Last month My starter quit working and I bought another, used starter that worked, until now. As a new starter is not in the budget right now, and some days I am physically unable to hand crank, I will attempt a rebuild.
How much is a T starter like or different from a later Ford, say 30s or 40s starter? There is a local shop that has experience with them. If I can do a DIY rebuild I can at least get him to test the armatures and field coils.
If I'm fortunate enough to have good armatures and coils in both my starters, I would like to rebuild them both. If not, maybe I can swap parts to make one good starter for now and build a spare later. I have a new set of aftermarket brushes and a hardly worn set of genuine Ford brushes. I only have one starter drive and already have parts to make it good. I can handle, I think, assembly. The only part of the rebuild that worries me is the bushings. I am not equipped to pour babbitt. I have watched the available videos several times.
I done several for others using the MTFCA electrical book
No like new but got them doing the business again
Ball bearing on the brush end, Bronze bushing drive end. Put seal in the "middle bushing". It is a good to replace brush plate insulators ( good idea while bush plate out to replate it with copper). New fields with new stud and insulator. Oh and straighten the armature shaft, if armature is good. Done. Good luck Dan.
I will not say that I have ever "rebuilt a starter. However I have several times reworked one with good results. Fairly simple. Make sure the brushes are good, move smoothly, and are insulated as they need to be. I made an insulating board out of a plastic oil quart container (or was that one for the generator?).
I recently repaired my electric leaf-blower (it had eaten one of the brushes. Most electric motors are fairly simple to figure out. I had used it for nearly fifteen years. I hope to get another six to eight out of it now.
That which needs to turn? Needs to turn smoothly without much excess play where it doesn't belong. That which needs to be connected? Needs good clean (and if appropriate, soldered) connections. That which needs to be insulated? Needs to be reliably insulated. As long as you have a good armature, and good outer windings? You should be able to get something workable. Bear in mind. This is NOT the same as a proper rebuild if you can afford it. There are a few people on this site that do beautiful real rebuilds.
WARNING WARNING Possible dumb question... When checking a starter armature, or generator armature, with an ohm meter for continuity, or hopefully the lack thereof, do I need to touch every segment on the part where the brushes run and every bar on the big part of the armature?
Hold one probe of you ohmmeter on one segment of the commutator. With the other probe, go from one segment to the next, all the way around the commutator, looking for continuity at each segment. If that checks out o.k., then put one probe on any commutator segment, and the other on the armature shaft or any steel part of the armature for that matter. You do NOT want to find continuity there.
If all of this checks out, it still does not mean that you have a good armature. Lots of other stuff can be bad, but if it fails these tests, you know you've got a bad one.
With the Ohm meter you can look for a short between the core and the winding. If you have a lot of broken winding, you can see there is an open. One or two winding with a bad contact or open you will not find a problem because the winding are connected in serial.
To really test an armature you will need a growler.
This said, my experience with the model T starters is mostly dirt, used bearings, bad (Used or stuck) brushes and bad contact between brushes and collector, a used (burned) collector. The armature can be out of center, the shaft need to be straight. The field winding need to be checked for short to the ground as you should do with the armature.
To clean the dirt.
All should be apart, Than I use paint thinner to clean out most of the dirt. After, I set all the parts in a can with water mixed with bicarbonate and make it boil for a while.
Flush with cold clear water and dry it with a hot air paint stripper.
All clean you can start the rebuild.
Tommy, you mentioned pouring babbitt. The vendors sell a ball bearing replacement for the armature end. If the bendix drive babbitt bushing is bad, a Model A wrist pin bushing is a good replacement.
I checked both my starters this morning. On the first one that was on my car when I got the car, the armature checks bad with my ohm meter, and so do the field coils. With my ohm meter both the armature and coils check ok on the second starter. Both leads from the coils to the brush holders on the "good" starter are bare and one appears to have been rubbed by the armature at some time.
I am taking the second starter to the local shop to see if he can make it work.
I also checked the brush holders and found that two brush holders were grounded to the end cover and two were not. I tried to put the end cap, with brush holders, from the "bad" starter onto the other but it wont fit. The bad starter has had a bearing installed into the cap and the armature is smaller on the end.
Who supplies armatures for T starters? I did not find them in Lang's catalog.
Do you want rewound or a used armature? Pm me. Dan
I also sell new field coils. Dan
Dan do you rewind starter armatures?
The local shop checked out my armature and coils and pronounced them good. I put some shrink wrap on the leads from the coils to the brush holders and reassembled the starter, again. It spins good on the bench with jumper cables. I hope it works when I put it back on the car. Next thing is to get the cylinder head back on. We'll know in a couple of days.
Jason: No I have them done.