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Old 02-06-2021, 06:35 PM   #1
Rich72C10
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Question Starter & Shims

Okay, just want to confirm this You Tube on How to install SBC Starter Shims.

My neighbor, who is a Chevy guy, stopped me after I started my truck. He said, hmm I think you need some shims on your starter. I thought myself it sounded scratchy but figured it was a normal sound for a old truck's starter.

I just popped under my truck, removed my cover and used a 1/8 Allen Wrench. I can just move my Allen Wrench between the Armature shaft and the flex plate - just enough to hear a tap on each side.

Am I doing that right, with a 1/8 Allen Wrench? Then just shim the outside bolt where the solenoid is at?

I can get my 9/64 Allen Wrench in, it almost turns but will not. The next size up, 5/32 will not go in at all. So I guess I have a 1/64 gap or 0.015625 gab right now. The teeth do not seem mangled...

I see that O'Riley's has shims, Dorman Starter Shims Part Number: 02335.

Thanks!

Edit: forgot my photos. The Allen Wrench I am using is my larger 9/64.
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Old 02-06-2021, 07:47 PM   #2
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Re: Starter & Shims

The gap between the shaft and the flex plate doesn't matter. It's the gap between the gears when the bendix is engaged that you have to measure. You can try to get a screwdriver behind the starter gear to pull it out and then measure the gap.

Having said that, I've been working on Chevy and other GM brands for 45 years, and I've never needed to use starter shims.
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Old 02-06-2021, 07:56 PM   #3
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Re: Starter & Shims

Here's how I shim my starter.

https://static.summitracing.com/glob...structions.pdf
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:45 PM   #4
Rich72C10
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Re: Starter & Shims

Well boo - then what is that Allen wrench all about


Now I need to find a paper clip, haven’t seen one in my house in ages!
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:50 PM   #5
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Re: Starter & Shims

You can also try a 1/16 drill bit, even though it's .0625", which is slightly bigger than a paper clip.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:37 PM   #6
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Re: Starter & Shims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich72C10 View Post
Okay, just want to confirm this You Tube on How to install SBC Starter Shims.

My neighbor, who is a Chevy guy, stopped me after I started my truck. He said, hmm I think you need some shims on your starter. I thought myself it sounded scratchy but figured it was a normal sound for a old truck's starter.

I just popped under my truck, removed my cover and used a 1/8 Allen Wrench. I can just move my Allen Wrench between the Armature shaft and the flex plate - just enough to hear a tap on each side.

Am I doing that right, with a 1/8 Allen Wrench? Then just shim the outside bolt where the solenoid is at?

I can get my 9/64 Allen Wrench in, it almost turns but will not. The next size up, 5/32 will not go in at all. So I guess I have a 1/64 gap or 0.015625 gab right now. The teeth do not seem mangled...

I see that O'Riley's has shims, Dorman Starter Shims Part Number: 02335.

Thanks!

Edit: forgot my photos. The Allen Wrench I am using is my larger 9/64.
There is a lot wrong with that video. The way he is measuring is the way you check the shims on a late model starter when installing on a Gen 1 SBC. Not a Gen 1 starter on a Gen 1 SBC.
Then you should never put more shims on one bolt. The starter must sit level. If the starter is crooked the bolts are forced to bend when torqued down.
And with an 168 tooth (angle/offset bolt) starter like shown in the video putting different amounts of shims under each bolt will cause the armature of the starter to no longer be perfectly parallel with the crankshaft causing the starter to wear quickly and stress the mounting bolts.

roboticjunky has posted good information.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:52 PM   #7
Rich72C10
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Re: Starter & Shims

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Originally Posted by HO455 View Post
There is a lot wrong with that video. The way he is measuring is the way you check the shims on a late model starter when installing on a Gen 1 SBC. Not a Gen 1 starter on a Gen 1 SBC.
Then you should never put more shims on one bolt. The starter must sit level. If the starter is crooked the bolts are forced to bend when torqued down.
And with an 168 tooth (angle/offset bolt) starter like shown in the video putting different amounts of shims under each bolt will cause the armature of the starter to no longer be perfectly parallel with the crankshaft causing the starter to wear quickly and stress the mounting bolts.

roboticjunky has posted good information.
Well getting that gear out on the flex plate with a screw driver, well itís a pain. I did find a paper clip. And it goes inside the at the valley okay and no real sloop.

Maybe my starter is just worn and makes a scratching sound my neighbor doesnít like? Really hard to explain and this truck is all Iíve heard - so I canít compare it to anything.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:19 AM   #8
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Re: Starter & Shims

My neighbor (Chris) came over, told me I was over thinking it and talked me into putting a shim in. Not hard, so we tried it. 1/32 didn't make a difference and going larger only made it sound a bit worse, if anything. He had me shim just the one side, nope no real difference.

Brother said it didn't have any shims when he took the starter off, so that is how the PO have it and the one before him too (he only ever replaced the carb on the truck). The Flex plate teeth looked fine to me, no odd wear where the start engages.

Eh, I don't know but the little paper clip thing seem okay to me. Chris definitely doesn't like the sound of it. My Ex-Wife said if I keep changing crap on my truck I'm going to break it and not to listen to Chris LOL
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:16 AM   #9
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Re: Starter & Shims

I pull the solenoid off . Then the bendix can be moved to the engagement position, and it will stay there, for viewing. Easier to observe what might be going on that way.
Many a flywheel has been damaged by the generic nose cones installed onto rebuilt starters. Does your have a GM part number on the aluminum cone?
Well it depends on the truck as some are indeed cast iron.
Also check to see if the block hanger bracket is on the outboard side of the starter. Most are junked as the untrained has no idea what they are for.
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:22 AM   #10
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Re: Starter & Shims

I just watched another YouTube and a fellow was using some welding wire (I have read that you can use that too, not that I have any). He added two home made shims and he couldn't get his rod in and said, "I need one more small shim".

My problem is not that I cannot get my paper clip in, it goes in easy enough and I know my gear is not banging/can't engage. Perhaps its a bit to sloppy.

So I assume, if I need the starter gear closer to the flex plate I only need to be dealing with putting in one side of the shim? Which I only tried that once, as it got late last night. So I'll try some more today.

Thanks for the tips Accelo. I wished mine had a hole in it, the one I saw in the You Tube he had a hole to engage the starter gear. I haven't looked for a GM part number on the starter either.

Lastly, of all things I found yet another YouTube of a guy starting up his 72 C10. I can say mine does not sound like that.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:22 AM   #11
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Re: Starter & Shims

A while back I had posted on Nextdoor.com that I would like to find a shade tree mechanic who can do the mechanical stuff that I can't figure out on my 1969 Chevy Truck. I received several return posts and recommendations for people and one is a retired Chevrolet dealership mechanic. I've taken my truck over to him on several occasions. He heard my truck start up and said the sound is not right and it needs to be looked at. I left it with him for an afternoon and he did several jobs on it, including shimming the starter. It sounds completely different now, much more pleasant cranking sound.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:28 PM   #12
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Re: Starter & Shims

I used this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3opHN1u9CCE to shim my starter, worked perfectly.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:40 PM   #13
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Re: Starter & Shims

That is more or less Chris across the street, my shade tree mechanic! I swear I never remember having a problem swapping out Ford starters and I've done a ton of those in my teens/20s - ha!

Now that I "think" I understand the directions the starter needs to go with shims: if your are teeth are to close together or your hitting the flex plate, whole shims across both bolts. Or if you need to close the gap between the teeth, then shimming only the outside.

For my starter, at most I needed to close the gap. I tried two shims and I could clearly hear things were two close (I didn't re-measure). I then backed up to one 1/64 shim and measured with my paper clip this time and couldn't even get my paperclip in the valley. I then backed up to a 1/32 shim and the paperclip fit perfectly or at least I don't think I could get it closer to perfect.

With the 1/32 in, turning over the engine still sounds squirrely/whiny. I think it is just the starter and how it sounds and not it hitting incorrectly on the flex plate. It has no issues starting the engine, just a bump of the key and she starts up. I also showed the 'no-shim' photos when we were at Coffee & Cars this morning to Chris and he is now thinking the same as me (try a new starter). He is sure he has a starter in his garage - though I'd be surprised it has the correct terminals. Though I know he had a 74 Camaro and it would be the extra one he had for it.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:44 PM   #14
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Re: Starter & Shims

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Originally Posted by ga-stepside View Post
I used this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3opHN1u9CCE to shim my starter, worked perfectly.
Thank you, I hadn't seen that one - though I don't have that starter. I kind of want one, least to bring out the gear LOL

I think I most definitely have the paperclip thing down now with my GM (but not a real GM) starter.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:48 PM   #15
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Re: Starter & Shims

hmm, though how to you adjust how far the gear engages the flex plate on these GM type starters? I am 100% over the 1/2 mark and just coming on the outside of my flex plate....
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:20 PM   #16
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Re: Starter & Shims

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Originally Posted by Rich72C10 View Post
Thank you, I hadn't seen that one - though I don't have that starter. I kind of want one, least to bring out the gear LOL

I think I most definitely have the paperclip thing down now with my GM (but not a real GM) starter.
I don't have a MSD starter either. But the method is the same for any starter.
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:23 PM   #17
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Re: Starter & Shims

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Originally Posted by Rich72C10 View Post
hmm, though how to you adjust how far the gear engages the flex plate on these GM type starters? I am 100% over the 1/2 mark and just coming on the outside of my flex plate....
That is what the funny looking inner shims are for. I had to add the inner shims to adjust the gear engagement depth and one on the block to adjust the teeth mesh depth.
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:42 PM   #18
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Re: Starter & Shims

I havenít any of those
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:45 PM   #19
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Re: Starter & Shims

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Originally Posted by Rich72C10 View Post
I havenít any of those
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/s...make/chevrolet
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:55 PM   #20
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Re: Starter & Shims

Ive cured a lot of starters making that noise. It is usually the starter is too far away from the gear. I take a big rough file & go across the mounting surface of the starter. This smooths & levels it out. Works almost every time. Some of these after market housings are not very precision.
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:04 PM   #21
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Re: Starter & Shims

mine is not to far away from the flex plate. That is assuming when it pull it out with my screw driver, the solenoid pushes the same amount.

I have decided to buy a ACDELCO from Rockauto and regroup with it.

I don't see any resources showing how to pull apart a GM Starter (not mini-starter) to shim the gear from the flex plate. Even summit racing says on its page for those shims hey are for a (discontinued) MSD. Even this fellows shows the gear on You Tube just like mine and my paperclip now seems to fit between the peak of the gear and the valley of the flex plate. Capture from freeze frame of You Tube attached.
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Old 02-07-2021, 06:13 PM   #22
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Re: Starter & Shims

Use these offset shims (since trucks had offset bolt pattern starters.) https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b...ckup-rwd?pos=4

Like that pdf I posted. To get the gear closer to the flexplate, use a half shim on the starter bolt closest to the frame. To get the gear farther away from the flexplate, use a whole shim across both starter bolts.

Base on your first pic (looking at the pattern on the flexplate), you might need an half shim on the outside starter bolt, maybe.

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Old 02-07-2021, 08:24 PM   #23
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Re: Starter & Shims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich72C10 View Post
mine is not to far away from the flex plate. That is assuming when it pull it out with my screw driver, the solenoid pushes the same amount.

I have decided to buy a ACDELCO from Rockauto and regroup with it.

I don't see any resources showing how to pull apart a GM Starter (not mini-starter) to shim the gear from the flex plate. Even summit racing says on its page for those shims hey are for a (discontinued) MSD. Even this fellows shows the gear on You Tube just like mine and my paperclip now seems to fit between the peak of the gear and the valley of the flex plate. Capture from freeze frame of You Tube attached.
A couple decades ago, I installed multiple rebuilt starters from Kragen on my truck. Everyone of them screeched and grinded on the flexplate when the starter engaged. Someone told me to try a brand new AC Delco starter. It was about twice the price, but I put it in with no shims, and haven't had a problem since. I think you're going to have a better result going this route. Good luck!
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Old 02-13-2021, 10:51 AM   #24
Rich72C10
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Re: Starter & Shims

Yep, RockAuto delivered my ACDELCO earlier this week. It came with 4 or so shims. I just need to get it installed now
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Old 02-13-2021, 03:54 PM   #25
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Re: Starter & Shims

I saw a video on youtube where a guy painted a few teeth of the starter's teeth with white paint prior to installing the starter. Then after starting the truck a few times he took the starter off and looked at the paint to see the amount of shimming needed. He was looking for the paint to be scraped off about 2/3 the way down into the starter gear teeth. If less paint was missing, add shims on the outer mount bolt, and if too much paint was missing, add shims across both mount bolts. I thought it was interesting. This was on a starter type that was too inconvenient to pull the starter gear out to mesh with the flexplate.
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