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Discussion Starter #1
So I am getting the boat ready for Big River for Memorial. Its a Howard with a 454 BBC. Just rebuilt the carb and installed new fuel lines, fuel filter, and Bassett's. I go to start the boat and the thing cranks for a good 30 seconds or so on off. I know its not gonna start immediately because the fuel needs to prime. I am cranking and spraying WD-40 in the carb ( no starter fluid can't find it), and then it sound like it was about to start then it sounded kinda like a backfire too a little pop sound. Now all I hear is grinding from the starter. Took the starter out to find the nose cone cracked. Its probably the 3rd starter that has cracked in 3 years. I have had 2 that took a sh*t but didn't crack. The last one that cracked was also after a long period of cranking. I just don't know what the problem is. They seem to work well for a while. I have a feeling the little backfire thing caused it to crack but it doesn't really make sense. I have never used any shims because it always seemed to work properly. Oh the thing was hot too when I took it out. Its a reman one from Napa. I just traded it in for one from AutoZone. I don't want to buy an expensive one until I've identified the problem.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Autozone starter is what I ran years ago before I had my motor built. Get the lifetime warranty one, then you will never have to pay for it again, and just turn in your old one each year.

Good think about Autozone is you can be at any location for the exchange without the receipt.
 

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Hit it where you fit it
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Autozone starter is what I ran years ago before I had my motor built. Get the lifetime warranty one, then you will never have to pay for it again, and just turn in your old one each year.

Good think about Autozone is you can be at any location for the exchange without the receipt.

Exact reason for my change over to a "cs130" 105 amp gm alternator. The 140 amp chrome one lasted about 2/3 a season. The "generic GM model can be found in anytown for $60 ish , or free with a receipt :D
 

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Glendale Arizona
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Autozone starter is what I ran years ago before I had my motor built. Get the lifetime warranty one, then you will never have to pay for it again, and just turn in your old one each year.

Good think about Autozone is you can be at any location for the exchange without the receipt.
Have to agree here. Not only is it lifetime replacement, available just about anywhere, but they're a pretty good start to boot. I've been running the same one on mine for years.

Incidently if your boat has been sitting for a long period of time, get a plastic bottle (I use an empty gear lube bottle) and fill it with gas. Remove one of the top bowl screws on your carb. Fill the bowl with gas from the plastic bottle, replace the bowl screw, clean up any spilled fuel and hit the accelerator pump a couple times. You should feel some resistance (pumping fuel). She'll fire right up (unless you have other problems). Long periods of cranking without starting can cause some damage, but I guess you already know that.
 

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Make sure you are using the stock starter bolts or aftermarket intended for Chevy starter and NOT regular bolts. Chevy starter bolts have a special sized shoulder to position the starter. Standard bolts allow the starter to move. Move = break.

On stock starter you should also have the brace on the other end that bolts to the block. Again stabilizes the starter. This is a GM item.

Starter should not break with all of the above.

Also I've found the iron snout units to be much stronger than the alum.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Make sure you are using the stock stater bolts or aftermarket intended for Chevy starter and NOT regular bolts. Chevy starter bolts have a special sized shoulder to position the starter. Standard bolts allow the starter to move. Move = break.

On stock starter you should also have the brace on the other end that bolts to the block. Again stabilizes the starter. This is a GM item.

Starter should not break with all of the above.

Also I've found the iron snout units to be much stronger than the alum.
I think I am using the stock bolts. They are knurled on the ends. I do not have the brace. Anyone know where I can get one? How do you get one with an iron snout?
Do you think the starter broke because I cranked the piss out of it? Or because it is not shimmed properly?
 

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Just Me
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Having previously worked at AZ, a cracked nose cone is not covered by waranty. Those are caused by improper shimming or the engine backfiring while cranking. But if you only had a small pop, I would suspect that shimming is the major cause of your problem. Make sure you shim the starter and it should last a long long time. And buy the lifetime starter as the quality differences are really worth the cost difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So my lifetime starter came with a shim kit and a little rod to do it, but is it possible to use that rod with my fly wheel cover? I am no genius but it seems like I can't use it because the cover is in the way. The little manual that comes with the starter says to listen for shimming problems. I don't think I'll be able to hear sh*t with open headers. Anyone have a pic of the bracket that goes on the back?
Also do you think the starter broke because it backfired while cranking or is shimmed incorrectly or both are very possible?

 

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Just Me
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You won't be able to shim it with the cover in place. So if you want to make absolutly sure it is right, take the cover off or at least loose so you can get the gauge between the flywheel and starter. Since this wasn't the first nose cone you broke, I'm betting more on the shimming is off as opposed to the motor backfiring. Unless your motor backfires while starting all the time, then it is very possible it is a backfire issue. In either case if you take the time to shim it right, you'll know if it happens again. And AutoZone used to sell the rear bracket in the HELP parts. Not sure if it is still listed there or not. You can make one without too much difficulty. It is basicly just a steel brace to hold the back of the starter from bouncing. Run the brace from any block bolt (header bolt) down to the back of the starter. If you're good at fabricating, make it, have it chromed or powder coated and sell some.
 

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The problem is that you are not using the rear brace as stated above, with the aluminum nose the starter flexes to the side causing the nose cone to break. GM still sells the bracket, if you build one make it a stout piece there is a lot of tourque applied to that little nose cone on a big block especially if its a higher compression engine. I've seen this prob start to arise after they got rid of the iron nose and went to the aluminum.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for eveyone's help.
Everything is good and running.
After having no luck finding the bracket, I took the Hitachi mini starter off by buddies prerunner and put it on. After bolting it on, we realized it needed to be shimmed away from the flywheel. The starter gear was hitting the flywheel before popping out. My buddy had thrown away the Hitachi shims.
Then we went down to a alternator/starter rebuild place looking for that rear bracket. Left there with a gear reduction starter that the owner guaranteed won't break the cone for $120. The cone is much thicker and the guy said he would replace it, but that it will not break anyways. Went home and bolted it up. Adjusted the floats on the carb, and now the thing starts immediately.

See you guys at Shell Beach/ Big River tomorrow. I'll be in the brown/ white Howard named Rootbeer Float, along with a white/bronze Miller (Belligerent) and a white/orange/yellow/silver CP.
 

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Best way

Thanks for eveyone's help.
Everything is good and running.
After having no luck finding the bracket, I took the Hitachi mini starter off by buddies prerunner and put it on. After bolting it on, we realized it needed to be shimmed away from the flywheel. The starter gear was hitting the flywheel before popping out. My buddy had thrown away the Hitachi shims.
Then we went down to a alternator/starter rebuild place looking for that rear bracket. Left there with a gear reduction starter that the owner guaranteed won't break the cone for $120. The cone is much thicker and the guy said he would replace it, but that it will not break anyways. Went home and bolted it up. Adjusted the floats on the carb, and now the thing starts immediately.

See you guys at Shell Beach/ Big River tomorrow. I'll be in the brown/ white Howard named Rootbeer Float, along with a white/bronze Miller (Belligerent) and a white/orange/yellow/silver CP.
Boy, that is the best way to fix a problem.......Act as though it doesn't exist, ignore what people with experience tell you, then throw a bunch of money at it, and it will go away...........I'm betting the 3rd time you break the $120. starter, he will tell you to pound sand............MP
 

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Boy, that is the best way to fix a problem.......Act as though it doesn't exist, ignore what people with experience tell you, then throw a bunch of money at it, and it will go away...........I'm betting the 3rd time you break the $120. starter, he will tell you to pound sand............MP
I was thinking the same thing, but I didn't say it because I do the same thing sometimes... like wanting to add a 3rd fuel tank. :)st

Even worse, he got very similar advice from another forum.
 

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starter help

Starters nose cones break for: misalignment, not being secured or braced ,wrong type sholdered bolts (GM) , high compression (especially with timing advanced too far,causing "kick back") ,mis routed plug wires etc also "kick back" . Gm starters particularly rebuilts (due to case re -machining) must be checked for starter pinion tooth to ring gear tooth engagment . The little tool they give you is a "guage" designed to be inserted between the pinion tooth and the "crotch" of a pair of ring gear teeth . Trial and error ,shim, shim , remove shim etc etc the "listen" is a pain in the a$$ ,unscientific and can actually cause problems in the process. A loud "clang" on cranking typically signals need for shims because the starter pinion is coming out and "striking" the edge of the ring gear (not to mention bilge sparks !!) , also starters "sticking" engaged need shims or have low battery voltage , high pitched rotational grinding and growling could be due to too much shim (or not enough) or ... the old high pitched GM squeal/grind (pinion is missing engaging the teeth altogether). On Blower motors and very High compression we sometimes crank the motor ,then "throw" the power to it with a seperate switch secondarily . Enough for now heres a pic Hope starter 101 hasn't overwhelmed you. By the way to properly check the depth you need to pull the motor ,then use a pick to physically pull the starter pinion forward to check the engagement ,see pic (shim as neccesary) Tom
 

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Boy, that is the best way to fix a problem.......Act as though it doesn't exist, ignore what people with experience tell you, then throw a bunch of money at it, and it will go away...........I'm betting the 3rd time you break the $120. starter, he will tell you to pound sand............MP
WTF do we know!! lol
 

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I think I am using the stock bolts. They are knurled on the ends. I do not have the brace. Anyone know where I can get one? How do you get one with an iron snout?
Do you think the starter broke because I cranked the piss out of it? Or because it is not shimmed properly?
THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS USE REGULAR BOLTS. The guys at auto zone will have the gm bolts. I have myself broke the block at the mounting flange and short of remove weld and regrind the block is history unless you go up top with the starter. Cast iron nose cone is a 3689 starter and if you go iron make damn sure all the rest of the pieces are correct. Aluminum cones break away easy the iron will take parts with it. Its what I run and no problems. Shiat now I gotta go find a piece of wood to knock on!!! M
 
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