In a former post I asked about freeing up a starter gear. I tried rocking the car with no luck. I removed the bendix cover and used a block to tap the bendix counter clock wise which seemed to free it. When it went back together it sounded as if there were parts that fell into the crankcase.
This week I tackled it again. If I cranked the engine I could hear a gear whine. Off came the bendix cap again, and I decided to take the bendix clear out when I realized the starter gear was still attached to the flywheel.
With the bendix out and the bendix cover back on, I have a "crank-only" car. That doesn't bother me - probably good for me to get practice starting the car with a crank. Those pesky starters will never catch on anyway.
First, Don't run the car with parts loose in the crankcase. Maybe you can pick it up with a magnet on a flexible shaft through the transmission inspection lid hole like Steve Jelf did with a band spring recently - or check if you can get at it through the oil drain hole. Poking it may get it attached to a magnet, then you can reach it through the front starter hole when turning the engine around.
Back to your starter problem.. A common starter problem develops if someone has tried starting the car with the ignition advanced - a backfire may have bent the starter axle.
You may try running the starter for a short spin with the bendix and the cover off - if the shaft wobbles there's your starter problem.
Another common problem is harder to fix - the engine tends to always stop in two positions. Almost all the wear on the starter gear on the flywheel is in those two spots and eventually a tooth is almost worn away and the bendix gets stuck. To fix it you have to tore the engine down completely. Temporary fix is to always move the car in gear or turn the crank some before starting with the starter..
If the only problem is a broken bendix or a broken spring and if you can't find good old parts at a swap meet or with an ad here, then there are replacement parts available: http://www.modeltford.com/item/5018.aspx
Thanks for your reply. I'm sorry I didn't give a more complete description of what I found. I had taken the spark plugs out so that I could turn the engine over slowly. When using the crank I could hear two noises. One was the gear noise, which I had to assume was the starter gear still meshed with the flywheel. The other noise was a click that came perhaps once a revolution.
I drained the oil and used a magnet to see if I could find evidence of metal in the crankcase. Nothing there. I flushed the engine with kerosene and checked again for metal. Nothing there either. I added #30 oil.
When I took the bendix cap off I found all the parts intact, so that meant there were no starter parts in the crankcase. Also the starter gear was still meshed with the flywheel.
I took off the front of the bendix and the spring. I found that the front bolt head showed some wear - it may have been hitting the inside of the bendix cap.
By now I could move the bendix gear away from the flywheel by turning the engine with the crank. I decided to remove the rest of the bendix to see if I could tell why the gear was not being thrown forward. I could see no broken parts on the bendix, and the starter shaft seems to run true. And probably most important there were no noises - everything sounded fine.
I decided to leave the bendix out, replace the bendix cap, and start the car with the crank. The engine started and ran normally with no extra noises. I'm confident that the problems were with the bendix, though I can't see anything wrong with it now that it's out of the car. At some point I'll put it back in the car, but for now at least, I'll crank it.
I have seen this before. Do you have a pic of the bendix? Is it a Model T bendix or an early Model A bendix? They will both fit and work, but the Model A unit will due a lot of damage to the ring gear and starter shaft in the process. Don't ask how I know.
The click noise could have been the timing gears. When you turn the engine over slowly, the pressure of the tappets pushing on the cam lobes can cause the cam to jump forward slightly. When it does this, the cam gear jumps ahead into the backlash with the crank gear and makes a click noise.
Never heard of any Model A bendix that will fit a T. Got any photos?
The thing that would concern me is the click about once per revolution. When you have the bendix cover off, you can have someone very slowly turn the crank as you look with a light at the teeth on the ring gear. If you see one tooth missing or quite worn, that is probably what was making the click. It is also why the starter got stuck. The original configuration of the teeth was tapered on one edge so that when the starter gear moves against the flywheel it will slide into mesh with the flywheel gears. If that edge is worn, the starter bendix gear will hit against the flywheel and not mesh.
In that case, you will need to pull the engine and replace the flywheel gear. If you are comfortable crank starting the car, that hard job can be deferred until such time as you need to pull the engine for more extensive repairs.
Perhaps Larry is talking about a Model A Bendix drive spring? The other Model A Bendix drive parts will not fit on a Model T.
Ron the Coilman
It is my understanding that the very early Model A starter had a 1/2" shaft. It didn't take them long to upgrade to a 5/8 shaft. Maybe I was misinformed.
I'm not sure where that bendix went to. Given the extra work it caused me, I don't want it anywhere near my car again.
Larry you don't need no stink'n starter. Only one of my T's has a starter and I never use it. Starters are highly overrated! Just make sure your timing is right and you remember to retard the spark. With or without a starter I think it is good practice to retard the spark before you shut the car off, no exceptions!
Certainly the early Model A "Abel" starter had a 1/2 inch shaft and as you stated that did not last long because of the tendency of the shaft to bend. Everything else was different than the Model T Bendix drive. Including the drive spring so many Model T'ers just love installing on Model T's thinking it is better, when in fact they are too large for the Model T Bendix drive shaft.
Ron the Coilman
Here is a photo of the bendix.
Here is a second try at the bendix photo.
That Bendix appears to me as a reproduction part.
Some early production of these were prone to sticking. Here is a photo of old Ford vs new reproduction on the right in the photo.
Note the one on the right, the end of the thread is a giveaway to repro, the way the sq thread ends, and the sq. ends on the gear flange.
What can't be seen in your photo is the follower spring, that rides on the threaded shaft, it may be there or missing.
To fix these, you have to use lapping compound and make sure the gear can travel each way on the threaded shaft with ease and no sticking. If it sticks, the gear will stay in the flywheel ring gear as you have experienced.
An original Bendix in good shape is best, but the new repro Bendix are now much better and work well.
Thanks for the advice on the repro vs original Bendix differences. I believe also that this is a repro. I will see about getting it back in the car, but I have to confess I'm having a good time running the car without having a starter.
Saturday I gave rides to children in the neighborhood plus a couple of their parents. Our little subdivision had garage sales with cars parked everywhere, so putting around in the T just seemed like the right thing to do.
One little girl left her lemonade stand to go for a ride. I told her, "I know it's a sunny day, but if it rains you have a very important job to do. You need to swipe the windshield wiper back and forth for me." She thought that was cool.