View Full Version : 61 won't start now...just had it running

10-28-2014, 08:37 AM

I have a 1961 with a 170 CID and an automatic. Bought the car a few months ago and me and my brother have been fixing her up. The previous owner had the car sitting for a few years but before that the car was a daily driver. About 3 weeks ago we had the car running and idling pretty smoothly, but we burned up the old starter in the process of getting it started. Put on a new starter, solenoid, and did some brake work in the last few weeks. Went out to start it up the other day and nothing except for a loud CLUNK from the new starter. We tried a few different things but the engine won't turn over. We even pulled the spark plugs and tried to turn it over by hand, but it won't budge. My brother seems to think the engine is seized, but its hard to believe that after we had it running and idling really smooth for about 15 minutes just a few weeks ago. Any ideas or do I need to start looking for a new engine or rebuild kit?

thanks for the help!

10-28-2014, 10:53 AM
First thing I'd do is pull the starter and see if then you can turn it over my hand. Starters can have differing gear-end depths and you may have "wedged" the starter into the flywheel ring-gear. This would, for sure, cause a clunk and a no-rotate-by-hand scenario.

If it frees up, check closely the original starter to the new one. There may be a difference, or the new starter may have issues.

10-28-2014, 02:31 PM
I will give this a shot when I get home today. Thanks for the suggestion!

I will report back with the outcome tomorrow.

10-29-2014, 07:52 AM
Yep that new starter was the problem. Seems to be binding. Once we pulled it off the engine turned over by hand super easy. The new starter looks pretty dang close to the old one. Not sure what it's problem is. I wonder if I should take that new one back and see if I can get the old one rebuilt by a local shop around town?

Thanks again for your help on this! Glad I don't have a seized engine!

10-29-2014, 08:19 AM
So, you don't see where or how it caused an interference? The flywheel teeth usually leave their impression somewhere.

I usually lay the starters nose-to-nose and flange-to-nose-to-flange and verify the noses are the same depth, etc.

If the starter engaged, but is itself bound-up and the Bendix didn't retract until you pulled it - that may be the issue. You can take the starter and have it tested where you bought it - if you're not comfortable testing it yourself.

I've replaced a lot of starters in my life and you don't generally need to have your old one rebuilt. Often they say "sure, we'll rebuild it" and then give you another one anyway. They are not hard to rebuild, so maybe you should take on the task and add it to the things you did on the car... ;)

10-29-2014, 02:32 PM
I paid extra for the "Lifetime Guarantee" starter last time I bought one. My last cheapo one did what yours did it sounds like. It was wedged into the flywheel so hard I had to use a floor jack and block of wood to pop it loose from underneath.

I'm guessing I've gone through a starter about every 3-4 years but so far this one with the guarantee is holding out!

10-29-2014, 03:02 PM
Hopefully you never get one that is guaranteed to be stuck a lifetime!


Really odd to have that happen. Most starters are rebuilt and the castings are crowing smaller and smaller (from sandblasting) and should be getting ultra loose, not tight. But maybe the allow them to get closer to the flywheel for the same reason. Should still be evident where the interference occurred, I'd think.

10-30-2014, 07:49 AM
Yeah I will have to take a look at that new starter more closely this weekend. Maybe I can figure out something. And I can always try to rebuild that old one too. I'm just glad the starter is the only problem for now at least! Thanks so much!