Best Quality Mini Starter?

EngineerDoug

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OK got an update on all this. As it turns out, the starter is not defective.

The problem is improper engagement of the Bendix drive. Got out the inspection camera and observed how the Bendix drive extends when I energize the solenoid. It does not fully extend, but hits the ring gear on the converter. The gear teeth do not mesh. That explains why the starter motor does not even try to spin - the contacts inside the solenoid don't touch each other.

So I do see that the mounting holes in the starter are oversize, so there is some leeway as to how you can bolt the starter to the bellhousing. Apparently I must have initially bolted it up so the gears would engage, but somehow the starter shifted enough after several uses so that it was no longer the case. I did securely bolt the starter in place; it was not loose when I pulled it.

It appears that the starter needs to shift outboard just a small amount, and then stay there. Note the converter is a high-end custom unit - not a bottom of the barrel piece. And this issue has presented itself with 2 different starters.

Has anybody else seen this issue? Am I missing any other considerations? Thanks.
 

Fran Blacker

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Thought the nose of the starter did the aligning the gear mesh?
 

EngineerDoug

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I thought so as well, but found a couple of clues that suggest that is not the case.

For one thing, I find that the 2 mounting holes in the starter are oversize. So when you mount the starter there is a fair amount of "wiggle room" in the radial axis. There is indeed a recess in the trans case for the snout of the starter, but it is also oversize. If it were not oversize then you would not be able to vary the mounting position. The upshot is that there is some leeway in how close/far away from the ring gear you mount the starter.

I will spend some more time with my inspection camera to see what is going on when the starter is mounted. As I mentioned, the loud click you hear when you activate the starter is the Bendix gear running into the ring gear = not meshing.

It sounds strange, I know, but I have an aftermarket converter mounted to an engine/trans for which the starter was never designed. Maybe I should not be surprised...
 

F4R/T

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A nippendenso oem mopar mini starter is the only one to use if your going that route. The others are just copy cats of them. IMO
 

JG71B

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Just had my starter take a dump. I have the junkyard checking for a good OEM mini starter from a 6 and or 8cyl Dakota right now. Had one from Advance Auto last year with the lifetime warranty, so far so good on the other setup
 
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