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Thread: starter bendix upgrade 6 to 12 volt? '46 M5 pickup

  1. #1
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    starter bendix upgrade 6 to 12 volt? '46 M5 pickup

    well my 12 volt conversion has been working well for awhile now (lights, generator, regulator, charging, horn, signals, etc.)
    BUT...…
    the starter was previously rebuilt by past owner and I cannot confirm whether it is original 6 volts configuration or 12 volt upgrade. I can only report the starter motor turns over fast and the Bendix kicks in loudly. That was up until this evening....
    I went to start and it and it jammed, just a clicking sound. I pulled the inspection cap and could move the Bendix in/out. I oiled it and attempted starting again only to find the motor spinning without any Bendix engaging the flywheel.
    I removed the starter to find the Bendix drive gear broken into many pieces.

    Now my question is should I just rebuild with replacement Bendix drive unit? Does 12 volts destroy 6 volts starter Bendix drives? is there an upgrade or swap I should consider? I do NOT want to return back to 6 volts, but would rather address this issue with a permanent/appropriate fix.
    Please advise.
    thanks
    TED
    Last edited by tedtaylor; 07-03-2018 at 05:28 PM.
    Ted Taylor
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  2. #2
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    12 volts is murder on 6 volt starters. You'll hear several say it's ok to do it, but I'd never treat any of my cars that way. If you insist on 12 volts, then you'll need a 12 volt starter, or keep replacing broken parts.

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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Do you know who did the 12 volt conversion to the truck? Are they knowledgeable/competent or not? Would they be able to answer questions accurately?

    The Bendix itself is purely mechanical and does not care about 6 or 12 volts. I do not know trucks, but on the cars, the tooth count on the Bendix and the ring gear changed when the cars changed to 12 volts.

    First you need to make sure which ring gear you have, usually by counting number of teeth, then you can get the correct Bendix mechanism to fit on your starter. Mixing the starter teeth and ring gear teeth from 12 volt to 6 volt systems will tear up the gears.

    Also, on the cars, the diameter of the starter armature changed when the starters changed to 12 volts.

    So you have some questions to answer.
    -is the starter MOTOR still OK?
    -How many teeth are on the ring gear and while you are counting, you can inspect the teeth to make sure none of them are chewed up.
    -Was your old Bendix the correct one to mate with the ring gear? If so, then you need to find another Bendix, if the starter MOTOR is OK and the ring gear teeth are OK

    It's not too difficult to have a machinist make a sleeve so the so called "six volt" Bendix will fit on a 12 volt starter motor. That will give you a 12 volt starter motor that happily meshes with a 6 volt gear count. That's what I did when converting my 54 Commander to 12 volts.

    It's likely that your starter motor, starter Bendix, and flywheel are all the so called "six volt" versions, but you need to confirm that.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 07-01-2018 at 11:54 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    Well, i'm in a pickle here. Due to time constraint (4th of July parade in two days), I ordered a new Bendix drive from Stephen Allens LLC and he's shipping it next day guaranteed, so I should be OK for the parade.
    However, I cannot report anything specific concerning number of teeth. Seems quite cumbersome to count teeth on the flywheel through a 3 inch opening, turning motor by hand. My luck, i'll loose count along the way. is there markings stating the number of teeth?
    Also, the Bendix gear broke into many pieces, so even an accurate count of those teeth seem impossible too.

    Is it possible to install a large ballast resistor of some type right there on the starter motor that might reduce the amperage and allow the starter to turn over slower and more gently?

    seeking all possible remedies here....
    Ted Taylor
    Haddon Heights, NJ - USA
    "TaylorMadeClassicCars" on the WWW and Facebook

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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    s it possible to install a large ballast resistor of some type right there on the starter motor that might reduce the amperage and allow the starter to turn over slower and more gently?

    Absolutely not! Those things won't work with low current draw devices and certainly won't work with the highest current draw on the entire vehicle.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
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    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    Exclamation

    Be ready to be pushed off the parade path if you mis- match your starter parts...... your call....of course, assuming no vapor lock...you can jump start the truck unless the drive is bound up in your ring gear...... count the teeth by putting a china marker on your 1st tooth, then rotating with a tire iron or big screw driver....GL
    Last edited by jackb; 07-02-2018 at 11:54 AM.

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    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    It wouldn't be ideal, but you could just compression start it the few times needed to run through the parade, then take your time on repairs later. This would avoid any new damage to the ring gear, if you have the wrong Bendix. To count the teeth on the ring gear, I would remove the spark plugs, then mark one tooth with whit, or yellow, and turn it a full rotation, to count the teeth. Good luck with getting it up, and running, for the fourth!

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    OK, tally is...……..
    124 teeth on flywheel ring gear (only maybe 3 or 4 teeth buggered sporadically among the 124)
    the Bendix I count I think 9 teeth? I only found 7, but the impression on the Bendix appears to be 9 (possibly 10)?
    now can anyone share results of my report???
    thanks!
    Ted Taylor
    Haddon Heights, NJ - USA
    "TaylorMadeClassicCars" on the WWW and Facebook

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    were the teeth on the ring gear damaged a few at a time in several places ? Replace the ring gear. or turn it around..

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    no, none together. just one here and there, maybe 3 or 4 total over the entire ring. like a chip or bite out of one, or a rounded one, but i'd say 120 of the 124 were otherwise perfect condition.
    Also found out it is an "Autolite" starter "MZ4090" Is that 12 or 6 volt? is it original for my truck?
    Here's a picture of my busted up Bendix drive:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tedtaylor; 07-03-2018 at 10:01 AM.
    Ted Taylor
    Haddon Heights, NJ - USA
    "TaylorMadeClassicCars" on the WWW and Facebook

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    SUCCESS! I'm back in action and ready for the parade tomorrow. The new Bendix drive arrived this morning and I was able to re-install before the killer heat of noon hit.
    attached picture shows brand new Bendix drive which is a different design to original. it has 9 teeth gear just like my original chewed up and broken one. Wonderful thing about this new set up is that I could very easily install/mount the starter (w/o Bendix drive) onto the bell housing, THEN via the inspection cover cup, I was able to easily slip on the Bendix drive, insert the retaining pin, and voila! it was finished.
    I had a dog of a time originally removing the starter (w/ Bendix drive on) where it interfered with the exhaust down pipe and steering rods. I found I couldn't re-install via reverse procedure all assembled, and then it hit me to remove the Bendix drive and insert starter with no obstructions, just the narrow bare shaft. Worked SUPER!
    Time will tell now how long this re-designed Bendix drive will last over original OEM type.....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ted Taylor
    Haddon Heights, NJ - USA
    "TaylorMadeClassicCars" on the WWW and Facebook

  12. #12
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    12 volt starters have a smaller diameter armature shaft than the 6 volt starters.The starter drives will NOT interchange!

    Jim

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    please follow up after the parade...

  14. #14
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    It's not too difficult to have a machinist make a sleeve so the so called "six volt" Bendix will fit on a 12 volt starter motor. That will give you a 12 volt starter motor that happily meshes with a 6 volt gear count. That's what I did when converting my 54 Commander to 12 volts.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  15. #15
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    jackb = I posted parade pictures under the "owner's pictures" section of the forum.
    RadioRoy = I posted the number of ring gear teeth above (124) and 9 teeth on the Bendix. Does that figure to be OK then going forward with this starter using 12 volts?
    Ted Taylor
    Haddon Heights, NJ - USA
    "TaylorMadeClassicCars" on the WWW and Facebook

  16. #16
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    I will stick my neck out a bit here and say all Studebaker starter drives have 9 teeth, however the 6 volt and 12 volt drives are different. Prestolite offers a variety of starter drives listed by specifications only not make and model or voltage of car. They list diameter of shaft, number of teeth, diameter of gear drive, overall length etc. You can chose the right drive for your application when mixing and matching starter drives. I mixed and matched a 6 volt starter to fit into a 12 volt assembly to operate solely on 6 volts. I have a 1963 259 operating on 6 volts. I had to change the snout and drive to make it fit and turn the armature shaft down for an additional 1/2 inch in length to fit the starter drive. The system works very well with no issues. The only drawback is I don't have a spare.

  17. #17
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    My 51 Ford truck (12volt) had the 6 volt starter with long shaft/bendix and on 12 volts it would jam into the flywheel and lock up. To remedy this, using stuff I had laying around...I took a 12 volt Ford starter housing (early 60's??) with 12v winding and put my 6 volt armature and end caps on this 12v housing...the housings were identical! This slowed the starter down but it still spins faster than the all 6 volt set up with 6 volt battery. This started out at first as a test to see what would happen and now it has been working great for about 30 yrs. Perhaps Studebaker has a 12 volt winding that would work with your armature and end caps?

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