Starter issue on 455

Discussion in 'Sparky's corner' started by TomGS72, May 7, 2019.

  1. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    Hello,

    I'm having a starter issue on my 72 GS (455). I bought a new Optima red top battery and a Powermaster 9511 starter. When I turn the key, the starter just clicks once.

    When we turn the key, it appears the starter gear is hitting the flex plate. When I try to pull the starter gear out manually, it seems to hit the flex plate as well, but it is very difficult to pull it with needle nose pliers...maybe I'm weak. At first, I thought it was a battery issue, so I put a known good battery in, and same result. I hooked a charger up, and a 10 amp charge starts the car. Maybe more amperage is forcing the starter gear to engage?

    I tried starter shims. The kit comes with (2) 0.015, (2) 0.030, (3) 0.042, and (1) 0.060. I kept adding shims, and kept getting a click. I went all the way up to 0.15 worth of shim, and same issue. I feel this is A LOT of shim, and may have another issue.

    The reason I changed the starter was because my old one kicked back and cracked the housing. It was a stock starter turning over a high compression 464 (Ranged from 12-1 to 12.8-1 over 20 years). The battery is in the trunk. It has at least 0 gauge wire (Looks even thicker than 0 if that's possible). I had a very small Braille 21 battery, but wanted to switch to a more friendly street car battery.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.

    Tom Jenkins
     
  2. stellar

    stellar Well-Known Member

    I would first check for voltage drop. Probably on the ground side. If the Pos starter cable was over tightened on the starter post, the stationary contact may have turned a bit causing a bad contact in the solenoid.
     
  3. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Are you running an SFI flex plate?
     
    BuickV8Mike likes this.
  4. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    Stellar - How do I check for voltage drop?

    Larry - Yes, it is an SFI from TA.

    Thanks guys!
     
  5. stellar

    stellar Well-Known Member

  6. 69GS&M21

    69GS&M21 Well-Known Member

    According to one manufacturer, clearance between valley of starter pinion and tip of ring gear teeth should be .020-.035.
    And yes there is a cable size larger than 0. They say that 00 gauge is recommended for lengths over 10 feet (like if you have a trunk-mounted battery).
     
  7. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    I had a problem with the SFI flex plate that came on my 470. The teeth were closer to the starter pinion than stock. There was insufficient clearance between the pinion and flex plate teeth. It caused 1 mini starter to grind and it destroyed another mini starter I tried. Once I realized the problem, I bought the Robb Mc starter. You can shim the pinion away from the flex plate teeth with that starter. After I did that, I had no more problems. When I swapped in my TSP 9.5" converter, I changed the flex plate to another one I got from Jim. It was an SFI as well, but it resembled a stock one. I had to remove the shims in the starter because now, the flex plate teeth were too far away from the pinion. Now I can use any starter. Note, I am NOT talking about the shims between the starter and block. Is this the one you have?

    http://www.taperformance.com/proddetail.asp?prod=TA_2033

    This thread covers the Robb Mc starter,

    http://v8buick.com/index.php?threads/reviews-for-robbmc-starters.325646/#post-2744814
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  8. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor


    Larry,

    Mine looks like that, but black. Now that I think about it, maybe I didn't get it from TA, and maybe from Jim W in Minnesota. Are there many manufacturers of these?

    My pinion and flex plate teeth are very close. Maybe too close. I will measure tonight to see. Can I shim the gear away from flex plate with a Powermaster?

    Thank you for your help.

    Tom
     
  9. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    I will measure this tonight.

    My battery is in the trunk. I assume I have 00 gauge due to the thickness. The actual cable is thicker as well, not just a thick coating like a cheap knock-off may have.

    Thank you.

    Tom
     
  10. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

  11. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Not sure if you can shim yours. It would help if you posted a picture of the Powermaster starter. Does the starter look like a GM PG260 ministarter like Jamie used to sell, or does it have a separate mounting block like the Robb Mc starter?

    IMG_0669.JPG

    You might have the same flexplate that was on my 470 from Jim. The teeth on that are not in the same place as a stock flexplate. That's why I swapped mine out. This one is a lot nicer and correct.

    TSPSFIFP1.JPG
     
  12. 69GS&M21

    69GS&M21 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it appears that there are quite a few different makers and models of mini-starters for GM engines. MSD, Tilton, Allstar, etc., etc. I did a search on Amazon, and found a number of offerings. I bought my mini from Jamie (65specialconver, aka Start N Charge), and as a matter of fact, I am right in the middle of installing it into my '69. Will probably be done in a few minutes.
     
  13. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    I found the issue!!!

    I measured the distance between gear and flex plate, and I'm ok. I did the voltage drop test and found a 0.5 drop on post from battery. I then did the test on starter terminal and saw 8 volts. I then put a jumper wire in the connector for my neutral safety switch, and saw minimal voltage drop. The car finally turns over. For now, I still have my jumper wire in there. I need to swap the neutral safety switch.

    Thanks guys for your help! I really appreciate the replies!

    Tom
     
    BuickV8Mike and 69GS&M21 like this.
  14. 69GS&M21

    69GS&M21 Well-Known Member

    Glad you solved the problem!
     
  15. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    The problem came back. I pulled the connector for the neutral safety switch (added a jumper wire so I can test) and did a voltage drop test.... I get 9.25 to 9.8. Every once in a while it will start but voltage is within my same range. I disabled MSD and even when it is cranking, it is 9.xx. I replaced the ignition switch and no change.

    Frustrated..

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 8:20 PM
  16. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    It turns over every time I crank with battery charger hooked up. Voltage remains 9.5 - 9.75 if it starts or not, and even same with battery charger hooked up, but starts every time with charger hooked up .

    I wonder if this starter is pulling too much power. I might buy a stock starter to try.
     
  17. 69GS&M21

    69GS&M21 Well-Known Member

    So unless a charger is connected, the starter isn't powerful enough to turn the engine over?
     
  18. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    It isn't unusual for the starter load to drag the voltage down while cranking. A healthy battery should maintain around 10 volts while cranking though. I'd be looking at your cable ends and connections at the battery and starter. Does your MSD have a start retard feature? If you cracked the nose of your old starter, you probably have a lot of timing when cranking. Required pinion to flex plate clearance for my starter is 1/16- 3/16" (.0625-.1875)
     
  19. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    It will turn over about one out of every ten times I try to crank.
     
  20. TomGS72

    TomGS72 Silver Level contributor

    The clearance is within those limits. The timing is 36 total. The stock starter was 20 plus years old. It was turning over a 12.8-1 compression 464.

    I have an old 6AL box, I don't believe it has that feature.

    I cleaned all grounds, and replaced the bolts. New bolts in battery cables as well.

    Thank you.
     

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