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Can't get new engine w/ rebuilt starter to turn over

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  • Electrical: Can't get new engine w/ rebuilt starter to turn over

    Hi again; lots of questions this week. Finally have '57 Golden Hawk 289 all put together (minus only radiator). Had problems getting starter to turn the engine over earlier this spring, tightened up battery cable too tight and broke the field-coil terminal, finally got a shop to install a new one and tried again.
    First attempt, starter just spun like a bat out of h****. Took it out, checked (yes, has the special mounting bolts, yes, has same number of teeth in the rebuilt Bendix, yes, I only put light machine oil on spiral). Bendix was half-way back when I removed it, but as soon as I tried rotating it 'popped out" and is fine. Must have caught a tooth and compressed it. Reinstalled starter, this time it ratcheted (when turning engine over with a wrench) like it did this Spring. This is the Folo-Thru starter design, no solenoid. So apparently unlike a solenoid-plunger style, this design is SUPPOSED to ratchet and be engaged when de-engergized?

    So, figured finally "ready to go, spin it over for first time since rebuilding EVERYTHING :-) . Put charger on old 12V battery, nothing. battery cables tight on water manifold and starter post, and battery supplemented with charger on battery.
    FIgured "OK, battery too dead to work", so tonight drove our van in and connected jumper cables (heavy) from van battery to first the old battery, and then tried putting jumpers direct to block ground and starter post. Nothing. Just a "hummm".
    I get 14V at jumper cables (van running of course) w/ ground cable connected (and jumper cable on it), but connecting Positive clamp to starter post or the cable connected to it, only read about 4V at starter post.

    All I can figure is I actually need a GOOD 12V battery connected directly via cables, can't use jumper cables from a running car's battery?
    Does that sound right? Starter spins like crazy disengaged (even with old battery). (and last night IN the block, when I apparently had the bendix compressed against ring-gear).

    If I DO need a good battery, with no wiring and no ignitition switch (see photo, this is JUST a chassis and engine at this point) stuck slapping the cable on positive post quick so won't be "tight". How do you guys turn over a "loose" engine without the wiring? (as far as that goes, how much of the wiring is actually required to START the engine, in terms of all the regulators and ballasts and resistors in the whole circuit; I'm afraid of frying something by taking short-cuts and not wiring every part of the circuit up, even though all I want to do (once radiator on and tranny cooler plumbed) is start the engine once and after 10 years, see if it RUNS, and if my Flightomatic actually spins the rear wheels! :-)
    Probably a different post...
    First things first, need that starter to spin it over for the first time!!!
    Thanks! Click image for larger version  Name:	engine- attempt to turn over w battery.jpg Views:	11 Size:	60.2 KB ID:	1858830
    Last edited by bsrosell; 09-28-2020, 06:04 PM.

  • #2
    Can you turn engine over by hand? Making sure that it is not stuck.


    • #3
      Yeah, its COMPLETELY rebuilt (new everything), so tight, but with a long ratchet and socket on the crank bolt (I have not installed radiator yet nor bent over the 'locking tab' fortunately), it turns over smoothly, if stiffly. New pistons were all dipped in oil before install, but she's tight as you'd expect a "new" engine to be. I set all the valves recently this way, many many rotations via the socket. That was when I noticed the starter was 'ratcheting', which I thought was BAD, until reading the manual about the 'Folo-thru" starter. (apparently engages as default, and dis-engages when engine RPM above "x"? I'm used to the Model-A Ford where it spins into engagement, or 54 Buick where a solenoid plunges it into mesh.

      Anyway, yes, it turns over with a socket on the crank. NO WAY will fan turn it over though, slips on the belt. Was hoping spinning it a bit with the starter would loosen it up just a tad so I COULD use the fan if needed later. I hate to bend that tab in on the crank bolt, though with fan on, and radiator in place, not going to get a socket in there later anyway.


      • #4
        Sounds to me like you have some mismatch between the starter and the ring gear. The Folo-thru drive's normal rest position is with the pinion drawn back out of engagement with the ring gear. However, if an attempt has been made to crank the engine, and the engine did not start, the pinion will "park" in the extended position. That is completely normal, and the starter can be installed and used that way. First time the engine does start, the pinion will retract. There is a locking pin on the the short helix that gets released by centrifugal force when the starter is over-driven by a running engine.

        Was the starter rebuilt? If not, could be a worn out drive end bushing. If that is bad, the effort of turning a tight engine can force the armature to one side, and make it drag on a field pole piece, which will effectively lock it up. That would explain the 4 volts you see under load, too.

        Try another starter.
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


        • #5
          When an engine is rebuilt and assembled with each component installed the engine should be rotated and should turn freely even with all 8 pistons installed. Any binding should be investigated. To say the engine is TIGHT is not always a good thing.


          • #6
            Note - a "properly" rebuilt, fresh engine, never run...should tight.

            A NEW, fresh, not started engine...the crankshaft should start to turn with about 30 to 35ft. lbs , then to continue the rotation should take about 20ftlbs using a beam type torque wrench.
            Well, MAYBE, we can add another 5ft.lbs. because of the rope seals.

            Much else is...TOO tight, for whatever reason.



            • #7
              I believe this is a '57 Golden Hawk, so No Rope Seals.
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner


              • #8
                I see the Supercharger Belt is ON, you do not break in an Engine with the Supercharger connected, that would certainly help to turn the Engine.

                For a short run without Coolant, all you need is a 16 Ga. wire from the + battery terminal to the + Side of the Coil if you have connected the Coil (-) to the Distributor, but DO have a way to quickly disconnect the Hot Wire to the Coil, if things go wrong.

                Rather than throwing all those sparks around nearby Fuel by connecting to the Starter, I would connect the Solenoid and Starter Cable up and jump that Low Amperage load to the small "S" Terminal with a Short wire from the Battery (+) to start it.
                Last edited by StudeRich; 09-29-2020, 12:02 AM.
                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                • #9
                  Sounding like that starter is jamming against something when energized. pull it and reset the bendix ,put a light coat of grease on the bendix face and reinstall it. when energized the armature spins the bendix out into the ring gear then cranks the motor over. if bendix goes to far it will jam against the ring gear face and lock up and sit there and hum. safer way but not the best way,use a short cable from starter + post and grab this with jumper clamp, eliminate that iffy batt. i always use a small instrument panel with oil pressure gauge ,ign switch and solenoid on back. just bolts to convenient spot on engine or to underside of dash Ala '56 wagon project. every time you test starter on floor it will "Throw Out" the bendix and will need to be reset to make installation easier. check that starter against the spare under the work bench! Luck Doofus


                  • #10
                    OK - I read all the posts quickly. Did you say this particular starter is known to have started this engine with the present ring gear installed ? No chance you replaced either of them or had a non-functioning engine to start with before rebuild ???


                    • #11
                      Living in the hinterland, my whole life revolves around batteries.(I probably have well over one hundred in total). Get a reliable meter to measure the actual voltage. First get a well charged NEW battery (Should read around 13.0V or better on your meter) and most likely cables too as they can corrode internally where you can't see the core. Trying to start through a semi-dead battery rarely works and is hard on the alternator. I agree with Rich so pull the S/C belt to reduce drag. Re-read doofus's post.


                      • #12
                        This may sound stupid, but I have made this mistake more than once. Rebuilding the engine and starter - painting it up real nice - too nice , you may not have a good ground,
                        starter to bellhousing or bellhousing to the block. I have a habit of using too much paint. Good luck, Mark


                        • #13
                          Ok, here are the answers:
                          1) engine turns over (after disconnecting belts) at about 50 ft-lbs. Not much different after starting rotation, drops a little but a bit less than 50 ft-lbs maybe. Feels smooth, just takes that much force. (plugs removed)

                          2) checked my notes, set main-bearings via Plastigauge to 0.015-0.002" (in spec), camshaft spun nice and free, checked everything carefully per manual as I went.

                          3) piston rings gapped per mfg specs, noted that I had to file the top set, (.015" gap or something? Not binding anyway)

                          4) Original starter to the car; yes, it turned over the car when I got it (never started but spun it well). The armature & field coils were good (checked at a shop), I rebuilt with new bushings, and had a new post put on recently. Spins freely w/ battery (out of car).

                          5) new Bendix (old new stock "rebuilt" from reputable Stude vendor). Same number of teeth.

                          6) I did replace the torque convertor and its original ring gear, as my car had an incorrect Ford-o-matic tranny; found a correct heavy-duty Flightomatic FROM a Golden Hawk, took that torque convertor and its better ring-gear. From my photos, I count 163 teeth on both.

                          7) re: ground (Ha!!, you betcha; made that mistake early this Spring FIRST time I tried. Couldn't figure out why I had no voltage. PAINT.) Took starter AND the tranny cover plate off, wire-brushed all the paint off both sides and applied dielectric grease, so good metal-to-metal contact now.

                          8) photo of starter below in 'normal' state. Thus HAS to mesh with ring-gear when I install it. So this is the point I'm wondering about, though didn't seem any room for "error" in assembling this; bendix spring only goes on one way... Does this look correct?? Ratchets smoothly. Doesn't push in much by hand. I put only light-oil on the bendix screw per shop manual, greased bearing.

                          Click image for larger version  Name:	starter bendix.jpg Views:	0 Size:	39.9 KB ID:	1858971
                          Last edited by bsrosell; 09-29-2020, 05:41 PM.


                          • #14
                            Even though the ring gap is to spec when sliding it down the cylinder, if there is any carbon in the ring groves the gap will be forced closer and this could cause binding. It is imperative that all the carbon is removed before assembly. This caught me once.


                            • #15
                              The starter pinion is in the extended position, as it would be while cranking the engine. There is no problem with installing it this way. Once the engine starts, and over-drives the starter, it will be kicked back to its true rest position. But look closely at the pinion gear itself, and the flat on the face of the stamped shell from which the pinion protrudes. Is there any sign of the flywheel teeth having bottomed out in the pinion teeth? Is there any sign, like rub marks, of the shell of the starter drive rubbing against the front face of the ring gear? Perhaps you could paint the pinion gear and face of the shell with layout dye, like Gentian Violet, install the starter, and turn the engine by hand, to check for interference.
                              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands