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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car wouldn't start last week, one morning when the temp was about 5 degrees. Wife says it cranked over a few times then quit. I coundn't get it to crank at all. Battery tested bad according to AutoZone, but no change with new one.

So I went out to give it the starter the old tap while she turned the key. One hit from the jack handle and it just fell down! Never seen anything like it. Just got it into the garage to take a look, I'll report back tomorrow... Curious to see if anyone has ever experienced this??
 

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Car wouldn't start last week, one morning when the temp was about 5 degrees. Wife says it cranked over a few times then quit. I coundn't get it to crank at all. Battery tested bad according to AutoZone, but no change with new one.

So I went out to give it the starter the old tap while she turned the key. One hit from the jack handle and it just fell down! Never seen anything like it. Just got it into the garage to take a look, I'll report back tomorrow... Curious to see if anyone has ever experienced this??
Never heard of it myself. Is it possible that the bolts weren't tightened or something?
 

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Never heard of it happening.. I had my relay trigger fall off because the plastic broke.. but never had the whole thing fall out!

Never heard of it happening unless someone was messing with it...
 

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LOL it was so cold out his ******** fell off......
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well it turns out that the top bolt was missing completely and the flange on the other side couldn't take the stress:


So I got a new one in there but now it makes a loud grind/click when it starts up (but it does start & run OK). I forgot to put the red cover back onto the starter solenoid terminals... is it possible that it's arcing to the frame rail when the starter engages? Or maybe the flywheel teeth got worn funny from the old starter?

I'm gonna check it out in the dark & see if sparks appear because that's kind of what it sounds like. Any other ideas are welcome, thanks!
 

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It's not arcing, that cover is just to prevent shorts by touching the terminals. Could very well be a worn out ring gear, or the "new" starter could be bad. I can sympathize with your problem, seems like people never put the top brace/support on old truck starters that I bought used. Sucks when people are lazy.
 

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Most starters come with a shim kit, the ones I used were duralast and they didn't need a shim kit.

Just my experience.
 

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I cracked the front half off of a starter in -20F temp in Iowa

Moved to Iowa for work and drove from New York in a blizzard. Car sat idle and frozen for 2 days over the weekend as I stayed in the hotel and kept warm. Went out Monday morning and tried starting the car. Heard a click and then a loud whirring noise. Looked under the car and saw that the front part of the starter with the movable gear that engaged the flexplate or flywheel was snapped off. Temp was about 20 degrees below zero. Got to work in the hotels limo and as I was exiting the limo in front of the building I saw the Branch Manager who had walked about 2 miles in the snow to get to work. As the limo driver was running around the limo to open the door for me the BM said "car wouldn't start EH?" What a way to start a new job with the BM seeing me chaufered to work in a limo. Used the limo for about a week until I could replace the frozen starter. Got a rebuilt one at a parts store and it took about 2 hours to remove and replace the starter. Was so cold I could only work under the car for a minute or two at a time. Hardest part was unscrewing and replacing the nuts which held the wires onto the starter. The hotel had a sauna and I would come in and sit in the sauna for about 5 minutes after working outside with no gloves on. Couldn't use gloves when removing and replacing the wires in the starter. :wub:
 

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Moved to Iowa for work and drove from New York in a blizzard. Car sat idle and frozen for 2 days over the weekend as I stayed in the hotel and kept warm. Went out Monday morning and tried starting the car. Heard a click and then a loud whirring noise. Looked under the car and saw that the front part of the starter with the movable gear that engaged the flexplate or flywheel was snapped off. Temp was about 20 degrees below zero. Got to work in the hotels limo and as I was exiting the limo in front of the building I saw the Branch Manager who had walked about 2 miles in the snow to get to work. As the limo driver was running around the limo to open the door for me the BM said "car wouldn't start EH?" What a way to start a new job with the BM seeing me chaufered to work in a limo. Used the limo for about a week until I could replace the frozen starter. Got a rebuilt one at a parts store and it took about 2 hours to remove and replace the starter. Was so cold I could only work under the car for a minute or two at a time. Hardest part was unscrewing and replacing the nuts which held the wires onto the starter. The hotel had a sauna and I would come in and sit in the sauna for about 5 minutes after working outside with no gloves on. Couldn't use gloves when removing and replacing the wires in the starter. :wub:
Probably the aluminum. It is a bit scary that the front knuckles on these cars are aluminum. Yes, they are thick, but still aluminum. Aluminum is actually not a metal, but a metalloid. It has no fatigue limit, meaning every time you load and unload it, it slightly deforms and fatigues, regardless of how light the load is. That is why they don't make springs out of aluminum (yet). Certain things should just be made of steel or cast iron. Unfortunately more suspension parts are aluminum these days.
Out of curiosity, were you using synthetic motor oil? Low temperature starts is where that stuff makes a difference. If you were using conventional oil, then the extra resistance from cold starting, plus the cold making the aluminum brittle would overwhelm the aluminum part.
 

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Cast aluminum actually. There is nothing wrong with using aluminum. I have never heard of the front knuckle failing. They sure hold onto the ball joints well.

Plenty of 50 year old aluminum B52 still in the air.
 

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Cast aluminum actually. There is nothing wrong with using aluminum. I have never heard of the front knuckle failing. They sure hold onto the ball joints well.

Plenty of 50 year old aluminum B52 still in the air.
I honestly do not know much about B52s and their maintenance. They are military grade and probably are over-engineered, and are just a good design. Boeing's more recent 737s have had premature fatigue failures. I recall reading that some police chevy impalas have cast iron knuckles while the civilian version used aluminum, and I think durability was the cited reason. Cast stuff in general is brittle, forged stuff is the best. I don't mind the aluminum on the IAC valve, as that is a low stressed component, but I would prefer if the knuckles were forged steel. Forged steel is probably overkill for a starter mount, but cast iron would be better than cast aluminum. I guess it is nothing I should get too obsessed over though.
 

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Back in the good old days synthetic oil was nonexistant or scarce

Probably the aluminum. It is a bit scary that the front knuckles on these cars are aluminum. Yes, they are thick, but still aluminum. Aluminum is actually not a metal, but a metalloid. It has no fatigue limit, meaning every time you load and unload it, it slightly deforms and fatigues, regardless of how light the load is. That is why they don't make springs out of aluminum (yet). Certain things should just be made of steel or cast iron. Unfortunately more suspension parts are aluminum these days.
Out of curiosity, were you using synthetic motor oil? Low temperature starts is where that stuff makes a difference. If you were using conventional oil, then the extra resistance from cold starting, plus the cold making the aluminum brittle would overwhelm the aluminum part.
Though I've been using synthetic oil since I bought my Corvette I used regular dino oil for about 35 years. Have had the starter gears go bad but this was the first time I ever had the front end of a starter crack off.
I do believe the extreme temperature and the 7 year old starter added up to metal fatigue.
Now if it hits the teens here in MD everyone goes nuts. -20 in Iowa was a lot worse but we got used to it. I would not like to go back to wearing 3 layers of clothing now but at that time it was what was needed to keep reasonably warm.
Figure the auto manufacturers look at the most cost effective solutions not the best ones. Won't see many stainless steel starters.
 
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