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Old 10-19-2016, 08:14 PM
KarNut46 KarNut46 is offline
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Default Starter problems 83 Malibu

Mopar guy here who has been having a bit of trouble w/ the starter/ flywheel/ dust cover situation. Decided to do a Malibu wagon project some years ago. 83 Malibu wagon, 90 350 w/ 92 700r-4 trans. Started using a 6 cyl. starter but found it lacking when engine got warmed up. Tried a V-8 starter (direct drive type) but it was almost impossible to install & remove due to ex. location. Decided to go w/ a gear reduction type, a 96 year unit. That necessitated using the larger flywheel. Then I had to locate a different dust cover, which was not easy. Had much difficulty, local sources weren't much help with this type of swap. Anyway, Finally found the proper dust cover at a u-pull-it salvage. Question: What is the shimming process for this type starter? The starter, a Delco re-man, says nothing about the process. Chev guys say that it may be necessary. Starter has the staggered bolt pattern and pinion mesh w/ the ring gear seems to be ok. What' s the reason for the shims? Very experienced mechanic here but very little on Chevys.
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:41 AM
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1980steelbeast 1980steelbeast is offline
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I'm assuming you have the 96 starter from a Tahoe right?
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Old 10-22-2016, 04:24 PM
KarNut46 KarNut46 is offline
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Default 83 Malibu

Purchased starter for a 96 pick up w/ 350. Trans parts store said that there are only 2 sizes of flywheels (flex plate) for 90s era 350 small blk. I had the smaller one that I was running w/ the direct drive starter. I was following the parts guys advice on the starter for the gear reduction type. Starter & flywheel seem to match OK but would like some confirmation about the need (or not) for shimming. I had the motor out and am about a day away from startup. Just need to be sure before I take a chance on damaging something. Guy at parts store seemed to know about what starter to get but was in dark about the need for shims. I had to shim the direct drive unit to make it work OK and I found info on specs as to how it's done. Can't find any solid info on gear reduction unit locally.Starter from Bumper-Bumper, flywheel from a parts store that specializes in auto & manual trans parts. Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:40 AM
melloelky melloelky is offline
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i have an later 90's staggered style starter in my early 70's small block without any shims.it didn't come with any and I've never used them in the past.i think in our world of re-manufactured everything they include them in case the mounting pad has been machined away in the re-manufacturing process.i rolled the drive gear out and it looked like the mesh was fine,upon starting it sounded fine also.if you think the gear mesh looks sufficient I'd say try it.they're are methods of measuring the mesh with a paper clip to check it but I've never done it.
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:33 PM
KarNut46 KarNut46 is offline
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Default 83 Malibu

Thanks for reply. I'm going to give it a try. Spun starter yesterday w/ plugs removed and it was fairly quiet, at least no real dangerous sounds. Just sounded like a starter. Pinion stays engaged so it is easy to check clearance w/ ring gear. Everything looks good. Old straight drive unit was a bit of a problem. Found the correct clearance specs and adjusted accordingly. Starter still screamed when starter was engaged. Discovered that ring gear had a lot of runout. Used a dial indicator to find high spot then set clearance in that area. Problem went away. The 96 starter is a lot stronger than the old one and a lot easier to remove and install. Electrical hookups are the same, a real good upgrade. Found a dust cover off of a 97 pick-up (unknown trans type) and it bolted up to the 700r-4 like it belonged there. Lesson learned: if ex system is in place on donor vehicle the dust cover cannot be removed.
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:46 PM
melloelky melloelky is offline
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sounds good.i agree.i like the newer style for the same reasons.i can squeek it around my headers without removing them.the oe one was pretty big and bulky.plus that newer style is in a lot of vehicles so replacement at a parts store isn't a problem.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:24 PM
KarNut46 KarNut46 is offline
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Default 83 Malibu Starter

Got engine started today. Starter works fine, no unusual noises. Just sounds like a starter and has plenty of spin power. I'm not running headers but my muffler guy made me a dual system that runs down the passenger side, both pipes pass thru the area in the x-member where the original ex. ran. He has a race Malibu and has done a lot of El Caminos. The El Camino and the wagon share a similar chassis so he had no problems making a neat system. Got a set of ex manifolds off of a neighbor who put an Edelbrock system on his firebird. They fit the malibu just fine and I ended up with a fairly good 2 1/4" system. Only problem is that the 2 pipes come together just below the starter so I had to drop the pipes to remove starter. The smaller starter will pass out upwards past the frame. Much easier. My wagon isn't a race car, just a nice cruiser/driver. Again, thanks for the info.
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Old 10-27-2016, 06:42 PM
melloelky melloelky is offline
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oh nice! sounds like you're on your way:)good to hear.keep us posted we love it
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