Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

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Wal
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Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 20th, 2008, 7:20 pm

Dear all,
I wonder if anyone might have any suggestions to the following problem I am having:

I recently installed the 2000cc 131 block that Guy built for me with race rods, forged pistons and a lightened flywheel using an uprated clutch, to replace my current block. I have retained the same head, and the gearbox and starter motor are the existing items and haven’t been changed.

Having installed the whole engine the starter motor won’t turn the engine over and appears to not be able to engage with the new lightened flywheel. When the starter is tried it just clicks like the solenoid is failing but if you then push the car forward in gear you can hear it free itself. The starter was working fine before, but I removed it to check that it was still working and it is. At the same time checking all the connections.

I have changed engines before using the same starter motor and not had this problem.

In addition I have already tried turning the engine over on the starter without the spark plugs in and with the charger on the battery in case it just wasn’t getting enough power, but no success.

The car can be pushed in gear and it turns over without any sticking or banging.

The engine and gearbox are in a Morris Minor and removal of either is not easy and this will be a last resort option for me. If anyone has any options, suggestions or solutions as to why the starter won't engage with the new flywheel I would be grateful?

Many thanks,
Steven

1/4whit
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by 1/4whit » September 25th, 2008, 12:37 pm

Hi Steven,
You say that the solenoid is clicking, but not whether the pinion is being thrown in or not. Don`t take the engine out yet! Let me know if you can hear the pinion turning as well as the solenoid clicking.

Regards Shaun.

Guy Croft
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Guy Croft » September 25th, 2008, 2:06 pm

yup, that sounds like failure of either the solenoid that throws the pinion gear into mesh or the sprag clutch in the pinion itself. You need to take the starter off and examine it. I believe it still possible to get exch units from Marelli agents.

Starters fail as above, and other ways too, and tight engines won't turn over readily on 12v - which is not the case here. The other cause of failure is wrong bellhousing-starter match which we can rule out.

There is a slim chance that it is a problem with the low amp 12v pos feed wire that actuates the solenoid - on a spade terminal(whose windings of course take full battery current).

Whatever you do - be careful down there, disconnect the battery before working on the starter, very easy to weld your spanner to the car and get a nasty burn in the process because of that exposed 12v pos terminal on the back of the solenoid.

GC

Wal
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 25th, 2008, 4:06 pm

Shaun / Guy,
thanks for your replies.

Just to clarify I have already taken the starter motor out once and tried it because I thought it must have failed. But it worked fine and the pinion gear worked just as it should. So I re-installed it thinking perhaps it just needed a bit of loosening.

It does appear that the pinion gear just won't mesh with the flywheel and so gets stuck. I tried pushing the car backwards in gear and it won't move because the pinion gear is stuck, push it forward and you can hear it free itself and fly back. But I can't understand why because the flywheel is a 2000cc unit and the starter motor is still the same. Also I checked for my own sanity that the previous flywheel was a 2000cc unit, and it was.

I will check the wiring to see if there are any problems, perhaps shorting out under load.

Could it be that the solenoid is only beginning to fail and although it works fine out of the car. Once it goes in and is under load to turn the flywheel it just hasn't got the power to engage properly? Though it was working fine before.

I also wondered if I should have perhaps put a "lead" on the flywheel teeth before installation. I will remove the small plate on the bottom of the gearbox and see if I can do anything from there.

Otherwise this weekend I'm going to go a bit drastic and bump start the car, if it'll go, and then operate the starter to see if it''ll "settle in" so to speak. If it breaks it I've lost little because it doesn't work now anyway.

Thanks,
Steven

Guy Croft
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Guy Croft » September 25th, 2008, 4:27 pm

When the sprag clutch that controls the engagement and release of the pinion gear that is what happens. It throws out and spins on the bench on test but won't turn over the engine.

It can also fail to turn over the engine when the solenoid contacts are corroded or the motor brushes/commutator are worn out.

I have never seen a failure of this kind due to FW teeth BTW.

So - all in all - I am going to 'pin' this one on the starter.

G

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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Walezy » September 25th, 2008, 5:29 pm

If you wish to change the starter then a Fiat Croma starter with reductiuon gear will fit Fiat 131 gearbox with only minor modification as one of the mounting holes needs to be redrilled. It works really good and draws less current from the battery than standard starter motor.
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Wal
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 26th, 2008, 8:20 am

Guy,
thanks for the info. I have a spare starter motor & solenoid so I will swap them over first to see if that helps.

Walezy,
useful info on the Fiat Croma starter, thanks. If my spare is also a bust I will look into this option.

I will try again this weekend.

Regards,
Steven

Rich Ellingham
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Rich Ellingham » September 26th, 2008, 8:24 am

Hi Wal, just this week I have had to change my starter. I thought there may have been an issue for a while as it sometimes got stuck on the fly wheel. Last weekend at Mallory park it refused to start the car for the second time in the day, it must have engaged and tried a very limp turning. Due to habit later in the day I pressed start again and it worked but never after that. The batery was checked as was the ground gearbox-body.

I pretty sure on the bench is would have spun too but could not start the engine. Another starter and all is well again.

Rich
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Wal
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 26th, 2008, 8:48 am

Rich,
thanks for the reply. I will try the swap over first.

If my spare is a bust do you have any suggestions as to the best place to get a starter / solenoid for a 131?

Regards,
Steven

Wal
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 26th, 2008, 9:23 am

All,
just information for anyone else. I spoke with H&H Ignition Systems (from Guys links page) and although they don't list the Fiat 131 starter motor they said they would be happy to have a look and give me a quote for refurbishing. So I will send it to them this weekend. But for anyone else who needs a starter rebuild H&H might be an option even if they don't list your starter on the site.

Regards,
Steven

Walezy
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Walezy » September 26th, 2008, 10:19 am

I do not know if your starter motor is located under exhaust manifold , but if it does then you may need to cover it with some heat shield as when it is overheated then the engine may have problems to start. I used to have such problems with 16v conversion and Fiat 131 gearbox. That is why I have later used Lada 2107 bellhousing with Ford Type 9 gearbox as it moves the starter to the intake side on 16v conversion.
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Wal
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Re: Fiat 2 Litre Twin Cam Starter Problem

Post by Wal » September 28th, 2008, 12:04 pm

Dear all,
thank you all for your help and suggestions. Yesterday I realised what the problem was and fixed it. The problem is due to installation into a Morris Minor and caused by my own error. I fabricated my own engine mounts and they are handed with one having a very small cut away for the starter motor. Otherwise the starter sits on the mounting and is raised by only a few mm. When bolting up you don't even notice it but there is enough deflection even in this very small amount to stop the motor engaging successfully. Yesterday I went back over the installation trying to figure out the problem and realised that the mounting on the other side had the cut out. I swapped the mounts and it worked first time.

Amazing that you can forget the very smallest of checks, even when they are creatred by yourself.

Took me all day to work that out and fix it, so off now to try and start it.

Regards,
Steven

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