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Starter pinion went bye bye, should I look for the teeth?

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Teeth on the pinion: 0
Teeth on the floor: 1
Teeth somewhere in the engine: ??

I heard plenty of grunky clunky chunky noises when this went down in the Papa Murphy's parking lot, and I guessed pretty accurately what had happened...but I'm not sure what to do about the missing teeth. Are they going to cause problems if I don't fish them out? Will it (probably) take an engine teardown to get to them? Think I'd find them in the oil pan? (I'm still pretty green, not very familiar with the shape of my engine (AMC 304) and where things would go if they fell...) I just got an oil change along with my emissions and general safety inspection and all that jazz, so 1/ new oil, don't realllly want to waste it... 2/ shouldn't be a lot of other gunk/filings in it at the moment, although, this might change that (?). Photos attached for your viewing pleasure/horror. Tried to shrink them a little but not sure if it worked.

Wonder if that might be another tooth in the bottom of the middle picture...I'll have to check later.

Also...met a guy in the parking garage who mentioned some folks can start their jeeps by cranking the fan by hand. Anyone tried this?
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HI.. NO you can't start it by turning the fan.. there is NO connection between the fly wheel/flex plate and the inside of engine or oil pan the oil pan is sealed at the block the parts well be in the bell housing at the bottom .. just pull the inspection plate at the bottom of the bell housing and maybe use a magnet and fish what you can out..
If you have a manual transmission parts could be caught up in the clutch (not good) if an automatic not much worry but try and get the parts out.. like i suggested..

good luck take care be safe
tim
 

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Bigger chunks? Can you get to them behind the flywheel teeth, and crunch them smaller with some

vise-grip needle nose pliers?

If you attempt to skirt thru the starter hole with a magnet---It's gonna wanna stick to the back of the flywheel.

If you really ANCHOR your magnet to something stiff (you don't want the magnet to come off and

be stuck out of sight!)---i.e. A piece of heavy stiff wire (electric fence) or PEX pipe, something that is stiff enough and

bendable that will allow your "Stuck" to the fly wheel magnet to be pushed on down.

Even a round magnet might be shoved inside/ super glued into PEX pipe, it would not stick to the

Jeep parts, but could be maneuvered behind and to the bottom with bending the pipe.

Just some ideas....



DO NOT attempt to "Crank Him Up" using the fan.

I could IMAGINARY see it working (I hand crank my 1946 with a hand crank a good bit, just showing out!)

BUT!!!!!!!!!!

I also can see that you cannot probably not super humanly snatch your hand out of the way fast enough.

Can you make it home with a bleeding Nub?

Roll start (down hill or being pushed) or pulled by another vehicle.

Things to remember!

Key in "ON" position (nothing like running out of slope, with the key off)-----put the tranny in 3rd gear, when you let the clutch out---

Upon "Running"----clutch in and to neutral.

------JEEPFELLER
 

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First off, those aren't in the oil pan because the area between the engine and tranny doesn't have fluid in it so no worries of it being in the engine. That looks like the back of a flywheel so I would assume that you have a clutch. There probably isn't an inspection cover in the bellhousing so you're stuck to other methods. I would probably stick a magnet to the pressure plate and rotate the engine 1/3 of a turn counterclockwise and then a 1/3 clockwise to retrieve the magnet and its junk. I wouldn't go all of the way around for fear of it getting knocked off by the clutch fork.
 

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Teeth on the pinion: 0
Teeth on the floor: 1
Teeth somewhere in the engine: ??

I heard plenty of grunky clunky chunky noises when this went down in the Papa Murphy's parking lot, and I guessed pretty accurately what had happened...but I'm not sure what to do about the missing teeth. Are they going to cause problems if I don't fish them out? Will it (probably) take an engine teardown to get to them? Think I'd find them in the oil pan? (I'm still pretty green, not very familiar with the shape of my engine (AMC 304) and where things would go if they fell...) I just got an oil change along with my emissions and general safety inspection and all that jazz, so 1/ new oil, don't realllly want to waste it... 2/ shouldn't be a lot of other gunk/filings in it at the moment, although, this might change that (?). Photos attached for your viewing pleasure/horror. Tried to shrink them a little but not sure if it worked.

Wonder if that might be another tooth in the bottom of the middle picture...I'll have to check later.

Also...met a guy in the parking garage who mentioned some folks can start their jeeps by cranking the fan by hand. Anyone tried this?
Don't think that is a tooth. It looks like the brass bushing in the starter. I believe the starter teeth are now powder.

I know a guy who started one using the fan. His name is Lefty.
 

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The guy that said he started by hand turning fan is full of it. He must have been thinking about his bush pilot days on startup.

That brass bushing is from the starter housing. What is all of that black gunk inside your bell housing. Hopefully not disintegrated clutch material, but then you have the fun of a rear main leak fix. As far as worrying about the teeth, you didn't say if you had an inspection cover on your 304. I have one and if you do, take it down as the teeth are hopefully laying in the bottom and no Vice grips are not going to crush them.

Worst case scenario is you drop the trans. Not sure if you are equipped with a trans jack etc but it is not a lot of work to drop the trans/trxfr case out and remove the bell housing for cleanup and inspection. That would also be the time to drop the oil pan and fix the rear main. Would be expensive to have a shop do it if you do not have the tools. You could always just run it and they may stay put in the bottom of bell housing but if it was me, I would not.
 

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Wibble
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the feedback! Here are my key takeaways from this thread:

- Leave the fan-starting to people slightly more reckless than I am
- Look for an inspection panel on the bell housing, that's the easy way
- Be wary of losing a magnet to the flywheel
- Transmission jacks are a thing and now I want one
- There's a whole compartment between the engine and the transmission! TIL

New starter comes in on Wednesday; I'll probably find a day in the next couple weeks to just take off from work, visit some doctors, and spend the rest of the day on this.
 

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Yep, you should have an inspection plate on the back side of the lower bellhousing, sometimes they expose up to a good 3 inches of the lower flywheel. Anything left, teeth, bushings, parts, should be sitting on the bottom of the bellhousing.
 

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Wibble
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Weather was wonderful tonight, so I went out and figured out the inspection plate. Looks like part of the clutch assembly was mounted to it, but once I realized that's what it was/those aren't load bearing bolts, I went ahead and yoinked that thing off. Lo and behold, my teeth! Managed to pull three more teeth and the rest of that bushing. There's more in there, but it's too far back for my tweezers, so I'll order up a magnet on a stick and see what happens. Also looking into endoscopes since someone mentioned them and they sound pretty handy for times like this.
 
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