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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1500 starter

I put the old Lucas starter from my 1275 on my neighbor's 1500. I had replaced the starter on the 1275 with an Isuzu gear reduction starter since I am running a Rivergate kit.

There was a shim between the spacer and the block on the 1500. When I installed the working starter, there was a chafing sound at idle. I removed the starter again (hate that on the 1500!) and removed the shim. This would have moved the Bendix gear farther from the flywheel. The chafing sound continues, albeit less frequently and not with the engine running at speed.

When I press the clutch, the noise goes away. I suspect that there is bottom end play and that the crankshaft is backing up into the Bendix ever so slightly at idle.

I wanted to ask if this is common with the 1500, perhaps a warning that bottom end play/thrust washer wear is excessive. The Bendix is smooth and was retracting properly when I checked the starter from the A Series.
Glenn Mallory

Glen, have you tried visually checking the end float on the crank? With the engine off, use a pri-bar between the front pulley and the chassis cross member to push the pulley and crank firmly back. Then get someone to press fully down on the clutch pedal with a steady movement whilst you look and feel for movement between the pulley and the front face of the chain cover. It should be pretty minimal. If not, then the crank thrust washers need replacing.

Its not a difficult job to replace them and can be done with the engine in situ. But as you are probably aware they are a known weak point on the 1500 engine and
if ignored can result in much more serious problems.

Wear on the thrust washers almost always results in the crank moving forwards from its proper position, which from your description would reduce, not increase, the noise from the starter that you are experiencing. So this may not be the cause of the noise. I am not at all sure that the starters for the 1275 and 1500 are interchangeable anyway. Maybe the starter pinion shaft length is different?

AFAIK they do share the same starter.

Also, if the thrust washers have dropped out, as they are known to do, the flywheel can move quite a lot.
Dave O'Neill 2

Well if the washers have dropped out the movement would certainly be very obvious at the front pulley!

I wasn't sure about the starter motors being the same or not. I would still check the crank for movement first. It could be just in time to avert engine disaster!

There is no spacer on the 1500 engine staters I have they just bolt straight in.

Thrust washers easy to check, relatively easy to fix, cost pennies (dimes?).

Dave Squire

Here's some info from M*ss, showing the starter is the same for 1275 & 1500, also the spacer and shim for 1500 model.

Dave O'Neill 2

I can confirm all the 1500 midgets I've laid hands on have a thick spacer and a thin shim 'twixt starter and backplate.
David Smith

spacer shown in manual for 1500 and mine has one fitted

mark heyworth

I think the starter is a red herring. The swishing noise is being caused by crank movement, for and aft. It's a simple enough thing to check for this at the front pulley. And if there is excessive movement then drain the oil, drop the sump and slip in new C -washer shims before any real damage is caused..

Been pondering this one. On balance I'm inclined to agree with Guy, that the starter might be a fish of a distinctly ruddy hue.

The reason I think this is that you describe the noise as a chafing sound, but I suspect that an unintended meeting of the flywheel and starter would be a godawful racket of pinion and ring gear fouling or shrieks of protest from the spinning starter. I can't immediately see how the starter could get so misaligned as to be rubbing or chafing, although I'm ready as always to be corrected. For example, did you notice any witness marks on the bendix body when you pulled out the starter again?

Also you mentioned that the noise abates when the clutch is depressed and at higher revs, so I wonder if there is something amiss there. A nasty noise from this area that disappears when the pedal is pressed is a classic sign of a clutch thrust/release bearing just getting past its best.

I'm not sure if this will help; I just have the gut feeling that it's coincidental and not necessarily caused by changing the starter.

Sorry chaps, speaking from just experience. My spacers must be stuck to the engines. Never had a spacer off although removed starters on each. Hmmm. Must be stuck on with lots of grot.
Dave Squire

The trust bearings are notodious for wearing out on the 1500 and even falling out

So id give that serious consideratiln...what happened to the old starter

Remember... the lucas starter needa to be dry and super clean... do not add grease to it

1 Paper

This thread was discussed between 30/05/2017 and 02/06/2017

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