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Discussion Starter #1
Hey ive been battling a weird starter issue and not sure where to go now...Its a 1980 454 motor in a 59 chevy truck. Im using a high torque mini starter part number 25001 from autozone. Its got the shims installed between the motor and mount (came that way).

My issue is most of the time when I turn the key I get one click, when that happens I can see the starter kick out and hit the flexplate but the gears dont line up together, if I get under there and turn the starter gear with my hand just a tiny bit and try to start it the gear will kit out and line up with the teeth perfectly and start the motor...it may start good a few times and then just that single click where the gear hits the flexplate but doesnt line the teeth up together.

Ive tried shimming both bolts to bring the whole starter down, same thing. Tried shimming the outer bolt to bring it closer to the flywheel, same thing. When the gears line up I have the proper 1/8" gap between the starter gear and flexplate so not sure what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I removed all the shims and its the same thing, each tooth does have a good bevel on it. Im thinking maybe theres not enough space between the starter gear and the flexplate since the starter gear has to push out so far before it begins to turn...maybe the flexplate was mounted backwards by the builder and I didnt notice it? Are the weights on the flexplate supposed to be on the starter side or the torque converter side...I was thinking if the flexplate was flipped around it may sit a couple millimeters farther from the starter gear
 

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I removed all the shims and its the same thing, each tooth does have a good bevel on it. Im thinking maybe theres not enough space between the starter gear and the flexplate since the starter gear has to push out so far before it begins to turn...maybe the flexplate was mounted backwards by the builder and I didnt notice it? Are the weights on the flexplate supposed to be on the starter side or the torque converter side...I was thinking if the flexplate was flipped around it may sit a couple millimeters farther from the starter gear

Chevy 454 flexplates have the weight on the engine side. Also a flange around the center hole that pretty much prevents backward install.. Tho I have seen it done:spank:.. Then the starter housing won't clear the ring gear and suffers from massive run out..:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
its just a high torque mini starter so no nose on the front, basically a hitachi motor mounted to an aluminum block (straight pattern). Autozone part number 25001.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Yep, exchanged it for one, same thing. Replaced the battery, terminals, positive and negative cables, and added an engine ground just to be sure. I called that 800 number they give you for tech support when you buy starters and the guy there knew a lot about these and basically said he cant think of anything that I havent already checked except that theres possibly not enough space between that starter gear and the flexplate and to add a second shim between the starter motor and starter block...I did that and it seems a tiny bit better but still doing it a lot.

When the starter gear is all the way back in the starter its only about 3 millimeters away from the flexplate, maybe just to test I should shim out the starter motor with 3 or 4 shims just to see what happens? The shims I'm talking about arent the long straight shims between the starter and the motor, its the shims you install when you separate the mounting block from the starter motor Summit part number TIL-54-952

The tech guy at that 800 number said on this starter if the gear doesnt kick out far enough before hitting the flexplate the starter gear wont begin to turn.
 

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let me come at this sideways.. i have seen several issues..

and i know you want this to work...

this is just few things to check ..

please spend the few minutes and unbolt the torque converter from the flexplate.. i am taking this is an automatic installation. please make sure that the torque converter is free to slide forward against the flex plate and back into the transmission pump.. without any resistance.. this is the converter pilot hub being able to slide freely in and out of the back of the crank..

sometimes paint gets too thick on the converter hub.. sometimes rust in the pilot hole in the back of the crank.. once in a great while.. a manual transmission pilot bushing or bearing will be left in the back of the crank.. and prevent the converter from sliding forward to allow a ZERO clearance..

what.. if the flex plate has to bend backwards to meet the converter mounting bosses.. you will be pulling the ring gear away from the starter teeth in the extended position..

you said its a LONG way from the starter teeth.. yes. this is going to take 20 or 30 minutes to get in there. i would love to ask somebody with a small or big block chevy on a stand.. to measure from the back of the block face to the front of the flywheel..

i don't imagine that the flex plate might have been installed backwards.. as the ring gear is welded on in an offset position. i have run into questionable quality flex plates on other motors that had massive gaps between the inside of the ring gear and the outside of the flex plate. this was on a ford application.. it would be hard to do on a chevy.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


on the electrical side..

the starter solenoids coils are NOT connected directly to ground..

they are connected to the stud that feeds the starter motor...

why.. because when the key is turned. the solenoid winding pulls a lot of amps.. with it connected thru the starter motor.. field winding and armature windings.. you get a decent amount of resistance to allow the plunger to be PULLED in slamming into the button pushing the disc across the contacts and sending power to the lower contact into the motor..

the voltage drop while the starter is being powered reduces the amp draw to the solenoid allowing it to NOT burn out..

so there is a PULL IN current when the starter is not powered..

and there is a HOLD IN current when the starter is powered

if you don't have a BEEFY enough S circuit you won't have enough amps to really SLAM the solenoid in to jam the bendix gear into the NOT moving ring gear teeth..

what.. see if the starter engages better when you use a remote starter button with some decent thick wires.

i have installed many 1970 dodge dart starter relays. usually about a foot from the GM starter. installed as a load dropping relay to remove the Solenoid pull in current load from the ignition switch.. this makes cars and trucks with solenoid starters engage the starter crazy fast.. it also allows more current for the ignition circuit. i can describe this

from the starter top terminal.. to the relay threaded stud a 10 gauge wire
from the starter S terminal to the machine screw held down clamp on the relay..

the old Solenoid wire removed from the starter. extended and with a 1/4" female quick connect to either of the push on studs..

the other push on stud on the relay gets a 1/4" female push on with a 16 gauge wire and a ring terminal to supply ground to the dodge relay coil windings..

this shortens the solenoid pull in path to about 24 inches depending on how close you have installed it.. verses many feet long..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for that last post, a lot of good info there...the teeth on the starter arent too far away from the flexplate though, the tech guy on the phone was thinking they were too close. He said I should have somewhere between 4-8mm (8mm being absolute max) distance between the starter gear and the flexplate, right now its approx 3mm. That being said do you recommend I still check the torque coverter issues you mentioned?

As far as the wiring I have an ez wiring harness installed so its got a fat power wire from the battery to the starter motor and the s terminal goes through the harness to the ignition switch if I remember right
 

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all starter mounted solenoids in automotive starters.. i am NOT sure about heavy truck starter but i suspect they are.. wired to the lower stud..

i had a honda PMGR starter apart today.. i was looking for the starter failing to disengage issue. i went to test the solenoid and had the connection to the brushes disconnected. nothing.. and i went DOH..

perform the starter engagement test using a remote starter switch ..

you may also just for kicks.. take a pair of jumper cables.. hook both red and black to the engine block or a good grounded bracket on the engine.. . hook both the other ends to the NEGATIVE battery.. see if it engages and cranks better.. why.. electrons travel from Negative to Positive.. if you don't have a good enough ground connection between the block and the negative battery post you won't have enough electrons available to make your starter KICK in as fast as it should..

if you can get the engine started... print this and perform it step by step.

http://i.imgur.com/WMDprhm.jpg

you can also perform test 2 while cranking.. i would like to see less than 1 volt.. but it all depends on your battery cable sizes.

you can perform a positive battery post to the starter solenoid top post threads... not the cable.. or create a ring terminal on one end of a wire and usually a female bullet connector on the other and install that on the top post.. this allows you to extend the sometimes almost impossible to reach starter top post ... this allows you to perform a voltage drop test on the impossible..

guess what.. if your alternator is wired to the starter.. perform test 6 while cranking and post what you get. that takes a 15 or 20 minute project to perform the starter voltage drop test while cranking to seconds..

i can usually perform the first 4 tests in under a minute.. since your truck does not have an underhood fuse box.. you may NOT be able to perform test 5.

find a late model car or two to perform the voltage drop test on first.. so you know what you should be seeing.


EDIT... you may want to perform a voltage drop test to the solenoid wire...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here you go... my fuse panel is under the dash so I hooked up a jumper cable to the battery and ran that into the cab and attached one test lead to the other end of the jumper cable.

engine off 12.79 post to post

1. 14.16
2. .01
3. .01-.03
4. 0.0-0.01
5. 0.09-0.24
6. 0.7-0.9 mostly 0.7

Number 5 I tested every single fuse on the fuse panel.

I also did the #5 test to the ignition wire going to the s solenoid but theres a spot under the dash where i can test it before it goes to the switch, got 13.79 there with the motor running.

When I first went to start it all I got was that one solid click (not a weak click), I jacked it up, turned the starter gear with my finger probably 1/16" and it fired up like a brand new car, good cranking speed and sounded perfect. It will continue to start like that a few times and then just that one solid click again when the teeth dont mesh
 

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Here you go... my fuse panel is under the dash so I hooked up a jumper cable to the battery and ran that into the cab and attached one test lead to the other end of the jumper cable.

engine off 12.79 post to post

1. 14.16
2. .01
3. .01-.03
4. 0.0-0.01
5. 0.09-0.24
6. 0.7-0.9 mostly 0.7

Number 5 I tested every single fuse on the fuse panel.

I also did the #5 test to the ignition wire going to the s solenoid but theres a spot under the dash where i can test it before it goes to the switch, got 13.79 there with the motor running.

When I first went to start it all I got was that one solid click (not a weak click), I jacked it up, turned the starter gear with my finger probably 1/16" and it fired up like a brand new car, good cranking speed and sounded perfect. It will continue to start like that a few times and then just that one solid click again when the teeth dont mesh


testing the wiring to the starter solenoid is done while cranking.. its really hard to see it.. you may have to disable the ignition system..

i wonder if the 0.24 volt was to a single fuse that fed the lamps for the instrument cluster..

what happens when you test directly at the starter with a remote starter button test set... or build your own.. out of one of these.. http://www.autozone.com/1/products/75868-starter-switch-dorman-85984.html

or http://www.autozone.com/electrical-and-lighting/starter-switch/dorman-starter-switch/600809_0_0/

this is just a pair of test clips to test the starter battery cable wiring. this is what you will be building if you don't have one..

12 Volt Remote Starter Switch

you need to see if the wiring to the starter from the positive and negative battery are causing the failure to engage issue.. you may have to go back and REREAD my previous post.. i edited a little after i posted the first time..

the other numbers look good..
 

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i am NOT talking about you bypassing your existing harness.. i am asking for you to test the STARTER WHILE its installed to see if its the big cables .. or not..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So you just want me to hook up one lead to the large terminal on the solenoid and the other lead to the smaller terminal on the solenoid and press it a bunch of times to see if I still have that teeth mesh issue?
 

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absolutely... if the starter works great remotely with the hand held push button..


... then its got to do with the wiring TO or FROM the ignition switch.


i have been at this professionally for 35 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ok thanks...I built my own just now and tried it 8 or 9 times and it worked every time but I'm making a TON of noise so i dont want to turn my neighbors into enemies :) Ill try it a bunch more tomorrow and give you an update...thanks a million for everything so far
 

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short cheap short cut..

http://www.autozone.com/electrical-.../dart/1970/8-cylinders-g-5-2l-2bl/114124_0_0/

reduces load on the ignition switch while cranking to about 3 amps to make the starter engage..

instructions above..


the drawing is different than the solenoid i usually use.. but how it works is very similar. its just a newer model.

a 10 gauge wire from the top post on the starter to the relay threaded stud. "battery terminal"

a 10 gauge wire from the RELAY "starter solenoid terminal" to the S terminal on the starter Solenoid S terminal..

the Old wire onto the starter S terminal now is extended to the RELAY "ignition terminal"

see where it says fuel pump.. that is not on the earlier solenoid. that would be the same as the R terminal on the GM starter or the I terminal on a ford starter relay..


guess what.. this can be a temporary install while you are doing other stuff to the wiring. or you can spend some time and make it part of your system.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
so if the wiring is deemed the issue considering I have an ez wiring harness already wired up and wires in good condition meaning no dry cracked insulation, is there an actual issue with the way its wired or is the fuse panel no capable of handling this starter? Im wondering if theres an issue in the S wire I need to track down or if the whole wiring harness is not capable of handling this starter the way its set up. If its not capable I can see running that solenoid setup, if its just a problem with a wire connection somewhere it would probably be better to repair that.

If its a bad wire there should either be high resistance somewhere in the S wire or its dropping the voltage somewhere in that wire while cranking correct?

I can check the resistance easy enough down the length of the wire but if theres no excessive resistance in the S wire what would you recommend next? For the resistance I'm assuming I should check the resistance at the S wire terminal near the starter up to the ignition switch where it begins and work my way down.
 
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