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Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 14 Sep 2017 18:56
by vetteguy22
I recently acquired a 71 510. I purchased it as a non runner. I should say I'm not very familiar with Datsun.
I believe that the engine has been rebuilt. It's to clean to have been run, the oil is new, etc.
It's a manual trani. I tried to start it the other day. It turns over by hand ok.
I connected a battery and remote start button and the engine began to crank but the starter would not stay engaged in the ring gear. Only turned the motor over for a few seconds, then it just sounded like it was grinding against the ring gear.
I thought maybe it was a bad spot on the ring gear so I turned the motor by hand a bit and tried again with the same results.
I pulled the starter to inspect and the ring rear and the starter gear are both ok. I tested the starter off the car to see if the starter gear was fully advancing and it was.
I do have a 72 510 with and auto trani that starts and runs fine.
I decided to pull the starter from it and try it. It did the same thing.
I'm hoping someone can direct me in the right direction as to why the starter is not engaging in the ring gear properly so that I can start the car and move forward with this project.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 16 Sep 2017 10:03
by datzenmike
With the starter out, did you rotate the engine completely around to inspect the flywheel ring?

In order of easy (and more likely) to more difficult...

Look between the engine block and the transmission. There should be a 1/16" engine plate sandwiched between them. If missing (could happen if forgotten to be put back on after the flywheel was installed) the starter would be now be mounted forward and farther away from the starter ring on the flywheel making proper engagement more difficult.

Try jumper cables from a known fully charged battery to eliminate any chance that your battery is at fault.

Check the ground cable where it bolts to the head behind the fuel pump is clean and tight.

Check both battery terminals are clean and tight.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 17 Sep 2017 13:18
by bertvorgon
I ran into this very problem after dropping an 1800 into my wife's auto 1970 510.

I just put some washers between the starter motor and bell housing to bring the starter drive back towards the front of the car, worked perfectly and never had an issue with loosening or engagement.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 03:28
by vetteguy22
So you are saying the starter gear is traveling past the ring gear.
Wow I would have never thought of that. I was figuring it wasn't going far enough.
Do you know how much you had to move the starter back?
I'll have to check that out when I get home.
I'm on my way to Indy to work the SCCA run offs so will be a little while but I really appreciate the info.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 05:31
by bertvorgon
You will just have to see...with the starter gear to how much it protrudes past the ring gear, and then pull it back from there, likely not much. Worth checking at any rate.

Your lucky to be going to the Run-offs, our Team member COLLIN JACKSON from SPECIALTY ENGINEERING is on his way to run his GT-3 car to see if he can retain his title. He races next Saturday at 8:30 A.M..

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 06:15
by datzenmike
Starter is bolted to the transmission. Flywheel is bolted to the engine.

If the spacer is missing the transmission will be closer to the engine, moving the starter forward away from the flywheel.

This would mean the starter has farther to reach in for proper engagement of the starter ring. I would guess a little more than 1/16"

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 20:42
by vetteguy22
Sorry, like I said I'm new to Datsun. Where is the factory spacer supposed to have been installed and is it visible to determine if it's missing?

I'll have to keep my eyes out for Collin. I'm a tech inspector for GT.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 21:44
by RMS
if you can see the flywheel to the left and right of the block its not installed. flowing your thought that "it wasn't going far enough"..... I split a trans off the back of an L16 to find a flex plate adapter used between the crank and flywheel in a failed auto to 4spd swap.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 10 Oct 2017 16:13
by vetteguy22
So I’m back from Indy raceway and have had a chance to check out the situation.
I have taken some measurements and see that the ring gear on this car is setting back approx. 5/8” from the engine plate.
When looking at the ring gear and the flywheel, the ring gear is set back about 1/4” on the flywheel away from the engine.
I’m wondering if the flywheel is not the correct one.
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Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 10 Oct 2017 17:20
by datzenmike
You have an engine plate so not that. Two starters doing the same thing. Assuming that the starter is ok the only other thing is the battery or the connections.

Did you clean the battery posts and both cable ends? The ground wire on the head is it clean and tight. All have to make good electrical connection to handle hundreds of amps.
Did you try a fully charged battery or jumper cables from a known good battery?

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 10 Oct 2017 21:40
by vetteguy22
It’s not an electrical issue.
I verified today that the starter is not engaging far enough to fully mesh with the ring gear.
My other Datsun motor has the ring gear right at the engine side of the flywheel.
This ring gear is set back approx 1/4” on the flywheel.
I had tried to show that in the picture I had posted.
I’m not sure what trani it has or any of the components that were used in the build.
I’m fairly certain the flywheel is incorrect or the starter is not proper for this set up.
Just not sure where to go from here.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 11 Oct 2017 06:56
by bertvorgon
I really wonder if you have a weird starter motor.

Can you post a picture of the nose of the starter motor? I can look at one of my spares and measure the thickness of the mounting area.

Thanks for your comments on Collin's car!

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 11 Oct 2017 07:05
by vetteguy22
I will post a pic of the starter but don’t really think that’s the issue since the second starter that I tried came out of my other 510 and it works perfectly and engages correctly in that car.
I will try to get a pic of the difference in the placement of the ring gears also.
Just have to say Collin just dominated his race. Since I was involved in teching his car after the race, I got to talk to him and his mechanic.
Really nice guys.
Thanks for the help on this situation.

Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 11 Oct 2017 21:22
by vetteguy22
I am attaching a pic of the starter and also a pic of another motor I acquired that has the motor plate along with flywheel, clutch and pressure plate.
I hope it is visible the difference between the pic form yesterday of the problem motor and the one posted today.
It shows how much the ring gear is set back on the problem motor compared the the spare that I have.
Just not familiar enough with Datsuns to know where to go from here.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Starter not engaging prperly

Posted: 12 Oct 2017 00:18
by 510rob
I wonder if this engine was originally from a car with an automatic transmission...

...and that there is a very remotely possible that someone left an automatic spacer on the crank before they put on the flywheel.

I used the pictures from an ebay auction by seller "baddoor250" (thank you, sir!)

One of the spacers goes between the crank and the flexplate, one goes between the flexplate and the bolts.
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If someone left the inner spacer on the crank after they removed a flexplate but before they installed a flywheel, that would account for the offset...

The offset at the pressure plate could probably be compensated for with a shorter throw out bearing collar.

There you go, a complete theory, based on pure speculation! :P

More oics? ok, one more. I had to re-borrow this one from the friends - because photo bucket sucks ducks.
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just a possible wingnut theory.