Starter Motor Woes

Discuss mechanical problems here.
Bowie69
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Bowie69 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:06 pm

Could also be poor connections/deteriorated cable crimps.

oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:19 am

Bowie69 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:06 pm
Could also be poor connections/deteriorated cable crimps.
Agreed, but that would be simple to diagnose - just by checking voltages at relevant points at relevant times.

We are guessing.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:04 am

Ah- it’s all a learning curve! Thanks for pointing out what sort of starter motor it is, as all my manuals deal with the inertia type. I keep telling myself that each problem is just a chance to learn.

The batter was recharged to 12.8v. It was chucking it down again last night, but I’ll rope in an assistant to help me on Saturday morning, then I can get a proper look at what’s happening under the bonnet when the key’s turned, film it and measure the voltages. I’ll also double check the secret switch I added to the fuel pump, though I hear it clicking when the ignition is switched on so I don’t think it’s that. Will check connections and spark plugs again too.
Seb

ianmack
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby ianmack » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:33 am

This could be an ongoing problem if we give Minor related advice for components not of Minor origin. You mentioned in an earlier post that your car has an automatic box from I think a Toyota. Perhaps it would be worth asking the seller for a breakdown of all the non original components used in your car and what they have come from. Quite apart from discussion on here you will have problems if you need to find replacements for any of these parts.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:06 pm

I do have a full list of everything bought for the car, plus receipts, however the starter motor wasn’t on it so I assumed it was original. Aside from the gearbox, the rest of the car is a standard 1971 Traveller, with common upgrades from ESM/Charles Ware like servo brakes. I’m aware that my Minor is different to others, but after 50+ years most Minors seem to be slightly bespoke, which is why I asked for advice here! I wouldn’t expect to get specific advice for non-standard after market parts.

The gearbox is a very common model used in Volvos as well as Toyotas over a long period, so spares should not be an issue- they weren’t when I looked earlier this year. I’ll find out more about the origin of the starter motor once I manage to extricate it on Saturday- assuming I don’t find some other solution first.

Seb

oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:55 pm

I would likely lay odds on the prop shaft being modified in some way... :D

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:39 pm

oliver90owner wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:55 pm
I would likely lay odds on the prop shaft being modified in some way... :D
It’s not you know! I can vouch for that as I saw underneath when I had the auto box looked at. The mechanics were astonished at the lengths the previous owner had gone to in order to marry the torque to the original prop shaft, he’d machined his own parts to fit.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:18 pm

Some progress!

For the first time ever, I got her starter with the handle. The engine was running at quite high revs though, and even pushing the choke back in didn’t calm it down.

Still, good to have the engine running again.
I then tried starting with the key, and just the whining noise again. The fan doesn’t go round at all when I turn the key, I’m still not convinced that the starter is engaging with the flywheel. Tried a bit of ‘percussive engineering’, ie whacking it with something heavy but it makes no difference.

Does this narrow things down at all? I’ve checked all the electrical connections, plugs etc and they are fine.

Here's a video of the engine when I try to start with the key:
https://youtu.be/73KUFz97llg

...and here's the engine running once I started it with the handle. I can't stress enough that the car was absolutely fine last time I drove it, so I'm baffled as to what could have changed since then:
https://youtu.be/OtzfEee_rTI

PS a passing neighbour informed me that Peggy is now famous, having been painted by our local anonymous artist. Hopefully this means I’ll be able to get a postcard of her in the local bookshop soon.

Seb

oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:24 am

Did you check that it moved when in gear?

I had two real crank problems many years ago.

First one was I found my flywheel hanging on by one loose bolt. Some kind thoughtless person had fitted the flywheel with low tensile bolts (and not particularly tight?). That was a 1500 Cortina engine. Noticed by a knocking sound like big end when it occured

The other was a snapped crank in front (I think) of the rear main bearing. Eventually lost drive and had to be towed the last half mile home. That was a Landrover 2 1/4 l diesel. It did around 15 miles before total loss of drive. Noticed by the clutch pedal ‘feel’ when depressed!

Hope yours is only the starter motor adjustment, or similar!

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:21 am

:o
Oh no! I hope it's not a serious as that - I can't understand how the crankshaft could have snapped when it's just been sitting parked. Will see whether the car will get in gear and move with the engine running; starting to really worry now...
Not sure how clear it is from the video but it sounds like there is a rhythmic scraping noise when the engine runs which I've not heard before.

Seb

StillGotMy1stCar
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby StillGotMy1stCar » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:33 am

In your first clip it does sound like the starter is turning the flywheel or ring gear as the starter motor appears to driving a load. Could be and most likely sheared flywheel bolts or slipping ring gear. If it is sheared flywheel bolts I am amazed you were able to get it to run without a flywheel, you must have been whizzing round on that starting handle.
The flywheel will be modified in some way to mount the torque converter.
If there is no inspection plate in bell housing to view the flywheel then take the starter motor off and see if you can turn the flywheel with a screwdriver to see if it turns the engine.
The starter fitted has an overrun clutch another possibility.
Time to bite the bullet and investigate further.
Disconnect the battery before removing the starter.
Regards John

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:43 am

Thanks John,

That gives me somewhere to start. I'll investigate and report back later.

All the best,
Seb

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:58 pm

Bit of a dispiriting afternoon. First I looked for an inspection hatch in the bell housing, but nothing, so prepared to remove the starter to look at the ring gear through the hole.

To get to the bolts on the starter, you have to first remove the distributor, as it's right in the way. However space is so tight that I couldn't get to the bottom bolt- all my sockets and spanners were too large to fit in the available space.

I had another look at the starter- with a bit of contortionism I managed to get the top nut off, but the bottom bolt was stuck fast- I crawled under the car but however much I tried I just couldn't get enough torque to undo it.

Finally I decided to start the car with the handle and see if any power is getting to the wheels.

It isn't. The engine responds normally when I press the accelerator, and the revs increase when I pull the choke out, but when I put it in gear, no power is getting to the wheels.

My very amateur understanding of this is that if the starter won't spin the engine enough for it to come to life, and if the engine is running happily but nothing is reaching the wheels, the flywheel must somehow be responsible.

I think this is a job beyond my meagre tools and skills and I'm going to have to see if a garage will tow her in to be looked at- I have a Morris Minor specialist near me and was about to book my MOT there. It'd be good to have a rough idea of what might be wrong though.

Seb

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes / no power to wheels

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:51 pm

Well, after another look underneath, and some correspondence with the previous owner, I've got to the bottom of the problem. Oliver90owner, you were sort of right and I was wrong; the propshaft is not modified, but the flywheel has been replaced with a flexplate from a Hillman Avenger. The flexplate is bolted to the crankshaft, and the torque converter is bolted to the flexplate, and then the propshaft.

I located an inspection hatch in the engine backplate, below the starter, and looked carefully while an assistant slowly turned the engine with the starting handle. Sure enough, the flex plate moved about an inch and then no more. I rotated it with a screwdriver and the bolts around the outside are all present, so it looks like it has shattered in the centre; a bit like John suggested.

As a result, when I turn the key, the starter motor is rotating the flexplate via the ring gear, and thus the torque converter, but it's not turning the engine. This explains the strange noise, and the fact that the starter seems to be under load despite the engine not turning. It also explains the high revs when I started the car on the handle, as it the engine didn't have the load of the flexplate on it.

The good news is that I now know what's wrong; the bad news is I have no way of getting the engine out and obviously I can't drive the car, so I'm now crossing my fingers that my local Morris garage will a) tow her in and b) are prepared to look at a non-standard Minor. I have found a NOS Avenger flexplate on e-Bay that isn't too far away from me, so that may be an option if they'll take the job on.

I wonder what will break next?

Seb

oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:44 pm

If that is the problem, the question of what caused the breakage might be best addressed before simply fitting another. There is always the possibility that the fault has occurred previously.... Might even be why a pre-engaged starter motor was fitted? A fully lightened flywheel might be a better alternative?

The engine-to-gearbox conversion plate might be one suspect (the main one) - the torque converter and crankshaft not being perfectly aligned? Power of the starter motor, when engaging, might be another.

Back in the 1970s, we used to break the torque plates fitted to S-O-S Ford tractors. They were easily over-torqued by changing down a gear at below 1500 rpm under heavy load. Soon avoided, of course, but it took a couple, or three, tractor splits before the reason for failure, and applying a temporary fix, was sorted out. I don’t know how Ford overcame the problem - perhaps by increasing the torque allowable to be transmitted to the gearbox or a change of materials. Maybe even just a bad batch of torque plates.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:47 pm

I suspect that it’s either wear and tear (the previous owner converted it to automatic eight years ago and had no previous problems), or it may be the result of a transmission problem I had at the start of the year, where the joint between the torque converter and prop shaft wasn’t totally solid- that extra flexing may have sowed the seeds.

Booking in to the Minor garage when the guy comes back from holiday so will see what he says.

Seb

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:41 pm

Depressing news from the garage.

The Morris specialist reckons that the flexplate and crankshaft are fine, but that a bespoke mating plate between them has broken. He hasn't taken the engine or gearbox out yet as he reckons it will be a long job and not worth starting without a replacement.

The more depressing news is that their machinist has retired and they haven't been able to find another person in the London area willing and able to fabricate parts. The bottom line is that they will do the work if I can supply a machined part to them, but they're reluctant to do the work as it will be time consuming and expensive. They've suggested I find a garage in the sticks who can do the work for less and make a suitable part.

I have no way of getting a dead car out to another garage out of town and I don't even know who might be willing to do the work. I've asked the previous owner if he has drawings of the part or contact details for someone who might be able to fabricate one.

Feeling very despondant indeed today.

Seb

ianmack
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby ianmack » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:24 pm

My sympathies. Unless you really want an auto I think a standard minor box and clutch might be your best solution.

Steve Phillips
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Steve Phillips » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:28 pm

Hi Seb,

I think i have sent you a PM, but not sure if it got through or not,

i may be able to help with your machining requirements,
please feel free to PM me about this,

Steve
Image

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:51 pm

Steve Phillips wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:28 pm
Hi Seb,

I think i have sent you a PM, but not sure if it got through or not,

i may be able to help with your machining requirements,
please feel free to PM me about this,

Steve
Many thanks Steve, PM sent!
ianmack wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:24 pm
My sympathies. Unless you really want an auto I think a standard minor box and clutch might be your best solution.
I think that's the last resort; as I have an auto only licence (yeah, I know) it would mean selling her which I'm loathe to do, having fallen in love with the car and spent a lot of time working on her. Besides which, when it's working, it's a joy to drive in traffic with an auto box!

Seb


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