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  • Reduction-gear starters.

    Do any of our vendors sell modern reduction-gear starters adapted to be a drop-in replacement for the original? I know these "hi-torque" starters are available for many performance cars, big-block and small-block Chevys, etc.

    I was prompted to raise this topic because I just installed such a starter, made by a company in New York, called British Starters, into a Triumph TR6 that I had just sold. The starter piled up inside as a result of staying engaged while the lady took it on a test drive. It was rubble inside when I opened it up. So I ordered the replacement, and it came in the mail in less than a week. It a Nippondenso starter, with the original mounting ears milled off, and an adaptor plate attached by two Allen screws. The adaptor plate is multi-drilled so the starter can be "clocked" to suit the space available. In this case, it was fine out of the box, and worked perfectly, too. I also replaced the ignition switch with a better one that has a stronger return spring.

    Anyway, British Starter says they can custom-build such starters for almost any application. I didn't ask them about Studebakers, but I don't see why they would not be possible to do one for most models. Have any of thsi group tried to build one at home?
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  • #2
    I'm using a high torque starter for a small Block Ford, turned upside down, and mouted on the drivers side, (Ford mounts them on the passenger side). But, I have a full mid plate to mount it to and am using a different flywheel and trans. It wouldn't be too hard to to adapt a different starter with the stock flywheel and trans as long as you have a mid plate to bolt it to. It might even be possible to to replace the stock inspection cover with a plate you can mount a starter to. Chances of the stock starter mounting holes being in the right place for a different starter to work are pretty slim.
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    • #3
      Phil Harris (Fairborn) sells them.

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      • #4
        I've not had a problem with a stock starter, so my question is why do it?
        Ron Dame
        '63 Champ

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ron Dame View Post
          I've not had a problem with a stock starter, so my question is why do it?
          I use them in all the race cars and performance engines I build(non Stude), reason being less current draw, lighter weight and number one reason not as likely to heat soak and fail to work. Some of those might apply to studes as well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ron Dame View Post
            I've not had a problem with a stock starter, so my question is why do it?
            I agree, unless you're into racing and need the weight savings. The only time I ever had a starter problem was in 1974 when the battery was bad on my 52 Land Cruiser, and I used a 12 volt battery for jump starting for a week before buying a new 6 volt battery. One of the armature windings popped out of the slot and got squished by the field pole shoe. I tapped the winding back into it's slot and coated it with clear lacquer and it worked fine again.

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            • #7
              Evans makes them and Galaxy in Baldwin Park makes them. The Evans one is the one I think Phil sells. I built my own since I thought that Evans was too expensive and I have a line to Chrome Hitachi units.

              [/URL]

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              • #8
                So what do you do to ensure pinion pitch and engagement depth is correct for each application? Are there a large number of pinion styles avaialble?
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ron Dame View Post
                  I've not had a problem with a stock starter, so my question is why do it?
                  When you do have a problem with the stock starter you'll appreciate the fact that a NEW high torque Ford starter only costs $30. The whole starter, not just the drive for $60 to $96. Plus it's half the size and weight, so easier to install, and it turns the engine faster so it starts faster and easier.
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                  • #10
                    Another fun topic...yet educational. Until now, I have never given direct drive and gear reduction drive starters a lot of thought. In my lifetime, I have removed and replaced starters in all sorts of vehicles. Most have been direct drive, but some have been gear reduction. The oldest was on Chrysler products, but I think some have been GM. Usually, the extent of my work has been to unbolt the starter, take it to a parts store, and exchange it for a new/rebuilt, take it home and install. Problem solved.

                    Like Ron Dame, I have not had enough starter trouble to cause me to study them in depth or need to know any more than how to get one off and put one on. So, when Gordon posed the question here, I'm paying attention. I'm thinking gear reduction = higher torque. Higher torque = lower speed. But with combustion engines, it is not merely that simple. A higher torque starter output can give an engine an equal or faster spin due to the power output than a direct drive starter with higher spin capacity but lower torque output. So...somewhere in my confusion, there is a tipping point of need favoring one over the other. Perhaps a very tight new motor will benefit from the power of a higher torque starter, where the cheaper, simpler built direct drive will spin a well broken-in easy to spin motor.

                    Gear reduction starters are more complex and have more parts, and probably cost more. I think a high compression high-performance engine might need the high torque of a gear reduction starter, but for most of our regular everyday stock Studebaker power plants, the correct stock starter should suffice. I have a 289 truck engine that was rebuilt years ago and never installed or ran. I have installed a 1955 224 flywheel, clutch assembly, and matching bell housing. I took the 6volt starter, cleaned it up, and installed it. After pre-oiling the engine by spinning the oil pump with a drill motor, I tested the starter on this very tight engine. It was a chore for the starter on this engine...even with the spark plugs removed. If I ever get around to installing a carburetor, distributor, good battery, etc., perhaps I will give the old 6volt direct drive a fair test. I could see where a gear reduction starter might make sense. But, if this engine is really built properly, I don't think a gear reduction starter would be necessary once the engine has run enough to break in.

                    I apologize for not adding much to this topic other than unloading a stream of conscious thought, but hopefully, some of our truly knowledgeable members will enlighten us all.
                    John Clary
                    Greer, SC

                    SDC member since 1975

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                    • #11
                      The starter on my 64 Champ 259 is sounding a little tired, especially after having been engaged to the running engine for a few minutes a couple of years ago. Maybe a gear-reduction starter is the answer. I'd like to hear more.
                      Mike Davis
                      Regional Manager, North Carolina
                      1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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