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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The owner of this 1988 5.0 had a starter problem, which I confirmed upon buying the car. The start would engage, and sloowwwly turn the engine over for a few seconds. It would then slip, and grind.. If you tried to start it again, it would grind, until you moved the flywheel a bit. Then the cycle would continue.

I bought it, and figured I could shim it like a GM.. Upon tearing it apart, I noticed a starter bolt was stripped, so I tapped it bigger a couple months ago, and bolted the starter in securely. I got bored tonight so decided to see if it would turn over.. Same problem! :(

The PO replaced the starter 3 times. I threw in another one today. Thats not the problem. The flywheel teeth look good. The flywheel seemed to be flat when I installed it (And I don't think it matters, since you only have to turn it a tiny bit for the cycle to continue). The PO also said he might have helicoiled the bellhousing crooked. I couldn't see any signs of that, but it also looks like that doesn't matter, since the starter falls into a ringed groove on the flywheel sheetmetal plate (whatever you call it).

I'm out of ideas, besides throwing a new bellhousing and flywheel at it, and frnakly, I don't think that would do it. I don't understand what it could possibly be.

Is there anyway to see if the bendix is engaging too much, or not enough?! And if it was, why would that be??

IS it possible to shim a ford starter? I don't see why not, you'd just need a circle shaped shim.. But.. I don't know.. ANY ideas are appreciated. I'm frustrated and really confused on this one. Thanks guys!
 

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I'm sure its not the starter but to be sure, check it outside of the car. Apply power to it to see if it spins freely. My vote is for the bellhousing. If the PO even thinks he misaligned the helicoil, why question it, at this point. Get another bellhousing.
 

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Having to move the flywheel to get it to engage tells me that the flywheel is bad enough to not mate with the starter properly. Could be an out of line starter that caused it and now it just continues until the starter is line up properly AND the flywheel is replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
giZ: The PO said a lot of things that were and weren't true.. But on a Ford forum they said that shouldn't matter, as long as it holds the starter flat, and in the groove, which it does. I definately can't afford to start throwing parts at it hoping and praying.

What part of the flywheel? as I said, the teeth look fine, and i think it measured straight. I suppose I could turn the engine by hand and somehow measure if the flywheel is straight when mounted, but I pretty much guarantee it will be.
 

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Is the flywheel gear flat against its stop on the back of the flywheel? That's a lot of starters to throw at it.....

I've also bypassed everything with a starter jumper cable, just running it from the (+) side of the battery to the starter lug for dianosis, but BE CAREFUL if you do that, attaching it to the starter first. And have another gear head down there to pull it off quickly with an ABC fire extinguisher close by just in case. It does sound like a fitment issue and that could be a bad bell housing or perhaps a bent crank flange.
 

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I can't see the bell housing being the problem either. The bell is located on the OD part of the trans!

You have some sort of binding problem going on. You said it turns over slowly when the starter engages? How does the motor turn over by hand? I will guess it's an auto and if so what type of auto? Has the flywheel been replaced and if so was it matched to the old one? Is the block plate there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the ideas guys. It's a T5 actually.. 88 or 92.. Motor is an 88 I think. Turns over by hand ok I think.. I mean, when I was building it (And remember, it did this before I rebuilt it as well) the crank wouldn't freewheel like it was on needle bearings or anything. If I turned it by hand it would stop immediately (Not continue spinning) but I could turn it. And I can turn it with a breaker bar.. I can sort of turn it with just a wrench, but I don't weigh much, so... Block plate is on (unfortunately). if it wasn't I could see exactly what was going on.

Wonder if I can see anything through the release lever hole?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·


The gears aren't harmed at all.. It does look like there is some wear on the snout though? I don't know how that would even be possible.. The flywheel numbers checked out as a stock 5.0 flywheel. I have another 5.0 starter in there now.. same deal. And as I said, the PO threw starters at it. It seems to sit SLIGHTLY askew (The back of it, at the front of the engine, seems to be slightly more towards the engine than the rear.. If anything you'd think that would make the snout NOT touch)... More pics to come as i Pull the other starter thats on there now off.
 

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67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
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Might be more than one problem going on. But the VERY first thing I would look at is the battery cables, particularly the ground. If in doubt at all, buy new ones. I have personally seen a cable that looked fine but was corroded inside the insulation for about a foot, causing a no-start condition. Heat at any point on the cables after trying to start is a good indication of this. You can check for this with just a finger and a few minutes.
If the starter isn't getting enough voltage it can cause slow starting AND the actuator to not hold the bendix out to the flywheel engage the flywheel.
The only thing I can think of on the grinding is that either someone put in a 5.0 "truck" flywheel instead of a car flywheel. Seems unlikely, I'm not sure but I don't think the truck flywheel even fits in a T5 bellhousing. There is not such thing as a truck T5. 5.0 trucks got Mazda made 5 speeds.
Speaking of bellhousings, 94 up Mustang V6 T5 cars have different bellhousings from 5.0's. I don't know what the difference is but I know any 3.8 bellhousing WILL bolt up to a smallblock V8. And a T5 is a T5 (mostly), so it's possible to have a V6 bellhousing bolted up between a "5.0" engine and the actual transmission.
To my eye, that does appear to be a 50 ounce imbalance flywheel and correct for the application. Tough to say for sure just peeking through the starter hole though, so it's still a possibility it could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm trying to check that out.. I can see E6ZR-AA stamped on it. Can I get more information from rotating it? Or are the other numbers hidden somewhere else? I guess my best bet at the moment is to find the block casting (I found E7TE underneath the starter?) the flywheel number (If I can see it through there) and the bellhousing number? Anyone know where I can find all these? Flywheel i'm most interested in. Doesn't make any sense on why it's grinding the starter there!

I'm not worried about the electrical possibility right now. That grinding has me most concerned.
 

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67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
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E6 designates 1986 (or a bit later). "Z" is Mustang. Since the only choices for 1986-8 or so was a four cylinder or a 5.0 then it's safe to say you have the correct flywheel. Cause that ain't no 2.3 flywheel!
E7(1987) "T" means it's a truck block. This means little. The only usual difference between a truck and Mustang long block engine was the Mustang's "HO" or 351W firing order. A cam swap would make either engine go either way. IF your engine is a "roller cam" engine. It should be but most trucks got "flat tappet" cams around that year, while Broncos (also designated by "T") got roller cams. And many blocks had flat cams but were "roller ready". Hopefully what you have. A roller ready block would happily accept a HO 5.0 roller cam setup.
And the "T" could possilby mean nothing. One of the more popular Mustang cylinder heads are "E7TE's". The T designates them as a truck casting but after 1987 all Mustang 5.0's got these "truck" heads.
Actually most "Mustang" engines I've seen are cast with either "A" for Ford fullsize car or "O" for Ford midsize car. None with a Mustang "Z". You'd have to talk with the concours show guys about that though. I can only report what I've seen and happened to notice, not what "should" be in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
http://www.cehighperformance.com/ford_block_car_codes.htm

I THINK thats telling me it's a mustang block.. And if the flywheel is correct, and the starter is correct (EVERY parts store keeps handing me that starter). i have NOOOO idea why it would grind the piece of the starter!! The PO had this same problem.. I dug up his posts on it on another forum. Everyone kept saying it's a ground.. He replaced the starter 4 times. New battery, new solenoid, and direct wires from the battery to the starter. I can say for certain, while looking at this shaved snout on the ground down starter, it's not electrical.. Man oh man.. !!! I'm lost. There is nothing else to check. It's just magically not working. That snout can't be hitting anything in there!
 

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Well... I'm about lost too at this point I guess. But I still feel like "not enough power to the starter" somehow. The "ground down" look you picture is absolutely normal for Ford starters. The grinding was done at the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh yeah? Well that one would eliminate one problem from my mind! The only other thing about that is i see metal shavings in the starter (You can see it in the pic) but the gears are PERFECT, and the flywheel looks good, except for the obvious rust.

I'm lost too!! I've never been stumped like this. I appreciate your help.. Don't give up now man.. haha

As I said though, the PO tried new batteries, direct connections from the battery to the starter, new starters, etc.. I myself have tried new batteries.. Got the starters tested at a store tonight, and I know the battery is good (And the tests check out).

The grinding, as you said is normal, didn't make any sense to me. I couldn't see/feel anything back there that would grind the starter, unless for some reason the pressure plate was smacking it every so often. I really don't know what to do next. The only other things I can think to do are get one of those tools that measures runout for the ring gear, and count the teeth on the ringgear..

I'm also curious how much a mildly bent block plate between the bellhousing and the engine effect the starter. but in retrospect, it wasn't bent before (I bent it moving the engine, but the bolts do flatten it down between the starter and the bellhousing), and the PO had the same problem..

I've never been lost like this on a problem before.. It's.. not a good feeling.. haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok I bypassed the solenoid and all that jazz right now, with 1gauge cable. After 5-10 seconds of sloooow cranking (I can't even tell if it's grinding), and cable connections are hot.. Which tells me this (these) starter(s) are drawing a ton of amps.. Battery charged.. All new wiring. I'm really starting to get worried it's something mechanical. But the engine turns over by hand pretty easily. Tomorrow I'll try the shortest 1gauge cables I can find directly to the starter and we'll see what happens, but I predict the same thing unfortunately.
 

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A coupole more things to look at or think about. Are the block alignment pins in the back of the block? Another thing to look at is maybe the flywheel bolts are to long and they are hitting the back of the block. Just something else to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The alignment pins were in.. And I don't THINK the flywheel bolts were too long. Actually I think I would have noticed the grooves in the back of the block when it was apart..

So if I take a runout reading on this flywheel and it's flat, what are my next options?
 
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