'78 T/A Starter

I have a '78 T/A with a 400 Pontiac engine. There are 2 shims between the starter motor and the block where it is bolted on. This engine has been put together by someone who doesn't know what they are doing.
Please can anybody tell me how to work out how many there should be.
TIA
--
David Toft

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David,
Is there a problem with the starter engagement, too loose or too tight? The service manual only says to replace the same number of shims that were removed, lot of help there. It also says that shims are used only in automatic transmission cars. All my birds were manuals and none had any starter shims.
Reman starters usually come with a pinion depth checking tool or at least a depth guideline for proper installation but you can wing it from the sound of the starter when it engages. If the starter releases late (you will hear a wiiiinnnng kind of sound as the engine fires as the starter speed takes off) it's usually too tight, add a shim till it quits. If the starter clunks hard as it engages, it's usually too loose, remove shims till it stops. There's no hard and fast rule for the number of shims needed but there is a pinion depth spec, I just don't have one here.
My Pontiac has no shims but the vette has seven shims. I had to use longer bolts to get the new starter to fit with the 70 010 block.
Dave
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7 shims? Longer Bolts? You have the wrong tail housing on that starter. I have had to exchange remaned starters before for that problem. Sure some book somewhere says they are all the same. Charles
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least
sound
takes
is
longer
starter.
Charles,
This was a CSI mini starter that I installed when the 11.5:1 LT1 went into the car. I was pretty skeptical about the number of shims so I called up CSI. They verified the part number on the starter and said they had seen excessive shim requirements before. I went ahead and shimmed it out and checked one bolt and found it had about a half inch of engagement. I put it half inch longer hardened bolts and its been fine for a couple of years but it still looks weird.
I also picked a CSI starter up for the Trans Am after it heat soaked in the staging lanes and we had to push it to start it. That one bolted up with no shims and works great. $200+ for a starter sounded high at the time but they were a great investment.
Dave
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It's an auto

Is this why it is very reluctant to crank when it is hot. I have to leave it for 5-10 minutes after stopping if I before I can restart it

--
David Toft

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My '78 Camaro suffered from hot start problems for years. I always put it down to excess heat from the headers, (no heat shield). Also with the battery in the boot it heated the cables a bit too much. The motor was rebuilt and was also very tight, so i put up with it.
However it turned out that the brass/copper bolt that the connects to the disc inside the solenoid wes totally chewed up across half of the surface, even just turning this round improved things.
HTH
--
Mitch - 1995 Z28 LT1
terminal snipped-for-privacy@sand-hill.freeserve.co.uk
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The
a
sound
hear
This sounds like a heat soak problem, I had a lot of trouble with the T/A on hot starts for years. Off the top of my head I would say the problem could be due to:
Weak or bad starter Bad cables or connection Weak battery Too much initial timing Starter overheating due to headers or RAIIII manifolds Carburetor too lean (this is a stretch ;^)
You can have an electric shop check most of these problems fairly quickly. I don't think timing is an issue if you are running a low compression 400 engine.
As Charles said in another post, all starters aren't the same. Although different brands will all bolt up, not all have the same cranking torque. If you have to replace the starter, try to get a "high torque" starter. You can tell the difference in a standard starter and a high torque by the length of the stud to the stator windings. IIRC, the high torque has a longer stud.
Another thing to keep in mind is the cooler the engine runs the less heat soak you will encounter. What is the engine temperature after the car warms up? I like to see an indicated 180-190 on a 2nd gen T/A but some run 200 to 210. If you think external heat is an issue, see what you can do as far as installing some heat shielding around the starter.
Dave
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VERY, VERY important on the 400 is to have the factory heat shield there. It gets tossed on many cars over the years.
It (or its lack thereof) will cause that trouble as well. Joe--ASE Certified Parts Specialist & 10th Ann.Club Tech Director '80 Carousel Red Turbo T/A, 27k orig. '79 "Y89" 400/4 speed 10th Ann. T/A, 57k orig '84 Olds 88 Royale Bgm 2 dr, 307 "Rocket" (lol), 143k and still going....
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Reman starters usually come with a pinion depth checking tool or at least a depth guideline for proper installation ----- David:
Definitely a UK thing! Not here in the States, none with any I've ever installed, including a GM/Delco reman unit.
Most of the "spray and pray" rebuilds are lucky to be in one piece in the box. That's why for alternators or starters I use AC Delco or reman them myself with new parts :).
Joe--ASE Certified Parts Specialist & 10th Ann.Club Tech Director '80 Carousel Red Turbo T/A, 27k orig. '79 "Y89" 400/4 speed 10th Ann. T/A, 57k orig '84 Olds 88 Royale Bgm 2 dr, 307 "Rocket" (lol), 143k and still going....
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