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Starter makes whirring sound, but engine doesn't turn over

Posted by Bankerdanny 
Bankerdanny Avatar
Daniel Palmer
Chicagoland, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Dudley"
1977 Honda MC Gold Wing

I went to start the GT today to go run some errands (I last drove it on Tuesday). I turned the key, the fuel pump is happily clicking away but all I hear under from under the hood is a whirring sound like the starter motor is spinning but the pinion gear is not engaging the flywheel.

Any thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks



Endeavor to Persevere

"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln

tomkatb Avatar
Larry Baygents
Dayton, Ohio, USA   usa
1963 MG MGB

Solenoid on the starter motor. Sometimes cleaning works, sometimes it doesn't.

Usually a new starter.



L.W.(Larry)Baygents
63B
77 Spit

Bankerdanny Avatar
Daniel Palmer
Chicagoland, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Dudley"
1977 Honda MC Gold Wing

Bad solenoid generally = silence. Now I am not hearing the typical solenoid click but the starter motor does sound like it's running, so the solenoid doesn't seem to be the problem



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Fogliner Avatar
Mark Vanherd
Thornhill, British Columbia, Canada   can
1974 MG MGB

Put the car in 3rd gear and roll it ahead about a foot or 6 inches,then try it. Just on the off chance that you found a spot on the ring gear with a few missing teeth. Usually if there's missing teeth though, the problem has occured before a few times and has been noticed.
If it is the starter as suggested,it would be a lot cheaper than having to do the ring gear.smileys with beer Check your area for shops that rebuild starters and alternators as sometimes you can get away a little cheaper by replacing parts but those kind of shops are hard to find and the last one closed in my area a 5 years ago or more.
Good luck

Mark

frank de
macomb, USA   usa

tap starter gently may work

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RAY 67 TOURER Avatar
Ray Marloff
Fort Bragg, CA, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "My Girl"

The fault may also lie in the starter motor's Bendix drive. If the internal rollers fail, the starter will spin over but the Bendix drive won't engage the flywheel with any force. RAY

Bankerdanny Avatar
Daniel Palmer
Chicagoland, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Dudley"
1977 Honda MC Gold Wing

Autozone sells a rebuilt starter for $80 plus core. Oddly, the solenoid by itself is $117.



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"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln

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Jim AZ Avatar
Jim Hillyard
Phoenix, AZ, USA   usa
1966 MG MGB
1969 MG MGB "Lovely Rita"

Daniel -- did you figure this out? I've got the same thing happening on my '67 but it happens after the starter cranks normally for a few seconds. Ray's suggestion of a failing bendix drive sounds right.

- Revised -

Should always research before I open my mouth...

I just remembered that your '72 uses a per-engaged starter and my '67 has an inertia starter. So, as Ray notes above, while the whirring sound is the starter failing to engage the engine, the causes of that failure are likely different. In your case, the solenoid causes a lever to pivot engaging the starter gears with the flywheel before the starter cranks. So, as Mark points out, you could have a spot of missing teeth on you fly wheel but unless there were a lot, that would be hit and miss. Or the lever could be failing to travel to engage the teeth.

In my case, because the engine turns initially, I suspect my battery is running down causing they starter not to turn fast enough to keep the pinion gear in contact with the fly wheel.

Hope the MGE experts will correct me if I'm misunderstanding. Otherwise, thought I leave this note should others have similar issues.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012-03-17 10:49 AM by Jim AZ.

RAY 67 TOURER Avatar
Ray Marloff
Fort Bragg, CA, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "My Girl"

Jim, your conclusions are correct. The '67 does use a crash style Bendix drive that is known for beating up the flywheel teeth. Your problem could be something as simple as incorrect timing. This will allow the engine to crank over, to a point, but will throw out the Bendix from the flywheel if ignition takes place too soon. RAY

Jim AZ Avatar
Jim Hillyard
Phoenix, AZ, USA   usa
1966 MG MGB
1969 MG MGB "Lovely Rita"

That's exactly what it was, Ray, thanks.

I just purchased this car and, according to the PO, it hasn't ran in 3 years. In going over it, I discovered that the vacuum advance on the dizzy wasn't functioning and swapped it out with a known-good spare. That, of course, messed up my timing. It being positive ground, my digital dwell meter was reading backwards (separate post) which resulted in a long journey back to correctly timed.

It now starts like a champ and I took it for it's first test drive yesterday.

RAY 67 TOURER Avatar
Ray Marloff
Fort Bragg, CA, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "My Girl"

Jim, good to hear that you figured it out. Now, go enjoy your new toy! RAY

Bankerdanny Avatar
Daniel Palmer
Chicagoland, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Dudley"
1977 Honda MC Gold Wing

I ended up replacing the starter with a rebuilt unit Saturday. I could have just replaced the solenoid, but I wouldn't have been able to order it until Thursday and I didn't want it off the road for another week. The difference in cost was less than $50 and I decided that for $50 I would get it back on the road now.

The swap was easy, less then an hour on the street next to my condo with a couple wrenches and a jack stand. The old starter literally fell out the bottom after I removed the top bolt. Putting it back in was actually harder, it was a challenge to hold it in place while I got the bolts started.



Endeavor to Persevere

"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln

John Mandella
Snohomish, USA   usa

It's too late now, but maybe a related story for future reference. My dad had a El Dorado diesel -- big hunking starter motor -- very heavy and cumbersome.

It troubled me to see him mess with that POS time after time (the starters would fail often) , so I bought him a $29 (at the time that is what it cost) floor jack. Told him to raise/secure the car, the put the starter on the jack "dish" and lift it to the bell housing -- 20 minute job. No fuss, no muss, no tired arms.

Bankerdanny Avatar
Daniel Palmer
Chicagoland, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB GT "Dudley"
1977 Honda MC Gold Wing

A small bottle jack might work better for the tighter confines of the underside of a B.

Hopefully it's not an issue that I will ever have to deal with again.



Endeavor to Persevere

"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln

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