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Old 01-11-2009, 07:35 AM
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Early GM starter engagement/noise

Hey guys, I'm hoping you can help. I have a 51 Chevy with a 58 235, the bendix gear on the starter took a dump, and broke four teeth off. I got a remaned starter, and when I put it in it was grinding on the flywheel like it wasnt fully engaging which is what the original starter was doing also. When I took the original strater out it didnt have any shims but it feels like the starter is not fully engagind the flywheel, I checked the clearence on the bendix to housing and its at 3/16ths, and there was no gap on the starter when I took it out indicating lost shims. I'm SOL, Thanks for any help ou guys can give.

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Old 01-11-2009, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimmer
Hey guys, I'm hoping you can help. I have a 51 Chevy with a 58 235, the bendix gear on the starter took a dump, and broke four teeth off. I got a remaned starter, and when I put it in it was grinding on the flywheel like it wasnt fully engaging which is what the original starter was doing also. When I took the original strater out it didnt have any shims but it feels like the starter is not fully engagind the flywheel, I checked the clearence on the bendix to housing and its at 3/16ths, and there was no gap on the starter when I took it out indicating lost shims. I'm SOL, Thanks for any help ou guys can give.
A 1956 is a reach even for me, so how about some info.

Does the starter bolt to the block or to the bellhousing? I suspect I know the answer, but it's important to be sure.

Bendix drive, here's a place of more modern day confusion about starters than is imaginable. There are two common starter engagement mechanisms, the Kettering originally used by GM and the Bendix used by everybody at one time or another.

The Kettering drive uses a solenoid on the starter that drives the starter's pinion into the teeth of the ring gear. There are a few variations of this to provide, or not, an overrun clutching that disengages the pinion once the ring gear exceeds the speed the starter is tuning at. This is most common to GM vehicles but some GM's used a true Bendix. The Kettering system was adapted by most if not all manufacturers in the 1970s and 80s, some times with strange variations.

The Bendix system does not use a solenoid on the starter motor to engage the pinion and ring gear. There are several versions of this system, but essentially it consists of a helical cut motor shaft with a back loaded spring disengagement system on the far end of that shaft, which is used press the motor pinion to the disengaged position. When the motor is turned on, rotational acceleration forces the pinion down the motor shaft against this spring pressure till it's captured, under load, by the ring gear. When the engine fires and overruns motor speed, the pinion is unloaded and the spring shoots the pinion back into the rest position. These things hung on at Ford probably longer than anywhere else. They occasionally showed up on GM products, I just can't remember when GM phased them out completely, thus my questions.

Bogie
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:38 PM
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:21 PM
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They used 2 different size fly wheels back then.Count the teeth on the fly wheel.Just paint one tooth so you know were you started and count the teeth as you turn the flywheel .You should get 168. the smaller fly wheel uses a different starter Bendix I believe the small flywheel has 154 (it has been a long time since I ran into this problem).
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimmer
Hey guys, I'm hoping you can help. I have a 51 Chevy with a 58 235, the bendix gear on the starter took a dump, and broke four teeth off. I got a remaned starter, and when I put it in it was grinding on the flywheel like it wasnt fully engaging which is what the original starter was doing also. When I took the original strater out it didnt have any shims but it feels like the starter is not fully engagind the flywheel, I checked the clearence on the bendix to housing and its at 3/16ths, and there was no gap on the starter when I took it out indicating lost shims. I'm SOL, Thanks for any help ou guys can give.
Shims would make it worse as it would move the starter further away. You need to start as stated above and count the teeth on the flywheel. If you have a flywheel to starter miss match it will never work properly. If you can take the inspection cover off and can manually engage the starter you should be able to see if this is your issue.

other things to check, are you using starter bolts or just generic bolts. starter bolts are required to assure proper alignment. Also if the starter has a rear brace, it must be installed.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:45 PM
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Starter reply

Hey Bogie, thanks for the info, I was actually referin to it as the starter drive gear but the gray beards at my job kept calling it a bendix, I guess I picked it up from them. Anyway the starter is on the bellhousing, and it has a solenoid, I will check the flywheel in the morning. If that does turn out to be the problem how would I order the new starter? Do I just tell them the # of teeth on the wheel? Or am I better off just changing flywheels? I am reusing the bolts that held the what I beleive to be original starter, and there is no back brace for it. thank you very much for your help guys
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