We’ve all heard the noise – a horrid metallic grinding as the car’s starter tries to engage a running engine. What’s it mean when you hear that noise and the motor isn’t running?
It could mean the starter is going bad. More often, it means there is a damaged spot on the ring gear, the big gear on the motor that the starter engages to turn over the engine.
In extreme cases, the starter can totally destroy itself and the ring gear.
Sometimes you can make the symptom go away by fitting a new starter. But the permanent fix is to change the starter and ring gear, which requires removal of the transmission for access. Here are some examples from a Porsche 911 in our shop today . . .
For comparison, here is an undamaged starter gear . . . check out the difference
John Elder Robison is the general manager of J E Robison Service Company, celebrating 30 years of independent restoration and repair specialists in Springfield, Massachusetts. John is a longtime technical consultant to the Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, RROC and other car clubs, and he’s owned and restored many fine vehicles. Find him online at www.robisonservice.com or in the real world at 413-785-1665
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