C4 flexplate/starter probs - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 02:15 PM
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Been working on a '66 coupe for some time now. There seems to be a problem with the starter/flexplate. The C4 is not original and probably came out of a mid-70's Ford product and the motor is a mid-70's 302. The flexplate is a new 157 tooth that was already on the motor when I got it.
If you're on a high-speed connection, take a look at the pics here:
http://www.early-mustang.com/charles/starter/

The first pic is of the starter that was given to me by the owner which is new. I hit the starter a bunch of times and it would jam the engine and have to turn it by hand to free it. I got another starter and it did the same thing as seen in pic 2.

Other VMF'ers have said that I need a 164 tooth flexplate. Before I pull the trans, I thought I would ask if anyone else has run into this problem. This motor has not been run yet since assembled.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 02:42 PM
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I don't know if the 164 would fit in there... hrm. Anyways, here is a simple question: Is the flexplate at all bent?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 02:49 PM
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I had the same problem with my starter, and was stubborn enough to destroy it before I stopped trying and asked for help. The damage patterns looked just like your pics.

My problem was that when I bolted the flexplate to the torque converter, I had it misaligned by ninety degrees, covering the converter drain plug with the flexplate, instead of having it poke through the hole in the flexplate. The flexplate tightened up fine, so I didn't notice the big bow I had put in it. Each time the bowed area came around to the starter it hit and did damage.

A couple of times mine even started and ran, but BOY what a racket it made. It just hastened the destruction of the starter. Fortunately, the flexplate survived, and I had a spare starter from another engine. Sure runs quiet, now, though!!

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 03:21 PM
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Can you measure the distance between teeth on the flexplate and compare that to the starter gear?

The other thing that comes to mind is that your pictures show that the flexplate is contacting surfaces on the starter it shouldn't be touching. Is it possible that the flexplate is on backwards, and not in the right plane? Maybe someone can provide a measurement of their flexplate to block distance for you to compare.

The third thought would be to lay under the car with a magnetic base dial indicator while someone rotates the engine by hand so you can watch the flexplate and make sure it isn't warped.

Just thoughts. Good luck.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 06:33 PM
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You can't put the flexplate on backwards. The flexplate to crankcase bolt holes are not symmetrically placed. The flexplate will go on one way only.

My guess, though, is also a warped flexplate. I had a warped flexplate in my '68 Cougar for a while, but it was the opposite of binding on the starter. The warpage was such that as the flexplate would come around it would move away from the starter until the starter would just free spin. Then you had to turn the engine over a couple degrees by hand and try again.

CT ... I will be yanking the 289/C4 from my son's crashed '65 this weekend and give you any measurements you need probably by tommorrow night. I also have a '66 C4 flexplate (balanced for my '66's engine in case I ever decide to remove the AOD) that I can look at immediately if you need any info that it might shed.




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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2003, 08:49 PM
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I agree with johnpro that you can't put the flexplate on incorrectly if put on properly, but what we don't know is did the PO do something really stupid like leave a blot out to make it fit.

So it is either warped, or something. Another stupid question. There are balancing weights on the flexplate. Which way do they face? (When you ask yourself a question like that and can't remember it makes me mad!) That would confirm if it was on incorrectly.

Also to another post, make sure you can see the drain plug on the torque converter too. If that was done, I would think that the distance flexplate would be from the housing would be variable as it rotated.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-15-2003, 01:07 AM
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The only thing that comes to mind is that maybe the torque converter wasn't fully seated in the transmission when they were bolted together or as previously suggested, the flexplate is indexed 90* degrees off the correct location and the drain plugs are shoving the flywheel teeth into the starter bendix.

1" difference between the diameters of the 164T and the 157T, (Or 1/2" per side). Doubtful if the starter would even engage the flexplate if you had a small flywheel in a large bellhousing.

May be time to borrow Pete's tranny jack!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 12:22 PM
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Hello,
I know this is an old post but seemed the most relevant one to latch onto. I'm building a 66 with my 10 year old son.

I think I know my issue but appreciate help on verifying the solution. I have a 66 with I think an original C4 with the dipstick tube going into the case not the pan. PO had put in a 351w, casting of the block makes it a '79 I think D9AE-8015-ED is my best interpretation. Never yet fired since he put it in and I'm getting close to completion. It has a new flexplate of some wrong variety. Motor was locked up until I pulled the starter then could get it to spin freely with a breaker bar.

I verified the flywheel is warped by filming the inspection plate area while turning the motor. This flywheel has zero holes for any kind of torque converter drain, it is solid all the way around. It's at least 3/16 or 1/4" out of true as it spins and the torque converter has no nuts holding it to the flexplate, maybe the previous owner realized the issue and left that part undone...

So clearly I need to separate the tranny from the engine, pull flexplate and see what I'm looking at from a torque converter perspective, I'm assuming they all have drain plugs and this is the wrong flex plate.

Is it as simple as buying a 157 tooth 28oz imbalance flexplate for a 289 that would have come in this car? I have read that there is only one way to put this on but I have also read on this site that the counterweight needs to be 180 degrees opposite the weight on the balancer so one of those statements can't be true...

Any other things I should look out for, I'm doing this on my back with the car on jack stands, was going to disconnect driveshaft, bellhousing bolts, crossmember nuts, shift linkage, speedo, neutral safety wiring, AT kickdown, hoping I can unbolt cooling lines at the radiator and keep them attached to the tranny, (they were a pain to start those threads), position floor jack to support tranny (can I use a block of wood across the pan or do I need something u shaped to straddle the pan and contact the flange area left and right?) and scoot the darn thing back 6" or whatever in order to get to the flywheel bolts.

Missing anything?

Thanks, this is my first post and know it is long, wanted to provide the best facts! Love this site.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 02:27 PM
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I believe you are correct, all you should need is the correct flexplate. I've balanced a C4 carefully on a 2 1/4" ton floor jack with the six inch or so jack head. With care you won't dent the pan up. It doesn't hurt to use a square of plywood as a buffer but that also makes the C4 more prone to sliding off the jack. Stay aware the whole time that the transmission could slide off at any time and leave yourself an escape route. So to speak. To be sure you want to hang onto the transmission but don't try to "catch" it. If it falls push it away from you and/or you away from it. C4's aren't all that heavy but in the confined space under a jacked up car things can get ugly. Voice of experience here.

When you go back in, go easy. THe torque converter studs should protrude about halfway through the flexplate when the bellhousing in flush to the transmission. And you should be able to "shake" the converter back and forth a bit. If the studs are all the way through the flexplate before the transmission mates to the engine then the converter is NOT seated all the way in. This happens a LOT. You have to back up and fiddle the converter in some more. A converter that was fully seated can unseat itself even when you just pull the transmission back a bit. Voice of experience again. YOu already seem to know about the drain plugs hitting the flexplate. Some converters even have two plugs. Being able to shake the converter as above is also proof those aren't hitting.
Good luck, and be careful!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 03:55 PM
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Almost sounds like you may have a aftermarket high performance SFI rated flexplate if itís solid. But yeah just buy a new 28 oz 157 tooth flexplate and be done with it.

Maybe not pertinent with your C4 but on my stick bellhousing, the last two repro block plates I bought, I discovered the opening for the starter wasnít cut correctly. The first time I couldnít get the starter in the second time It was a little hard to get the bolts started and the starter ground something fierce. Of course the motor, trans and headers where in. Luckily I was able to get a small 90* pneumatic grinder in to open up the plate. Make sure your starter goes in easy!

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 05:58 PM
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Super helpful, will proceed accordingly. Buddy has a bigger floor jack so will tap into that and maybe a tie-down to secure it plus a dolly or something for the tail end for stability.

Ya I think you're right on the aftermarket flexplate, just the wrong part.

Block plate seems fine, probably original. Starter mated up to it and the bell housing fine.

not sure how long this operation is going to take me, was getting excited to fire this thing up then hit this snag. Not to mention undoing all my exhaust, shifter, at kickdown, neutral switch, dipstick, parking brake and tranny line work that I thought was done. fortunately I hadn't welded up the exhaust yet.

Thanks guys
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:43 PM
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OK final report back on this topic: SOLVED

Yes, it was an SFI aftermarket flexplate, solid, and the converter plugs were warping it.

Got the tranny back after removing all my hard work, replaced with a correct flexplate and it spins nice and true.
Buttoned everything back up and honestly it wasn't as bad as I had imagined, maybe 4 hours end to end. Hardest part was lining up the TC studs and pulling the tranny in by myself, on my back, with too little control and not enough hands.
Did a quick test crank once I got the starter motor in and it spins great, no issues.

Thanks for the help, time to finish the exhaust and fire this thing up!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 05:29 PM
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I was looking at the first page of this thread and saw johnpro. 3/24/10 was his last post. Wow almost 9 years to the day. God bless him.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskinhano View Post
I was looking at the first page of this thread and saw johnpro. 3/24/10 was his last post. Wow almost 9 years to the day. God bless him.
Yep, life is precious and short.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskinhano View Post

Maybe not pertinent with your C4 but on my stick bellhousing, the last two repro block plates I bought, I discovered the opening for the starter wasnít cut correctly. The first time I couldnít get the starter in the second time It was a little hard to get the bolts started and the starter ground something fierce. Of course the motor, trans and headers where in. Luckily I was able to get a small 90* pneumatic grinder in to open up the plate. Make sure your starter goes in easy!
Sorry to revive this thread for a 3rd time, but I found this during a Google search.

I'm currently fighting a bad starter grind and noticed your post. I'm running a TCI 529610 (50oz, 157-tooth) flexplate with a small-bell c4 and '98 5.0. Ever since I got it all mated together, it's had a bad grind. I used a starter shim plate from NAPA and it cut down on the noise, but it still isn't a smooth engagement. I wasn't sure if my next move was to try an additional shim plate or to try a 10-tooth starter.

Now the block plate is a reproduction I got from NPD back in 2011 (part # 7007-1B). And if I'm recalling correctly, I was having some trouble starting one of the starter bolts. So I'm wondering, how exactly did you diagnose those plates as being out of spec? Did you use a an OEM plate to make a template and grind accordingly? My car was a T-code, so I have no OEM plate to reference. I may need to try to get my hands on one.
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