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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
Spider 1974
Just fitted a recon starter from centerline. Worked fine for a month. Tried to start car this evening and starter did a couple of reluctant turns, then ceased to respond at all, no click, nothing. Got out to take a look and there was a fine plume of smoke coming from the region of the starter, and the starter was fierce hot to touch. Smelled like burning plastic. Disconnected the battery and left it to cool down.

Any ideas what has happened?

Thanks for any suggestions

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used the shoulder bolt and I was careful to make sure that the grounding was good
Maybe I have to send it back unless other thoughts
Why would a faulty ground result in over heating?

Thanks for your thoughts

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see how that works, thanks for response
I took the starter out and there is some wear on the ring gear, a few tiny metal shards here and there. Does any one have a view on whether a mechanical problem at the interface between ring and pinion gears could lead to a failed starter which heats up whenever connected to 12v. I had noticed that the starter sound was not uniform before this all happened

Thanks agin for input
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As you guessed there is a back story (isn't there always)

Here goes, and sorry for the long winded tale.

The original starter failed several months ago, and I took it into a local auto electric shop for rebuild. They said that this would be too difficult and would take months, so they sold me a modern unit that they swore was the exact replacement part. I fitted it, and it worked fine for several weeks, then started to run without meshing the ring gear, so couldn't start the car. I took it out and it was then that I noticed the metal shards, very fine, clearly from the ring gear. The ring gear was visible through the bell housing, and the teeth were all present perhaps rather worn but not too bad to my inexperienced eye. It seemed clear to me that the modern replacement was not a mechanical fit and I was very worried that the ring gear was toast.

The auto electric shop refunded me for the starter but refused to accept that it might have not been the right part. I subsequently found out that 1974 was a special year re the ring gear tooth number, and that not all parts suppliers recognized this fact. Not wanting to take any more risks, I bought a old recon unit from centerline, identical unit to the original starter. Fitted it in, and it worked fine again for a month or so (the car is only used once a week at most). Latterly I noticed that the starter would be a little slow to get going on turning over a cold engine, and also that the noise on starting would sometimes give a little intermittent "crash" sound as the starter was running. which I attributed to the engine firing but failing to pick up. There was never a grinding sound, and never a failure to mesh.

The most recent event was the complete failure of the starter this week, couple of cranks then it was dead, no click, nothing. The starter was issuing gey smoke, and the starter housing, not the solenoid, was piping hot.

I have sent the starter back to canterline since I worry about an internal short. However, the ring gear is worn and possibly further damaged by the episode with the modern starter.

Here's my concern: is it a reasonable bet to try again with the reconditioned unit if centerline can repair it, or am I going to keep destroying starters because the ring gear is worn? From my reading of the alfa BB, ring gear problems seem to mostly result in terrible noise and failure to mesh rather than starter destruction...

Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate the time you have taken to think about this

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In the event that the ring gear proves to be the problem is the task of replacing it beyond my level of ability. I have done lots of small stuff like replacing water pump and exhaust , pinion seal and transmission mount. I have most of the tools that would be required, including decent compressor and air tools, but no car lift and i work in a pretty cramped and dark space. I would say that I am an enthusiastic beginner. Any thoughts would be appreciated

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have decided to bite the bullet and change the ring gear and starter in one unit since I am getting nowhere with trying reconditioned starters. The ring gear is definitely chewed up and I am tired of sacrificing starters
If any one is interested I will send pics from though the starter aperture to show what a chewed up ring gear looks like.

Centerline described the last starter as a total melt down, but were good enough to refund the rebuild cost. It was certainly smoking pretty actively when i removed it. I do suspect that it was either spinning at engine speed for a while, or perhaps locked into the ring gear and jammed while activated.

So, am following the alfa bb trail with some great entries on dropping the transmission.

First step is getthe car up, back wheel;s on ramps, front jacked up onto axle stands under the stiffening rails under the floor pans.

So far I have removed the drive shaft, gear lever, decoupled the exhaust and loosened the fan shroud (can get to the lower drivers side bolt from under the car). the starter is already out so ahead on that step.

I have the harborfreight trans jack. In fact, just the weight of the transmission tilts the engine so that the rear almost touches the firewall without having to jack up the front of the engine. When the engine was tilted down, I could see the top 2 bell housing bolts along the top of the trans tunnel above the transmission, and with long enough extensions get a socket onto each and undo that way. Very helpful to know that the top 2 are nuts and bolts (as opposed to nuts on studs, thanks bb), otherwise would never have known that theres a nut on the other side. I have the drivers side out, will attack the passenger side etc later this week if I can find time.

The other bell housing bolts look more accessible. I will need to release the 4 inspection cover bolts, then the ground strap. I butchered the speedo cable because forgot to remove this before angling the trans, oops.

The clutch is after that. Is it possible to disconnect the clutch coupling from the transmission without draining the hydraulic fluid?

Then the bit I am very apprehensive about, pulling the transmission. The trans jack should help. We will see

More to come

Hands beeding and neck aching..its pretty tight under there in the smallest and darkest garage ever built.

Thanks to bb members for truly great resource and excellent encouragement.

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Perhaps I should consider the lightened fly wheel. As long as there is no risk of the flywheel breaking up. Thanks for the advice re things to do while there. The clutch is pretty new and the slave also. But will make sure it all looks ok. Have another jack to elevate the front of the engine once the transmission. Is (hopefully) out

In a way I am looking forward to the challenge. Maybe that will change when I get into my first spot of trouble. Watch this space for desperate pleas for advice as I blunder on

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks for the ongoing discussion. It's really helpful to have this help going forward. Jim, how can a starter be destroyed? Centerline said that it was completely melted inside. If not spin to destruction then could a mashed up ring gear do this to a starter? Could I have an electrical problem? I just fitted a relay into the starter circuit. Could poor ground or 12v connections do this? I would hate to replace a starter only to have the same thing happen again.

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
That does make sense. So perhaps replacing ring gear to allow a modern new starter is best since rebuilds may always be prone to flaws. I am at the point now where I want to fix the whole starter issue for good since the car has been on stands on and off for months

I am moving ahead with the job. Got the exhaust apart so I can tilt the engine with no difficulty. Clutch slave is away from the transmission. By undoing the two circlips and simply pulling it through the mount on the trans. The top two trans bolts are out. I mustn't forget to free up the reverse light switch connection. Haven't looked at this yet. Also I read that there's a flywheel inspection plate that has to be removed. Is that the 4 bolt plate under the tarter mount area. Facing forward?

Doing a little bit each night. Probably will aim for the big pull before the end of the week. A local alfa shop., group 2, can find a replacement flywheel with later ring gear compatible with modern starters. I hope I can remove the old flywheel without too much of a struggle

Thanks to all for your help and support

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I bought the Hf trans jack, so hopefully that will help. I thought that if I measured the transmissions angle and height as I took it out, then replacing it would be easier simply by setting it up in the same position relative to the engine on the way back. Hopefully tonight I will remove the remaining bolts and then see if I can get it to pull back and away. I ordered the VW ring gear clamp, this sounds like it should help alot in getting the fly wheel off. Should hear from group 2 about the fly wheel and starter options in next couple of days

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I did employ shoulder bolt and shim when I refitted the starter. Your point about the ring gear to starter match is well taken, and I will be guided by group 2 here in Seattle who are dedicated alfa mechanics and, I believe, really know what they are talking about. There's so much metal shard around the bell housing that I think the ring gear must have been significantly chewed up, so I am going to take this opportunity to wed a more modern starter to the engine with an updated ring gear. The long extensions really worked well along the bell housing, and I really like the way that the transmission lift gives control. Will see if I can get the transmission out and back....

More to come

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Managed to drop the transmission this morning. Went very smoothly with the transmission jack. I managed to get the flywheel off with a harbor freight air impact wrench. The ring gear is very damaged in one section. I suspect that is where the engine comes to rest and where the starter pinion is always engaging. Should have replacement ring gear by next week.
When reassembling what torque for the flywheel bolts and clutch locating bolts and should I use loctite on the flywheel bolts?

I should replace the rear main seal there's lots of oil leaking below this midsection of the engine. Does any one have any tips on removing the seal and how to drive in the new seal?

I will try to post some pictures

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
On the ring gear there is a short segment of quite extreme wear. The teeth here are a mm or more shorter and butchered on the tips. Here's a view of the flywheel. There is a steel ring plate under the six bolts. This has two Flat sides. Does it matter how its reassembled? The is no flap washer to lock the flywheel bolts but didn't see any loctite when I removed them
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
As I replace the transmission what kind of grease on the splines and thrust washer and should I put some gasket material on the interface between engine and bell housing

Thanks for your thoughts

Ts
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I know that this is a bit off thread, but I have replaced the pinion seal while the driveshaft was off and the pinion nut was really not very tightly secured. i am sure that it is wound on far less than the torque specified in the books, not alot more than finger tight really. i have tried to follow this in the bb but it seems complicated. I am tempted to leave it as I found it rather than messing with it. Is there any danger to leaving as is, or should this be adjusted?

Thanks for any comments.

I will begin to reassemble the transmission to engine etc tomorrow. Have new ring gear on, with new starter that I am assured will mesh with the new ring. Will use green or blue loctite on the fly wheel bolts and torque them up to 82 as specified on the centerline chart.

It would be helpful to know if I should put any gasket compound on the seal between bell housing and rear of engine, there was none there when I took it apart.

Thanks so much for all your input as I move on with this.

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
you can probably tell that I am getting a little anxious about putting things back together. I wanted to make sure that the starter flywheel ring gear combo is going to work before I commit to this. So if anyone can confirm this I would be considerably happier at this stage. The set I now have is a new 130 tooth ring gear with an outer diameter of 278mm. The starter is a bosch SR484X; here are some numbers from the bosch unit: 1005621071 1073017. Another question, does this combination also require that the the shim be in place between starter and bell housing?

Thanks for any input on this.

TS
 
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