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1925 Starter spins but won’t turn engine


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Good morning everyone - I have a 1925 Buick standard. When I push the starter pedal it sounds like the starter motor is spinning up but it won’t turn over the engine. I can’t hear any noise that would suggest it is engaging the flywheel. I have the 1925 Buick Shop Manual and it shows a diagram of the motor generator. The back side of the  MG shows a one way clutch and some starting gears. Does anyone have any suggestions where I should start my diagnosis? The Shop Manual provides no help. I would appreciate any suggestions.

 

Thanks - Ken

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Ken, 

   Pull off the sheetmetal plate to access the starter gears.  It is the black plate on my car that it held on with 4 machine screws just behind the starter generator.

Have someone push on the starter pedal, you should see the pin moving out of the starter generator and the gear should be engaging the flywheel.    When the pin retracts, it lifts the generator brushes and drops the starter brushes.  

  Would love to see a picture of your car :-)      Hugh

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Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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Hi Hugh - Thanks for the photos! Like they say a photo is worth a thousand words. I’ll get someone to help me and take a look at the gears. Hope this can be fixed without taking the MG off. 

 

Here is a photo of my car. Not the best but its been sitting for a while. I got the car after my dad passed away and trying to get it running again.

 

Thanks for you suggestion,

 

Ken

F463EBAE-902F-44FD-A4A3-E0EC4DFE6F87.jpeg

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11 hours ago, KEK said:

Good morning everyone - I have a 1925 Buick standard. When I push the starter pedal it sounds like the starter motor is spinning up but it won’t turn over the engine. I can’t hear any noise that would suggest it is engaging the flywheel. I have the 1925 Buick Shop Manual and it shows a diagram of the motor generator. The back side of the  MG shows a one way clutch and some starting gears. Does anyone have any suggestions where I should start my diagnosis? The Shop Manual provides no help. I would appreciate any suggestions.

 

Thanks - Ken

Ken, 

   Thanks for the photo.  Really nice. 

You have to switch on the ignition before hearing anything.  When you switch "on", do you hear the starter/generator "motoring or spinning.  This is number 1.

This motoring helps the gears mesh easier.    

The first thing that will happen is the gears will be meshed on both the starter generator and the flywheel thru the idler gears that have the over running clutch inside (on the sliding shaft).   

the sequence as you push in the starter pedal is 

1) motoring of the starter generator output gear due to 6 volt  power on the generator

2) gears slide in and begin to mesh

3) motoring stops (brushes are lifted) and gears continue to mesh

4) gears are fully meshed

5)  starter brushes make contact and the motor cranks. 

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There's a chance that your starter makes contact before the gears are meshed (#5 happens before #4 above). If this is true, the motor will spin but doesn't turn the gears or engine....the motor will make a very loud sound that sounds like an airplane taking off. If the motor is spinning very slowly and all you hear is a clicking sound, that's #1 above. 

 

What do you hear, slow turning and clicking, or very loud airplane taking off?

 

Compare to this sound: https://youtu.be/2mQA8Sz8K_A?t=491

 

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Yes when I switch on the ignition I can hear a clicking sound. So my motor is turning slowly as per No. 1 above. It sounds like it is turning slower and is less noisy than the sound clip in the youtube video you attached above. Then when I push the pedal down the motor quickly spins up. It sounds like a modern starter problem when the Bendix/solenoid is not working properly. The MG just spins very fast but no gears are being meshed.. I have some help this afternoon and we are going to take the plate off and look at the gears.

 

I never mentioned in my earlier post but the started did work for a while and turned the engine just fine. Then all of a sudden it stopped working.

 

On accession when I stepped on the starter pedal the gears would grind a bit. I thought I read somewhere in the Buick Shop manual that if this happens then you need to step on the pedal a little faster which I started to do. Hope I haven’t stripped any flywheel or starter gears. Should find out this afternoon and will let everyone know.

 

Thanks again for you help.

Ken

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We pulled the cover and found a brass washer on the back side of the fork that is loose preventing the gears from meshing. There is also brass filings in the case.  It looks like the purpose of the brass washer is to center the fork on the shaft. Here is a pic.Any ideas on what to do next?

 

 

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A0B842E5-0868-477B-932C-A6975E1BE8E9.jpeg

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Make sure the bolts that hold the cross shaft to the bell housing are tight. They are steel and the housing is aluminum. The cross shaft is what holds the fork, as well as the starter pedal, it goes from the left to right side of the car, about 2 feet long.

 

If the aluminum is stripped you are in big trouble. 

.

.

Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)
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I don’t see any shaft that is aluminum or 3 feet long. Attached is a photo of the cross shaft that is bolted to the bell housing with 5 bolts. It’s about 7 inches long. Used a magnet to test for aluminum but looks like it is all cast

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Ken, 

   There is not brass originally installed on this starter gear assembly.  Someone added that, so we need to find out why, and perhaps get you some new parts.   I would start with removing the pointer and the center shaft on the starter gear and pulling it out of the flywheel cover.  Basically 2 parts to remove.  1) The sliding shaft with the point on the end and the gear actuator arm.  2) drive out the center shaft of the starter gear so that you can clean and inspect everything.     Hugh 

 

I hope this Starter Sliding Gear Removal procedure helps you.     I am also checking if my friend still has these parts in the flywheel cover, or if it went to the scrapper.   Remove the starter pedal assembly as well because that should be inspected.    Hugh

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2018970088_StarterSlidingGearRemoval4.JPG.014ba79d20518a33c2262dccc84a041b.JPG

 

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The rear flange of the fork slot may have been damaged years ago and then repaired by fastening that brass washer in its place.  

The fork slot would have been machined from steel bar stock to withstand the repeated forces of engaging the starter.

The clutch will have to be replaced or repaired better than the previous attempt.

You will have to first remove the starter generator and then push the clutch shaft out of the housing to remove the clutch.  I have knocked out this same shaft on 2 motors now, and they are don't come out easy.  It took around 8 blows before the shaft even budged, then a lot more to remove it.   First your need to find a piece of round stock slightly smaller than the shaft to use as punch, or a deep socket as Hugh has pictured above.  A thin punch will risk mushrooming the shaft end.   Also you need (about) a 2 pound hammer. You have to be able to control the hammer when you swing it.  I am not sure if you can position yourself for this task without pulling the motor out of the car. 

Kevin

 

motor clutch.jpg

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Hi everyone and thanks for all your help, I found the problem. See attached photo. The washer I was calling brass is actually steel and not a washer at all as Hugh mentioned. It was machined as part of the shaft as Kevin points out above and shown with the red arrow. My larger gear is also worn similar to the large gear in the photo above. The sliding shaft was very easy to remove. I just removed the special lock both at the back side and gently tapped it out from the front side. I first tapped it to the back with a small drift. I has to angle it up because there was not a lot of room due to the MG casing. I then put a small socket  on the shaft and pried in to the back a little more. Once it was sticking out the back of the housing I was able to just pull it out. I didn’t have to remove the MG or anything else. 

 

Looks like I need another clutch. Is that the correct term for this part? Hugh -  thank you so much for checking with your friend to see if they have one.

 

Ken

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9FE84965-A21E-456C-9708-DDD45C9AB827.jpeg

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I thought that I heard someone say that beginning with the 1923 models the starter/generator did not make the clicking sound as the armature was turning.  I hope someone will chime in and clarify that for all of us on here.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Ken,

The part that Kevin shows is called the  "Starter Sliding Gear Assembly".  1923-24 4 cyl, 1925 std 6.  Not the same as used in the  23-24 6 cylinder and 1925 Master.   Typical that the Master stuff does not fit the standard as you will find out.  I would replace rather than repair if possible as you suggest.  Then you need to inspect the flywheel teeth and the starter generator gear.   The one my friend has is from a motor left outside, and he said it looks like it was on the Titanic.      Hugh

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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Hi Hugh =

 

The starter generator gears look good and the little bit of the flywheel gears I could see looked fine. I need to do a more careful inspection of the flywheel gears but so far nothing of concern. The fork may have some wear on it but I haven’t removed it to inspect it closely yet.

 

I will place a parts wanted ad in the BCA and look on eBay for a replacement starter sliding gear assembly. Do you have any other ideas where I should look?

 

Thanks 

Ken

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17 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

I thought that I heard someone say that beginning with the 1923 models the starter/generator did not make the clicking sound as the armature was turning.  I hope someone will chime in and clarify that for all of us on here.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

 

I don't know when it got quiet, but I know that the first SGs were even louder. Listen to this 1915 Kitty, it was so loud, the beginning of the video I thought the engine was running until it turned out he was just motoring the generator!

.

.

 

 

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That doesn’t sound anything like my 22 cads so I’m not sure it’s actually working properly (I think it’s the same unit to the 1915 and very similar setup to the Buick)

 

You hear a very definitive clicking sound that would be about as loud as a socket ratchet. When you press the starter it it groans a bit deep down (if the gears mesh otherwise a clunky and you take your foot off and try again) then it fires and you hear it spinning very rapidly as it disconnects and slows down when the motor is running. Mine fires with about 1 second from cold and instantly when it’s been running. It’s a bit easier to see what’s going on the cads because it’s right on top of the motor 

 

I’m out of town for a few days but can grab  you a video in good quality if that would assist you

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MG.thumb.jpg.7aabfa222e72abd2d8c88d2c0d61ce18.jpgDoes anyone know if I should tease my two starting gears on the sliding assembly?  The shop manual  under the lubrication. Section says there is a zero fitting. See attached scan. It also says to add about 5 ounces of soft cup oil every 500 miles. The design drawing (see scan drawing) from the manual only shows the oiler which I assume is where the cup oil goes. The drawing doesn’t show a zero fitting so don’t I just apply some grease directly to the starting gears?

Ken

 

MG diagram.jpg

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Ken, 

    For the starter sliding gear, these are the lubrication points.  Can you tell if the starter gear has a hole in the bore to allow the grease to get into the starter clutch from the hole in the shaft?

Did you locate a gear?   Hugh

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3 hours ago, KEK said:

 Section says there is a zero fitting. See attached scan. It also says to add about 5 ounces of soft cup oil every 500 miles. The design drawing (see scan drawing) from the manual only shows the oiler which I assume is where the cup oil goes. The drawing doesn’t show a zero fitting 

 

 

When you say zero fitting do you mean zerk fitting?

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Does anyone know if I should tease my two starting gears on the sliding assembly?  The shop manual  under the lubrication. Section says there is a zero fitting. See attached scan. It also says to add about 5 ounces of soft cup oil every 500 miles. The design drawing (see scan drawing) from the manual only shows the oiler which I assume is where the cup oil goes. The drawing doesn’t show a zero fitting so don’t I just apply some grease directly to the starting gears?

Ken

 

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Hugh - 

 

Yes the shaft has the hole and I can grease the zerk and add oil to the cup to lubricate the shaft but should I also apply grease directly on the teeth on the two starter gears? 

 

I never received your PM but have a lead on the part. Not sure yet.

 

Ken 

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Ken, 

     The flywheel ring gear is not typically greased, nor is the starter gear.  That being said, it would not hurt in my opinion.  I did put some grease on mine and I used an old toothbrush so that it was just a very light film.     Hugh

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That was my concern as well so I thought I would ask the question. The clutch plates are nearby and it would not be good to sling grease all over the place. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to add a little as Hugh suggests with a toothbrush. I don’t know why my starter assembly gear failed so adding a ‘very little’ amount of grease wouldn’t hurt once I find a replacement.  My other thought is perhaps the assembly wasn’t adjusted properly. Does anyone know if these sliding gear assemblies need to be adjusted and if so how do you adjust it.

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  • 2 months later...

Ken, 

    There is no adjustment on these sliding gears.  Basically make all the parts look like new and slide properly and you should not have a problem.  My only assumption from the damage photos that I see is that

a) maybe someone pushed on the starter pedal instead of the gas pedal when the engine was running.

b) maybe someone pushed on the starter pedal hard when the starter generator was not turning and broke the end. 

There is pushing on the pedal and there is "standing" on the pedal.   These are smooth operating parts.  Buick wanted women to drive these cars.

Always be gentle with the starter pedal.  You do not have to stand on it.  Listen to the SG motoring.  Push the pedal in slowly and gently.  Hear the gears click in when they engage, and they will slide in easily.  Then the starter will take over. 

I use the hand throttle on the steering wheel every time I start the car.  My right foot only needs to be concerned with pushing the starter pedal in and doing the release.   I don't want to be getting off the starter and then trying to find the gas pedal, and then trying to find the starter pedal again when it wont start.  That prevents me from mistakenly pushing on the starter pedal when I want to raise or blip the throttle.   Do the spark and throttle advance on the steering column function correctly? 

Are you able to inspect all the teeth on the flywheel?      Hugh

  

 

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