Starter continues to grind - Could use some help! - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 9:11 PM Thread Starter
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Matteo
 
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Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

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 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.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 9:26 PM
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Jon N.
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Here's a thread that might help. It's about small PMGR starters and the like.

https://www.chevelles.com/forums/45-...er-issues.html

Jon N.

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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 9:45 PM
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Mr Bill
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

What do the teeth look like on the starter ? Don't discount the fact that the starter could be the problem. I know it worked ok with the automatic but that really does not mean anything.

Bill Koustenis
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 9:54 PM Thread Starter
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Matteo
 
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Not entirely discounting it. But I did try another Powermaster 9100, and a Tuff Stuff starter with no change.

The starter teeth look brand new!
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 10:05 PM
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Are you sure you have a correct drive/bendix on the starter. YEARS ago a friend's small block ground horribly. Pulled the starter, changed the drive to 1 with 1 tooth difference and all was good. If you have access to a starter/alternator shop they may be able to help. There may be differences in the depths as well. They all look similar but there are differences between Chev., Olds., ......

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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Matteo
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LevonH View Post
Are you sure you have a correct drive/bendix on the starter. YEARS ago a friend's small block ground horribly. Pulled the starter, changed the drive to 1 with 1 tooth difference and all was good. If you have access to a starter/alternator shop they may be able to help. There may be differences in the depths as well. They all look similar but there are differences between Chev., Olds., ......
I'll look into that.

Honestly, when I was aligning the drive/flywheel mesh tolerance, it seemed very strange that the flywheel ring gear teeth had such different geometry than the starter gear teeth. But if I recall correctly flexplates have the same tooth geometry as flywheels.

Here is a picture I snapped at one point.

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:24 AM
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Harry
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Bambino View Post
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 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.
On my BBC, I had a problem with my new high torque mini starter not engaging with my new flywheel with new clutch. I used a spacer, etc... and it was driving me crazy. I had another of the mini starters laying around and I started playing with the engagement. Well, I noticed immediately that my older mini starter had a much lighter spring for gear engagement. The new one had a much tougher spring to move and they both were the same brand and same part number starters (Powermaster). I put in the old starter with one spacer and it worked perfectly. I think when the flywheel gears are new and the starter gear is new, the extra velocity generated by a lighter spring helps engagement. The starter gear is turning while it is trying to engage, so, the faster and stronger the movement, the better chance of 100% engagement. I sent the new starter back. So, check the tension of the engagement spring, or it could be the voltage at the starter being low and not pushing the gear hard enough to engage, or a combination of both.

Harry
1970 Chevelle SS396 (408), Fathom Blue,
Original Block & Forged Crank, KB Pistons, Edelbrock 6045 Heads,Comp Cam 292H, March Serpentine, RPM AirGap,750HP,100hp Nitrous
A/F Wideband,Tremec TKO 600, 12 bolt,
30 spline Moser Axles, Richmond 3:73's, Hotchkis control arms, swaybars, springs, Wilwood 12" rotors D/S, 4 piston calipers
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:30 AM
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Levon
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

That starter drive is not engaging the flywheel far enough. There should be about .032" inch gap between the starter tooth and the flywheel.

Here's one discussion on the net.

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tran...arter-lt1.html
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Matteo
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hjdca View Post
On my BBC, I had a problem with my new high torque mini starter not engaging with my new flywheel with new clutch. I used a spacer, etc... and it was driving me crazy. I had another of the mini starters laying around and I started playing with the engagement. Well, I noticed immediately that my older mini starter had a much lighter spring for gear engagement. The new one had a much tougher spring to move and they both were the same brand and same part number starters (Powermaster). I put in the old starter with one spacer and it worked perfectly. I think when the flywheel gears are new and the starter gear is new, the extra velocity generated by a lighter spring helps engagement. The starter gear is turning while it is trying to engage, so, the faster and stronger the movement, the better chance of 100% engagement. I sent the new starter back. So, check the tension of the engagement spring, or it could be the voltage at the starter being low and not pushing the gear hard enough to engage, or a combination of both.
Interesting... I'm going to put that on my list of things to look into for this weekend. I'll look into the voltage as well. Thank you.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:45 AM
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Eric
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

There should be a spacer ring provided that goes between the starter mounting block and the motor. With it installed it moves the starter away from the flywheel to prevent the starter drive gear from going to far into the flywheel or contacting it at rest.

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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:55 AM
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Harry
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Bambino View Post
Interesting... I'm going to put that on my list of things to look into for this weekend. I'll look into the voltage as well. Thank you.
Also, it could be that there is slight movement of the starter at full torque. If you are using two bolts and the holes are loose, this could give you some miss engagements. Try longer bolts. On my BBC, I am using 3 bolts for the mini starter with 22 deg. of initial timing. When I was using the old 2 bolt normal starters, I would get a miss engagement once in a while. When I went to the 3 bolt mini starter, I never had a miss-engagement until I had that new flywheel experience that I explained above ..

Harry
1970 Chevelle SS396 (408), Fathom Blue,
Original Block & Forged Crank, KB Pistons, Edelbrock 6045 Heads,Comp Cam 292H, March Serpentine, RPM AirGap,750HP,100hp Nitrous
A/F Wideband,Tremec TKO 600, 12 bolt,
30 spline Moser Axles, Richmond 3:73's, Hotchkis control arms, swaybars, springs, Wilwood 12" rotors D/S, 4 piston calipers
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Matteo
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LevonH View Post
That starter drive is not engaging the flywheel far enough. There should be about .032" inch gap between the starter tooth and the flywheel.

Here's one discussion on the net.

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tran...arter-lt1.html
Thanks for the link.

When I pulled out my starter drive to check mesh, I was engaging at least 50% of the flywheel, assuming the starter actually projects out as far as I can physically pull it out.
With that said I'm going to take a video of it starting just to be sure.

As far as clearances go between the major diameter of the flywheel tooth, and the minor of the pinion tooth. I shimmed the starter until I was able to slide a .030 dowel pin between said minor/major. Per Powermaster instruction sheet (.020-.035).
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 1:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Actually, here is a picture of my old ring gear. It shows the tooth engagement depth (shiny part) as well as some ground away portions. Looks more like 80-90%. Maybe too much?? My cat seems to think everything is edible.



Here is how bad it got

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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 2:08 AM
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Harry
 
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Bambino View Post
Actually, here is a picture of my old ring gear. It shows the tooth engagement depth (shiny part) as well as some ground away portions. Looks more like 80-90%. Maybe too much?? My cat seems to think everything is edible.


Here is how bad it got
That second picture looks pretty bad... Since you tried different brand starters already, My guess is that the starter is moving under load. If it is a 2 bolt mount, try longer high grade bolts with lock washers. I was lucky with by BBC, I could easily go to a 3 bolt mount starter. No possible movement with 3 bolts.

Harry
1970 Chevelle SS396 (408), Fathom Blue,
Original Block & Forged Crank, KB Pistons, Edelbrock 6045 Heads,Comp Cam 292H, March Serpentine, RPM AirGap,750HP,100hp Nitrous
A/F Wideband,Tremec TKO 600, 12 bolt,
30 spline Moser Axles, Richmond 3:73's, Hotchkis control arms, swaybars, springs, Wilwood 12" rotors D/S, 4 piston calipers
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 8:25 AM
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Re: Starter continues to grind - Could use some help!

What brand ring gear did you get ?? What are the spots I have yellow arrows pointing to ? Looks like some kind of casting flash or is it just the way the picture was taken ? Also it almost looks like the teeth on the flywheel are too "wide" ?? Compare them to the picture I attached of a stock Chevy flywheel.


I have always used Pioneer starter ring gears and have never had a problem.
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