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Joined: Feb 2022
Posts: 37
Hi all,

This seems to be a relevant thread for my starter issue, so will start here. I have a 1950 Chevy 3100, with a 1960 261cu-in engine, I bought the truck after this conversion and I have no details other than what I've been able to determine by looking at engine codes, etc.. Right now I have not yet counted the number of teeth on the flywheel (will do that tomorrow), but the starter engage gear are 9 teeth. I do have a couple of questions I'm hoping folks can help me with.

My starter has gone out (stud is worn, button copper is worn, 1/2 of the brushes are worn). Looking to rebuild, but have also bought a NAPA 6v starter (Part #: RAY 2449651, as it was cheaper than all the piece parts to fix mine). The NAPA starter also has 9 teeth. A couple of questions then.

1) 1950 216 & 235 and specifically 6v systems seem to have used 139 tooth flywheels. By 1960 and the 261 all were using 12v and had 168 tooth flywheels... or so I've read. As the starters for both seemingly have 9 teeth each... how does one determine if the starter they have is for the right engine/flywheel ? This is a particular issue with the NAPA remanufactured unit, since it is matched by year and not engine.

2) Seemingly both starters are essentially the same for the floor button mechanical type starters (mechanically), just with different engagement gears. So worst case, if I swap the engagement gear off the NAPA starter with the existing starter.... that would work, right ? In other words the shafts would be the same I am guessing ? I'm trying to avoid taking the NAPA starter apart if its known that this will NOT work.

3) I am also having trouble finding a correctly listed mechanical "solenoid" (as most are calling it). For the older 1950 era starters, they are mechanical and look like what I have. However for the 1960 era starters they all seem to in fact be electrical solenoid type units and not a match for what I have. So unclear again which starter I actually have and unable to find any markings that would give me a clue.

4) The Voltage stud on starter body is worn, but I don't have the experience to know if its worn too much. I've buffed it up and it has a slant. Any insight as to if its fine like it is or needs replacement too would be appreciated. Changing the voltage stud looks to be significantly more difficult that just doing the springs and brushes, so if there is a link to that procedure or a video that would likewise be appreciated.

More questions than I anticipated, sorry 'bout that... but better to get it out there so various folks can comment on aspects they know I guess.

I really love this forum for all the great help and knowledge/experience.... you are greatly appreciated.


P.S. A few pictures in case they help.

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IMG_4674.jpg (327.96 KB, 208 downloads)
IMG_4680.jpg (235.91 KB, 209 downloads)
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IMG_4691.jpg (245.99 KB, 204 downloads)
Last edited by JSMvintage; Fri Dec 16 2022 02:11 AM.

Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 341
Hmmm... no one has replied for 2 weeks. I'll chime in.
The 2 starters look essentially the same in appearance... the difference is inside. The 6v 9 tooth gear rides on a 5/8 diameter armature shaft and the 9 tooth 12v armature shaft is a smaller 1/2 inch. Also, the 6v starter has 2 field coils where the 12v starter has 4. Take the band off the rear of the starter... 2 brushes is 6v. 4 brushes is 12v. 1 brush for each field coil.
The foot-start switch for a 12v starter will work just fine on a 6v starter but not the reverse. The 12v switch has a side terminal that is simply ignored in a 6v application. Hope this helps.

~~ Jethro
1954 3100
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You must find out if you have a 139 or 168 tooth flywheel before you know which starter to use. As you suspect, a 6v starter will not work on a 168 tooth flywheel and a 12v starter will not work on a 139 tooth flywheel. Once you know that, Jethro in Va’s post will come into play. Additionally, 6v starters work fine on 12 systems, as long as you don’t continuously crank on them. I’ve been running one on my ‘59 235 for the past three years. Good Luck!

Last edited by Phak1; Sat Dec 31 2022 02:42 PM.

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