Starters? Start here...

  This page is geared towards the use of a GM starter shim kit. But, similar problems arise with all brand starters.
Replacement starters from the auto industry often end up in boats and in some instances, they just don't work or fit properly. (Not to mention the risk of explosion)
In cases other than GM starters of this type often the cause and solution entail replacing the starter and or flywheel with a "matched" set intended for unit in the first place. Starters that come in from the rear and are mounted to the bell housing and not directly to the block, (Inboard applications) are more likely to end up with a mismatch, if not careful.

Look at your old starter. Then compare it to the pictures below. Notice how the teeth are worn in different areas and different ways. Explanations of causes and solutions are included.

Note: Although problems are similar, no matter which brand motor... These solutions are for GM starters mounted to the block, only. Other brands could use similar solutions, but be careful.


starter1.gif (5575 bytes)

Problem: Starter too far from flywheel.
Solution: Check for correct model starter. If OK,  Install shim on outside pad, only.
(This puts the starter closer to the flywheel...,  think about it.)
Problem: Damaged Flywheel.
Solution: Check for correct model starter. If OK, Replace flywheel. Check shimming.


starter2.gif (5485 bytes)

Problem: Loose mounting bolts
Solution: Torque bolts properly during installation.
Problem: Engaging starter with engine running.
Solution: Don t engage starter with engine running.


starter3.gif (5593 bytes)

Problem: Starter too close to flywheel.
Solution: Check for correct model starter. If OK, Install shim across both mounting bolts.


  Here's what to do...

starter4.gif (2518 bytes)

     starter5.gif (5839 bytes)


1) Place starter in position and finger tighten the mounting bolts beginning with the top bolt (the top bolt must be mounted first to avoid breakage of this "ear")

2) Check the flywheel's ring gear clearance by inserting the "1/8" gauge tool between the armature shaft and a tooth of the ring gear.

Note: An 1/8" piece of bar stock or 1/8" diameter steel pin can be used as an adhock tool if the GM one is not available. ( It has to be precise to measure correctly, we're not talking a lot of slop here.)


starter6.gif (3236 bytes)


3) If the gauge tool cannot be inserted (fits too tight) use the entire shim or shims across both holes. This moves the starter down and out, Away from the flywheel.   Refer to figure 3.

4) Remove shim or shims if the shim tool is loose between the shaft and tooth.

5) If no shims have been used and the fit of the 1/8" gauge tool is too loose, add half shims to the outside pad, only, until the proper fit is obtained. This moves the starter in and Toward the flywheel. Refer to figure 1.

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