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Starter problems, please help.....

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Col_Sanders, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Col_Sanders

    Col_Sanders 3/4 ton status

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    All right, this sounds stupid asking for help with a starter right....2 bolts, 3 wires, 2 nuts, but dont call me an idiot yet. A little history on the truck: had a 350 built for me with flat top pistons and had a mild cam and a little head work done. Nothing major but wanted a little more power than the old 200k mile 350 could give me. Had my friend install the motor cuz the truck was in TX and I am in VA. Finally he finishes it and tells me he had a hell of a time with it and it took him a long time to get the starter shimmed right and everything else was just fighting him the whole way. Anyway, drive it up to VA from TX and it still doesnt have enough power for me so I buy Edelbrock cam, heads, intake, and headers for it. Stick it all on and once again the old Blazer fought the whole time. Even though Summit said it would all fit together and they had everything in stock, of course they didnt and it ended up taking a LONG time more than expected. Finally after working on it in my apartment parking lot for a couple months we got it all back together. While trying to fire it up (timing was way off) my old starter died.

    I went up to Advanced and bought a refurb and slapped it on and tried cranking it over and it was grinding like crazy. Ended up going back to Advanced and buying some shims, shimmed it every way imaginable and still got grinding. Went back, got my $$ back and went up to NAPA. Bought a starter from them and it does the same thing. Tried shimming every way and still grinds. Thinking I have horrible luck and they gave me the wrong starter, I went back up there and got a different one. Same problem. I can see the flywheel, no teeth missing and it doesnt look too bad but the teeth are a little shiny. I dont want to replace the flywheel yet if I dont have to. I have asked all the mechanics I know and this has them all stumped too. I dont want to let anyone else work on it but I am really at the end of my patience with this and dont feel like messing with it anymore. So does anyone have any suggestions on what the hell the problem is?
     
  2. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    Really sounds like you have the wrong flywheel/flexplate.
     
  3. Col_Sanders

    Col_Sanders 3/4 ton status

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    I never changed it.....
     
  4. George_Pimpdaddy

    George_Pimpdaddy 1/2 ton status

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    never knew that the 350s took shimms for the starters i was always told if it didnt have one then it dosnet need one all of my chevy starters were always without shims.
     
  5. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    What about the guy who built/installed the engine for you?
     
  6. Col_Sanders

    Col_Sanders 3/4 ton status

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    I dont see how he could have. Not saying it isnt possible but why would it work and then not?

    Any easy way to tell or do I just need to bite the bullet and pull the motor?
     
  7. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    The only thing I can think of is to rotate the engine by hand and count the teeth.
     
  8. Col_Sanders

    Col_Sanders 3/4 ton status

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    He swears it is the right flywheel. He said he put it in the back of the truck until time to put it on the new motor and then put it back on the truck and torqued it down to specs. This sucks.
     
  9. fatbob

    fatbob 1/2 ton status

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    How are you putting the shims in? If I remember correctly, you do NOT always shim under both bolts. Try shiming under just one bolt, then try it on the other one, until you find a technique that works.
     
  10. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    shim tech..

    GM starters only need shimming if the starter does not mesh properly with the ring gear with NO shims!..adding shims under both bolts moves the starter farther away from the flexplate,and will only worsen any problems caused by excessive clearance..adding them to the outermost bolt farthest from the flexplate will bring the starter drive gear closer to the flex plate..

    I've had a few motors with "fussy" starters,they had to be perfectly meshed with the flexplate,or I'd get grinding,and skipping of the teeth..one truck I had to FILE DOWN the nose of the starter about 1/8",and then add two thin shims,as it was a bit TOO tight..it never gave me any trouble after that..

    With the onslaught of cheap rebuilt starters,many times the rebuilders goof and put the wrong nosecone on a chevy starter!..buick,olds,and pontiac starters noses will bolt up,but are different distance from the block than a chevy--I discovered one I got returned at the parts store had a CADDILAC starter drive in it,that had a different number of teeth than a chevy starter drive!..no wonder the guy was ripping his hair out!..:p:

    If any of my trucks need a starter,and it was working good as far as meshing with the flex plate,I KEEP the nose off the old starter,and swap in onto the new or rebuilt one,then put the one that came with the "new" starter on my old core...or I put brushes and bushings in my old one,if the windings were ok..

    A good way to measure clearence between the teeth of the flexplate and drive gear is to use a 1/8" allen wrench between the shaft the starter drive rides on (the aramature),and the outside of the teeth on the flexplate--the clearence is correct when it just fits...much easier than the old way of using the feeler gauges..:crazy:
     
  11. Col_Sanders

    Col_Sanders 3/4 ton status

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    Diesel, thank you for that. It is much easier to get a 1/8th allen than try to get the drive gear to pop out using a small flathead in that little hole and then use a feeler guage and try to keep the drive gear out. I will try again tomorrow if I can but will probably end up buying a GOOD high torque starter from the local performance shop instead of using that crap I bought at NAPA.

    I have tried shimming under just the outside bolt too. I hope this works so I dont have too bust out the sledge...
     
  12. 70jimmy

    70jimmy 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I have had fits with chevy starters and the only way I found to get it right was to file down the mounting surface on the starter housing and use the 1/8 allen like was talked about. I was killing a starter anywhere from 1 to 3 months for about 2 years before I finally got it resolved.
     

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