Starter ring gear - how big of a job to change?

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Johnny_Buchanan, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. Johnny_Buchanan

    Johnny_Buchanan Rockstar 100 Posts

    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.

  2. Boonduff

    Boonduff Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Usually a bad ringgear will either grind when you try to start or the starter will just spin and not turn over the motor. If the starter stops after half a second like you say it sounds like you have either a bad starter or a electrical issue. Changing the ringgear is a big job. You need to pull out the transmission to pull off the flexplate/ringgear.
  3. Johnny_Buchanan

    Johnny_Buchanan Rockstar 100 Posts

    Yup, that's what I was afraid of. Anyhow, it seems that I'll have to bite the bullet by either applying the needed elbow grease or hard earned :=(

    Yesterday we eventually got Red Dust going by just turning the engine by hand untill after 10 or so failed starts I found a spot with enough teeth left on the ring gear - seems that there really aren't that many left :=0

    So I was saved from the humilitation of being towed behind a MB Sprinter but Red Dust is now sitting outside the workshop at my brother's farm whillst I'm trying to muster the courage to either grit my teeth or whip out the credit card...

  4. TMair

    TMair Member

    It is kind of a big job, but mostly time consuming, if you have a way to lift it, it will make it easier, we used to pull tranies with the car/truck on jack stands, when we got a hoist it made it much easier, anyway if it is an automatic trans the ring gear will be part of the flex plat, just pull the plate and put a new one on, once you get to it, if it is a manuol trans the ring gear will have to be cut off of the fly wheel, and a new one heated and put back on, if you have the time, and ability it will not be that bad of a job.

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