I have a 69 XR7 with 351W. I think I will be needing a new starter soon. When I go to turn the car over, once in a while I get a grinding noise kinda like the sound you get when you try to start a car when it’s already running. The starter in the car is original I believe. Are starters from Pep Boys, Auto Zone, etc. worth putting in. Are they good quality? Or should I get one from Summit? Suggestions?

Isabel started her new life with a rebuilt from Advance, I was happy with the quality of the unit, it was rebuilt very well.

My '68 uses a rebuilt from one of the box stores, can’t remember now: Autozone/Oreilly’s. Been fine far as I can tell.

I started out with a remaufactured one and it didn’t last. By the second year, I swapped to a McLeod gear reduction “mini starter” (purchased through Summit) and haven’t looked back. It’s been flawless since I installed in around 1996. It have never let me down on a hot start either. Sure I paid $200 for it. But I feel it was well worth it.

Having mentioned my original starter, I went to a gear reduction starter with the 408C, needed the extra torque for hot starts. Mine is a Powermaster and has a Nippon Denso motor. Not cheap as Mark points out but trouble-free so far.

Does the gear reduction starter make the Cougar sound like a Challenger?

Honestly, it does sound sort of like a Mopar!

If the starter in your car is original, I’d have it rebuilt by a local guy, and make sure you tell him you want YOUR starter back. Mark it in some unobtrusive way so you know it’s yours. Even if it is not the original, at least you know you are starting with a good core.

While you’re in there take a good look at the teeth on the flywheel/flexplate. The sound you describe could point to a few chewed-up teeth.

Have any starter or alternator tested before you leave the store with it. I have finished complicated removals/installations, only to find the replacement part is garbage. One time we had to go back to the store four times before we got a starter that worked in my Dad’s old F100.

One time at a cruise night as I was twisting the key and the Hero fired, a bystander yelled in the window…“Hey, that didn’t sound like a Ford starting!”

My response…“It shouldn’t. It’s a $200 starter.” :whistle:

It better not be missing teeth from the flexplate…it is brand new. Just had it installed a couple weeks ago after the ring gear separated from the flexplate. Does it matter how many teeth are on the flexplate? The teeth on the flexplate and the gear on the starter are the same size right? What is a gear reduction starter?

Gear reduction starters are physically smaller in size. This is often a bonus when running headers. But the internals are created so that they apply more torque when starting an engine with higher compression, more advanced timing etc. They don’t “lug” like a stock starter will do under the same conditions.

BTW, If you don’t mind running a two-wire wiring setup (fat wire hot all the time and a starter solenoid wire - the solenoid on the starter), these are quite cheap but work well:

I tried to run one but it would not work in a one-wire configuration (which I insisted upon). Worked well but the bendix would not release until a few seconds after the engine started, because of the one-wire setup.

Think the link I provided is the right unit for your vehicle (assuming you have a small block and AT).

Hope this helps.


On a regular starter, the starter motor turns same rpm as the pinion gear, 1:1 ratio.
On a gear reduction starter, depending on the ratio, the starter motor turns 4 rpm to the pinion gears 1 rpm, 4:1 ratio.
That gives it more torque and the Mopar sound. I kinda like that sound.

Yeah, it does. Reason? The Mopars came with a gear reduction starter. I had one starting my warmed over 400m back in the day and still have it. Still worked when I pulled the engine ten years later.

Thanks all for the feedback. I think when I go to replace the starter, I will use this one.