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Is it possible that my flywheel froze?

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Old 01-21-2018, 02:15 PM
ITSOT ITSOT is offline
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Is it possible that my flywheel froze?

Drove the Ex through a good storm — LOTS of slush, etc. That night, negative 25 temperature. The next day, the starter had juice, and every time I engaged it, it would produce one very loud, very solid click (like the bendix gear being thrown out), but nothing more (like the bendix was not turning). Now, with the temperatures above freezing again, she starts like a champ.

Is there a weep hole (or something else) that, if uncovered, could have allowed water into the flywheel which then froze? Or something like this?

Thanks!

EDIT: Brand new Motorcraft 850 CCA battery that had been starting in colder weather.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ITSOT View Post
Drove the Ex through a good storm LOTS of slush, etc. That night, negative 25 temperature. The next day, the starter had juice, and every time I engaged it, it would produce one very loud, very solid click (like the bendix gear being thrown out), but nothing more (like the bendix was not turning). Now, with the temperatures above freezing again, she starts like a champ.

Is there a weep hole (or something else) that, if uncovered, could have allowed water into the flywheel which then froze? Or something like this?

Thanks!
Batteries. Cranking amps plunge as the temp drops. The starter bendix clank is just a sign of not enough amperage in the cold.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:15 PM
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Brand new Motorcraft 850 CCA battery that had been starting in colder weather.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:39 PM
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850 CCA at 32* is quite different at -25*. Something froze, I have a hard time thinking a flywheel would freeze. Your Bendix not only throws out it also spins, and has a sound that is correlated. This is why we time a starter, shims and what not. Frozen flywheel would also mean frozen oil, and a crank not wanting to move. Grinding, lots of grinding at ugly sounds.
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Old 01-21-2018, 05:27 PM
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Starter itself locked up?
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Old 01-21-2018, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handywithanex View Post
Your Bendix not only throws out it also spins, and has a sound that is correlated.
Exactly. And this noise was not present.

Quote:
Originally Posted by handywithanex View Post
Frozen flywheel would also mean...Grinding, lots of grinding at ugly sounds.
Right. And there was no grinding, as nothing anywhere was spinning.

About the frozen flywheel meaning frozen oil, though obvious, I wasn't thinking about it. Thanks. And, just in case something freakish is going on, I will drain the oil to see if I am getting water in there. But, probably the starter itself, as Tedster9 wrote.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csnow View Post
Batteries. Cranking amps plunge as the temp drops. The starter bendix clank is just a sign of not enough amperage in the cold.
^^^^^This^^^^^

Starters in simple terms are just electrode magnets. Magnets get stronger in cold weather, extreme cold produces much stronger magnetic force. I.E. cat scans, their magnets are super cooled. Batteries on the other hand, especial lead acid, lose amperage based on temperature. The colder, -25 is really cold, the worse they perform. When the temps neared 32*, which 57* warmer, the chemical reaction is at about peak. This in no way means that your battery is bad, it just shows: that extremely cold environment, that battery is not enough. Switching to a different type as in AGM, or other such would be better. Adding a second battery, effectively adds to the total cranking amps, so when it is really cold, the added amps will help to start easier. Most diesels use 2 batteries, they require a lot more amps, to spin the motor over.
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ITSOT View Post
Exactly. And this noise was not present.

Right. And there was no grinding, as nothing anywhere was spinning.

About the frozen flywheel meaning frozen oil, though obvious, I wasn't thinking about it. Thanks. And, just in case something freakish is going on, I will drain the oil to see if I am getting water in there. But, probably the starter itself, as Tedster9 wrote.

Thanks again.
If you had enough water in the oil to freeze and lock a flywheel, you would have spun a bearing long ago. You are free to believe and replace what you will, but I am still sticking to it being batteries. Brand new and a sticker rating doesn't equate to real world cold cranking amp availability. Either way, I hope you find the culprit or it stays warmer. @
handywithanex explained the issue in detail - well done.
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handywithanex View Post
^^^^^This^^^^^ Starters in simple terms are just electrode magnets. Magnets get stronger in cold weather, extreme cold produces much stronger magnetic force. I.E. cat scans, their magnets are super cooled. Batteries on the other hand, especial lead acid, lose amperage based on temperature. The colder, -25 is really cold, the worse they perform. When the temps neared 32*, which 57* warmer, the chemical reaction is at about peak. This in no way means that your battery is bad, it just shows: that extremely cold environment, that battery is not enough. Switching to a different type as in AGM, or other such would be better. Adding a second battery, effectively adds to the total cranking amps, so when it is really cold, the added amps will help to start easier. Most diesels use 2 batteries, they require a lot more amps, to spin the motor over.
It is true that as temperatures go down the ability of a battery to provide current declines as well. And the engines are harder to turn over because of sludgy oil. But he mentions the battery is new and worked in equally low temperatures prior. But in this instance indication of a specific problem related to heavy slush infiltration followed directly by plunging temperatures well below zero points to something frozen.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:01 PM
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If you had enough water in the oil to freeze and lock a flywheel, you would have spun a bearing long ago. You are free to believe and replace what you will, but I am still sticking to it being batteries. Brand new and a sticker rating doesn't equate to real world cold cranking amp availability. Either way, I hope you find the culprit or it stays warmer.
So, I have a basic understanding of the effect cold has on the amperage. My doubt arises from the fact that this very battery/starter combination consistently worked together to start the truck in colder weather. Again, consistently. So this is what leads me to question what I question and believe what I believe, etc.

And maybe I should include that my last name literally means "thickheaded" something my mother still reminds me of. (My wife is gracious enough to keep her reminders to herself.)

I will try to test it: The next time it happens, I will hook up a second battery (as per what handywithanex wrote).
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by handywithanex View Post
Adding a second battery, effectively adds to the total cranking amps, so when it is really cold, the added amps will help to start easier. Most diesels use 2 batteries, they require a lot more amps, to spin the motor over.
Are these two batteries in parallel? Or in series? (At one time I went and got a degree in electronics. Sad that I cannot remember even simple principles.)

I ask because, if it happens again, I'll just configure a hook up for a second battery....
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:07 PM
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That starter only has so many starts in it, sounds like you are closing in on the last one.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:08 PM
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Dual battery systems are normally connected in parallel. Voltage stays the same, current capacity is doubled.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ITSOT View Post
So, I have a basic understanding of the effect cold has on the amperage. My doubt arises from the fact that this very battery/starter combination consistently worked together to start the truck in colder weather. Again, consistently. So this is what leads me to question what I question and believe what I believe, etc.

And maybe I should include that my last name literally means "thickheaded" — something my mother still reminds me of. (My wife is gracious enough to keep her reminders to herself.)

I will try to test it: The next time it happens, I will hook up a second battery (as per what handywithanex wrote).
We are all thick headed Lee I am thankful for all of our patient wives. The only reason I keep saying batteries is I dealt with this many moons ago when I was in the Army stationed in Korea. When it got cold, like really cold, like you experienced, we had numerous starting problems just as you describe. A loose terminal or ground will also raise it's ugly head in the cold. The extreme cold will find a weak link very quickly in the electrical path that warmer weather will tolerate. I only will argue one point exhaustively and that is I reserve the right to be wrong. It may very well not end up being the batteries. That is what is great about this forum. You get to bounce ideas around to find resolution.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:15 PM
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Slush all over the starter and the leads would further degrade the available amps. As it melted away, better conductivity, easier start.
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