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Starter motors runs, but does not engage?


mr. cob
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Howdy All,

Thought I would put this question to the group, while pulling up to the dump station waiting in line in Quartszite, after shutting the engine off the next time I went to start the engine the starter motor ran but it did not engage the ring gear on the flywheel.  No scary noises, no damage done, it just ran, turned the key off, still ran, got my ball peen hammer out of the tool box tapped the outside of the starter motor it stopped running.  Turned the key the starter engaged and all was well.  I have driven the Pete, over 40,000 miles in the last three years, started it countless times in all weather conditions that was the first and so far ONLY time this has happened.  I have checked and cleaned all my battery connections within the last year, the starter has always worked flawlessly, no weird noises, no kick backs, just turn the key it works.  Anyone have any idea what may have caused this, something to be concerned about, anyway to check without major and labor intensive removal?  Thanks for any input to this situation.

Dave

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1 hour ago, Jim & Wilma said:

Dave, I’m guessing the pinion gear, driven by the starter solenoid, is jamming before the teeth engage but enough to hold the starter contacts closed.  

Darryl, don’t see how a bad bendix would keep the starter spinning. 

You're right, Jim. I glossed over that part.

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Howdy All,

Thanks for the replies, I remember back in the mid 60's I had a Chevy that would do this every now and then, drove that car for years never did fix what ever it was, just rap the starter with a tire iron or hammer and it would stop running. 

As this has only happened once I am not going to be to concerned about it unless the smack it fix no longer works if it starts to happen on a regular basis I'll take it to a shop no way I can get my gimped up self under there and lift that starter out if that's what it takes to fix it.

Dave

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I think I would go ahead and swap it out Dave. They make a smaller gear reduction starter now. Pull the monster out and replace with a starter no bigger than one off a old Chevy. I have not personally done this but I have seen them. When its time that is what I will be doing.

Too bad you cant put an old air starter on there. That would wake up the neighborhood!

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18 hours ago, Jim & Wilma said:

Dave, I’m guessing the pinion gear, driven by the starter solenoid, is jamming before the teeth engage but enough to hold the starter contacts closed.  

Darryl, don’t see how a bad bendix would keep the starter spinning. 

I agree with Jim and Wilma.  I have a yard tractor that was doing the samething.  Carried a old hammer that I would use to unjam whatever was sticking.  Finally removed the starter and took it in for overhaul.  Around $120. The shop mechanic said it was pinion gear jamming.

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Hey Dave,

You should have delayed your trip North to the grate-nor-wet...it looks like we might have a bumper crop of sidewinder rattlerzzzz this year on the South side of Last Chance Peak Snake Ranch.   

Don't sweat the starter,,,,,,,it's so easy to do a work-around,,,,,

Back in my Bird-boy-$ave-the-world days we would fly into a really really backwater town in old Mexico that had the best taxi service in the entire world,,,,,, 

On final approach over town I would unsynchronize the props and the the old wreck would howl wow ,,,wow,,,,wow noise that would wake up Paccoo and he would drive the old Valient slant six out to the runway to pick us up..... sorta.....

His old slant six was ALWAYS low in gas so..... We would sit in the shade while 5 gallons of gas drained from one of my top tanks into his 5 gallon can...  

Once the slant six was gassed up it was starter time.... Paccoo would strike the THREE wires together while birdboy stuffed the $teel fence post through the rusted out hole in the floor and would ram the starter hard when Paccoo yell ooondleey,,,,,ooondleey ..

Dave it worked every time.... 

 

Drive on......don't wack the starter too gentle..   

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21 hours ago, Dollytrolley said:

Hey Dave,

You should have delayed your trip North to the grate-nor-wet...it looks like we might have a bumper crop of sidewinder rattlerzzzz this year on the South side of Last Chance Peak Snake Ranch.   

Don't sweat the starter,,,,,,,it's so easy to do a work-around,,,,,

Back in my Bird-boy-$ave-the-world days we would fly into a really really backwater town in old Mexico that had the best taxi service in the entire world,,,,,, 

On final approach over town I would unsynchronize the props and the the old wreck would howl wow ,,,wow,,,,wow noise that would wake up Paccoo and he would drive the old Valient slant six out to the runway to pick us up..... sorta.....

His old slant six was ALWAYS low in gas so..... We would sit in the shade while 5 gallons of gas drained from one of my top tanks into his 5 gallon can...  

Once the slant six was gassed up it was starter time.... Paccoo would strike the THREE wires together while birdboy stuffed the $teel fence post through the rusted out hole in the floor and would ram the starter hard when Paccoo yell ooondleey,,,,,ooondleey ..

Dave it worked every time.... 

 

Drive on......don't wack the starter too gentle..   

Dolly - you just remembered me my very first visit to Mexico back in the '70's - California uncle says just park and walk across take a cab to town. The cab was about a '68 Plymouth Fury, slant 6, complete with no dashboard. 

Back to Caterpillar starter motors....

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Your solenoid is nothing but a huge relay with a big set of points. Two big washers coming together. They get burnt and pitted. They can get stuck together (welded). Cheap me would see how bad and if not real bad would file and sand. Haven't check but maybe nowdays there not made to not come apart to be rebuilt and no core. 

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