New starter has grinding noise after engine starts

Tiny
DISENCHANTED
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 CHEVROLET S-10
  • 2.8L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 194,000 MILES
I have a 1991, Chevy S10 Tahoe, 2.8 liter, 2wd, 5spd, A/C.

Shimming changed noise but did not eliminate it.

Recently the starter would not work consistently. It worked most times but sometimes it would not. When it failed to work, I noticed that when I tried to turn the engine over, all the dash lights and radio lights went out.
Note: this is the "original" starter & solenoid unit.

Troubleshooting:
Even though I have a new battery, I tested it first.
Both voltage tests but also battery and cranking tests, using a SOLAR BT7 test device, PASSED.
All was well.

The more I read in the Chilton manual and online, the more it seemed it could be the solenoid unit. Maybe the brushes were almost gone and therefore occasionally shorting out.

I found a new AC DELCO starter online for just $69.99.
ACD# 337-1003
GM# 88877102
Before ordering I cross-referenced the part number I needed, on 4 websites.
All websites said I needed ACD# 337-1003

When I removed the old unit, there was a difference in physical size between motor portion of the starter.
The paperwork inside the new unit's box had a tech bulletin TB-877, which stated the following about this starter:
" Despite the difference in appearance, these four starters (pictured above) have the same fit, function and increased performance over the earlier starters shown below"

There was also a circle with a slash through it stating, "No shimming required"

Day 1:

a. I disconnected battery terminals and then removed old starter.
I installed the new starter and used no shims, as per the instructions, which said "no shimming required".
My truck started okay and ran, but there was a slight grinding noise.
I immediately shut if off.

b. I disconnected battery cables again and removed starter. I installed the 2 original shims.
I then tried starting the vehicle and it started okay and ran. But the slight grinding noise was still there, BUT it was LESS NOISY than before.

Day 2:

a. Went to a local auto store (oreillys) and bought 2 packages of starter shims on way home from work.
b. Disconnected battery, removed starter and installed 2 of the thinnest shims.
c. Started vehicle and I still heard some slight grinding noise.

One co-worker presented the issue to his ASE mechanic brother. He said I probably have the wrong starter!

I don't believe so. To check with an offline source I stopped back at a local parts store (Oreillys) again. I asked them to look up my vehicle and they indeed show I need ACD# 337-1003.

NOTE: there is an email source for TECH SUPPORT inside the starter. I contacted them but I NEVER RECEIVED ANY RESPONSE!

After spending so much time on this issue, I am ready to try something else.

Since my old starter still has good gear teeth, but the solenoid motor's brushes are probably about shot,
I am thinking the quickest thing to do is just buy a new solenoid and install it on the old starter motor.

Any help is appreciated
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Sunday, July 6th, 2014 AT 1:35 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I know they have changed many of the designs on starters, so that doesn't surprise me. However, because of where you got it, I question if you got the correct starter. Have you compared it with one from the parts store? Also, did the grinding noise change with engine RPM's that would indicate something was touching the flywheel?

Possible broken bendix return spring on the starter.
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Sunday, July 6th, 2014 AT 2:44 PM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
Jacobandnickolas,

Thanks for the response.

I just removed the starter today, so I can return it within its 30 day window.
I double checked the numbers on it vs. The box and everything was correct.

The grinding noise did change pitch with the RPMs, so it does seem like something was rubbing on the flywheel.

I am going to try a different brand of starter, from a local auto parts store and see if that resolves the issue.
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Monday, July 7th, 2014 AT 12:06 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Let me know how you make out with it. Something has to be different for it to cause a problem for you. Don't give up the old starter until you are sure it's fixed. The parts store will most likely want the core returned to them for money. I don't want you to get rid of it until you are sure the new one works. I may end up recommending that you rebuild it.
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Monday, July 7th, 2014 AT 7:40 PM
Tiny
DISENCHANTED
  • MEMBER
Jacobandnickolas,

I returned the AC Delco to amazon, where I bought it.

I went to a local oreilly's that had 3 choices:
- Ultra brand, 1 year warranty (reman)- $35.99
- Ultra brand, lifetime (reman) -$54.99
- Ultra brand, lifetime, (new) - $109.99 special-order

The sales guy said these Ultra brand starters used the same parts as the OEM starter did, not anything that "should" fit. Indeed they were just as large as the original starter.

Long story short, I got the lifetime reman for $54.99 and it installed like the original and like the AC Delco. But the Ultra brand actually started the truck and there was not any noise once the vehicle was running.

This is really quite scary that the correct AC Delco part did not work.
While I have no doubt that after 20 years+, starter motors "Should" be physically smaller in size yet able to do the same job. Just through advances in technology.
But either the AC Delco I first installed had some sort of defect or the engineer who said the smaller motor would fit just as the oem, larger size did was not 100% correct.

Thanks
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Saturday, July 12th, 2014 AT 4:46 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Like you, I have been purchasing things from the Internet only to be disappointed. I hate to say it, but I really have to question the integrity of the people on the other end of the webpage. We have no idea who we are dealing with. And like you, I have found that it is easier to get things close to home. That way, you have recourse if something isn't correct.

I'm glad you got things going again. Let me know if you have questions in the future.

Joe
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Saturday, July 12th, 2014 AT 6:25 PM

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