The Starter Bendix

By Norman Nock

Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine


If your starter makes strange grinding or clicking noises while cranking, you most likely have a worn ring gear or the bendix gear on the starter is worn.


The starter gear can jam into the flywheel gear freezing the engine solid. If this happens, you can turn the starter gear out of the flywheel by turning the square peg on the end of the armature, but this is only a temporary fix.


Do not be tempted to tow the car and pop the clutch in gear! If you do, the rear wheel will skid and you will bend the starter armature.


Remove the starter and inspect the flywheel ring gear. A six-cylinder engine will always stop in one of three places. You will need to inspect the gear all the way around for worn spots. The four cylinder will have two worn spots. If the flywheel gear is worn all the way around, this means the starter gear has been touching it while the engine is running. This contact can be caused by the driver turning the key (or holding in the starter button) after the car is running or the light spring is not holding the starter gear in place during braking or quick acceleration.

This will depend on which starter drive, inboard or outboard, your car has.


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