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Thread: Starter questions

  1. #1
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    Starter questions

    So I tore down the engine for a rebuild and remove the starter. I never heard the starter crank so I decided that it would be a good idea to make sure the solenoid and starter were good.

    Solenoid bad, starter good which leads to my question. The starter is a Bendix type starter where the starter gear is thrown out to engage the flywheel. What makes the starter gear go back in? On a static test, the gear comes out but doesn't go back in. I read somewhere that the engine running will throw it back it. Is that correct? Will it go back in by itself when the engine cranks?

    My old Ford tractor has a Bendix type starter also and if it cranks and fires momentarily, it will cause the starter to disengage and just spin with the start switch pressed down, so I have to wait until the starter stops and the crank again.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    If you have a 24volt system I am not real sure what you have. If it has been converted to 12 volts, you must have a late 1953 or CJ6 setup. Sometime late in CJ3A production, Willys went to a "Folo-Thru" Bendix. It is a governor style Bendix in that it holds the pinion gear in place until a certain RPM is reached and then it allows the pinion to be thrown back as the flywheel speed increases.

    All the old starters seem to have that tendency to spin up, disengaged from the flywheel, if the engine spits the pinion out to soon. The "Folo-Thru" is an attempt to combat that by holding the pinion in till the flywheel achieves speed. You are correct the engine running will throw the gear back. The solenoid should have a small return spring to hold the gear from flopping around. On yours however if it is an original Bendix, if you accidentally pull it out it will lock there and you cannot force it back unless its broken or not a Folo-Thru. It needs to spin up to release. If you have a Key Start 12 volt CJ3 setup you need to use the 58' and up CJ3B/CJ5 starter. I am assuming your M38A1 has been converted to 12 volt. Make sure to count the teeth on the flywheel. The only way to know for sure which starter to use. You never know what someone might have put in there!

    Here is a good discussion from a prior post. https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...-Starter-Motor
    Last edited by bmorgil; 11-09-2020 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Add info

  3. #3
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    I forgot to add the if you have an original 6 volt key start use the 53' to 57' CJ3B starter.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. I will count the teeth on the flywheel. I'm pretty sure that the Jeep has been converted to a 12 v system because the headlights have 12V on them.

  5. #5
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    I am almost certain that is was originally a 24 V system because the battery compartment has room for two batteries but one tray is gone.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    24-Volt Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    I am almost certain that is was originally a 24 V system because the battery compartment has room for two batteries but one tray is gone.
    All M38's (M38 and M38A1) were 24-volt systems, and I am almost positive that only M38's were 24-volt. But, we have learned not to say things like "Willys never built a civilian 24-volt Jeep".

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