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Old 03-06-2013, 12:50 AM   #1
JellyBeanDriver
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Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

86' C30, 454 TH400, 168T flywheel.

Looking to 'upgrade' the starter on the ranch truck.
Takes forever to start this truck after sitting for over a day I think due to the carb bowl vaporizing dry. Poor battery really gets dragged down from all the cranking.

Read up on mini-starters. Sounds wonderful other than the plastic gears on the cheaper ones (DB Electrical, Ebay units).

Question:
- is the cranking amps less with the mini-starter? (or the same but cranking RPM is higher?)
- does the starter brace still fit? (between the block and front of the starter).
- Which mini-starters use all metal gears? (does the ~$120 new Delco unit have all metal gears?)

Looking for a drop in, no shim, low risk of damaging the ring gear, mini starter.

Thanks
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:24 AM   #2
panhandler62
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

I can't provide much info on mini starters but I can offer some generalizes ideas.

1. A more efficient starter won't make your truck start easier
2. In most cases you need to spend a lot on premium equipment to improve on the function of original equipment.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Quote:
Originally Posted by panhandler62 View Post
I can't provide much info on mini starters but I can offer some generalizes ideas.

1. A more efficient starter won't make your truck start easier
2. In most cases you need to spend a lot on premium equipment to improve on the function of original equipment.
1 - I agree except I'm trying to keep the battery from running down so much during starting. A more efficient starter definitely would make it start easier if the battery is low. It's that angle I am going to try and solve.

2 - except we're comparing the original direct drive starter to the mini-starter. The factory did improve the OE.

Delco even sells a ministarter for ~$120. That's not a lot but I don't see any reviews that it is a good one.

I've seen plenty of posts saying the DB Electrical mini-starter is a good one, but that it also has a plastic ring gear.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

I think you need to solve the carb problem, the starter would just be a band-aid. I could see evap problems if it sits for weeks but one day?? Might be a fuel pump problem too.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:04 AM   #5
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrrieG View Post
I think you need to solve the carb problem, the starter would just be a band-aid. I could see evap problems if it sits for weeks but one day?? Might be a fuel pump problem too.
I think it's "chalk it up to not remembering how to start a carb'd vehicle", and cranking for a long time is relative. Certainly does not start like a fuel injected vehicle.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:15 AM   #6
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Take a look at Powermaster starters on their website. They are a dependable starter and they work really well, too.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:49 AM   #7
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

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Originally Posted by piecesparts View Post
Take a look at Powermaster starters on their website. They are a dependable starter and they work really well, too.
x2. Best starter made IMO. Their technical support is awesome.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:22 PM   #8
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

I have them on several of my vehicles and had an issue with only one. I sent it in to them and the guy at their production plant called me and asked what the problem was. That is a desire to make a product right.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:07 PM   #9
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Quote:
Originally Posted by piecesparts View Post
I have them on several of my vehicles and had an issue with only one. I sent it in to them and the guy at their production plant called me and asked what the problem was. That is a desire to make a product right.
The retailer I bought mine from sold me the wrong one. When they refused to take it back and exchange it, I called Powermaster directly. Brady (he is the one man show) told me to send it to him, and he sent me out the proper unit at no charge, even though the proper one retailed for $50 more. THAT is service.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:23 PM   #10
JellyBeanDriver
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Tried starting it today with my "Oh yeah, this is carbureted" knowledge. Went much better.

Several gas pedal presses.
Crank for 5 seconds to fill the fuel bowl.

Several gas pedal presses, pausing between each one as the accelerator pump I notice is a bit sticky coming up.

Started right up after maybe 10-15 seconds of cranking in total.

Still going to look for a mini-starter, probably OEM from the junkyard off a later model GM vehicle.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:52 PM   #11
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

I'm curious on the mini starter, but so far I haven't been in a position to need one.
Fixing the carb, basic tune up, and good, clean cables and connections have served me well so far.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:14 PM   #12
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

the newer truck came with a factory mini starter. My 95 k2500 has one stock.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #13
JellyBeanDriver
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Re: Mini starter questions, plastic gears, cranking amps. (86' C30, 454 TH400)

Found one today at the junkyard off a later 4x4 truck. Couldn't tell what year it was as the decals were gone but it was a staggered bolt starter, and the engine looked to be a 454 (exhaust ports were not siamesed).

Came with a heat shield too and the nose has a nice needle bearing in there. I have not see that feature on aftermarket cheapies. I think it is a factory starter though because of all these extra bits on it though it had a remanufactured sticker on it and I could not see any factory marks on the casting.

Made sure I got the bolts too.

The only slight 'gotcha' is that the solenoid studs are not 3/8" but more like whatever a 14mm nut would thread onto.


Won't install it for a couple of weeks. There's a horse show next weekend and I'm superstitious to do any more work on it before the event.

Price was $33 including tax out the door, but they'll refund me $5.00 for a core return.
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