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What part should I throw at mount starter woes

3961 Views 43 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Honda92
Long story short.. I have brand x starter and it sits too low to the flywheel. It's tight enough when you stick the pinon gear on the starter with a screw driver it wont retract(I guess the motor kicks it out). Last year it was about 50/50 cross your fingers hit the key and hope you don't grind. This year, new motor,she ain't going in period(the pinion gear to starter ring gear). I called Jan @ lightning and asked him if I could trade him my old starter stand for a .030 thousands one, and he sent me a new .030 taller one for free. I bolt it on and it grinds. I cut some new shims to bring the starter closer to the flywheel and whala(sp?) she works great, until last weekend. Where it's sitting right now I can't pull the starter gear in I can see the flex plate bend from me trying. I don't know if.... the only clue I have is that where it's froze up now the left side of the flexplate looks chewed a little, and the right side ,not so much. I'm thinking flexplate??? What starter are you guys running with lightning rail kits?
Sorry that ended up as long as it did..
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Yep, top mount... I'll attach a couple of photos when the camera charges back up.
Yep it sits flush, it's just too low..

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I think I'm stuck with the top mount WT, it's pretty tight down there. Paul I may pm ya, not sure if I'm folowing the dowl thing. Maybe I could just drill the back plate a little bigger where the dowls are and drop her that way.
Gotcha...thanks Paul, I had no idea those were even removeable.
heres a pic
Thanks at some point I may try that, my rails are at the bottom of my stringers, I have my doubts. I guess I'm so observant I didn't notice the fact I have NO dowls:))eek:)). I ordered some today but the rear plate holes are going to have to get bigger for this plan to work. Maybe I'll take a file to my
What ever it takes to get the top mount to work DO IT. I have the bottom mount on mine currently. Its real pain if you need to remove it. I basically need to lift the front of the engine up enough to get my ratchet onto the bolts. Its a Real PITA. I had a leak that I later found that was real bad. Water from the fly wheel flung onto the starter and caused 2 to go bad within a few months. On the 3rd starter, John, Sleeper CP told me a trick that he did that saved his starters and i use that trick now.

H20MOFO cant you shim the starter from the bell housing?
It needs to go straight up??? I'll stick up a bigger pic of the left side of my impeller(as in where it died). When I turn the motor over with no plugs I can hear it the starter sounds good for 1/2 a rotation, then a 1/2 a turn that's not sounding right or under more of a load. I'm wondering if the flexplate could part or all of the problem.

You can't really see the worse ones, basically there are more munched teeth on the bottom of the pic/flexplate that you can't see in the pic.
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Thanks again Paul, good info right there. The lakewood dowls are b/o for 3 weeks, but moroso(sp) has some that are a few thou larger. Thats what I have on order. The rail kit has the holes and they're perfectly lined up with the dowl holes in the block, just no dowls. My bad.:)sphss
maybe a good time for a new flexplate before you
ruin the starter drive
Good point......
I had a heckuva time getting my top mount starter to work. I am not 100% sure it correct yet, time will tell. It does sound a lot better now than before though. I wish I had thought/knew abut the offset dowels for the block, that would have made the final fitting cleaner.

When I first mounted the starter, the gear was always meshed with the flex plate. Come to find out, I was supposed to call the manufacturer to get the spacers needed to get the correct horizontal distance between the starter and the flex plate. Got the spacers and mounted the starter again, now the cup that goes over the clip on the end of the shaft that holds everything on was hitting the flex plate. My solution was to increase the starter mounting holes diameter to allow for some vertical adjustment. This got me close but not quite enough. I ran it this way for the first year and a half, all the while the starter sounded nasty and I was replacing the clips, cups and gears way too often. (I think I went through 5 or 6 clip/cups and 4 gear sets.) Finally, the flex plate gears were getting too chewed up and I replaced it.

The new flex plate had a different horizontal offset and required a different spacer. Additionally, it was about 0.1" larger in diameter and made it impossible to use the previous gear eating setup. After sending the starter back to get its internals checked, I got yet another set of spacers to get the correct starter to flax plate horizontal spacing. However, not I could not get enough vertical spacing. I ended up taking a flapper wheel to the Lightning mounting piece and made the opening about 0.03 larger.

Now the starter sounds a lot better and turns the motor over fine. Later this year, I'll take it out to check for wear and I'll know if I got it right or not.
Hopefuly you got her handled, I know we talked about this a while back and I wondered..... I may pm ya to ask about those spacers. The ones I'm using now I cut out of a sheetrock
If things change when the new flywheel goes on I may.....thanks I'll keep ya posted.
The adapter is a three point mount to the motor plate, a little shim goes a long way on the top mount starters. Just add or subtract to the top adapter bushing to get the clearance.
Are you saying I should point the starter up in the air(shim)?? I CAN shim away from the back of the block....horizontally, not vertically. :(:(
With the three point mount on the adapter, shim the adapter, not the starter.... much like aiming headlights.
I don't think you know what I'm working with here..... The bolts that hold it are at 3 and 9:00, the starter stand does have a 3rd bolt(small allen head) at like 11:00. I guess I don't get it.
Here is a pic of the starter stand...
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That ain't 12:00 bro

Fwiw I tried that also. I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. If you think about it by aiming the starter up(like a headlight), you are lowering the entire starter.
:|err:|err:|err WTF! still no workie. I'm open for suggestions. Is it just me or does something look fishy with the pic of the starter and the ring gear? Does anyone think my rear plate is backwards. Fwiw I think I heard my plate is a 3 point starter mount that has been converted to a 2 point. I wonder if I should have a 153 tooth flexplate instead of a 168??
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Well I think I got it, talk about a f'n hack job special. I ended up taking my carbide bit and router and dropped the dowl holes a little in the rear plate. Probably defeated the purpose of the dowls, I dunno? RE the center bolt...there is just 2 that hold the starter, the 3rd hole at 11:00 has an allen headed bolt that just goes through the starter stand. I thought it was kinda odd that I had to clearance the flywheel cover for the dowls. Maybe my dowls are extra long.
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Don't ever name your boat CASH ELIMINATIOR!! LOL When you hit the key and get juice to here isn't the starter supposed to do something? Fock ,if someone said boat tomorrow or you will be killed ....I guess I'd be dead.
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With the flexplate cover off, I can reach up in and pull the starter pinion fwd and feel where it stops(as far as how far fwd it goes). As far as up and down the only indication I had was that when I hit the key it worked half the time. When I pulled it fwd. by hand it would barely go in even with force, and then it would stick. Out of the box, with no spacer, mine was so close to the flexplate I broke the whole pinion gear off about the 5th time I started it, because I didn't bother to check.
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