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Old 05-07-2022, 12:45   #1
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Stuck starter bendix

When perusing the forum I could not readily locate any info about identifying or fixing a stuck starter bendix. I was convinced that the problem I was experiencing was just that, so we decided to pull the starter and see if we could free up the bendix and pinion gear. A few hard whacks with a hammer on the side of the pinion gear next to the large shock absorber spring and the pinion gear freed right up. We cleaned it good, lightly greased the big screw assembly the pinion rides on, and we were back in business! A final bleeding of the injectors, after a filter change, and the 45-year-old Westy 4-107 fired right up. The rust on the pinion was apparently the result of a charge of salt and fresh water in the bilge, from winter layup, that got picked up by the flywheel and thrown on the pinion gear and bendix before the bilge pump could clear it out. Due to other circumstances, the boat sat for a couple of weeks on its' mooring, after the first run of the engine, and that was long enough for the salt bath to seize the pinion gear. I hope others will find that their starters are fairly rugged and, with a few loving whacks, they can be encouraged to keep on working!
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Old 05-07-2022, 15:13   #2
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Re: Stuck starter bendix

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I hope others will find that their starters are fairly rugged and, with a few loving whacks, they can be encouraged to keep on working!
Many years ago I kept a wooden mallet in my (fairly old) car because I had to do that every couple of days to its starter
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Old 05-07-2022, 17:43   #3
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Re: Stuck starter bendix

The number one cure for a stuck bendix is a hammer. The Chevy you could reverse it and toss it back in. The Chevy also fit Harley.
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Old 06-07-2022, 10:05   #4
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Re: Stuck starter bendix

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Many years ago I kept a wooden mallet in my (fairly old) car because I had to do that every couple of days to its starter
The mechanism on my starter uses a centrifugal screw mounted on the starter shaft to thrust the pinion into the flywheel gears instantly when the starter is activated. Most autos, and a lot of older boats rely on a separate solenoid mounted on top of the starter that mechanically pushes the pinion into the flywheel gears. A stuck solenoid is often the problem in the latter case and believe me, I' too have brought several older cars to life with a hammer!. I don't know the correct word to describe the centrifugal type bendix arrangement - but suffice it to say it doesn't respond as readily to a hammer blow and pulling the starter seems to be the only solution. As an aside, there is an access plate, or "cup" affair on the Westerbeke - opposite the starter body, that will permit access to the centrifugsl pinion gear and the possibility of freeing the gear by tapping on it's visible gear edge with a long flat-blade screwdriver. I believe that's the purpose of this access cover - or cup - but in our case it's removal was blocked by a custom fabricated.engine mounting bracket that crossed over the cup, effectively preventing its' removal. For the record, the pinion gear is "sucked" towards the starter to engage the flywheel - not pushed away from it - making it easy to loosen it by tapping towards the starter. Whew! A long-winded explanation - but maybe it'll help someone.
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Old 06-07-2022, 13:15   #5
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Re: Stuck starter bendix

I was told the tiny bits flying off get magnetically charged and jam the shaft. The Knock breaks the magnetic hold and the old spring takes over.
Itís like an early warning sign things need cleaning before you half engage and damage a gear. Chances are the starter has brushes and they need to get tossed the armature turned and the mica cut back. Bearings clean shims like brand new used.
New disc comes with new spring.
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Old 06-07-2022, 13:54   #6
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Re: Stuck starter bendix

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Originally Posted by Rumrace View Post
I was told the tiny bits flying off get magnetically charged and jam the shaft. The Knock breaks the magnetic hold and the old spring takes over.
Itís like an early warning sign things need cleaning before you half engage and damage a gear. Chances are the starter has brushes and they need to get tossed the armature turned and the mica cut back. Bearings clean shims like brand new used.
New disc comes with new spring.
The starter, in my case is still very strong. I think that you're referring to a starter with an external solenoid. Rust was the culprit, and strictly within the flywheel enclosure.
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