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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I replaced the starter (& solenoid) in my 69 chevelle and the problem seems to be getting worse. I replaced it because it degraded to the point of just clicking sometimes and other times would grind the flywheel. Year one suggested, and supplied, a rebuilt alumin. nose instead of cast since the motor is a 75 - 83 454. After installing the starter I tried to start the car. It would turn over at times and at times would grind the flywheel. I'll have to replace the flywheel since it must be more damaged than my limited inspection revieled. My questions are; 1) Since the car turned over some of the time but grinded at other times, could the problem be that this starter needs shims? There were none for the old starter and year one said none are not needed on big blocks. 2) The bellhousing doesn't appear to me to be a stock bellhousing but a full circle scattershield. If this is both a bellhousing and scattershield combo and not a stock bellhousing could this cause an alignment problem with the starter? I don't want to go through the trouble and expense of replacing the flywheel only to have the problem return.
 

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I'm not a big block expert, but here are some things to check: since you had "clicking" with the old starter and you get "grinding" sometimes with the new one,but it works correctly sometimes. I'd check your battery leads BOTH positive AND negative, both ends. It sounds like the voltage/current may be low due to poor connections causing it to not engage properly. Also, do you have a starter support on the back end of the starter ? These are very helpful particularly on big blocks.After that, I'd check the flywheel gear teeth closely, then try shims if the teeth are OK(if big blocks use shims).

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Year one tells me that the starter support is not something used on BB's. I don't know because I bought the car pretty much finished. I did recheck the connections and tightened the neg lead on the battery but that made little difference. what puzzles me is why both the old and new starter would spin good with a fully charged battery but would grind the flywheel at times. It's like the starter gear is not meshing with the flywheel at times but has plenty of power to do so and does so at times by turning over the motor.
 

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John,

Probably not your problem but I am not sure if Year One is correct on that "starter support not used on BBC" comment. There is a bracket made for it and there is a threaded hole in the block for it (at least it is on mine and my buddies 70 396's ... I have not checked on my 67 but I would asume so). It is my understanding that it is a PIA to re-install with motor in the car so many people left them off when replacing the starter. I had my starter out of my 70 this spring and it did not have the support bracket when I took it out and I didn't put one on and my starter works fine. My buddy pulled the engine out of his 70 over the winter and it also did not have a bracket but he put one on because it is cheap and a very easy installation when the engine is sitting on a stand.

Maybe someone else can support or refute whether the support bracket was there from the factory. IMO, it makes sense to have one there as that heavy starter is being held in by only two bolts with a propensity for a cantalever effect. Just my $.02

Mytmouse

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67 SS396 350HP 4 sp 3:55 Posi Butternut Yellow w/Black Vinyl
68 RS Z/28 302 350+Hp? 4sp 4:10 Posi, Euro Red on Black
70 SS396 350HP 4 sp 3:55 Posi, Black on Black

Mytmouse A.K.A. Robert Stacho
ACES Member # 04359

[This message has been edited by Mytmouse (edited 07-10-2001).]
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with you. On any starter, whether or not the bolts come up from the bottom, as the BB's do, or go through the other way, that's a lot of weight to suspend without a bracket. My problem is compounded by the fact that I don't think the bellhousing I have looks like a stock GM cast bellhousing but instead it looks like an aftermarket steel combo scatershield and bellhousing. It doesn't have a dust cover which I believe stock bellhousings do and that makes me wonder if the problem of grinding the flywheel teeth with both starters is due to bad alignment. This could be caused by the bellhoushing or the need for shims. But that wouldn't explain why the starter worked fine for a number of months before I had to change it. I'm puzzled. Does anyone have a good description of a stock bellhousing? The one I have is shaped like an the cover to a cake dish and seems to be made out of 1/8" steel without a dust cover.
 

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Yeah, if the rim of the bellhousing is swiss-cheezed with holes, then it probably is a scattershield, without the engine plate. I don't know if I can really help you with your problem, but I can tell you this, normally the bellhousing shouldn't cause a problem like this. I had problems with my alum. nose starter going into the scattershield, but it just wouldn't fit at all. Couldn't get a bolt in. Maybe your starter is in there a little cock-eyed because of some interference with the bellhousing. From what I've recently learned (thanks DZAUTO!!) you should use an iron nosed starter in stick applications, because the nose is smaller and won't interfere. Before I knew this, I took a grinder to my starter and MADE it fit. Seems to be OK today! Hope you figure it out, its no fun holding a 20 pound starter over your head while trying to figure out why it ain't workin!


Chris

oh yea, I had a 79 camaro SB that used the support. Big big PITA to take on and off with headers!!! I think I will put it on my engine next time it is out though, I think it is a very good idea.
 

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As far as I know all BBC's have the threaded hole in the block for the rear starter bracket. IMO the bracket is a must for high compression motors and is nice to have for daily drivers. I prefer the iron nose starters over the alumn. nose due to the shimming problems I've encountered, it seems the iron nose starters fit better and you can use them in either auto or standard shift bell housings.

Bob made the comment about the weak battery or poor/corroded battery cables. This is the first place to look. 9 times out of 10 this is where the problem lies. IMO, those cables you get at Auto Zone and the like are kinda cheesy. The engine is grounded to the frame, right? Double check you electrical system first and make sure it's up to par.

Have you checked the mesh of the bendix gear with the flywheel? There should be a hole on the nose of the starter that will allow you to pry the bendix gear out to the flywheel and visually inspect for proper mesh. If not, generally there is enough room to get at the gear from the flywheel side of the starter (PITA).

If after all this it still wants to grind, have a bud spin the starter while you watch the starter. If you see the back end of the starter jump up as it engages the flywheel, you need the aft starter bracket installed. Hope this helps.

Rob
 

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JohnH - as far as I know, ALL stock bellhousings are cast - either iron or aluminum. If yours is cake lid shaped and 1/8 inch thick, it is aftermarket.
It should NOT affect starter alignment - your starter DOES bolt to the engine block right??
If the starter hits the bellhousing, you will have to grind the bellhousing to let it align. If it is mounted to the bellhousing as your post could lead me to believe, then I'm lost. Hopefully some big-block guys can help.

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Make it the way you like it, forget what the other guys say!
http://www.chevelles.com/showroom/al's64elky-1
http://www.chevelles.com/showroom/al's64elky-2
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the good information. Since the starter does engage occasionally it must have good clearance with the bellhousing. The fact that it grinds the flywheel sometimes must mean there are damaged sections on the flywheel. I won't know for sure until I do a better inspection through the starter hole (no dust cover with this bellhousing). Thanks again, I'll let you know what I find and hope it helps others.
 
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