Gear Reduction Starter
While I had the engine and tranny out, I hemmed and hawed over replacing the
starter............but my starter was only 2 years old. But now was the time to
put in a gear reduction (or Hi-Torque) starter.......but my starter was only 2
years old and a new starter was another $200. So I didn't install one. The car
drove great for about 400 miles with absolutely no indication of a problem. Then
I stopped at BJ's for a liquid gold fill up at $4.15/gallon. After cashing in my
401K to pay for the fill up, I turned the key and
got......click....click...click. In over 10 years, I have never been stranded by
my car.............and.....it has never seen the hook of a tow truck. I wasn't
about to start now! I figured it was either the starter of the battery. In
either case I could jump the car the old fashioned way........get it moving, put
the tranny in 2nd gear and pop the clutch. The only problem was, I was at a gas
station. So I called my wife.....and called.....and called over and over again.
I figured she was between school and home but answering a cell call ( or even
having her cell turned on) was never a priority! I finally got her about 45
minutes later as she walked in the door at home. Wow...... lookie all these
missed cell calls.....there must be 10 of them! DUH! So I had her
grab some nylon straps and come get me. I hooked the car up. She pulled me out
of the way........I dumped the clutch and she started right up. God love TBI!
Next up was diagnosing the problem. A quick email
to the Triumph & 6_Pack Mail Lists got me dozens of responses with most focusing
on my 8 year old battery. The consensus was any battery older then 6 years was
living on borrowed time. A couple of folks picked up on my comment that I had
also lost all my radio stations which indicated a complete loss of electrical
power. My TBI friend, Rick Patton, suggested turning on the lights, turning the
key to run position and observe what happens. If the lights go out, you've got a
short somewhere.............and mine went out. Next up was to disconnect the big
power wires to the starter, tie them together and do the same test over again.
If the lights go out again, the short is in the cables, if not, it's the
starter. My lights stayed on so the starter must have an internal
short............and....um...... when I looked under the hood after the first
short test, I noticed smoke coming from the starter.......which is never a good
sign! I removed the starter, clamped it in my vice and hooked up the
battery......the gear popped up but wouldn't spin. I called
TS Imports, and ordered one of his gear reduction starters.
In the meantime I headed off to my
local NAPA store and picked up one of their top rated Legend
batteries. I wasn't going to risk continued use of my 8 year old
When I got the starter, I couldn't
believe how much smaller and lighter it was............we're
talking 11 POUNDS lighter!
Look at the difference between these
Once I got by the size difference, I focused on the easiest
way to get it installed working alone. TR6 starters can be a
bear to install, especially getting a wrench on the top nut
which is typically on the tranny side on the engine back plate &
I decided to install the bolt from the tranny side so that the
nut would be more easily accessed from the engine side. But I needed a special tool
to hold the bolt in place.
First up is a thin 9/16" open ended
wrench that you can put a nice bend in.............like
Then I used some J-B Weld to secure a
thin piece of metal to the wrench........
effectively capping it closed. I also did a little
grinding and sanding to match the wrench shape.
Now that I had a wrench that could
both reach into a tight spot and capture the bolt head, it was
time to actually install the starter. The starter mounting
flange can be rotated if necessary and it also came with all
needed wiring connections. But I still needed to get the bolt
through the bell housing and the engine back plate.......so
here's how that was very easily accomplished. All you need are
some forceps and a telescoping magnet.
Everyone should have a
telescoping magnetic wand like this
And we all should have a
few different kinds of locking forceps. Note the
angle of the bolt.
Forceps feeding the bolt in
has the bolt
keeps the bolt in place.....simple!
So here's the starter ready to go
in to its new home.
face can be repositioned if necessary.
locking spade connector is a nice touch.
All hooked up and ready
A turn of the key and the car
fired right up. As others have noted, there is a different sound
to this starter and it does spin the engine a lot
faster........which may be part of the sound thing that's going
on. So I'm back on the road and hopefully that will be it until
I do this winter's projects.