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Joined: Aug 2021
Posts: 12
1
'Bolter
My son inherited his grandpa’s 1956 Chevy 3200 with a factory Hydramatic transmission and inline 6. He drives it to school nearly every day. It has a starter problem that has become increasingly frequent, and which seems to get worse when temps move below zero. Here’s what often happens when he turns the key: www.youtu.be/sadWABinApE [youtu.be]

When this first happened we removed the starter and showed it to a trusted mechanic friend. He confirmed that the solenoid engages each time (which I believe can be seen in the video above) and he thought the teeth on the starter looked okay. I assume the problem is either the teeth on this starter gear or the teeth on the flywheel. I think the teeth on the flywheel are part of the ring gear.

LMC stocks a ring gear for the 235 (I assume that what we have) and 265 Task Force sixes: www.lmctruck.com/1948-59-chevy-gmc/ca-1947-59-flywheel-ring-gear [lmctruck.com]

However, web searches led me to believe that the ring gear (and starter) are different on Hydramatic-equipped engines.

Does anyone have experience with a Hydramatic that they can share?

Scott

Last edited by Justhorsenround; Fri Dec 02 2022 05:33 PM.
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,128
5
'Bolter
Sounds like a bad starter drive.


Brian
1955.2 3100 Truck


The older I get the more dangerous I am!!!!!
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 1,627
O
'Bolter
Before jumping to conclusions about bad teeth anywhere, take the flywheel cover off and turn the engine by hand inspecting each tooth closely. Do the same with the starter's teeth.

My money on the starter being bad, however.


1939 Packard Standard Eight Coupe (The Phantom)
1950 Chevrolet 3100 (Ol' Roy)
1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (The Bismarck)
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado (The Purple Knif)
1966 Ford Mustang (Little Red)
1964 Ford Galaxie 500 coupe
1979 Ford F-100
1976 Ford F-150 (Big Red)
1995 Ford F-150 (Newt)
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,783
B
Curmudgeon
Call me crazy but check that your battery is in good shape, the ground and positive cables connections are good and that the large cable connection to the starter is good. A low voltage can be a factor in drive extension. Unlikely, but check anyway.

You can see the solenoid operate in the video. The wind-up sound is the starter motor free-wheeling i.e. the drive is not engaged with the ring gear on flywheel. The question is why? Starter drive not extending far enough? Bad drive and or flywheel ring teeth? We can't see it because it's underneath other parts. Pull the starter out again and re-check the teeth of the drive and the ring gear. Find another mechanic to test that the drive is extending far enough.

1955 second - 1957 with HT (Hydramatic Transmission) has a flywheel with 168 teeth and so did the V8 but I do not know if the ring part number is the same.
http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com/1929_57chevyparts/57cmpc0147.htm

The problem with the HT flywheel is that it has a fluid seal upon which bolts a cover (GM parts illustration). This would be a major undertaking to access the flywheel.

My 1954 HT has an opening for the timing needle (picture of adapter). Fingers crossed you may be able to peek inside and see some of the drive engagement. Not easy to get to.

Attached Images
HT Flywheel.jpg (62.04 KB, 112 downloads)
HT Adapter.jpg (114.36 KB, 112 downloads)
Last edited by buoymaker; Fri Dec 02 2022 05:19 PM.

"Adding CFM to a truck will only help at engine speeds you don't want to use."
"I found there was nothing to gain beyond 400 CFM."
Joined: Aug 2021
Posts: 12
1
'Bolter
Thanks to all for the feedback. I plan to take the starter out and do a more thorough inspection of both the starter gear and the ring gear. That said, I like the hypothesis that lowered voltage might prevent the starter from fully engaging. That might explain why the problem gets worse as the temps drop. The battery is the cheapest Walmart battery available and far from new. I'm trying to think of how to test this short of putting a different battery in there, like maybe tossing some jumper cables from a running truck to that battery during a below freezing start...

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,313
'Bolter
Promise not to hijack this thread but "Walmart" caught my eye. We have been amazed how much Walmart has (and best prices). We even saved a bunch on our mowers blades, the top for our big trashcan, and recently the compact battery charger. We already order most house stuff via Walmart on-line. Was great with free shipping. Now, more is pick-up but it is incredibly easy -- and cheap prices, plus free! Just park and they come and deliver packages to you. thumbs_up

Done ... eeeek


Peggy M
Bird's eye view is a bit different than the worm's ~~ and it ISN'T about food. wink
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 2,127
F
'Bolter
1956 3200 It makes sense that the worn bendix drive would shrink in the cold and not engage well or at all. The bendix wont last forever,order one in from the venders and change it. Meanwhile I think you can push start it ! Not sure I would chance that though !! While your at it look at your brushes and starter bushings those starters are easily repairable I have an arsenal of cores just waiting.

Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 1,627
O
'Bolter
Originally Posted by fixite7
Meanwhile I think you can push start it ! Not sure I would chance that though !!

My 1956 Cadillac is equipped with a Hydramatic transmission and it says right in the owner's manual that in the event of a dead battery, the car can be roll started in the same manner as a manual shift vehicle.

I've never tried it though but I bet it would work. You'd have to be on a hill, though because pushing that 5000 pound tank would be no mean feat!


1939 Packard Standard Eight Coupe (The Phantom)
1950 Chevrolet 3100 (Ol' Roy)
1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (The Bismarck)
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado (The Purple Knif)
1966 Ford Mustang (Little Red)
1964 Ford Galaxie 500 coupe
1979 Ford F-100
1976 Ford F-150 (Big Red)
1995 Ford F-150 (Newt)
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,788
E
'Bolter
We had a ‘49 Pontiac Sta. wagon, it would push start. Had a rear pump.

Ed

Last edited by EdPruss; Sat Dec 03 2022 01:35 PM.

'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 512
B
'Bolter
Most of the older automatic transmissions had a rear pump that ran off the output shaft of the transmission. It provided enough hydraulic pressure to make thr tranny work when the car/truck got to 15-25 MPH. My dual-range Hydramatic ('57 GMC) and Powerglide ('59 Impala) both worked that way.

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