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  • starter problem

    spent hours on r/r starter on my 64 bird. come to find out the 390 motor is a 69 truck fe motor the starter I took out was bad, so bought a rebuild from local auto shop. bought starter for a390 ford truck. seems starter nose cone is to long, even after using 2 shims, no room for a third, Bendix gear is tight aginst the flywheel-flex plate locking up the motor I guess I should had measured both old and new, although they looked the same.to late to compare them now as the old one is sent for rebuild. my question is: WHAT DO I DO NOW,AUTO SHOP SAYS THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN STARTERS. ALTHOUGH 64 STARTER HAD A OPEN BENDIX DRIVE. anyone have any ideas? thanks for letting me vent, larry

  • #2
    If they kept the original flexplate from your '64 390 then you need the early style starter. If the flexplate is from the '69 390 then you need the later style starter. They can't be interchanged. If one style doesn't fit then it has to be the other style. There was only two different types of starters used back then.

    John
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223
    jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

    http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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    • #3
      starter problem

      thanks, john for your reply. not sure what previous owner did but how does one tell what trans or flexplate-flywheel is correct ?the starter I tried to put in,the nose cone was to long. so I thought it needed shims although old starter did not have shims. the new starter with 2 shims (no room for more) the Bendix gear is tight aginst the flywheel locking up the engine and also not letting Bendix gear to slide forward as it is aginst flywheel. the old starter and new one looked the same. both had the Bendix fork on top of the starter under a brass color cover, not like a 64 starter that has an open end and the Bendix drive in the open with no nose cone. thanks larry.

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      • #4
        Larry,

        What type of starter did you remove. The old style starter that originally came on your '64 is on the left. The other is the new style starter that would've come on your '69 motor.

        John
        Attached Files
        John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

        Thunderbird Registry #36223
        jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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        • #5
          John is telling it straight. Starters and flex plates need to match. The older starters were different and their flex plates were different diameter. Just because you can get bolts in, does not mean it's the right starter motor.

          If your 'bad' starter had a solenoid to pull-in the Bendix gear fork, then that's what you need. 390 engines came out in '61 but they take a different starter motor than a'63 or a '65 390 truck. You have already noticed that the nose is too long on the older starter motors.

          BTW, the newer starter motors cost considerably less money. - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Larry Tappen View Post
            I thought it needed shims although old starter did not have shims. the new starter with 2 shims (no room for more).
            No shims were used by Ford in the original assembly, and none should be required, unless, we are practicing the "two wrongs attempting a right".

            In order to establish which intended application starter is appropriate for the flexplate, one could count the number of teeth present. If I recall correctly, the earlier (1958-64 +/- 352s') Bendix drive units are paired to the 153 tooth flexplates, and the later (1965 & up) utilized the 184 tooth flexplates.

            Also, be aware that there have been conversion starter drives available for the later style "short" starter motors allowing their use with the earlier flexplates.

            BTW., is the block/trans separator plate present (and proper), as they seem to often be omitted in engine swaps?

            Scott.

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            • #7
              starter problem

              john, the starter I took out looks like the one on the right ( inclosed Bendix) seems if I removed one identical to the one pictured on the right and replaced it with one of the same it should work but nooooo. any one know where the casting numbers are on the trans? maybe I could call ford dealer to find out what starter it suppose to be. as far as flexplate do you count all the teeth, I've never heard this before. this starter issue has been going on for 2 weeks now, and all help is welcomed, thanks, larry

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              • #8
                The trans has nothing to do with it. Whoever swapped the engine could've used either flexplate. Counting the teeth is the only sure way to know which one you have. There's a replacement gear that you can buy that will enable the new style starter to work on the old flexplate. That may have been done on your old starter. If a brand new starter doesn't fit then that's my guess as to what happened. Without having your old starter there's no way to know. You can take a chance and buy the gear but that's an expensive if. As was mentioned you need to count the teeth on your flexplate and stop the guessing.

                John
                John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                Thunderbird Registry #36223
                jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

                http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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