As noted in a post below, when we had Exhaust Pros install the headers and exhaust system (the stock system had been cut away by the previous owner but not replaced), we had to install a Summit mini-starter. Specifically, we had Exhaust Pros install the Powermaster 9406. Last fall, it worked fine. This spring, I went to start the car and had grinding. Well, we used a multimeter to test voltage at the battery and to the starter and it seemed fine, but that seemed puzzling because a starter only a few months old shouldn’t be causing such problems. Well, we pulled the access cover off to see the ring gear, and here’s what we found:
If you look at the edge of the teeth, you’ll see some shiny metal and that they’re a little worn. That’s not a good sign. So, we put the cover back on to back off the ramps and call it a night and come back to the problem later, only to find the starter only clicked! So, we backed it off, pushed it in the garage, and came back the next day. We then jacked it up and pulled the starter and here’s what we saw:
Obviously, that isn’t good. Those are worn on the front end. We suspected the gear wasn’t throwing out far enough. When we first got the starter, it had turned over the engine, so this was not a good sign. Since this is not the original engine and tranny set up, we decided to count the teeth on the ring gear for good measure. Here’s Micah counting the teeth:
Sure enough, it was right: 132 teeth. That’s what you expect and want on a Ford 200. The starter for an FE block (e.g. 360 or 390) fits both. This is because the diameter accounts for different teeth numbers (184 on the big block V8s). Micah took one color of nail polish from his sisters and marked the “first” tooth. He then marked every ten teeth thereafter with a different color until we were all the way around. See, nail polish is useful after all!
Well, as it turned out, a call to Summit with the paperwork from Exhaust Pros netted a warrantied starter. I’m glad for that! Kudos to Summit and Powermaster for honoring that. Our good friend Tom got the new starter for me while I was out of town and then brought it over last week, and came with his calipers. We measured the flywheel and it was turning over quite evenly. We then double checked the tolerance and found that as is, the starter should engage but by removing the shim that was in place between the flange and starter motor body, we were able to “guarantee” that the throw out would be right in the middle of the range. So, kudos to Tom L. for his help on this!
BTW, to the reviewer who claimed this starter wouldn’t fit a 200 with headers–it fits just fine. This starter “clocks,” or rotates its flange around. So, make sure you clock it correctly. The bolt that can go into one of three holes should go into the middle one. If you do that, you’ll find the starter fits fine. We may want to try to add a heat shield nonetheless, but it does fit.
We installed the starter and so far, I’ve driven it during the last several days and it turns over and starts fine. I hope this continues. I should also give a shout out to our friend Brett who brought his timing light over the week before. I need to get one but his help was greatly appreciated! Our timing had been off by quite a bit (way too advanced, which doesn’t help starting either). With the headers and Pertronix ignition and now the tune-up, this car is running nicely. Someday, we’ll get a weber 2 barrel carb on it to open it up and match the header, but one step at a time.