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Shimming starter with T5

Old 06-11-2019, 06:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 236
Car: '85 IROC-Z
Engine: 305cid
Transmission: 5-speed
Shimming starter with T5

Hello, I'm sure this question's been asked before but I can't find it anywhere.

I'm about to purchase a mini starter to deal with my heat soak issues, but I'm wondering quite what I do about shimming the starter and checking the engagement is correct. I believe with the Auto trans you can simply see, but my car is a T5 and I can't see how you can check the engagement without removing the gearbox!

Is removing the gearbox the only way to be sure, or will I be ok going by trial-and-error? Is there a good trial-and-error method or shall I stick it on with no shims and see if it works?

Many thanks for any advice/admonishments!

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Old 06-11-2019, 09:32 PM
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Re: Shimming starter with T5

Put it on and try it. It's usually really obvious if it needs shims. If it sounds quiet and spins fast, and disengages properly when you let go of the key, it's fine. If you then think you want to try shimming it just to see what happens, put in a good bit, like 1/8", and go from there.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:01 AM
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 236
Car: '85 IROC-Z
Engine: 305cid
Transmission: 5-speed
Re: Shimming starter with T5

Thanks sofa - maybe I'm over-thinking this. I'll get it bought, and then maybe I can stop crossing my fingers before trying to restart at petrol stations!


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Old 06-12-2019, 12:56 PM
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Car: 1990 G92 IROC Z Miniram
Engine: 388cu 6.4 Liters
Transmission: G-Force T5
Axle/Gears: 3.73 Gears
Re: Shimming starter with T5

An LT1 starter is better than a mini starter and cheaper.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:36 PM
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Car: 1985 Camaro IROC-Z
Engine: 383 HSR Comp XFI280HR Profiler 195s
Transmission: T5
Axle/Gears: 3.73 Posi
Re: Shimming starter with T5

It IS possible to check it, even with the T5... A real PITA though. One way to check the engagement would be to paint the teeth on the flywheel, crank it over a few times, and see what rubbed off. A more reliable method is to use a paperclip. It should fit between the tip of the teeth of the starter gear and the flywheel with the starter gear engaged. I used a small wedge-shaped piece of metal to hold the starter gear out. I had to bump the solenoid a couple of times (MAKE SURE THE CAR IS IN NEUTRAL) to get the gear to come out. Once the gear was engaged, I bent a hard 90 onto the end of a paperclip with probably a 1/4" or so sticking out. I straightened out the rest of it, and was able to snake it in between the gears.

I completely agree with Vincent; The LT1 starter is the way to go.

If it engages without pegging the flywheel, and completely disengages, you're probably pretty close. Be sure to clean the starter pad to ensure adequate grounding to the starter. I'd also recommend new starter bolts if the knurls on your old ones are even slightly worn. ARP makes a great stainless bolt kit for this.
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