• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Mini starter will not engage


Well-Known Member
Local time
6:23 AM
Apr 25, 2009
Reaction score
Cheektowaga NY
Hi, I just replaced a mini starter in my 69with the type same mid 90s mini starter. Replaced the wiring from the relay and the relay to the starter. Cleaned the connections at the firewall pass thru connector, the ignition switch works. Checked all grounds and they are clean and tight. Oh-ya bench tested the starter, It spins like a 1000rpm but no engagement. Help, any ideas? Thanks.
Is there a tooth count difference between the 2 starters?
You replaced the starter relay?
whats it doing when you turn the key?
I don't have the old starter so I cant check. I would believe they are the same. Starter spins but the bendix does not push out to engage the drive gear. It does on the bench however. Checked all the voltages and they are 12.5v minimum at all points I tested. I do not have any burnt or damaged wiring, all fuses are good. I am at a loss on what I am missing.

It must be something simple that I am missing, I just cant put my finger on it.
So the bendix isn't engaging, but it was on the bench.
can you here the bendix hitting anything when you hit the key?

i would verify that the starter is completely seated, tight up against the bell housing, OR
its possible its setting IN to far as well (I had one that I had to space away from the bell housing to get it to properly engage)
if all else fails, you can pull it, again, (i know, it sucks)
and verify that;
thd bendix IS still engaging, the tooth count on the starter (the correct application)
Ya, I am going to have to pull it again. Its fully seated, i did not know there was a different tooth count on the factory mini starters. I used them for years without any problems. Thanks.
I'd get a measurement on the flex plate depth as well (or flywheel depending on your app) just to make sure its not setting to deep in the bell housing, but you can usually hear the bendix striking inside the bell housing if that's the case.
I've also had issues in the past with dust covers.

Out of curiosity did you change anything else prior to the starter swap? I had a 67 GTX that I changed the TQ converter (TCI) on after a trans rebuild and I needed a different flex plate.
Its a billet flywheel, the bendix is not moving. The car uses a Lakewood bellhousing no access covers. Nothing else changed.