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Starter armature needed, 1919 Pierce


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Does anyone know where I can get another starter armature for a 1919 Pierce-Arrow model 48? I am pretty sure that I got it too hot when I was cranking the car (it was trying to start, and so I got too enthusiastic and cranked it too long, and all of a sudden, it would barely turn over). I have 8 volts at the starter, so I know battery voltage or connections are not the problem. I have had the starter to 4 or 5 area starter rebuild places, and all of them say it is fine, but I do not agree. Of course, they test it with no load at all, and it turns over fine, but with the load of this enormous engine, it will scarcely move it at all.

I take care of this car for an elderly lady whose late husband owned it for years. It is for sale, but I do not want to price it until I can get it running, so I need some leads for a starter armature. Thanks.

Pete Phillips

pphillips922@earthlink.net

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Pete,

Before you condemn the starter armature, have you tried to parallel the battery to starter connections with jumper cables? It could be a defect in the ground path or the voltage path, like an overheated cable to lug connector or just a rotted copper cable conductor hidden under insulation. Usually an armature failure is one or more open segments on the commutator which only cause trouble when the brushes stop on the bad segment and then the motor will appear dead until it can be rotated a few degrees to a good commutator segment. Stude8

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Pete, Another thing to look at is brush to armature pressure. Little use of the starter will cause dust build up to harden and cause big problems. Take a hook tool and move the spring off the brush, see if it is free in the holder. If the brush wont slide freely in the holder, it wont turn over well under load. Karl

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the suggestions, but none of them pan out. A parallel cable changes nothing. The springs and brushes are not frozen. I think I got the starter too hot just when the problem began. The engine was trying to start, so I kept cranking it, probably too long or too often. I have had the starter to 4 different rebuild places and they all say it is fine, but seems to draw a lot of amperage. Of course, none of them test it with the load of a 450+ cu. in. engine on it, which is when it will scarcely turn over. I am really tired of starter rebuild places saying they can fix it, charging me, and then there is no change. If anyone knows of a place that will rewind the armature or knows of another armature, please let me know.

By the way, I was informed today that the car's owner is seriously ready to sell this Pierce, $65,000; 7-passenger model 48, mostly unrestored and original except for a new top, always garaged; no rust, no dents, no bad wood, no missing parts that I am aware of, new radiator at a cost of over $4000 recently; I know most of the car's history; owner used to drive it all over the country at the drop of a hat; will run and drive flawlessly if we could just get this annoying starter problem solved. Car is in Sherman, TExas.

Pete Phillips

pphillips922@earthlink.net

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Hi, Have someone place the armature on a growler. It is a special electrical device used to test armatures on generators and starters. I see them at hershey all the time for 25 dollars or so. I bought 3 last year for myself and two friends. I ended up needing mine two weeks ago when my 33 1247 quit charging. It worked fine. If you can't find anybody local, look me up in the Pierce club and give me a call. I would be happy to test it for you if you want to send it out. I could turn it around in just one day. I would also place an ampe probe around the starter cable to see how many amps it is drawing under load. Any good modern auto repair shop would have one. Best of luck, Ed Minnie <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Ed,

Thanks for taking an interest in the problem. I don't have access to current Pierce Arrow Society membership roster. If you will email me privately your mailing address, I will get the armature out to you this week. Have seen a "growler" and know what you are speaking of, and that is exactly what is needed, to diagnose this, I think. My email is below:

Pete Phillips

pphillips922@earthlink.net

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