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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - High Torque Starter

Hi all,

The engine is back in after rebuild and first attempt to start has seen off the old starter motor.

If you have a high torque pre-engaged starter I have some questions that I hope you can help with:

Can they be fitted as direct replacement as advertised? Any problems with fouling on body etc? Will existing cables be suitable (I know if I keep the original solenoid then I'll have to bridge inputs on the new starter).

Any recomendations on which supplier to use?

Plan is to keep existing wiring to get engine running again (off the road since last October!) then to eliminate existing solenoid at a later date.



1972 1275 RWA midget.
L Juby

Just fit a normal new starter.
A high torque starter is not needed for 99% of the midget road engines
Onno K

hi-torque are not really needed but they are better than the old noisy, clunky, standard ones and will help the battery

I have a Power Lite, it fitted easily, uses same wiring and I keep the soloniod so didn't need to alter any wiring on my 73 model, I could have had the wiring aaltered and done away with the solonoid thus eliminating a component to go wrong but as my solonois was new I decided to leave it in and deal with it as and when

see the instructions from my Power Lite model here -

Nigel Atkins

on a fresh rebuild, the higher torque will seem like a really good idea, at first, but as soon as the engine is run in you likely won't need that extra oomph anymore

though, a high torque starter usually also turns the engine faster, and that can make an engine a little bit quicker to start up with fewer cranks

Norm Kerr

hi lee. . . i assume the engine turned over before killing the starter ??
p bentley

Another plus is that the modern starters use about 50%? les power to make it run.
Bought one for my 1500(moss i think) and it didnt fit.
Returned it and then bought one from MGOC with adjustable ring, didnt fit either so returned that one too.
Arie de Best

They are fitted quite often to race cars - I tend to find that if someone in the paddock is having difficulties with the starter motor, that they have a high torque starter fitted... by and large they seem to be less reliable than the old inertia starters (I have seen those disintegrate too under racing conditions BTW)

But then I have never been able to afford a high torque starter, so maybe its just sour grapes... :o)
James B

Not what you asked but I found that a more powerful battery did the trick with starting mine (11:1 compression).
frogeye Gary

a good battery is more important that an uprated starter but if you can have both
Nigel Atkins

Thanks for tips.

In answer to P bentley above: Yes the engine turned over for a while then battery went flat. Turned over some more with booster then that went flat. Not much turning over with either because both were not fully charged (my mistake). Charged battery overnight. Solenoid clicks in, battery cables get warm and voltage drops considerablly (heavy current flowing) but no movement at all from starter. It turns easy enough with small spanner on the flat on the rear shaft. Engine turns slightly (30 degrees) with me man-handling pully wheel. Conclusion is starter motor.

I've been reading the tinterweb also and seen some issue with High Torque. It seems that it cant be guaranteed to fit, issues with fouling on the body and reliability questions. Although there are posts of sucessful installs. I have decided I'm going to fit new good quality original design unit and new solenoid and avoid any risks. I'll then charge both the battery and the booster and use them together along with double check of all the wiring and connectors. Shall save the extra cash for something else midget related!


L Juby

OK, I'm going in to bat for the other side.

I'm intrigued by the comments of lack of reliability. The high touque starters available for retro-fit to our cars are an adapted version of a mass produced model used in moderns. You don't see many starter problems there.

I fitted a high torque to my B which is an early model so originally the inertia starter ... for which pinions are no longer available and when they were they were expensive. So there wasn't much choice. But it transformed the car. From being a pig to start when hot it is now a doddle as the lower current drain leaves more voltage available for the coil (even with a ballast resistor it was grumpy). And the ring gear has lasted more than a year. Lots more. To be fair, it is 1950cc, 12:1 CR and a mild-ish fast road cam, all of which ganged up on the starter and ring gear.

So when the 1440 Midget with high CR got tetchy on the starter I went for high torque there too (after having first tried a new standard starter which was fine for a few months, just a few). And have been well pleased with the result. yes, there was a fettle issue fitting it, but this (IIRC) was down at least in part to the engine being an inch further back from the particular 5 speed intallation it has. (Toyota)

I have to observe that few direct drive starters are fitted to new cars now, there'll be a reason for that.
In part probably that modern electronic systems are much less tolerant to voltage drop than simple contacts & coil.

Paul Walbran

for me it was

keeer - changgg, miss, try again


whoorl, start
Nigel Atkins

Paul Walbran

that's the sound I was waiting for :)

my standard starter only missed now and again but it chose when and when it was sucessfull it was a bit of a clang

it would only miss once per unsucessful attempt so I knew it would go on the next turn but I like to turn the key and have the car start straight away so I can enjoy the driving
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 07/06/2012 and 08/06/2012

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