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Old 05-21-2006, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Just got my new engine test stand and its great, but I uncovered a problem that I didn't expect. Bolted up the flywheel and the starter and everthing fit fine. After about two revolutions the flywheel ring gear stripped and we ground to a halt. Here's what I have: 1969 Ford 302 Block, C3OE-6380B Ford flywheel with 160 teeth, C5DA-6394-A Bellhousing, starter is a Delco rebuilt from NAPA with 9 teeth. The NAPA starter I am using is for a stick car and has a 2" casting snout, which is 1/4" shorter than the automatic starter my car came with.

Any ideas? Thanks!!
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Old 05-21-2006, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The delco is a hi-torque, mini starter, correct? I believe they work with the 157 tooth flywheels. Seems the 160 would be larger in diameter thus causing the failure on the starter.
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Old 05-21-2006, 03:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Delco I'm using is a stock replacement starter. I have been told that there is no difference between the 157 tooth ring gear and the 160 tooth unit, but it seems there may be. I think I'll have the ring gear replaced with a 157 tooth unit and see what happens. Does anyone know if the stick starter or the automatic starter is the longer of the two?
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Old 05-21-2006, 04:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The 160 tooth flywheels and flexplates were very common in the 1965 era 289s. As far as I know, they are the same diameter as the the 157 tooth variety, and both are associated with the "small" aluminum bellhousings of the same vintage. From what I have read on some forums, the parts houses seem to mix up the replacement auto starters with the stick starters, and many people have had problems because of this. Since "search" isn't working yet, maybe some other posters could provide the actual dimensions for the "stick" starter drive mechanism.
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Looks like I found the problem. Upon closer examination, it looks like the C30e-6380B flywheel has about an inch of clearance between the block and the leading edge of the flywheel ring gear. I held up the so-called manual transmission starter to the block and there is no way the gear could engage all the way with the ring gear. I held up the automatic C-4 starter that came on my engine and it looks perfect. The automatic starter also fits into my C5DA-6394-A bellhousing perfectly. At this point I'm thinking the starter is not actually auto or manual specific, it's more of a match between the starter and the flywheel you are using. If this is true, it might explain some of the confusion with the parthouse numbers. I'm going to exchange my short nosed starter for the long nosed version, install a new 157 tooth flywheel ring gear and see what happens.
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Old 05-22-2006, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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OK. Here's the final answer on the notorious early mustang starter-flywheel mismatch problem. I installed a new ring gear with 157 teeth on the C30E-6380B flywheel and installed the long snout automatic starter from my original C-4 and it works great. It seems that the long and short starters are flywheel specific. Best thing to do is to take a good look at the distance between your block plate and the edge of the ring gear. Mine was about 1" and it needed the long style starter. I hope this saves someone some grief! Thanks for the input.
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