Well I just tore down my 96 f150 with 300 I6, 5 speed, 4x4, to put in a new slave cylinder, clutch, pressure plate etc. I just bought the truck last week and it has documented with 96,000 original miles. The starter that was on it was the factory starter from what I have deduced. It has the same wear and tear that all the other factory parts have so I am just going to assume that it was the factory starter. It cranked a little on the sluggish side so in preparation for the cold winters of Wyoming and North Dakota (-60 in some areas) I decided to put in a brand new starter. During the tear down I found a shim that was just laying on the floor. I think when I took the starter off it came out and I just didn't notice it. When I put my new starter in and we bolted the trans and T case back in and got everything finished I started the truck and it made a terrible clacking. We did some discovering and found that the starter needed shimmed back because in the retracted position it was still contacting the flywheel. This led to chipped teeth on the starter which is still functioning flawlessly. Anyway my question is has anybody else had to shim their starter back ridiculously? I had to put 3 washers in front of each of my starter retaining bolts to gain enough distance for the starter to be clear of the flywheel when not engaged. Not sure what to think about it yet. I feel like 3 washers for both bolts is a little excessive. What do you all think?
During the 70's and maybe even some of the 80's Ford trucks had a reputation of trashing their starters. The fix was to shim them although I never personally experienced the problem. Apparently the machining of the block for the starter was misaligned (not sure which engines the problem was on but my 302 came with shims installed when I bought it.) The shims were to align the starter. That doesn't sound like your issue as the starters in question were not at the right angle to engage the flywheel correctly. Your issue appears to be the starter is too close to the flywheel.
Three washers seems pretty extreme to me. I'm at a loss. I suggest contacting the service department of your local Ford Dealership to see if they have any suggestions. The one I used to use in Prince George was excellent that way.
Thanks for the quick reply! I will contact the ford service department today. What really puzzles me about the whole ordeal is that we only found one shim when we took off the factory starter and it took 3 to correct the new one. I guess sometimes stuff just goes like that. Id like to get it figured out quickly though so that I can optimize the life of this starter and future starters. I will see what my local ford says.
The way to compare is to set the 2 starters side by side with the bolt tabs lined up. Then look down on them from above and see if one snout (the part that protrudes into the bellhousing) is longer than the other. The manual one is about 3/8" shorter than the auto one.
I have personally never seen a Ford starter that used shims.
Jas88 nailed it right on the head. I went and pulled the starter off of one of the manual trucks in our local junk yard and compared it to the starter I installed and from the end of the tabs the junkyard looks to be 3/8 shorter give or take a 1/16. I'm kicking myself in the butt now but thats how young guys like me learn! I'll never forget it now lol. Thanks for the help everybody I learned a lot from this thread.