Starter alignment

i just ran into another issue and need advice. When I pulled the starter out of my 69 XR7, 351W to do the overhaul I noticed that the bendix gears were really eaten away. The flex plate was also pretty chewed up especially at three stretches along the teeth perimeter. Now with a new flex plate and new starter motor I tried starting it, heard some strange sounds and pulled the new starter motor off to discover one of the bendix teeth broken again. And it looks like it’s only reaching halfway across the teeth on the flex plate by the marks I see on it. It seems like the bendix isn’t extending far enough to get a good mesh with the flex plate or it’s not aligned properly. I don’t ever recall shims on this either. Any advice on how to check alignment or get it to properly engage? Am I missing something big?

Maybe you have a starter for a manual trans and you need it for a automatic …or vice versa.

I had not thought of that. When I bought it the only specification they asked was size of engine. Any idea how I can determine if it’s for a manual or auto trans? And … Do I need to replace the solenoid too? The placard on the re manufactured starter says it is recommended.

I don’t have measurements. Hopefully someone has info/pic.

Got to auto store & compare w/ what you have & need.

Replacing it is a good idea, as old ones were mech & new are “solid state”… does that term date me or what!!!

There’s a known problem in starter part designations/numbers for Mustangs where the listing is for a manual tranny but the actual starter is for an automagic (and vice versa). I found this out when I replaced my manual starter with a motorcraft unit and it would not fit. The parts store took it back but had already turned in my core. I went to a starter specialty store down the block and they generously gave me one of each. Sure enough, the starter designated as a automagic fit my manual like a glove and the other would not fit at all.

Several other folks on various Mustang forums have said the same thing. I believe a true manual starter will fit in an automagic car and work to some degree, but the opposite simply will not work. Since you stated that your flex plate was damaged, that tells me that you have a manual starter in an automagic Cougar.

Very helpful! Thank you. Is there any way to distinguish between the two? Numbers? Look? Or do I just get two different ones and try them?

I’d get both ones, but be sure the store will accept the unused one at no additional charge.

That’s what I did, and that guy got a lot of kudos for doing so.

Thank you. I don’t think this is something Auto Zone will know how to handle. I’ll let you know where I find them and how it goes. If you do have part numbers of any kind, I’d love to try using them. Thanks. I’ll be back in touch…

FYI Auto Zone does list 2 different starters one for Automatic and one for a manual trans. I did not check your exact app. but they show it for a 68 Mustang Cougar with a 302 and other FLM products .

Yes-- thank you. Actually it all a bit confusing. Auto Zone was confident that what they gave me was right, but just looking at the bendix gear shaft length made me suspicious. So I decided to dig deeper before risking a damaged flex plate. Ken’s Cougars Had a bit of advice but the real help came from Kevin at Mustangs Unlimited. Here’s the skinny … Measure the distance between the edge of the flex plate and the outer edge of the bell housing where the starter bolts on. It will be either 3/8" or 3/4". If it is 3/8" then the proper starter part number is 3132 and its for the manual transmission. If the distance is 3/4" then the starter part number is 3124 and fits the auto transmission and 5-speeds. I took the starter Auto Zone gave me for an auto transmission back since it was a 3132 and replaced it for the 3124 which they had in stock and was $5 cheaper. Now I need to get the rest of things taken care of so I can try it again. I will report.

Well, it’s been a long time but as promised I wanted to report…Sorry it’s taken so long but a few international trips, along with other projects demanding time so I haven’t been able to stay on this consistently. Just tried starting the car today after a bunch of other issues to complete first. The starter worked perfectly. Never once slipped. After about 15 minutes of trying to get the new motor started (without success) I pulled the plate at the bottom of the flex plate and inspected the teeth. No unusual wear, no chips, or shiny places! It’s engaging properly and getting full contact with the bendix and flexplate teeth. Problem solved!