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Old 04-27-2007, 08:22 AM
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Starter problems...

SBC 350, automatic transmission (TH350)
has anyone ever heard of the brand "Ultima" This is a starter that i purchased from O'Riely's...the last one i had, worked great until i finally took my beast out on the freeway, when i went to start it again, it started grinding....i tried adding and removing shims, but i figured that my headers burned up my solenoid, so i went back and got a new one...LIFETIME WARRANTY!!!! Anyways, when i first put the new one on, no problem....AFTER i reassembled everything, it did it again...finally i had a chance to look at it last night and after doing some research, i need to know if i've got a 153 or 168-tooth flywheel...someone told me to quit BS'ing around and to get an AC Delco...any suggestions? What about a Powermaster? Is this just a cheapo starter issue...last time this happened, i just took the NEW one back and got another NEW one and never had the problem again....Now it just spins really fast, or grinds and i'm thinking that the solenoid is not making it all the way...i've had up to 6 shims...but still no luck


Last edited by hollywood2k; 04-27-2007 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:40 AM

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From personal experience and from following this board for about 4 years, SBC Chevy starter problems continue to grow. There are a few reasons for this, in my opinion. First, the drop in compression and no lead fuels have driven the bean counters and engineers to reduce the quality of starters. They just do not need the torque to spin the motors up. Couple with this EFI and starter weakness seldom appears in the newer autos. Now we street rodders tend to raise our compression, play with the timing, mix and match parts (they are direct bolt ons, you know) and the newer starters just can't deliver the way the older ones did. Now throw in the junk that is built over seas with little if any quality control and specs that are delivered by a contract writing specialist and we get junk that just does not work. After fighting the same problems you have described (mine were with Autozone life time warranty junk), I learned a couple of things. First, the bolts that come with the new starters are junk and would bend under load from a 10.2 to 1 compression motor. Second, the starter frame that bolted to the block was about .040 too much to allow the gear to engage the fly wheel. I was only able to mill off .025 or so because of our tooling capability in the shop which helped, but still would not engage sufficiently.(no amount of shimming would ever solve this problem:only make it worse) My cure to this problem was overkill: I ordered a Power Master starter rated to 16 to 1 compression and had a bolt pattern that let me use the 3 bolt holes in my 4 bolt main block. They also sent the three US made Grade 5 bolts that would handle the increased torque requirements. No more problems!!!

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Old 04-27-2007, 10:11 AM
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I think trees may have a point, Mine does what you describe.. but only intermittenly, which is when someone is near the car (like a parking lot..etc. but never when iim alone). Anyways, I don't have a good answer but I have cooked one cheapo start (same grinding prob then finally nothing) and am on my second. I think the next I will do something over kill like trees described

Sorry i could help more, but your not alone
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:21 PM
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i need to know if i've got a 153 or 168-tooth flywheel
If you're using a Starter with the Straight Across Bolt Pattern,......
You have a 153 tooth, 12" flex plate.......

If you're using a Starter with the Staggered Bolt Pattern,.......
You have a 168 tooth, 14" flex plate......

You Can't bolt on the Wrong starter,..... It won't work At All.......
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:45 PM
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I`ll pass on what I learned after cooking up 8 starters.
1. Add grounds, from the battery to the block, from the block to the frame.
two gauge wire perferred, add another from the frame to the firewall, 10 gauge wire.
2. Make sure you are using the correct bolts, the correct bolts will have a shouldered head and a knurled section just below it, they cannot have any kind of washer on them, make sure they are spotlessly clean on the underhead side of the shoulder.
3. The starter will have 2 machined pads where the bolts go, you must make sure the bolts shoulder fit into these pads, this helps to assure the starter doesn`t move, if it`s a used starter, make sure the pads are clean.
4. This should be common, but I don`t know why it`s not. There is no torque spec for starters, but I learned, do not tighten them with a standard 3/8`s ratchet with a short arm, get out the 1/2 drive ratchet, Tighten them good, to at least 45 to 50 ft lbs.
5. If you can locate the starter brace that goes on the front of the starter and mounts to the block, by all means use it.
6. Make sure the mounting pad on the block is also spotlessly clean, and clean the bolt holes out with carb cleaner.
This is what I did to the 8th starter from Advance auto parts cheap starters with a lifetime warrenty, this one is still in use after several years and all I`ve did to it thus far is change the solenoid to a borg warner unit when the stocker went out. When they grind it`s because the starter is moving and placing the unit in a bind so needless to say they don`t last long.
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