Fried starter...rebuild?

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Dale Finch
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Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:31 am

I had been mowing with my '55 cub, but stopped for a while. When restarting, the starter sounded a bit strange, as though a weak battery, but battery full charged. Then starter just hummed and began to smoke. Even with the start switch pushed in, it continued humming and smoking. When it finally quit, about 20 seconds, it was obviously DEAD! Really stinky!! (This is a 6v starter on a tractor converted to 12v)

That's the bad news, but the good news is that the "new" engine I just installed on my other cub had come with a starter that worked fine. So I swapped them out, and back in business!

I took the toasted starter to Alamance Starter and Alternator to get an estimate for rebuild, but thought I would query the "experts"...is it worth the $100-300 potential cost to have one rebuilt? Saw on eBay new ones for less than rebuild, but are they any good? IF it needs a total rebuild, can it be converted to 12v? Is THAT worth the cost?

Most likely, if the rebuild cost is too high, I will wait until I actually NEED another starter to replace it, as it would just be shelved as a spare for my 4 cubs. Just wanted advice/opinions from you guys & gals!

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby staninlowerAL » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:18 am

Dale, I'm into this now with a 6v starter that needs some maintenance. The cost depends on what needs to be done, obviously. Seems like the armature is the big expense item. Bendix repair/replacement, coils, bearings/bushings, brushes and other electrical type repairs can usually be handled by a skilled shop tech. My starter has an "open" armature which will require remanufacture or exchange for a good one and the price is steep. I don't have an exact cost yet but I can get one if it helps. Fortunately for me I have a local "ole time" starter repair shop that's been around for 50+ years so I trust the guy 100% based on my past dealings with him.

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Eugene » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:19 am

Tear the starter down, find out what you need to repair it.

If the armature and commutator is/are shot, very expensive to replace. The fields and brushes can be purchased for a do it yourself project, probably $100- retail for parts.

The $100 - $300 estimate would be in the ball park for a rebuild, considering potential parts required and labor.

I would place a want ad in The Vine, someone will have a usable 6 or 12 volt starter for less money.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Matt Kirsch » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:43 am

Smoke is bad. You probably burned some windings, and once that's happened, the starter is not worth rebuilding.

I would not fear using a 6V starter on 12V. No need to convert. No need to seek out a 12V starter.

Frankly I would recommend AGAINST seeking out a 12V starter. I kind of got bit by this. The starter drives for the 12V starter are hard to find and about 2-3X the price of a 6V.

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Dale Finch
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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:10 am

Thanks all for the input...I'm pretty sure that starter is (literally!) toast :( , so the upper end of the estimate will probably be it (will wait to hear from the shop...a very good one, too!! I'm lucky there). I will probably NOT even replace it...until I need one. It was sure nice, though, having a spare to simply bolt on!! Did a couple more hours mowing! :D

NOTE: If I decide to NOT rebuild it, is it worth anything to anyone here? Oh, and I mean if it is free to you? :lol:

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Eugene » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:03 pm

Scrap metal. 19 cents a pound. I didn't do a lot of research on scrap metal prices for starter motors. I would throw it in the scrap metal pile and wait for the guy who picks up metal to come around.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:36 pm

The "new" starters are foreign made, and of the same quality as the rest of their junk. A friend bought one for a Farmall "H", and it sounded worse than his old one! I found him a used one, on E-bay, for around $50, and it works fine.
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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Jim Becker » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:52 pm

You know how we are always saying you can use a 6-volt starter on a 12-volt system if you don't crank too long? You cranked too long. That rule applies whether the starter is engaged with the engine or not. It sounds like your starter switch stuck in the engaged position. You may be able to avoid/reduce damage when this happens by yanking/prying the actual button of the switch. More likely, you need to quickly remove a battery cable. The switch could have mechanically stuck (possible broken spring in the switch) or the contacts could have welded themselves together.

Electrical arcing leads to burnt and dirty contacts inside the switch. Contacts that are burnt and dirty have high resistance which adds more heat leading to the contacts burning some more and possibly welding themselves together. High resistance also makes it crank slowly, as though a weak battery. Using 12-volts increases both the current flow when in contact and the arcing as contact is made/broken, substantially increasing the odds of welded contacts. I wouldn't be surprised if the 12-volt conversion was done because it cranked slowly due to a switch that was already going bad.

Your old starter is mostly scrap but it could have a good Bendix drive. Nose pieces break once in a while and may be worth saving as well. It is possible that only the field or only the armature burned, which would reduce the cost of a rebuild or make more of the starter salvageable. The shop you took it to will have that detail. I would prefer a rebuild over an imported replacement if the costs are similar.

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby staninlowerAL » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:15 pm

Dale Finch wrote:NOTE: If I decide to NOT rebuild it, is it worth anything to anyone here? Oh, and I mean if it is free to you? :lol:
Dale, if the armature is good I would be able to use it. Maybe you could ask the shop guy to check it. I'm not in a big hurry if it is. We could connect at some time in the future. Thanks Stan

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Bob McCarty » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:55 pm

Dale, You don't need a backup starter, use the crank! :D

Bob
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Dale Finch
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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:14 pm

Bob McCarty wrote:Dale, You don't need a backup starter, use the crank! :D

Bob

:big crying:

I understand everything you said, Jim, and agree with you...especially about extended cranking and a bad switch. However, this happened after just a couple tries, followed by checking for excesive heat at any connection = resistance. None. And the starter switch on the starter was fairly new with contacts in excellent condition...that's why I swapped switch onto the replacement starter (works fine).

The "stuck" condition was quite short...maybe 20 seconds, during which time I was only able to push in the start switch (on the panel) and thump the starter with a wooden handle to try to disengage it! Never had time to access the battery terminal (inside a closed battery box) or the starter switch button or wire.

I do appreciate the comments about the bendix assembly being worth keeping, if it is not the culprit!

Stan, if it is trash, I will save the lump for you as a core. I'm a big proponent of organ donorship...of ANY kind!! :lol: Must it have the top end to qualify?

Should hear from the shop by the end of the week...they are very busy...not too many left!

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby staninlowerAL » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:43 pm

Thanks Dale. I'll be glad to get anything you want to send my way, any single or multiple pieces or the whole thing. Stan

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Don McCombs » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:24 pm

Twenty seconds is an eternity in the magical world of electricity. :D
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Dale Finch
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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Dale Finch » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:49 pm

You got that right!!! I graduated as a EE, and remember one of my first lab classes when a real jokester blew smoke from under my bench while I was testing a circuit! Wanted to kill the guy! :lol:

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Re: Fried starter...rebuild?

Postby Dave F. » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:40 pm

Dale, I remember doing something like that in high school, I worked part time at a TV shop. One of the other service tech. Smoked nasty King Edward cigars, He had a large consol tv on the work bench. I took his cigar that he had siting on the bench. so I blew smoke in back of the tv. The owner of the shop thought it was funny but the other tech. didn't think so after pulling all of the power cords.
Dave F.


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