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That should not be a good question to determine whether you need them or not. There are too many blocks and anomolies out there to make a decision based on popularity of one answer.

I recommend doing the set up with the paper clip first. But, you can cinch and go, but be certain that the armature with the drive pinion gear will retract and not get stuck when cranked or it will not stop cranking. Have someone standing over the battery or cutoff switch when you attempt the first try. Usually the sound of the starter will tell you readily the answer you have been waiting for. If it sounds good and smooth, it's been my experience that the teeth are meshed within tolerances. If the starter is loud and grinding or bogged down/slow, then it's likely in need of adjustment.

Have fun and be save.

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Steve Jack
-Concept One Pulleys and Brackets
-Marketing Technologies Limited
-Northern/Southern Rodder Magazine's "Jack'Stands" technical column author/originator
 

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If you extend the pinion armature on the ring gear and hold it in place, you should be able to slide a conventional paper clip end into the gear mesh firmly between the pinion and ring (no play). This sets the mesh perfectly without risking lock up or grinding.

You can pull the pinion out with needle nose. Get the space right with shims. Make sure to check cinched down. You will have to remove the ring gear/flywheel bottom cover.

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Steve Jack
-Concept One Pulleys and Brackets
-Marketing Technologies Limited
-Northern/Southern Rodder Magazine's "Jack'Stands" technical column author/originator
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Steve,

This is not an easy task! Even sitting on the workbench, the gear seemed to have quite alot more tension on it inward than a stock starter. Installed on a engine and in a car with framework and headers surrounding the starter it is quite difficult to get your hands into it (plus laying on your back). I suppose the next option is to remove the right header.
 

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I would agree that this is not an easy task with all the physical accouterments of a performance engine in place.

However, you know how a starter is supposed to sound. No grinding, smooth and certainly no missing the teeth and not cranking the ring gear. If you want to risk it, I would strap in on with one shim in place and turn it over with a helper at the cut off switch. Don't forget to cinch the starter down to the appropriate torque....just like it's going to live. If the sound is as it's supposed to be, then I would run it that way. If it is grinding, I would take the shim out. If the pinion armature gets stuck and the starter continues to turn without after letting the key go, or hangs up, then add another shim.

I am pretty familiar with the sound method and usually risk the first turn-over method with no problems to date. So....you make the call....it's your starter/money?

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Steve Jack
-Concept One Pulleys and Brackets
-Marketing Technologies Limited
-Northern/Southern Rodder Magazine's "Jack'Stands" technical column author/originator
 
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