Starter Shimming

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Starter Shimming

Postby Bacchus » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:16 pm

Need help shimming my starter. Clyde, your particular experience is important.

I've never really had the starter shimmed that well but then I've only started the engine a few times. So I decided to get that fixed today. No matter what I do, the starter is just too far away from the flexplate.

Here's my scenario. I'm running a GM mini starter. The kind made for crate engines. I've confirmed the following:

- starter is staggered bolt pattern, and should be right for a 168 tooth flywheel
- flex plate is 14", also meaning it should be a 168 tooth. I thought maybe I was running a 13" 153 tooth, but it is definitely 14" in diameter.
- I removed all the shims and bolted the starter up without any. I tried the 1/8" drill bit between the armature shaft and flex plate tooth and I have more like 1/4".
- I added 2 flat washers just to the outside bolt of the starter, trying to push it closer to the flexplate, but it didn't help.
- I did the old paper-clip test. I could actually just about fit the 1/8 drill bit between the dear tip of the starter and the deep area of the flex plate.

Clearly this starter just doesn't seem to be going to work. It's maybe getting 1/4 tooth contact. Am I missing something?
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Postby Bacchus » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:20 pm

Here are some links I've been referring to:

http://www.nastyz28.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58977

This is essentially the starter I have:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/NEW-GENU ... dZViewItem

Maybe I just got a junk rebuilt starter or something.
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Postby cjbiagi » Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:43 pm

Brian, something sounds wrong. Adding shims moves the starter away from the flywheel. If it is too far with no shims then there is nothing (at least that I know of) that you can do to get it any closer. No shims = as tight as you can get. The only thing I can think of is to mill some material off the starter mounting surface or try another starter. That's basically the same starter that I have except mine is for the 153 tooth flywheel. It might be kind of hard to mill a staggered mount. You could try just shimming one mount, I think the outside one, and see if it helps, but you have a long way to go it sounds. While it's possible to elongate the mounting holes I wouldn't suggest it because the starter could end up moving over time.
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Postby Bacchus » Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:31 pm

Thanks Clyde. I've been reading article after article most of the evening. It seems that a lot of people have had this problem, actually. Apparently the specs on the mounting surfaces, flex plates, and starter housings have enough slop in them and can cause serious tolerance stack-up issues for some people's applications. Milling the surface seems to be one of the highly recommended actions. I did try some spacers on just the outside mount to get it closer, but it didn't come near close enough. I think I'm going to pick up another starter and see if it is any better. For $70 or so, it's worth the chance to give it a try and ultimately save me some headache and possible damage.

I'll let you know what I find out.
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Postby wagonman » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:07 am

i don't know what year engine you got but i have a 99 4.3 s-10 starter on my 88 engine w/ 153 tooth flywheel it's same starter on lt1 impala and it tunrs over good
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Postby Bacchus » Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:43 pm

Well, I bought a new starter. Took it out of the box and it is absolutely identical to my old one. I bought this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... &rd=1&rd=1

For whatever reason, however, I put it in and it is working just fine. Yeah! Now on to another problem....
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Postby Bacchus » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:59 pm

Anyone looking to get one of these starters, I highly recommend them. I can easily change this starter out in just a few minutes with Don Hardy headers. It kicks over my 11:1 beast without issue. I was able to put this one on without any shimming at all and it's not hanging up. Good price too and they delivered it within like 3 days.
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Postby zeke » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:19 am

Good deal on that starter Bacchus! I just paid 200$ CAD for the same 2 long offset PMGR unit for my van. :twisted:

The outter edge of the ring gear tooth should be about 15 thousanths from the bottom of the valley between 2 teeth on the drive pinion which is the same as the outside edge of the pinion lock collar.
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