: Starter Gear Clearance

12-27-11, 12:22 PM
I put a new starter in the Seville a few months ago (a PITA w/o removing the cross-under pipe!) and ever since, it's been grinding after the motor fires. I've been dealing with it by just releasing the key very quickly after it starts...

I'm sick of dealing with it and it's time to shim it properly. Every resource I've seen says to measure the clearance between the starter gear and the flywheel however, not only is it shrouded by the starter housing, it's also retracted inside the unit until the key is turned (Duh!!).

So wtf? How am I supposed to measure this clearance?:cookoo:


(Poast #2 an hour later: )

F it man.

A 1/64" shim did the trick. I guess the clearance was too small and the starter gear couldnt get out of the way in time. I could see the tiny nicks on the very edge of the flywheel from catching the gear.

Sliding the shim in was cake. Before installing the starter, I had to grind every little bit of excess aluminum on the housing to make the thing as small as possible to get past the exhaust pipe. I had to destroy the solenoid housing on the old unit to get it out. I hope this Duralast lives up to it's name.

12-27-11, 02:51 PM

On many parts, there is little/no drawback to opting for cheap parts, but I always advise others to either get a quality piece, or repair the original (provided the commutator is good) when it comes to starters. Not only does your vehicle rely on it heavily to function, but not having to deal with incompatibility (or the need to shim, like this) and defective replacement on more difficult vehicles is worth the cost of a quality unit. Repairing the original is usually the best option because 99% of the time, only replacement of the brushes or the solenoid contact is required. Less than $10 and only an extra 10 minutes longer than a full replacement.

BTW, how'd you manage to sneak the starter out without removing the crossunder pipe?

12-27-11, 03:12 PM
I was in a pinch and needed it fixed for work the next day so ordering a Delco wasnt an option, not that I could afford it at the time anyway. And what's worse, it went when I just happened to have it parked in the grass so I could work on the Thunderbird. Still beats doing it in a parking lot I guess.

I thought it looked ridiculous halfway through the lifting process so I snapped a pic. (Yes, the jack is placed under the control arm :hide:)

I've never rebuilt a starter before so I didnt want to rush through my first try. I had about 2 hours of daylight to complete the job and be on the road for work the next day.

I got the old one situated so that all I had to do was break the back part of the solenoid casing to get the whole thing out. I could have cut the pipe, but all I had was some flex to repair it with and that would cause the whole exhaust to sag.

After I was done I realized that I needed a shim but it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were settling in.

I still wanna know how the hell they expect me to measure the gear clearance on this. Or any starter for that matter...