View Full Version : Truck wouldn't start

07-17-2017, 09:29 PM
Joe and I have been tinkering with his 56 pickup (185 six) lately. Joe started working on the truck several years ago and then his job situation changed and it only occasionally got any attention. Over the last few months it has had the brakes worked over and we fixed a leak in the radiator and some other nits. We could start and run it off of a auxiliary gas tank until the other one was drained and cleaned up.
Joe was doing some work on the truck a few days ago trying to get it to run smoother. The engine died a couple of times and restarted, but then died and would not crank. We thought the battery was too weak so we changed it out. Still nothing even though that battery showed almost 15 volts. We cleaned all connections. Still nothing. tried another solenoid. No luck. Bypassed the solenoid. Nope. :(
We then decided to pull the starter, but it would not come out of the engine. We rocked the truck in gear, I tugged on it with my pickup, we tapped and pried carefully on the starter. No way. We decided that the starter must be locked up, but with no access we couldn't see how to shake it loose. I had not worked on a Studebaker truck with a six since I dismantled my M series in 1975 so I was not up on how the starter fit on the right side of the engine. (By now some of you are ahead of me. :)) Anyway, the starter drive is pulled into the flywheel gear instead of pushed as on a car engine. To facilitate service there is a cap over the starter drive. Joe had removed the cap, but up to this time I had not been under the truck. After looking at my M series starter, (Yep, still waiting on the shelf after 42 years.) I saw how the drive came off. I slid under the truck and removed the clip holding the drive sping in place and removed the spring. I could then turn the drive with a large pair of channel locks and disengage it from the ring gear. The starter drive part was then loose and I removed it! :)
The problem turned out to be a fine bit of rusty dust that got piled up enough by the drive sliding in and out to jam it in place. After lightly polishing the shaft and inside of the drive and lubing it a bit everything works as it should. I thought someone else might find this useful.

07-17-2017, 10:44 PM
Flat head Fords had the same type starter, (gear pulled into the ring gear). Mine used to stick every once in a while. To get it release, we would put it in reverse, (standard tranny), and rock it backwards. That would jar the engine backwards also, and you could hear the starter drive click loose. Sounds like yours had to come off to get cleaned, and lubed anyway. Hope it works well from here on out.

07-18-2017, 08:47 AM
The reason I wrote such a long narrative was that I thought it might help some newby. A person could think that the engine was locked up and spend lots of money for no good reason. The starter had been checked out by a shop when Joe first got the truck, but that was at least 20 years ago. The amount of rust on the part wasn't much, but it just lodged in a bad place.

07-18-2017, 08:55 AM
Your post is appreciated.
If more people would post their solutions to problems , this forum will be very useful to future generations.
Robert Kapteyn

07-18-2017, 06:07 PM
Maybe the forum needs a problem and answers heading so if someone has one they could look there first.