flywheel gravitating away from starter


Old 01-22-12, 09:42 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
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flywheel gravitating away from starter

I have a 1969 Chevy pickup with a small block 350 and TH400 transmission. My flywheel looks fine and has no missing teeth. When I originally installed the starter, I had to install 3 shims on the outward (right) side to get the starter gear close enough to the flywheel. I did that and it worked fine for several months. But gradually I started getting a very loud noise when starting the engine and evevtually the starter would just spin without engaging the flywheel. I had to install an additional 3 shims (making 6 total) to get the starter gear close enough to the flywheel again. Now I have the same problem again. I get a very loud noise when starting the engine and sometimes the starter gear just spins without engaging the flywheel. If I turn the flywheel an inch or so, the truck will start, but as I said before there are no missing teeth and the flywheel looks fine to me. It doesn't make sense that I should have to install even more shims, but I just can't figure out what's going on. It seems like the flywheel is gravitating away from the starter. If somebody could please help me I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 01-23-12, 02:52 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Of course without looking ourselves most of what we will suggest may be conjecture, so here goes. If you are able to turn the flywheel and engage the teeth, either the flywheel is warped or it is slowly removing itself from the end of the crank. About all you can do is remove the transmission and bell housing and physically inspect the entire rim of the flywheel. Adding shims is normal....adding more shims is not. You do have the correct starter and bendix, I am assuming. Have you tried another starter?
Old 01-23-12, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: santa fe /texas
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to begin with,
are you using 'Starter Bolts' ?
the mounting bolts are not just plain 3/8" bolts!
Old 01-23-12, 10:40 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Thank you for your responses.

Yes, I have tried a new (actually rebuilt) starter and the problem is still the same. I am also using actual starter bolts. And the flywheel feels very solid. It doesn't wiggle or shake at all when I grab it and try to rotate it.

I have owned this truck for over 20 years, so I'm pretty familiar with it. It's getting pretty old and tired, but until now has always been reliable. I am trying to decide if it's time to retire this old companion. I can actually get $1000 from the state of California to get it off the road. I really don't want to go through the work of dropping the transmission. But I want to be sure I'm not missing some easy fix that could maybe keep it alive for another year or two. I don't use it very often any more, and that's probably part of the problem.

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