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Clockable Starter Issues (FE)

  #1  
Old 01-30-2018, 10:37 AM
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Clockable Starter Issues (FE)

I replaced the “coffee can” starter for the FE engine in my ’76 F-150 with a PMGR (Permanent Magnet Gear Reduction) starter from PowerMaster. Note the Q&A plus the reviews.



The initial install required a little grinding here.



Although this position cleared the headers, it was close. Thus, I thought that I should at least explore what it would take to clock the starter further and get a bit more clearance to insure that heat soak wouldn’t cause this starter to expire prematurely.



So here is the clockable starter. Note the awkward position of the terminals. The goal will be to clock the starter further in order to get better clearance with the headers and bring the terminals into a more convenient location. At this point there is 1-3/16” (1.1875”) between the block and the starter motor so there’s plenty of room but other parts of the block are in the way.



After a little grinding on the obvious high spots, I decided to use a little wet paint to create witness marks to guide further work.



Here is the mark that I created. Presumably, I’d need to grind from this location in a counter-clockwise direction for some as yet unknown depth and distance to get the starter closer to the block and produce the clearance I need.



However, there is a plug in the block right below where I am grinding. Extrapolating the contours of that plug suggests that there may be a point where I would intrude into an internal cavity of some sort, possibly with disastrous results.
So the question (finally) is what really lies beneath? Does whatever it is pose a threat to my efforts to clock this starter a little more?
 
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:45 PM
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That's a freeze plug and the chamber behind it contains coolant.
 
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Old 01-30-2018, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by alloro View Post
That's a freeze plug and the chamber behind it contains coolant.
Thanks. I suppose that's better than oil b/c if I do break through I might be able to use a relatively small amount of block filler.
 
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:13 PM
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If you're worried about heat damage from the headers, can you wrap them in heat wrap? That's what I did for one of my cars.
 
  #5  
Old 02-08-2018, 05:30 PM
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Mini-starter Solution

Try as I might, I just couldn’t clock the PowerMaster 9606 starter enough to avoid contact with the Flowtech headers on this ’76 4 X 2 with an FE engine. There are other headers such as the Hooker Super Comp headers in the early 60s Ford Galaxie 500 that don’t play well with this starter either and that is what led to my solution. These Galaxies are still raced today in nostalgia super stock.



Consulting with the very helpful folks at PowerMaster and sharing this post with them, I learned about the 9506M. Spoiler: it absolutely solves my issue. However, that discovery would have been very difficult otherwise because the usual vendors (Summit, Jegs et. al.) don’t do a very good job of describing it. Most don’t even provide a picture.



Here’s a screen grab of Summit’s listing for this product. It doesn’t even claim to be for an FE engine. Who would opt to buy this product at this price?



Jegs is almost as bad but they at least say, “STARTER XST 428 SPL” even though “352 - 428” would have been more accurate. So unless you know what you are looking for and why it might be the answer to your prayers, you may not find it.



But now we know. This is the 9506M. It is not clockable but it was designed specifically to address the problem of header clearance on FE engines. Not only is it much shorter than the 9506 but it brings the terminals to the frontside of the unit. The 9506 placed the terminals on the backside and perilously close to the block.
The bottom line is that this mini-starter clears my Flowtech headers and will clear Hooker Super Comps should I go with those in the future. Probably lots of other headers as well.



As advised, I made sure that all mounting surfaces were down to bare metal.



Here it is in place.



I can now put my fingers between the starter and the headers at any point. Mission accomplished.



A worm’s eye view.
For me, the lesson learned here is to always consult with the manufacturer if that is possible, especially if you’re having problems getting their products to play nice with others. As in this case, they may know things that are not in the online databases of the big box retailers.
So let me take this opportunity to give a big shout out to Chris Donaldson, JR Richmond and Chris Thompson at PowerMaster. They really made a big difference in my truck build and treated me as family. This issue has held me up for some time now so I am very happy to be moving forward once again.
 
  #6  
Old 04-09-2018, 08:15 PM
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This thread didn't get the attention it deserves. This information should be part of a sticky. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it. Though it seems pretty stupid to me that they charge a $30-50 premium calling this starter a "special fit" when it just fits the way the damn thing should to begin with.
 
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:12 AM
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Powermaster 9506M Mini Starter for FE 390 Header issue

Originally Posted by Mech Anon View Post
This thread didn't get the attention it deserves. This information should be part of a sticky. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it. Though it seems pretty stupid to me that they charge a $30-50 premium calling this starter a "special fit" when it just fits the way the damn thing should to begin with.
I agree about this not getting attention, I have been searching for hours until I found this same info in another thread with all the pics.. This Thread or at the least the information should be on a Sticky.
 
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Kurttb1 View Post
I agree about this not getting attention, I have been searching for hours until I found this same info in another thread with all the pics.. This Thread or at the least the information should be on a Sticky.
ONE POSSIBILITY IT HAS NOT RECEIVED THE ATTENTION is because "FE 390, 428" AND "Mini Starter" AND "Header Clearance" are not in the NAME !
 
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurttb1 View Post
ONE POSSIBILITY IT HAS NOT RECEIVED THE ATTENTION is because "FE 390, 428" AND "Mini Starter" AND "Header Clearance" are not in the NAME !
I've added some tags. Thanks for the great suggestion.
 
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:43 AM
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FORD F100 F250 F350 FE 390 Starter problem issue Powermaster 9606 vs 9506M miniStarter

Glad to hear it !

k
 
  #11  
Old 09-25-2018, 03:52 AM
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FORD F100 F250 F350 FE 390 Starter problem issue Header clearance Powermaster 9606 9506M miniStarter

Forgot header clearance in the title above.... Titles can be searched.
 
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