Earlier tonight Red Dust (my '88 350 Sportside) left me stranded on Micky D drive thru lane :=(
I turned him off while waiting and he refused to start - starter would not engage. This itself was no totally unexpected, it has happened once or twice during last 12 months, when I changed the starter I noticed starter ring gear missing several teeth.

So I got out with spanner that I've stashed behind the seat in hand and waved to people behind me 'no worries, it'll move in 5 secs'
Well, guess again, not.

Eventually, I ended up pushing the truck for some distance to get it into a parking slot ( nose first btw) - so todays gp training has been taken care of - to have another go without blocking the traffic.

After a dozen or so attempts the engine still would not catch on, starter would stay engaged for half a second or bit more but not enough to start the mill.

Most obvious diagnose right now is that ring gear has totally gone south. How big of a job to change and how should I go about it? I remember wondering about that when changing the starter and it seemed like a bitch - main reason why I haven't done anything to it so far despite the fact it is sometimes quite audible that there are teeth missing when key is turned. Is it?

I'll have to go back tomorrow morning and see in daylight if I can get better results but I'm not having my hopes up. So I'm preparing to tow the truck away behind my Dad's Merc Sprinter.