't suffer from heat soak and other issues I used to deal with and I really would like to use what I have since my budget has about had it for this year. Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:02 PM
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http://musclecarsusa.com/shop/engine...riyvybyky.html

That took me 7 seconds to find. I understand that you have the stuff already but I am telling you right now. Unless you drill the hole PERFECTLY like within thousandths of an inch you are going to break the starter and chew up the flexplate and end up buying a new one anyways.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:25 PM
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Well I am doing the search over at E-Bay for a different starter and flexplate. I found one with the staggered mount and is new, not rebuilt, mini style weighing in at 7.5 lbs for 54.95 which is pretty reasonable given the fact that I paid more than 100.00 for my starter nearly 5-6 years ago. I also found a flexplate that is 168 tooth external balanced for my 400 for only 33.95 and that is cheap as well. I just hope I can get enough room with headers and all, but i will probably try it and if it doesn't work I will just resell the items
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:29 PM
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I went and looked at that starter you gave the link for and that just peaked my interest, thanks for that link. Also, thanks for working with me on this. The last thing I need is to screw this up, my wife would have my head if I do. Now I just need to decide if I want to try the other with the 168 or go with the other and spend a little more money. Again thanks.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:59 PM
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That brings up another question. Do you have the balance card for your motor? If you purchase or install a different flexplate than what was balanced with your motor then you will need to have it balanced to match your old flexplate or to what the spec is on the balance card. If it was an internally balanced motor like a 350 then you could put any internally or "0" balanced flexplate on there.

But any externally balanced flexplate will need to be matched to your rotating assembly.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:21 PM
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Did they make a smaller flex for the externaly balanced engines???
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:32 PM
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Yes they do but, it is for a 1 piece rear seal motor. The motor is still externally balanced, but what I was planning on using is a balance plate that bolts in front of the flexplate. It is used in place of an externally balanced flexplate with a neutrally balanced flexplate on the 383 or 400 that is still externally balanced. This allows you to use the smaller 153 tooth unit and does work and they are made for both flexplates and flywheel for manual trans. I just got a message back from the Musclecarsusa.com website about the starter you gave me the link to and they said it is on back order and they don't know when they will start production and release of it, which takes me back to maybe getting the 168 and different starter that I found on E-bay and seeing if it will work for me.
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:54 AM
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One more question . Is there a different weight for the smaller flex?
Cause I believe the farther you have a weight from the crank the faster it has to spin to rotate one revoluton of a shorter distance.
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:35 AM
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Bolt on Balance Plates, For 350 Flywheel with 400 Crank

Bolt on Balance Plates, For 350 Flywheel with 400 Crank

http://www.competitionproducts.com/p....asp?dept=1476
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Old 06-25-2008, 04:11 PM
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The bolt on plates have to balanced to your assembly. Matching a new flywheel and plate to your previously balanced one is not a problem for engine balance shop. I believe there is a stater with the staggered bolt pattern for the small flywheel available from Powermaster. I have drilled quite a few 400 blocks and made a fixture off a dual drilled block that bolts to the staggered pattern and locates the outer hole. The only 400 blocks I have used lately are Bowtie not the hole is already there.
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