Series 1 XKE Starter grinding when starting

Thanks Tom. I just looked up the starter section in the 4.2 Supplement section of that huge green E-type Service manual. There are two adjustments to the throw mechanism for my starter which I failed to pre-set (but I thought I did it 4 years ago) properly. It’s listed (with diagrams) starting on page P.X.s.19. It continues on page 20. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to remove the starter from the car (because it is colder than heck here in Michigan…and my garage). I’ll save the job until it warms up in a few weeks. If/when I solve this puzzle, I’ll share it with the group. I’m also hoping to keep from buying a rebuilt starter from Moss for $400.

Get an XJ6 Starter or a Gear Reduction even better and cheaper I believe.

I was thinking along the lines of the GR starters…I was a little alarmed by some negative reviews about the lack of longevity of those things. Regardless, I’ll look into this prospect. I know they only cost in the $200s or so. I’d sort of like to keep the starter as original as possible and solve its current problem/issue.

Faster cranking, less draw, lighter, a little smaller.
This is the one I used.
I did not end up using the Spigot plate. Ended up with nice ring gear engagement.
Mark your ring gear with something and view engagement mark in the bottom of bellhousing inspection hole.

I have a 3.8 BUT a 4.2 Bellhousing/flywheel/clutch/Trans

No problems. Of course the car is not a daily driver and does not see repeated starts day in day out.

Thanks. Very good to know.

Ok, I caved and removed the starter. What a pain! Anyway, when I tested the solenoid by applying an 8 volt power source to the start lead, I could immediately see that the bendix was getting pushed immediately to the max with no gap between the gear and stop bearing. It was way too forceful. I adjusted it so that the proper gap was there. (.005" to .015" by the manual). Then I put it back in the car. I had to enlist my next door neighbor to start the 2 bolts while I pushed the starter into position. There was no way one person could start the bolts from inside the car AND hold the starter perfectly in place. Anyway, the “adjusted” starter worked much better but it still had a few “chatters” (about 80% fewer chatters). I’m hypothesizing that if I widen the gap adjustment a little more, it may just eliminate all “chattering” while cranking the engine. I think what was happening before was the bendix was being thrust too far forward and it would bounce back a little, then the solenoid contacts would close and the starter would crank, with the bendix not effectively engaged. This would cause the gears to chatter. When there is a gap, the bendix extends fully without bouncing back, and the normal cranking takes place. I might see if I can open the adjusting gap a little more and see if that stops all the chattering. I think it might. But if I cannot make the adjusting while the starter is mounted, then to heck with it. I ain’t gonna pull that sucker out again and then remount it. I’ll just wait for the new starter… Anyway, this is my “theory” about the bendix adjustment. Yep, I think it was/is bouncing off the ring gear before the starter motor kicks in… By doing a fast first starter button push, it aligns the gears and the second long push would engage the gears without a bounce back.

I just received my starter. With these reduction gear starters do you have to use the spacer when installing? or does it bolt right to the trans housing? I see that you did not use the spacer but is it supposed to have the spacer?

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Depends what model you have…best to ask the
Manufacturer…you can bench test and measure the throwout and measure your bell/flywheel…

No, it won’t. The motor is either powered, or it is not. The gear should be partially engaged by the time the motor is powered, as the motor contactor closes near the end of the solenoids throw. Alignment occurs courtesy of the teeth on the pinion and ring gear being beveled where they meet each other.

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Hi Stan

You get the same starter as me?

I did use my spacer from the4.2 E/ XJ6 starter I had on it when I first installed it but there was not enough pinion engagement to the ring gear for my liking.
So I removed the spacer and re-installed. I marked the ring gear again so I could check engagement and was happy, Goldilocks.

Not using it with this starter may be a bit of an individual fit issue.

As I mentioned before I am a 3.8Eng with 4.2 bellhousing/flywheel/trans.


4.2 stock starter and the later XJ6 on the 4.2 bellhousing do use the spacer stock.

Note that 4.2 xj6 starter and 4.2 E type starter are different…for an E type the bolts should come through the bellhouseing ftom the rear into threaded holes in the starter…Steve

I have a 67 4.2 -stock. I installed my new WOSP starter with the spigot plate.Did not like the sound of it. Took it out , remeasured all engagement distances from the throw of the original starter gear and the throw of the WOSP relative to the flywheel. Then checked the witness marks on all parts. In my case , although the new starter gear did engage with the spigot plate in, it was not as full an engagement as the original. The difference in engagement was equal to the thickness of the spigot plate… So to sum up , it will work with the spigot plate in, but works more like original engagement with the spigot plate out. If you want to be sure- measure everything.

not saying this is your problem and I feel quite sure it isn’t. I just wanted to pass on a story about a “grinding” Whirring" starter involving my 3000 Healey. I would turn the key and get this fast “whirring” sound but the engine would not turn over. Pulled the tranny and discovered that the ring gear on the flywheel had loosened and was spinning around on the flywheel as the starter engaged. Very frustrating and a PIA job–but not as painful as removing the engine and tranny on the E.:slight_smile:

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Interesting, this is the 1st time I’ve heard of someone else having this problem. I had this exact problem on W124 Mercedes I had many years ago.

Very frustrating indeed. I had mine tac welded back on rather than heat shrinking it.

Yes you are correct. In the Electrical book it is describing the two circuits in the solenoid, not the starter. My bad. But, at one time British classic cars did have a dual solenoid windings…in the same solenoid.

I tried it without. It would engage ok but then it would sound funny and not smoothly return when it withdraws (the distributor is still out so the engine would not fire up). I think for my '65 4.2 e-type, by not having the spacer, too much of the bendix gear gets thrust into the ring gear and causes a labored withdrawal. I called Welsh Motors and asked what they recommended. Herky said that the spacer is normally used. Hmmm… It is such a pain to remove the starter and then reinstall it. Interestingly enough, the post on the GR starter is a 8mm metric, not 5/16 sae. Also, I found that the battery cable should be connected BEFORE bolting the starter on the bell housing because of the lack of space around the starter and the positioning of the cable post.

Wow, that is amazing. Still, on some vehicles I have worked on (Jeep CJ3B) the ring gear was simply heated up in an oven, and then pressed on the flywheel. Makes sense that the “spinning” can happen when you get a ring gear that is not within proper tolerance.

Yes. Interestingly, the reduction gear starter doesn’t have threaded mounting holes, probably because it is aluminum and the outside wall of the mounting holes are thin. For the steel starters the holes are threaded fine. The aluminum holes in the rg starters offers up another problem; do you put the bolts in from the engine area or from the bell housing, then start the nuts with washer and split washers? It would help to have a split washer and washer under the bolt head as well. 6 of one half dozen the other. Each direction has its pluses and minuses. It is WAY easier regardless to have a helper as you install. Doing it by yourself, in a freezing garage, is a challenge…

In my opinion you have an incorrect starter for an E type…some manufacturers sell the correct item with threaded holes…some suppliers just sell a generic fits all 4.2…but they are not the vest you can get and often have the electrical connection very close to the engine block…Steve

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