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Unread 11-13-2010, 11:29 AM   #1
Bedlam_YJ
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So I'm getting ready to replace the flywheel...

I've been having this problem for about a month now. I'm having what seems to be best described as the starter not engaging the flywheel. When you turn the key, it sounds as if the starter is freely spinning. If you keep turning the key, and stopping (but keep doing it), eventually the starter catches the flywheel and makes the horrible "gravel in starter" sound and starts. Sounds fine while running. The teeth look fine to me, but then again, I'm not exactly sure what normal wear on the teeth should look like.

I'm trying to narrow down the problem. Someone says to me that it might be that the flywheel is cracked. So I went and bought a new flywheel this morning just in case. Should I check the starter before dropping the tranny?

Also, since the clutch is still under 70K miles, should I replace that as well if I do have to replace the flywheel?

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Unread 11-13-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
GRYDE001
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I would def check the starter before dropping the tranny. I think Autozone will still check starters for free if you take them off and bring it in.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 12:30 PM   #3
Bedlam_YJ
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What would cause the starter to not catch the flywheel? There are no shims from what I can tell. I did have a problem a while back where the lower starter bolt threads in the bolt hole were bad, so I threw a longer bolt in and passed the bad threads. The "gravel in the starter" sound stopped for about a week after that. And now the starter doesn't seem to catch anymore. If that's what the problem really is.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 01:49 PM   #4
Harco
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seems to be going around

There seem to be numerous starter/ring gear problems with the 87'.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/s...-gear-1127442/
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Unread 11-13-2010, 02:01 PM   #5
Opihi59
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Don't overlook a few simple things. Make sure your starter is bolted in tightly, and not loose. You may have to get a wrench on the bolts to be able to tell if they're loose. Best to disconnect the neg term on your battery before you do this. It could also be missing shims on your starter that have it mis aligned.
Next, consider your "starter drive." Old folks know this as a "Bendix," it is a throwout for the gear on the starter which lets it engage into the ring gear on the flywheel.
Next, how about your starter solenoid--it has to engergize to make the bendix/starter drive throw out/move.

Look at the starter first before you worry about your flywheel. It isn't likely the flywheel.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 03:34 PM   #6
Bedlam_YJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harco View Post
There seem to be numerous starter/ring gear problems with the 87'.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/s...-gear-1127442/
I wasn't aware that the problem was this common. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Opihi59 View Post
Don't overlook a few simple things. Make sure your starter is bolted in tightly, and not loose. You may have to get a wrench on the bolts to be able to tell if they're loose. Best to disconnect the neg term on your battery before you do this. It could also be missing shims on your starter that have it mis aligned.
Next, consider your "starter drive." Old folks know this as a "Bendix," it is a throwout for the gear on the starter which lets it engage into the ring gear on the flywheel.
Next, how about your starter solenoid--it has to engergize to make the bendix/starter drive throw out/move.

Look at the starter first before you worry about your flywheel. It isn't likely the flywheel.
I didn't notice any shims or anything that resembled shims when I took it off. I read the thread that Harco posted above and it looks like that may be my starting point if this occurs again. Any suggestions on where to get starter shims?

I didn't get a chance to run to the auto store to have the starter tested, but I suspect your diagnosis is right: the starter is the problem. I've noticed some north/south play in the bendix gear which leads me to believe the bearings are bad. I'll have to take the starter to the auto store tomorrow and see what they think.

Thanks for the advice everyone!
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Unread 11-13-2010, 08:22 PM   #7
Castr8r
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The bendix is probably shot; you need to get the starter checked out before you go any further.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 08:37 PM   #8
plym49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castr8r View Post
The bendix is probably shot; you need to get the starter checked out before you go any further.
X2 Your flywheel is fine.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 08:39 PM   #9
moonshinefuel
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Taking out the starter will also give you a nice visual of the ring gear/flywheel.
Dis-connect your battery, take the starter out, visual the flywheel, check all your connections, if all looks ok, you should really consider a new starter or bendix as mentioned. Again, dis-connect the battery terminal before removing the starter. You could have the starter bench tested, but if it is not bench tested under a load, which they are usually not, then it is not really an accurate test. Also, reman Autozone starters have been known to not work right, right out of the box, ask me how I know. Good luck.
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Unread 11-13-2010, 11:22 PM   #10
mylightsrsquare
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i had this problem, i took the started out. it test fine. when i put it back in i pushed it towards the flywheel then bolted it in and now it works without grinding
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Unread 11-14-2010, 10:10 AM   #11
1tuffyj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshinefuel View Post
Taking out the starter will also give you a nice visual of the ring gear/flywheel.
Dis-connect your battery, take the starter out, visual the flywheel, check all your connections, if all looks ok, you should really consider a new starter or bendix as mentioned. Again, dis-connect the battery terminal before removing the starter. You could have the starter bench tested, but if it is not bench tested under a load, which they are usually not, then it is not really an accurate test. Also, reman Autozone starters have been known to not work right, right out of the box, ask me how I know. Good luck.
reman autozone ANYTHING right outta the box is known to do this, which is why i no longer go there 4 anything but oil n filters. i got smart n go straight to napa. pay a little more, get what u pay for.
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Unread 11-14-2010, 08:19 PM   #12
dprg644
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRYDE001 View Post
I would def check the starter before dropping the tranny. I think Autozone will still check starters for free if you take them off and bring it in.
They will, had to have mine checked today...it was bad. Put a new starter on and it works like a champ.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 09:46 PM   #13
Bedlam_YJ
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Well, turns out it was the bendix on the old starter. The bearings were bad after all. Unfortunately, I picked up the REMAN starter from Advance without checking here first (bad idea, right?). The noise is still there at the end of the crank cycle just before the engine starts up. A shim did not help, in fact, it made it worse. It came off right away after that.

Think I can take it back and get the Napa one? Or is advance gonna give me a hard time and force me to buy a second starter? Which one from Napa should I get?
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Unread 11-15-2010, 10:14 PM   #14
mylightsrsquare
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i have the advanced reman starter, when you put it in you HAVE to push it against the flywheel as you are tightening the bolts. it really does work, just make sure you hold/push it as close to the flywheel as possible when you are tightening the bolts.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 11:09 PM   #15
Hillbilly Jeep
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i dont buy starters at advance ANYMORE... i have been threw 5 of the remans ..which i think ruined my flywheel.. so i replaced the while clutch, clutch line and all, brand new flywheel.. and actually the new napa starter isnt really all that much more than the reman... and i can tell the differance between the reman starter start up and and new starter start up
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