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Old 05-23-2019, 11:23 AM   #1
rgunlock
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Starter question

I'm having a problem that I believe is heat soak of my starter, or just a starter on its last legs. I've spent quite a bit of time reading threads on this topic, and I know that there are a number of things that can cause my symptoms. I would like to replace my starter with a mini-starter but having trouble figuring out which one works.

I've got a 1978 GMC K15 with sbc 350 and manual transmission. The starters that RockAuto show for my truck have 9 teeth. The threads I've found that provide any detail on a mini-starter replacement say to purchase a starter for a 1998 Tahoe with 5.7L. The starter for the Tahoe shows it has 11 teeth.

I assume this won't work in my truck, so I'm looking for suggestions on what to shop for that will work. Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:24 PM   #2
rpmerf
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Re: Starter question

#1 is to make sure you have good connections from your battery to the starter. I have a ground going directly from the battery to the stud on the back of the starter.

#2 is to make sure you have a GOOD battery. I thought I was having starter issues for YEARS. This winter, I got a new 750 CCA battery and all my problems are gone.

I don't think the number of teeth is important, as long as it is designed to work with your flywheel. This may be related though. There are 2 types of flywheels - 153 tooth and 168 tooth. They are different diameters, 168 is 14.13", 153 is 12.85". The starters use different bolt holes. 153 is typically straight across, while 168 uses the angled holes. This does not apply to aftermarket starters, as they typically have 2 or 3 sets of holes.

Looking at the 98 Tahoe on Rock Auto. It shows a 168 tooth flexplate. The bolt holes on the starter are angled. Looking at your truck on Rock Auto, looks like angled holes and 168 tooth flywheel. Notice on Rock Auto, it lists a direct drive and gear reduction starter for the Tahoe.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:24 PM   #3
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Re: Starter question

Thanks rpmerf! I do know that my starter has the offset/angled mounting holes, but I didn't even think to look up and compare flywheels on the two vehicles. I've read that I should get the gear reduction type starter. If I am reading your post correctly, I think you are saying you believe the 98 Tahoe starter should work ok.

I have only been driving my truck for about a year since completely rebuilding it. The starter is one of the very few things that isn't new or rebuilt as it appeared to be new when I got the truck. It was clean and I could still read the labels unlike everything else that was under 1/2 inch of crud. So cables are new, battery is new, wiring harnesses are new and connections are clean. The truck starts fine when cooled, but if I've driven several miles and shut it off, the starter just clicks without cranking the engine until it cools off a bit. Pretty sure the timing is good as it will fire right off as soon as I get get the starter to crank the engine even a little.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Starter question

I'd measure the voltage at the solenoid S-terminal with the key in the start position (trying to start), and the voltage at the starter power lug with the key in the same position. Also check voltage across the battery with the key off.
At this point, the issue sounds like the solenoid isn't doing it's job, of engaging the flywheel w/ the Bendix and switching on the starter.
Heat soak is generally defined as slow crank when warm.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:19 PM   #5
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Re: Starter question

In my experience, starter heat soak has only been an issue with my 454 engines, not 350 engines, so I think any good new (not rebuilt) starter should work. I have a GM high torque mini starter in my current BB, but they are very expensive and I don't think they are necessary for a 350. As others have suggested, checking the other obvious items in the loop are the first steps. I think a lot of starters are sold when the real problem lies elsewhere. I would make sure you have a good full charge on the battery and see what happens.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:15 PM   #6
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Re: Starter question

1/2 the weight
1/2 the draw

337-1022 ac delco $100 usually from Amazon.

678-107 Dorman x2
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: Starter question

All blocks Heat soak starter, Header is high on the list if there to close the starter, timing off a little, carb to set to rich.
As said mostly big block have this happen more.
But older dirty starter inside & out side hold heat more. weak solenoid inside contacts(plunger like point) make more heat, bad connections( you can clean turn them to get a little life out of them) make more heat, bad wires when working make more heat. Older starter nose not lube smooth and free make more heat wear out he nose shaft & bushing. Old starter brushes,Very dirty make more heat. Old brushes @1/2 wear but clean will work better then old pretty new but very dirty/sand brush dust.
Starter very easy to take apart clean check shape of the parts.
The cleaner the starter in side even a old starter will last. The Magnets, Wending if over heated for long time (years) wear them out & make keep make more heat try to pull more power to work. This a land slid for the other part all come in contact with the starter, Alt, Batt, Wiring, Starter-all the part in them.
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: Starter question

Quote:
Originally Posted by KQQL IT View Post
1/2 the weight
1/2 the draw

337-1022 ac delco $100 usually from Amazon.

678-107 Dorman x2
I got one of these modern starters, only temporarily installed it, when I bolted it up and pulled out the pinion (out all the way, no gap left to move further for those thinking it'll come out further when it spins up), it was only mating by barely 1/8" with the flywheel. Not good in my opinion. The wear pattern on the flywheel showed at least 1/4" engagement with the old school starter.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:55 AM   #9
franken
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Re: Starter question

Quote:
Originally Posted by KQQL IT View Post
1/2 the weight
1/2 the draw
337-1022 ac delco $100 usually from Amazon.
678-107 Dorman x2
Half a few other things too. Don't crank it too long or it will smoke.
A properly set up original style starter will be fine at half the price.

https://www.google.com/search?client...30.ZaTM6trs-r8
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:14 PM   #10
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Re: Starter question

The 3 on my junk in my driveway says otherwise. And I do know it will spin my 400sb with 36 initial timing where a direct drive wont. Oh and has since 2005.
And other one on my 454 with headers never ever complains and sounds better than the direct drive one ever did.
But I digress
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:51 PM   #11
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Re: Starter question

Looks like a nice truck. Want to spend some money? I bought a CVR 5323 for around 200.00 Made in USA,quality,153 or 168 tooth flywheel. Just added headers so I looked around and bought the CVS from Summit. Resent AC Delco parts I bought were all china made.

Last edited by akart; 05-27-2019 at 03:53 PM. Reason: addnition
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:15 PM   #12
dieseldawg142
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Re: Starter question

Quote:
Originally Posted by KQQL IT View Post
1/2 the weight
right there...wait till your upside down under the truck holding it, the mini's rule here
also got one on my bb crew and on my sb stepper, no issues at all
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:58 PM   #13
rgunlock
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Re: Starter question

Quote:
Originally Posted by franken View Post
At this point, the issue sounds like the solenoid isn't doing it's job, of engaging the flywheel w/ the Bendix and switching on the starter.
Heat soak is generally defined as slow crank when warm.
Heat soak may be the wrong term. It is definately heat related because it starts just fine when cooled off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KQQL IT View Post
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So I'd need new bolts for it also? How are these different than what is holding in my current starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontiac1976 View Post
All blocks Heat soak starter, Header is high on the list if there to close the starter, timing off a little, carb to set to rich.
As said mostly big block have this happen more.
But older dirty starter inside & out side hold heat more. weak solenoid inside contacts(plunger like point) make more heat, bad connections( you can clean turn them to get a little life out of them) make more heat, bad wires when working make more heat. Older starter nose not lube smooth and free make more heat wear out he nose shaft & bushing. Old starter brushes,Very dirty make more heat. Old brushes @1/2 wear but clean will work better then old pretty new but very dirty/sand brush dust.
Starter very easy to take apart clean check shape of the parts.
The cleaner the starter in side even a old starter will last. The Magnets, Wending if over heated for long time (years) wear them out & make keep make more heat try to pull more power to work. This a land slid for the other part all come in contact with the starter, Alt, Batt, Wiring, Starter-all the part in them.
The starter was one of the only parts on this truck that wasn't covered in a 1/2 inch layer of grease and dirt when I got the truck. I was assuming it was recently replaced by the PO. Then it sat for several years while I built the truck. Still clean on the outside and presumably on the inside as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franken View Post
Half a few other things too.
Aside from the bolts, what else is required to swap to one of these mini-starters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldawg142 View Post
right there...wait till your upside down under the truck holding it, the mini's rule here
also got one on my bb crew and on my sb stepper, no issues at all
Yea, that's why I'm considering the smaller, lighter starter. These trucks are a piece of cake to reach the starter, but holding that 20 lbs up while trying to attach all the wires is a pain. It's a little tight to do cables once the starter is bolted up.

I didn't realize this were going to be "cons" to this aside from the additional cost. I appreciate all of the feedback. Had a busy weekend with family in and only got a chance to re-route some of my ground cables. My truck came with ground from battery to frame and the engine only indirectly grounded through the grounding strap to the cab and from there back to the frame. I'd put it back the same way. Now I've got ground directly from the battery to the block and from the block to the frame. Didn't get a chance to take it on a long enough drive to heat it up and see if it makes any difference. Figure it can't hurt and the truck will start back up if I let it sit at least 10 minutes or so. Thanks!
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78 GMC K15 SWB, 350/NV4500/NP205/4.10s Project Thread
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:38 PM   #14
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Re: Starter question

The frame of the starter is smaller.
Needs a shorter knurled bolt.
It's a tiny thing.
Otherwise a direct swap.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:50 PM   #15
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Re: Starter question

Quote:
Originally Posted by tucsonjwt View Post
I think a lot of starters are sold when the real problem lies elsewhere.
I haven't actually bought a new starter, but I suspect it would not have helped. I re-routed the main ground cables as something to rule out, not expecting it to solve my problem. Truck has started right up for multiple hot engine starts the last couple days.

I am saving a link to this thread though. When my starter does go out, I would still like to do the mini-starter replacement. Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
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78 GMC K15 SWB, 350/NV4500/NP205/4.10s Project Thread
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59 Chevy SWB Stepside (next in line? Not sure now )
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