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Old 07-18-2014, 08:17 PM
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starter grinding after engine fires

Hello-

I have had a problem pop up recently that has quite a few people stumped. The issue is that the starter bendix fails to retract fast enough after engine fires and there is sometimes a grinding noise. Sometimes its longer than others and sometimes ( rarely ) it does not happen at all. What I have done so far:

-I have had three Ford starters in it and all did the same thing. This leads me to believe its not the starter itself.

-I have had the transmission recently rebuilt and the flywheel checked out fine. No missing or damaged teeth. No cracks.

-One shop told me there was excessive runout of the flywheel but this does not make sense as it just started happening a few weeks ago. Flywheels don't just all of a sudden warp. I think this was a " pass the buck " diagnosis.

So this led me to a few web searches and I discovered that if the voltage available to starter i.e. a bad connection somewhere, is low that it could cause the bendix to be slow to retract.

Is this correct? If so how could I rule this out? I have not checked the battery for full charge as of yet. I have poked around a bit and found A LOT of miscellaneous wiring. Not mickey mouse stuff just a lot of accessories. This van was a slope transport vehicle in its previous life and they had all kinds of cold weather gear along with multiple gps, radios and such. I have eliminated most of what I could quickly.

My question is this: can a bad ground or positive lead somewhere truly cause the bendix to not retract fast enough and continue to grind on the flywheel for a few seconds after the engine fires?

Thank you for any help or advice offered. Truck is a 97 E350 Quigely
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:16 AM
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I'm not sure about the voltage issue, but it would hurt to check the battery cable ends (all ends) for cleanliness and tightness along with the starter wires. Maybe also check the transmission-to-bellhousing bolts for tightness and maybe general alignment between the two (if it is possible?). Cheers!
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:23 AM
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i do not know how your particular starter mounts and if you posted some specs I would have looked at one

but on some starters if they are not shimmed away from the flywheel the gears can mesh so tightly that when the Bendix releases the friction on the gears keeps them engaged for a prolonged amount of time

the residual power ( slow relay ) theory could be checked with a meter but initial low power causing a Bendix to retract slowly does not seem likely as long as it is disconnected
100% at KOES to KOER

Last edited by ZMANN; 07-19-2014 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:07 AM
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It could be the fender relay not opening quickly enough. It would be interesting to start it once by bypassing the relay, and see if it disengages when you remove the jumper wire right away. If it does, then I would finger the relay.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:51 AM
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Thank you for the responses. I will check the fender mounted relay. I will also check battery health and for cable corrosion. I have read that the wire supplying power to the starter mounted solenoid can rot so maybe thats a possibility. Its raining today which is kinda a bummer to be working on the truck...

One thing I am not clear on is this: Can a low voltage situation cause this condition of the starter not disengaging fast enough? If I understand correctly the spring tension on the starter keeps the bendix retracted until power is applied and it is forced forward... It seams as if as soon as power is removed the bendix should retract as fast as the spring is capable. Unless the solenoid is leaking power and the starter is not truly powered down as fast as it should be. I might be over complicating this lol.


Thanks again
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:04 AM
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Hello.

I would think that low voltage would cause the truck to not start before it would cause the bendix to hang. I would more look at the ignition switch on the top of the steering column. I've seen those get sticky after time and cause the starter to not disengage.

One way to test this would be to turn the key to the "on" position and then cross the fender-mounted solenoid with a jumper cable. If the bendix disengages right away, then the problem may be in the switch.

Please note that I am talking about the ignition switch, not the key switch.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:10 AM
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I am not sure I understand the difference between the ignitions switch and the key switch. That sounds like it could possibly be the culprit. I can barely get to the fender mounted relay as its pinned between the headlight and the battery. Any idea which posts to jumper?
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:50 AM
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Ok so after a brief search I found that the two large studs with 10g wires are to and from the battery/starter. The small push on studs are ground and from the tranny/ignition. The other push on is ground I believe. If I jump power from the batter to the topmost push on this should engage the starter correct? Surprisingly hard to find a wiring diagram of of the relay.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:34 PM
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Yes. Just jump the two large posts. You will see a spark, and the starter will be spinning.

I might be easier to jump the battery-side large terminal to the key-actuated small terminal. That will be less of a current draw, and I have done that with just a screwdriver or a pair of pliers. Might be easier than getting jumper cables in there. The down side is that it does not test the solenoid.

The key switch is the receiver of your key. It turns as you turn the key, and actuates a rod on the ignition switch. As the rod gets pushed forward, it set the ignition switch to "on". When you push further, it engages the wire attached to the fender mounted solenoid and causes the starter to engage. When you release the key, a small spring throws it back into the "on" position. If that spring gets weak, or the housing starts to swell, ignition switch can start "sticking" and causing the starter to stay engaged.

Here's a link to an ignition switch. You can see that it is definitely different than the key switch. BWD Ignition Switch CS121: Buy the right Ignition Starter Switch at Advance Auto Parts
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:22 PM
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So I stopped by NAPA and looked at the ignition switch and there was no return
spring inside. There must be a return spring inside the lock cylinder itself? Or somewhere in between. I will test the solenoid as suggested as soon as the rain stops. Thank You

I will try and post a pic of the bottom of the steering column. There is a wire (black with purple stripe )that has popped off and is loose under the cover. It appears to be the buzzer wire. Any idea what it attaches to? There is no obvious spot...
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