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Triumph TR6 - Starter engage

Has anyone else experienced the starter not engaging properly? I find 1 in 5 starts makes a horrendous racket when the starter pinion doesn't engage the flywheel properly. The quick fix is to jiggle the car and try it again. I've re-set the starter and put a new ring gear on the flywheel; no luck. Is this inherently permanent or fixable?

Bryn - There are two ways to put a new ring gear on a flywheel. Are the chamfered corners of each tooth facing the right way for easy engagement by the starter gear ?

Has your ring gear started to move back from the seated position where it was when you did the job ?

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

Hi Bryn

Read your other posting and answers. If you have poor voltage IE. 10 volts due to bad connections the amperage required to fire and hold your solenoid will be huge. VOLTAGE DOWN AMPERAGE UP. The solenoid on top of the starter has copper contact points in the back maybe fried. Mechanical drive at front could be part jammed. But I doubt both. Was your ring gear damaged chipped etc.when replaced or was that someones best guess? Please respond on that.

Flow of electricity + positive to device -negative back to battery. Any Elecronics engineering students know that is not quite true but will do regarding cars so be quiet. Your most important connections are your battery terminals clean inside and out. Disconect battery first of course for next. Battery voltage measured between terminals should be above 12v engine off no load. Weak or too small amp. battery may prevent solenoid from fully extending or holding after cranking starts. Clean from positive lead to solenoid both fire and main connections all of them. Be real carefull use proper wrench sizes and if 2 nuts use 2 wrenches. They will break. After cleaning check continuity to block not battery ground if you have meter. Look at your wires and grounds any copper ones with a nice patina Green as my wife calls it is copper corrosion that applies to were the wire goes into the connector as well. Check all your ground straps and connections remove and clean there aren't a hell of a lot of them. This will solve problem with your lights as well use lots of dialectric as per Rick Crawfords instructions on connections after you clean them . These cars are real easy once you get the hang of them. A 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a 100 way connection by passengers wet boots just for all the junk in the back. Check fuses in fuse box remove and clean re: lights replace for the 2 bucks but clean holders. Rewired a TR for a fellow back 4 years ago and found 1 18 gauge wire to rusty frame trying to handle return from all tail lamps. Dry rust and patina is a poor conductor. Damp to wet works not bad. Lights come and go.

Check all your wires these cars are old. As in the example above people have bastardised setups brutally. You will have some wire corrosion but because grounding is carried out through rusty frames etc. go after that first.

Because I tend to play with Hotrods and my old Brit. a hobby for about 30 years. And my work is electronics related I may assume some knowledge and or equipment on your part please let me know direct is fine. My wife just looked over my shoulder and said what the hell are you talking about. Please ask if not sure.

B Brayford

Thanks all. To clarify:
The ring gear is seated properly and securely. The solenoid moves forward and the starter spins without a problem but yes, it may be a weak connection to the solenoid. I'll check that tonight. I was wondering if it was possible for a mechanical misalignment. Althought everything appears properly fit.
Re: rusty frames: I don't even want to think about that.

Hi, I have exactly the same problem with my '74 TR6. Have had starter moter overhauled including new solenoid, resulting in a marginal improvement - now doesn't engage one in every 20 instead of previoulsy one in every 10. I had suspected positive battery cable to starter and will replace this after reading above. Grounding looks OK. From visual inspection with starter removed ring gear looks in good condition with some general wear but no particular teeth in any worse condition.Will advise after cable replacement and will follow this topic with interest.
Rgds. Col W
Colin White

Hi Bryn & Colin

What year is your car and what starter motor is in place should have a #. Most cars 71 and up have a 2M100. No mechanical adjustment. Prior to that M14agr starter has an eccentric adjustment for starter drive depth. Can only be set off car in large vise. If you have one and suspect this let me know and I can go through procedure. Other possibilities are: Loose mounting of starter. Bushing wear at front and back of starter main shaft allowing it to wobble. Crank Shaft end play or crankwalk. Crankshaft moving back and forth. To check have someone hold in the clutch. Motor off keep keys you will keep arms. At front of car engine push crank pully, lower one back as hard as you can. Hold on to that pully while your helper slowly lets out clutch so you can feel any movement. Spec is .004 to .008 of an inch . barely noticable thickness of your fingernail. Have seen some with 60 thou. a little more than a half inch. Of course with the flywheel starter ring gear attached to crank moving back and forth a lot this will create a hit and miss situation.

The electrical deal is when the starting motor is in initial locked position pinion gear in ring gear you are drawing 463 amps from the battery for the motor if the battery has a full 12 volts or above charge bringing a 12 volt battery down to 7.8 volts. Trying to turn motor if current draw is to high because of weak battery and or bad connections the solenoid may fail to hold in the pinion gear and since both ring gear and pinion gear have front chamfer they will slide away from each other releasing and making a racket and abrading the teeth on your new ring gear. You pointed out with regards to lights you had 10 volts at lights. If starter has only 10v I would hate to calculate current.

1: If the crank is moving the solenoid may not be able to get the pinion far enough out for the main contactor supplying power to Starter motor in back of solenoid to connect properly.

2: If the Voltage/Current too low at starter connection your hold current on solenoid may let it release

Let me know.


B Brayford

I have a slightly different problem. I turn the ignition key, I hear a click, and nothing happens. The starter motor doesn't engage. I release the key, wait a few seconds, try again and the starter engages and the engine fires. This problem happens each time I attempt to start and I'd welcome your thoughts/views on the cause of the problem.



Does anyone know which modern starter motors are interchangable with the Tr6 ,I have seen smaller geared starter motors but they are over 200.


Simon- There are co. selling that starter for $185. which I think factors out to about 120 English Pounds

Hi Jim
My best guess is brushes in starting motor. Try giving it a whack with a hammer handle before you startup for first time. If brushes are worn it will help them seat. If it works to prove try that for a few times. Possible main contactor in solenoid worn. Of course check main battery voltage to solenoid.
Growing up on the prairies in Canada if you are out in country in Texas dust and grain chaff may not help.

B Brayford

Thanks for your suggestions of 6th Sept., Bill. Going through, car is a '74 CR with a 2M100. Starter is properly mounted, I've just recently replaced crankshaft thrust washers, barely .004" now. I reckon the answer is more in the electrical dept. The starter motor was recently overhauled and a new solenoid fitted. Although grounding is good the positive battery cable to starter motor is a bit scruffy, however a new cable with connector block ex Rimmer UK is about 24 pounds sterling, so will be v. expensive here in Australia. BAttery is in good condition. On starting, power is also being supplied to the Lucas PI pump. Another possibility may be old/poor condition starting contact on ignition switch?? Will continue to follwo yours and other suggestions.
Rgds, Colin W
Colin White

Hi Colin

74 PI with .004 thrust. Your car is shot and requires shipping of motor and all petrol injection parts to Canada. If you don't buy that lets get on with it.

As PI Cars are scarce here I have never worked on one. Do have original Brit. Leyland service manual though. Published BL CARS 1977. Prior to net my TR Bible.

Your ignition switch is a very likely prospect. See Lucas switch positions DIM, FLICKERING and OFF. Starter solenoid fire and hold current is supplied by the switch if it is flickering god knows. The solenoid holds the pinion in mesh.

My car I would do this first. Remove main coil wire and measure voltage drop at solenoid ignition contact. Not main while someone trys to start car just enough to test. Try several times. If the voltage is erratic or very low and battery is OK. Spend money on switch.

As for fuel pump you seem to have an inertia cut out switch on firewall to stop pump in case of roll over according to manual. What a brilliant move. At the fuel pump or inertia switch the pump should only draw 3 to 5 amps according to manual and is on the run contact rather than ignition likely not affect other than Main Battery supply to starter ignition.

Go to an electonics supply store and buy a contact burnishing tool looks like a small file $3.00 Canadian. They work and don't damage contacts. Remove and clean male and female contacts on your ignition connector. Make sure you have 12v from Battery to switch at your switch ground not battery. If that does not work. And you feel it could still be problem from net sources buy new switch.

Good luck
B Brayford

This thread was discussed between 03/09/2002 and 09/09/2002

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