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Is there a difference between automatic and manual trans separator plates(between flywheel and engine). IS there a difference in thickness. :: I am having trouble with my setup. I have a 84 based 351w block with mid 80s bellhousing (the clutch is from an 84 f150, 351w, 11 in) I am using the origional 3 speed(for now). A old style manual trans starter doent fit and an automatic style needs shims to work. I installed an 84 f-150 starter today and when I went to crank, you hear grinding from the separator plate. Backing off the torque on the bolts stops the grinding, but then it doesn't always engage. I am using a verified automatic separator plate(78 351w). How can I tell the difference between an auto and manual plate? What do I need to do for the starter?
 

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Remove starter. Using a steel rule, measure the distance between the front side of the block plate and the rear side of the flywheel/flexplate gear. This is the nose depth.

Examine your starter and measure its nose depth. The nose depth is measured from the mounting surface to the inside edge of the nose piece. Since the nose piece is not flat you'll just have to eyeball it to get the best depth measurement you can.

Compare the first measurement (blockplate to back of ring gear) with the second measurement (nose depth of starter).

THEY MUST BE EQUAL MEASUREMENTS! The starter must also physically bolt up to the block plate/bell housing.

If the measurements are off, head down to Autozone or other fine purveyer of auto parts and start looking for the starter you need.

While measuring your block plate to ring gear distance, examine your ring gear for chipped teeth. If you have any chipping, you get to change your flywheel/flexplate too.

Also...once you find a candidate starter, check its gear teeth (count teeth). If you have 157 tooth ring gear starter should have 10 teeth. If you have 164 tooth ring gear starter should have 9 teeth.
 
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