Starter

I have a 380 SEL and some months ago the starter began making a grinding sound just before it would engage the fly wheel. Usually this was only when the car was cold and would quit or do it less often
after the car was warmed up. Just recently the starter "went out". By that I mean is would only spin when the ignition was engaged. It sounded just like a solonoid had malfunctioned. I removed the starter from the car and had it bench tested. The starter was within all normal limits and functioning perfectly. After examining the starter and the fly wheel (it had some evidence of filings on the sprockets but, by and large, everything looked normal), I reinstalled the starter. The same thing happened.
The part number on the starter has been verified as the part for my particular engine. Does anyone have any idea what may be causing the starter not to engage?
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There is a spacer to prevent that grinding...
Have you checked the overload protection relay... in your fusebox... the one with red fuse on top of silver box. Check the red fuse to see if it is blown.
When you saw it bench tested, did you see the gear pop out and then spin?

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The bendix seemed to operate normally. The gear moved to engage the fly wheel. There was a shim betweent the starter and the bell housing. Is it necessary? It seemed the play in the bendix was not that much that it would cause the grinding. And, no, I have not checked the overload fuse. I did not know there was one and I will check it soon. What role does it play?
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I have checked for the starter overload fuse. I cannot find it in the fuse box. There are a number of red fuses in the fuse box but none are indicated as having anything to do with the starter. Any ideas where I might find it?
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Do not waste your time looking for a starter overload fuse. No such thing. Pretty soon Tiger will have you getting a bucket of steam:)
If the teeth on the ring gear, where the starter engages, are nice and square edged then you need to replace the starter motor assembly.
have a 380 SEL and some monthsago the starter began making a

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Well, that's great that this list serve enjoys sending someone on wild goose chases. Thanks. And your advice about replacing the starter motor assembly seems to ignore the fact that the starter motor tested perfectly. Maybe you people have money and time to waste but I prefer not to.
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Have you even read your own post??? Look it:
- your starter is quite obviously NOT working... your starting motor may be but your starter isn't.. cause is likely as I gave in previous post.
-kids testing in stores are often quite clueless and/or couldn't care less. My starter just recently tested perfect too, however the idiot didn't notice that the Bendix didn't kick out... twit..
- test the thing yourself... by hooking onto a battery (same as in car) Make SURE though to hold the starter down.... there's lots of torque, better to go back to testing place and look for yourself to make sure pinion gear is coming out into the open.
good luck
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Wild goose chase... have you even carefully look at what I said? I used to own 380SE for 13 years as if I am not sure what I am talking about...
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can likely just replace the solenoid..... a lot cheaper than a starter. Can't understand your post re starter working only when you turn on the ignition ... isn't that the way it's supposed to work? If you don't like wrenching, replace the starter as Karl says.
I just fixed my starter.... it was the 'hold' coil. I'm thinking this is the most common failure mode, might want to check that on yours.
guenter

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On Jun 19, 7:41 pm, snipped-for-privacy@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Guenter Scholz) wrote:

For all of you who think I'm rude...the starter works fine. Its been tested by several independent testers including the dealer. When you turn the ignition with the starter installed, it spins as if the solonoid is not working but in the testing phase it worked fine. It seems obvious that it is not engaging the fly wheel. Perhaps I'm the only one to experience this and I will eventually get to the bottom of the problem. The only thing I can think of is the bendix that was installed on the starter is the wrong one. I have not tried to mesh the bendix with the fly wheel. I wondered if anyone had had a similar problem. If it is the right starter and it works, replacing it won't help. (Do I have to say "DUH" or is it assumed?)
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I am going to give you the results of my many years of experience. There is only ONE tester for your starter. YOUR Engine. If you turn the key to start and the stater spins but your engine doesn't turn then your starter is BAD. It is probably the bendix but I would buy a rebuilt starter so all the service parts are replaced and you can forget about the starter for a while. When the solonoid is entergised, it makes a contact in the back of the starter close and put power to the starter. The linkage between the solonoid and the bendix may be broker and if it is the starter will run and not turn the engine. The fix for this problem is replace the starter. I don't have time or money and if I were you, I would replace the starter.
Paul Paul's Auto Electric

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    Lisa, I think I see your problem. Note, 'Starter' includes BOTH starter motor and solenoid.... the solenoid is integral to the starter working My guess is that since your starter motor is spinning, your hold coil (one of two coils inside your solenoid) is shot. replace the solenoid or the whole starter assembly as many people do the avoid more hassles.
cheers
ps you were rude
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wrote:

From what I read, folks here are suggesting that the starter spinning and the solenoid working are two different things. Bench testing might indicate a good starter motor but miss a bad solenoid.
I had a similar problem on an 84 300SDL, but I was certain that the starter and solenoid were the correct part because they were original. Turning the ignition would turn the starter motor but the solenoid would not "kick" the gear to engage the flywheel.
For a while, tapping the solenoid with a hammer would make the solenoid work temporarily and the car would start.
I took the starter out and replaced the solenoid (only), put the starter back in and all was well.
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Now this is an interesting one. I also like to get to the bottom of exactly what is wrong. But, if I had a starter that:
a - made grinding noises for several months b - then started spinning, but not engaging to turn the engine
I wouldn't be wasting my time even bench testing the starter. I'd replace it. Good grief, aftermarket starters are available and not all that expensive. In fact, I would have replaced it months ago when it made grinding noises. How much is your time worth? It could be that something in the bendix is intermittent. Why you have to see it fail on the bench before replacing it is beyond me. Even if for some bizarre reason, it's the wrong starter/bendix, which you seem to suggest, ordering a rebuilt one for the car solves that too doesn't it?

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I think everyone is right on the starter selenoid is bad. With no load, it would appear to be fine... but since engine itself is a load and the selenoid couldn't hold it in engaged position... would cause grinding noise.
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Hi - I have been reading this thread. I hope you have not already spent a lot of money on this because I think I may have the answer to the problem. I was just installing my starter back on my engine and I noticed that the three screws that hold the actual solenoid to the solenoid assembly were a little loose. I have been starting to have a problem similar to the one you describe, but very intermittently.
My theory is that the loose screws cause just enough loss of "punch" to the solenoid action that the pinyon gear on the starter does not always engage properly. I tightened them and used threadlocker to make sure they stay tight and I bet I stop experiencing the problem with the pinyon not egaging 100% consistently.
You should check and see if your solenoid unit has the same problem.
Paul
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apart and seems to be perfectly good. Everything works as it should. Pinion gear does not appear excessively worn compared to read part of gear that does not engage... fractions of mm wear at most. Motor brushes good, everything moves freely (Bendix etc) pinion moves freely one way and locks the other direction so that it engages and then spins out if flywheel speed goes past motor speed.... all great. Then checked flywheel carefully, no filings to be seen anywhere (bottom of bell housing enclosing flywheel, etc) not wear marks noticed .... teeth are all there, maybe a few on the spots where engine stops are worn one mm or so more than others... seems negligble..... everything' appears to be a 'go' for starter to spin flywheel.... but it wont engage 9/10 times....the solenoid is obviously OK since the switch in it turns the motor on..... HOWEVER, as you said, I couldn't get one of the two screws (holding the solenoid on) off so I cut it off with a Dremel... One side of the housing holding the solenoid is not screwed down.... maybe you've hit on something
many thanks....
cheers, guenter
ps will keep you posted
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