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Starter is Free Wheeling

03-10-2011, 05:13 PM
My starter makes a whirring noise for a few seconds after I start, I was told it was because it was old and wasn't disengaging as it should. The mechanic said it may go bad and it may last a while and that it is not unusual for older starters to make that noise. Other than the freewheeling car starts fine and quickly. He did not feel it was necessary to replace. I just don't want to get stranded so has anyone else had this problem? Am I really OK with this noise?

HiFlow5 0
03-10-2011, 07:29 PM
That happens when the bendix drive does not fully disengage and the starter drive is still in contact with the flywheel. The drive has what is called an over-running clutch, so that it will freewheel if the drive does not disengage or you try to start the car when its already running. I would replace a starter is the bendix is sticking. In some cases you can replace just the bendix drive for a lot cheaper.

03-11-2011, 10:18 AM
Thanks for your reply. What finally happens to the starter. Does it just finally wear out from sticking or does it eventually just keep sticking.

03-11-2011, 01:33 PM
There is a large spring that is there to retract the Bendix once the solenoid drops off line. If the spring is broken, then the Bendix stays in contact with the ring gear until it is thrown into the park position. If I were you, and depending on how many miles/years the starter has given good service, I would consider at least taking the solenoid off the starter to inspect for any damage. Then, if you take it to a LAPS that can check it out for you, between the two, you will have the information to make an informed choice as to whether to repair or replace the starter.

Personally, I replace whenever a component that I have to depend on (like a starter) starts to show sighs of wear. But, I have to be sure that when I stick the key in the slot, my work truck will get me to where I need to go. Sorta like the fire engine mode of thinking.


03-12-2011, 08:14 PM
Thanks for you reply. I was talking to a mechanic and he asked if I had recently had an oil change because that might be the cause. He said some oil may have been spilled onto the starter. Well I think he is correct. I had an oil change around the same time the whirring noise started and now 4 days after my oil change the noise is gone. Is it that easy to splash oil on to the starter when changing the oil? This is the first time this has happened after an oil change.

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