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  #1  
Old 05-22-2013, 10:44 PM
relpats_eht relpats_eht is offline
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Default Starter spins, but the engine won't crank

Hello,

I've been working on restoring my 59 for about a month or so now. It was starting fine (with a bit of a press on the gas) up until two days ago. I hadn't started it up for a week and now it just won't crank. The first few times I tried to start it, it almost turned over, but now, no matter what I try I only get the whine of the starter.

According to the shop manual, the problem is a worn or dirty starter. Has anyone here had a similar experience? Is there any other possible problem? Could it just be low battery voltage (I just found out my voltmeter is broken, so I can't test it at the moment)?

If I do have to clean or replace the starter, are there any hints for the removal? The starter is original, so a replacement probably wouldn't be a bad idea at this point, rather than cleaning the old one up. Could anyone show me where I could get the part?

Thank you,
Andrew
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2013, 10:56 PM
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Try a good battery first BEFORE ripping things apart.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:48 AM
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I agree. Prove your parts to be bad before replacing them, and be sure your electrical connections are solid and clean.

Having said that, if your starter motor is original, a little preventive maintenance will save you about $100 down the road. Most folks wait until catastrophic failure which always happens on Sunday (when stores are closed) and far away from your tools. This makes NO sense to me because brushes are about eight bucks and you can change them.

There is an inspection plate covering the brushes, held on by one screw. To remove your starter, turn the steering wheel so the tie rods are clear of the starter motor. It's still a tight fit.

CLICK HERE to see your starter motor PM'd. All the parts are available at many vendors. - Dave
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  #4  
Old 05-23-2013, 09:14 AM
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Usually, if a starter motor spins freely and there is no ring gear engagement (high RPM spin) or partial engagement, either the starter drive is defective and/or the flywheel ring gear is damaged.

On present day starter motor remans (of this style), the starter drive is not supplied but must be purchased separately.

While out, replace brushes/bushings as suggested and perform a voltage drop test (for starter drag- excess current draw) when reinstalled.

It used to be most box stores could perform a drag test on the bench.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relpats_eht View Post
...According to the shop manual, the problem is a worn or dirty starter. Has anyone here had a similar experience?...
This is true because it is an Inertia Starter Motor. That means there is no solenoid or fork to engage the Bendix gear. If the gear is extremely dirty, the abrasive resistance can trump inertia and hold back engagement. This is a very common failure.

The very last picture (on page 4 of my site) shows the affected area to clean. - Dave
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:19 PM
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I have the 352 and just removed the starter on mine. Dave is right on about removing it. Turn the wheels to the left and you will be able to get it out by dropping it down and turning it 90 degrees. It is a tight fit and HEAVY - even worse re-installing it.

Dave/John - isn't the bendix held on by a split pin or cotter pin that could have come loose and let the bendix spin free?

If that is the case you may be able to remove your inspection plate and find the bendix behind the flywheel. That would be a real puzzle to fish it out. You can also check your ring gear teeth from the inspection plate.

Hopefully it's just dirty and a good cleaning will take care of the problem. The MG's I restore use the same principle and 99% of the time the bendix is gummed up or the shaft is rusty.

Eric

352 w/ inspection plate removed.



Ford inertia starter
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKheld View Post
...Dave/John - isn't the bendix held on by a split pin or cotter pin that could have come loose and let the bendix spin free?..
Eric, this pin is serious business as it delivers ALL the torque from the Starter Motor to the flywheel...


It's held captive by that big spring:
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKheld View Post

Eric

352 w/ inspection plate removed.


You need to replace that torque-convertor nut ;-)

(And my garage floor looks a bit like that under my T-bird too)
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:15 PM
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Alright Tom, enough detective work. I know Eric had just replaced his engine. This picture could be part of that swap. If it is, the floor looks fantastic! - Dave
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:52 PM
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Heh heh - yup Dave - that pic was part of the engine swap photos but was just what I had handy.

Thanks for keeping an eye out Tom - any time you guys see me messing up give a shout - I don't mind at all - in fact it's like having a friend here keeping an eye out for you but you're miles away!!

The floor would have been worse if I hadn't burned and thrown 3 quarts of oil in the 20 mile trip over to my brother-in-laws garage where I worked on it. Seriously - left with a full oil pan and only drained about 1 1/2 quarts in the drain pan.

Great pic on the starter bendix Dave - the MG bendix has a screw on tip on the armature that is held in place by a cotter pin. Already have the starter on the Tbird back in so just couldn't remember.

Eric
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