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TR2/3/3A Intermittent starting

Jim_Stevens

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For regular readers of BCF, you know I’ve been having starter problems lately. To recap, after a run in the car which brings it up to temperature, the starter will not crank the engine. The starter motor turns, but the crankshaft does not. Pre-60k with press-on ring gear. Hi-torque Starter (with a 9-tooth cog) replaced, I directly grounded the battery to the block, and it has a fresh battery. Those were the logical, obvious fixes. I went out today to continue to diagnose, thinking it’s a bad spot on the ring gear (to test the theory that the engine has a preferred stopping position. The car started right up cold (Mind you, yesterday after a wam-up run it wouldn’t) After a quick drive around the block to bring it up to temperature, I turned the ignition off and used the clutch to “force“ it to stop in another position on the flywheel. Popped the clutch, so to speak. Anyways, no change... starter motor is turning but not the crankshaft.

BUT, in a sign of at least diagnosing progress, I turned off the ignition switch, immediately turned it back on, and the engine started (Of course upon pressing the start switch). THIS sequence I was able to duplicate a couple of times. I captured the sequence on video, but of course the file is too large to attach. FYI, On the other side of the engine I run a Pertronics in a Mallory distributor.
This all started after the engine was laid up for about two years when the body was off.
Any ideas? I’d be happy to send the video separately.
Oh, how I miss Randall!
Jim
TS44067L”O”
 

NutmegCT

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Jim - you mention "hi torque starter replaced".

Does the pinion move correctly when the starter turns?

(I can't imagine there's only a "proper" tooth or spot on the ring gear for the pinion to engage.)
 

bobhustead

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I just looked at Moss catalog and see there is no Bendix. However, could there be intermittence in the pinion engagement?

Bob
 

Hamish Racing

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I had similar problems that got worse and worse until it would only push or bump start.
It turned out to be the starter ( hi torque) pinion securing ring.
It had broken up.
thus sometimes would engage on the starter spline thus turn the engine. But later not leaving the starter to spin.
Replace couple simple parts and all is good.
 

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NutmegCT

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Jim - look like you've had starter/pinion problems before starting this thread?


Tom M.
 

sp53

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I try and keep spares around for such problems. If I had the original starter, I would put that back for testing. If the ring gear is toast with a regular starter, you would see the teeth are chewed and the starter would jam into the flywheel and stick there until you turn the square nut on the back of the starter to release it. The fact you can hear the starter spin sounds like the drive of however those high torque engage. Do you have any old starters around? they are not difficult to rebuild.

steve
 
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Jim_Stevens

Jim_Stevens

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Actually on my third hi-torque starter, so it ain’t that, but I have gotten pretty good at swapping them out! I also tried to use my old Lucas starter, but TRF took my original and sent an 11-tooth replacement dated 1973. (!) So now I’m out the original. Was forced to go to TRF because my local rebuild shop in NoVA gave up on it-parts unavailability.

Tom is right— this has been an issue for a year now. The ring gear looks pretty good, looking at it from the inspection tray below the car.

Mind you, no problems with the first hi-torque starter before the body restoration. The only change in the wiring other than harness replacement was that I wired the main motor start cable to the upper lug of the starter solenoid and ran the lighter gauge starter motor wire to the switched lower terminal. This at the advice of the starter mfr British Starters. It theoretically shouldn’t make a difference, but in theory the car should be starting, and this new development of the key switch gave me that idea to check that next.
Jim
 

sp53

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I am unclear; TRF sent you a bombshell starter dated 1973? That might be a good thing because I would think it is a factory replacement for a 1958 because 1958 was the last year for the bombshell stock on the car. They probably made replacements parts until the 1970ties. The teeth amount on a bombshell could be different than a high torque, IMHO, and still be correct.



The solenoid swap on the wires is something I have never tried or heard about, but maybe it makes no difference and the small wirer might be happy either way; I do not know, but I would put it all back stock. If I had a bombshell, I would probably but that back no matter what year it said on the case, and I would probably replace the solenoid and see what happens.

steve
 

sp53

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If you are worried about the condition of the ring gear, I would pull the starter and take the plugs out and put a chalk mark on the ring gear and turn the motor over by hand or push the car in 4th gear and look with a good flash light at the ring gear.

steve
 
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Jim_Stevens

Jim_Stevens

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Well, as an EE I cannot explain it, but putting the solenoid wiring back to its original configuration may have been the trick. THAT only took a year! Starts fine now after warmup, and even sounded better on the cold start. That ought to be an indication.
I don’t know the internals of the hi-torque starters or exactly what that second wire does, but obviously more torque is developed when both are energized at the same time. Weird. Bad info from the starter guy!
Thanks all— Jim
TS44067L”O”
 
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