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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few years ago I had my starter stick on my off topic '69 Suburban, and before I could jump out and get the battery terminal off it went up in smoke. No clue what caused it, and the bendix gear and flywheel looked great. I replaced it and all was fine for about a year, and then it began to occasionally kick out the bendix while cranking. Stranger was the sound it made while cranking, which sounded like a Mopar or gear reduction starter. So much so that occasionally a buddy ask if I was running a gear reduction starter.
I dropped the starter occasionally to check, but never found any issues. Put it back on and it would start fine for 3-6 months, and then kick out occasionally again. Each time loosening the starter, and retightening it would stop the issue. But it still sounded weird.
A few weeks ago it got to the point that it kicked out more than it engaged, and I gave up until weather allowed a look. We had the wettest April in Oregon history, so almost impossible to find even one dry day all month!
Today was a surprise dry day, with rain predicted for the afternoon, so I got out and dropped the starter down. Pulled the solenoid off, and decided to completely disassemble it for a look. I discovered the main battery terminal that feeds power to the motor was loose! Once inside the contact ring, and wiper both looked OK, and a quick polish of the surfaces was all it needed.
Reassembled the solenoid, and starter, and reinstalled it. Went to reconnect the battery and as I tightened the positive terminal I noticed it was cracked in half! So no way it could make a tight connection. Got a repair copper terminal and replaced the bad one. Climbed in and hit the starter, and since it hasn't been started in about 6 weeks it cranked quite awhile, but sounded normal and never kicked out! After some pedal pumping the old Burb fired and ran perfect. Shut it off after awhile and restarted it 4-5 times without any hickups.
I'm not sure if the starter issue was a combination of things not tightened when it was rebuilt, or a poorly assembled solenoid that was brand new? Or the cracked battery terminal? But seems to be like new now, and better than it's been since the old starter smoked years ago! Guess I'll keep the old gal a little longer now that she's back to normal again.
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