El Camino Central Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Before I give all the details, let me say that I've read as many threads as I could possibly find, even not related to chevys. I've tried lot's of mentioned suggestions with no fix.
This has been an ongoing issue for me for 2 years, and now I'm at the point where I need outside help because I feel as though I have done/tried everything that I can by myself.


So lets start from the beginning... A general timeline...


About 3 years ago, when there was a Powerglide connected to my GM Goodwrench 350 crate engine, I installing a Powermaster 9100 mini starter after my original style starter failed. It worked great with my flexplate.


A year later I converted to a 4-speed, which means I had to install a flywheel. The flywheel I ordered is a RAM 1511 which is 153 tooth and compatible with my Powermaster 9100 starter.

As soon as the car was back on the road after the conversion, the start would grind very occasionally. Under any circumstance. Cold, hot, nothing changed it. I tried to numerous times re-shim and align it, new battery cable, but it didn't help.


Let me be clear that the grinding that's happening is the front face of the starter drive grinding against the back of the flywheel, never being able to mesh.


As time went on you can imagine it grew worse and worse, as the flywheel teeth became more and more damaged. I just ignored it for a while because the ring gear was already damaged, so I thought whatever...dangerous word...


Well another year goes by and I try to tackle the problem again. At this point over 50% of my starting attempts are grinds. Absolutely embarrassing! I tried new mini starters, different brands, excessive shimming, knurled bolts, nothing helped. I abandoned it again and made plans for a new ring gear.


Fast forward to today, I just did a bunch of work on the car, which included a new ring gear on my flywheel, and a VERY VERY meticulous flywheel & starter installation. SO meticulous... Set depth of engagement, gap, etc to Powermasters 9100 instruction sheet.

Before I piled the rest of the drivetrain back in the car, I started it with just the flywheel installed about 20 times. Sounded perfect. Meshed perfect.

When I installed the transmission, the 10th start was a grind....
Now I'm back to square one where very occasionally it'll grind. GREAT. We all know where that road leads!



So here I am...

Does anyone see anything I could have missed or have any suggestions?

Anything at all would be very appreciated!

Thank you!




Additional notes:
-I made sure the new ring gear was fully seated when installing it on the flywheel.
-During assembly of the flywheel and starter I made sure any mating surfaces were stoned flat and clean!
-I torque everything to spec.
-I now have long tube headers installed so OG starter isn't an option.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
637 Posts
Are you certain that your flywheel is not ever-so-slightly out of round? Or that it isn’t bored slightly off center? I’d be inclined to mount up a dial indicator to the perimeter and measure it in several spots. The starter never ground with the flex plate, but does with the flywheel. Seems like the first place to check.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Just a note. I don't know if this applies to today's technogies or not but I remember back when (in the 50's and 60's) when we changed from automatic trans to stick shift, the starter was different. We had to change the starter to a stick shift starter. Seems the snout was longer or shorter, not sure anymore. Been too long to remember.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
343 Posts
I had that problem. Turns out, with current flowing thru the ignition switch, the solenoid wasn't getting enough current to reliably engage the starter gear. Solved it by adding a relay to take the ignition switch out of the current path to the starter solenoid. Also used a large (#10??) wire from the relay to the starter. Never a problem after those changes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
258 Posts
I had that problem. Turns out, with current flowing thru the ignition switch, the solenoid wasn't getting enough current to reliably engage the starter gear. Solved it by adding a relay to take the ignition switch out of the current path to the starter solenoid. Also used a large (#10??) wire from the relay to the starter. Never a problem after those changes.
^
This sounds like a great suggestion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,109 Posts
Intermittent problems can be the most aggravating to solve, rather something be completely broken.
The flywheel out of round theory is a thought, though it would be a rare one.. Before going further there, was the old ring gear chewed up in just one area or all over? if one area, then that sounds possible. Besides a dial gauge, holding a magic marker at running flywheel teeth till it just starts to contact can show high spots.

Not enough current sounds like a strong possibility also, may persue that first.

Now on to correct shimming procedure. Not engaging sounds more like the inner bolt needs shim to rock starter away from gear, but it sounds like you've tried all that & I'd prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt there.
So I'm back at what Jima said. Not enough consistant current could easily cause an issue. Could be down to a worn ignition switch contacts, which adding a relay could overcome. My LS engine setup has a relay, which could keep such a possibility from ever occurring.

Sooo, how's the sound with headers added??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I had that problem. Turns out, with current flowing thru the ignition switch, the solenoid wasn't getting enough current to reliably engage the starter gear. Solved it by adding a relay to take the ignition switch out of the current path to the starter solenoid. Also used a large (#10??) wire from the relay to the starter. Never a problem after those changes.
Awesome. I'm going to look into this this week. Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Intermittent problems can be the most aggravating to solve, rather something be completely broken.
The flywheel out of round theory is a thought, though it would be a rare one.. Before going further there, was the old ring gear chewed up in just one area or all over? if one area, then that sounds possible. Besides a dial gauge, holding a magic marker at running flywheel teeth till it just starts to contact can show high spots.

Not enough current sounds like a strong possibility also, may persue that first.

Now on to correct shimming procedure. Not engaging sounds more like the inner bolt needs shim to rock starter away from gear, but it sounds like you've tried all that & I'd prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt there.
So I'm back at what Jima said. Not enough consistant current could easily cause an issue. Could be down to a worn ignition switch contacts, which adding a relay could overcome. My LS engine setup has a relay, which could keep such a possibility from ever occurring.

Sooo, how's the sound with headers added??

Good thoughts. The ring gear is chewed up all around. In 2 or 3 spots far more than others. I assume those are just the likely places for the rotating assembly to rest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Sooo, how's the sound with headers added??
The header sound freaking great.
Pretty easy to install too. Passenger side dropped in from above with just the dip stick needing to be removed.
The drivers side needed spark plugs 3, 5, & 7 gone, as well as the z bar & oil filter. Mind you I had all the trans stuff out too, I'm sure that helped.
They are just $40 Craiglist hookers that a 69 4speed chevelle owner had, so they were guaranteed to fit.
I redid the system too. H right after the headers, summit 2 chambered mufflers, diagonal side exits right underneath the back of the door.
Sounds way better than my previous set up.
Was all Summit parts and welded it myself with a little buzz box, so it ran a small bill!
Painted it all WHITE too....60's NASCERRRRR STYLE

I'll post some pictures soon...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
343 Posts
Awesome. I'm going to look into this this week. Thank you!

I also had a Powermaster starter. Maybe the solenoid on that starter needs more current than the original.


Gotta compliment you on the info included with your question and your responses to suggestions. Good posting!! :goodjob:
 

·
Senior Member Participating Member
Joined
·
798 Posts
Yes Bambino, Very concise description of your predicament. How's your Dads pizza oven holding up?:yell:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
I went thru two different mini-starters on my 396/TH400. Used every shim combination imaginable, measured up to spec's, got a different flex plate...always went back to grinding. Finally got a starter from DB Electrical with the staggered bolt pattern. Haven't had a problem yet. Good company to deal with and good prices. Here's the starter I used, works with small and big block, https://www.dbelectrical.com/products/new-chevy-305-350-454-mini-racing-pmgr-starter-ht-sdr0031-l-with-2-long-bolts.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
This weekend I was able to do the ignition by-pass Jima suggested.

Unfortunately, it didn't solve my issues, though it was an excellent suggestion.
The start seems to kick a lot harder now. Regardless, I did have some voltage drop to the starter, and getting rid of it is always good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Yes Bambino, Very concise description of your predicament. How's your Dads pizza oven holding up?:yell:
Hehe.. Why do I always get asked that?

I have to say, he's got it down to a science.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I went thru two different mini-starters on my 396/TH400. Used every shim combination imaginable, measured up to spec's, got a different flex plate...always went back to grinding. Finally got a starter from DB Electrical with the staggered bolt pattern. Haven't had a problem yet. Good company to deal with and good prices. Here's the starter I used, works with small and big block, https://www.dbelectrical.com/products/new-chevy-305-350-454-mini-racing-pmgr-starter-ht-sdr0031-l-with-2-long-bolts.html
You aren't the first person to suggest this, and I honestly think this will be my next try. I didn't know you could buy staggered bolt mini starters for a 153T...this does mesh with 153T right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,109 Posts
You know , just to mention, I remember a co-worker a few years ago going to autozone to get a starter for a 99' or 2000' year 1500 van. Gen 1 TBI engine . Saw the new starter & it was this tiny little thing compared to the old bulky factory ones & thought they gave him the wrong one. Turns out it was the new replacement version. Auto parts store starters aren't always the greatest, but with a lifetime warranty, at least you can get another easy enough locally.
Might be worth a check?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
343 Posts
Good thoughts. The ring gear is chewed up all around. In 2 or 3 spots far more than others. I assume those are just the likely places for the rotating assembly to rest.

After the relay install, I wonder if your problem is now the chewed-up ring gear. Maybe the relay fixed the original problem (which messed up the ring gear) but now the messed up the ring gear is the problem. The Powermaster starters have a really good reputation.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top