Morrison settled himself behind the steering wheel of his car and jabbed
confidently at the starter button. Instead of the expected whine from the
motor, there was a metallic clank and a straining groan.
what-" Dave exclaimed helplessly.
Ned Rogers, who was sitting beside him,
scratched his head. "Never heard anything like that before," he confessed.
second try proved no more successful than the first. Only a faint growl was
heard. The motor failed to spin.
As a last
resort, Dave decided to try the hand crank. "It's no use, Ned," he grunted
as he placed his full weight on the crank handle. "I can't even budge her.
Seems like she's frozen stiff. You better run on down to the office before
you're late. I'll give the Model Garage a ring and see what they have to
Wilson and Joe Clark drove up in the Model Garage wrecker a few minutes
later, Dave Morrison's head was buried under the open hood of his car.
the matter?" asked Gus as he swung to the ground. "This cold spell got the
best of that motor already?"
shrugged his shoulders.
I know. One thing is sure she won't turn over and all the starter does is
groan. Here, listen to it," he commanded, climbing into the driver's seat
and holding down the starter button.
That's enough!" broke in Gus almost at the first note of the groan.
in high gear and let up on that emergency brake. I want to try something."
As he spoke, he walked to the front of the car and motioned Joe around to
you got her in high?" he asked. Morrison nodded.
then, Joe, let's go."
he and Joe began pushing and pulling until the car rocked back and forth in
an even swing that almost tossed Morrison from his seat. Suddenly, a loud
click resounded from the vicinity of the floorboards.
said Gus, "that ought to fix it. Now put her back into neutral and step on
the starter again." This time, the hum of the starter motor told a
different story. The very first touch of the button set the motor spinning.
hanged!" Morrison cried. "What in blazes was the matter with it anyway?"
chuckled. "Inertia gear was stuck," he replied.
looked at him blankly, "What was stuck?"
gear on your starter," explained Gus. "You know how that works, don't you?"
puzzled frown on Dave Morrison's face showed plainly that he did not know.
around here, then, and I'll show you," said Gus as he unlimbered the side of
the hood and selected a wrench from the tool roll Joe had spread out on the
running board. "First of all, we'll unscrew these two studs that hold the
starter motor in place, loosen these switch connections, and take a good
look at what's inside."
worked at the studs, Joe supported the body of the starter motor.
two studs were freed, the motor dropped and Joe carefully pulled its long
drive shaft from the hole in the casting that housed the flywheel. The
starter looked like any other electric motor except for the shaft projecting
at the end.
this?" Gus asked, poking the shaft with one end of his wrench. "That's what
hooks up the starter motor and the teeth on the flywheel. Inertia drive,
car has one, but yours is one that has."
studied it carefully.
look," continued Gus, "you'll notice that it's a threaded shaft with a
counterweighted gear that runs in the threads. Now when you step on the
starter button, the electrical circuit to the starter motor is closed and
the threaded shaft turns, but the weighted gear tends to stand still. That
screws the gear out on the shaft where it finally meshes with the flywheel
teeth and turns the motor.
"Naturally, as soon as the engine starts firing under its own power, the
flywheel goes faster than the starter motor spindle. That screws the
starter gear backwards on the shaft disengages the teeth, and lets the
flywheel run free."
what's this spring for?" asked Dave, pointing to a heavy coil half hidden by
the starter motor housing.
sort of shock absorber," explained Gus. "Takes up the sudden jerks when the
two gears mesh. Now, to get back to your trouble, for some reason or other,
the counterweighted gear on this drive got jammed in the flywheel teeth. It
wouldn't release, and it wouldn't let the starter motor turn the flywheel."
did rocking the car loosen it?"
simple," Gus said. "With the gears in high, the flywheel
back and forth every time we rocked the car.
it moved enough to ease the pressure and the counterweighted gear turned
back out of the way."
that thread on the shaft needs a little oil," suggested Dave.
his head. "Not on your life!
automatic drive on a starter motor is one part on a car that works best
counterweighted gear should screw out easily, but not too easily. If you
use light oil, the gear will slip out on the thread. Heavy oil will gum in
time and keep the gear from screwing out at all. Nope, it's never lack of
oil that makes a starter drive stick."
then what does?" questioned Dave.
of things. Wear, mostly. Sometimes the shaft gets bent and binds and
sometimes a broken tooth on the flywheel causes the jam. The trouble
generally starts when somebody steps on the starter when the motor's
something else in your case, though," he said. "See the deep nick at the
end of that tooth? That's probably what made it stick this morning. Better
drop down when you have the time and let me put in a new one. For the time
being, I'll leave it alone so you can use the car."
suppose it jams again?" protested Dave.
put her in high and rock her," advised Gus. "If that doesn't loosen her up,
unscrew the top mounting stud a bit and rock her some more. It may not
happen again for several days, or even weeks. It all depends on the
positions of the starter gear and the flywheel."
a while back you said that some cars didn't have starters like this.
do they have?"
operated drive gears," replied Gus.
pedal that closes the starter, motor switch pushes the starter gear into
much with the flywheel. Then when you let up on the pedal, a spring pushes
it out of mesh,"
live and learn," sighed Morrison.
the first time I've ever had trouble with a starter, but I think I'll know
what to do if it happens again."
are almost fool-proof these days," said Gus. "There aren't many troubles
you can have and when they do crop up, they're easy to recognize."
Gus pondered, "that shock-absorbing spring you saw can break, but you'll
know it as soon as it happens. When you step on the starter, you'll hear
the starter spin, but it won't turn the engine. A gummy or dirty shaft on
the starter will produce the same result.
starter doesn't run at all when you push the button, it's a good sign
there's a break in the wiring, either inside the motor, at the switch, or in
some of the connections.
that's taking for granted that the battery isn't dead.
"Sometimes, you come across a case where the starter motor turns, but only
cranks the engine slowly.
generally caused by weak brush springs, an open field or armature winding,
or a dirty commutator."
way, Gus," put in Morrison, "now that winter's about here, is there anything
I can do to put that starter in shape for cold weather!"
don't need much attention," said Gus. "Outside of the gasoline bath I'll
give the starter shaft to clean it when you bring the car in for that new
gear, all the care it'll need will be a few drops of good motor oil every
five hundred miles or so.
best insurance against hard winter starting," added Gus, as he climbed
aboard the wrecker, "is a top-notch battery and a generator that's been
adjusted to make up for all the juice used turning over a cold engine.
Check up there when you put antifreeze in your radiator and light oil in