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Old 07-29-2020, 09:31 PM   #1
WABOOM
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Default Ratchet style starter drive retract

I got a new starter drive unit for my Mercury with the Merc-o-matic and I twisted it out not knowing it that I wasn't supposed to do that. Do you guys know a way to retract it? I saw a video using a wire wheel on a bench grinder to spin it up and rewind it, but I don't have a wire wheel for mine. Can I spin it with the starter out side of the car and force a retract?
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

the speed of the running engine is what retracts the drive so I assume with no load on the starter it should retract by jumping it with a battery, my guess! either it will or won't!
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

you can take it apart and reset the 3 spring loaded little dowels back into the slot of the
worm not easy but doable with extra set of hands. Lesson learned, don't fool with this
style ....
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

big job:
Lesson learned, don't fool with this style ....

QUESTION: What style do you recommend? The starter for the Merco-Matic is different than for the manual trans. Not interchangeable.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

WABOOM: Try your idea outside the car and see what happens. I don't think it will hurt the starter. Fordor41 also has a good idea.

Here's a helpful thread.
https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/...-matic.622529/

and
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=48011

If possible, PM folks with Mercomatic starter like yours, get their phone number and call them to discuss how they have installed this starter.

IDEA: Clamp the starter in a BIG vise using the case as clamping point.
Put on a leather glove and simultaneously twist and push in the starter drive (CW or CCW) to see if you can manually retract it.

Last edited by 19Fordy; 07-30-2020 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Thank you.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
big job:
Lesson learned, don't fool with this style ....

QUESTION: What style do you recommend? The starter for the Merco-Matic is different than for the manual trans. Not interchangeable.
That is correct. You are kinda stuck with that style if memory serves me its
called a "flow thru" something like that back when. Before buying another
nothing to loose - take it apart in a cardboard box so nothing flys away like
springs do. Remove large snap ring on the barrel remove the barrel now you
will see something like a star this is where those little springs and dowels
go into. On the inside of this so called starr is where a spring then a dowel
goes I think there are three springs & dowels. Somehow you gotta hold all
dowels in while turning the whole assy. on the worm shaft. What happened
is that it was turned 'wrong way' past the worm shaft and all the dowels popped out. Not complicated it works by centrifugal force. when engine starts remember ring gear is large and the bendex is small so that bendex is
really whipping thus sucking those dowels "in" back in their little holes. Same
principal as a governor. Hope I explained this understandable. then reassemble good to go....sam
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Old 07-30-2020, 12:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

big job, Thank you for that excellent explanation. I am sure WABOOM can solve the problem as this can't be the first time this has ever happened.

Wish I had a starter like that to play with. Would be an interesting challenge. Kind of like assembling a mechanical part where you have to hold all the little balls in place with thick grease or a home made strap like a wire tie or radiator hose.
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Old 07-30-2020, 02:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

WABOOM, if it were mine and before I took it apart, I'd try the battery hook up trick. Failing that, I'd get a wire wheel for the grinder.....and you probably need one anyway!!!

I have a VERY bad record of success with taking things like this apart and then getting them back together without having a very frustrating afternoon!!
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

I took the starter out. Here's a good pic of a Merc-o-matic starter.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

I tested installed the new drive unit onto the starter shaft and spun it up to full speed with jumper cables. I tried several times to nudge the starter gear into retract mode with a lever while spinnin, but I could not get it to retract.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by big job View Post
That is correct. You are kinda stuck with that style if memory serves me its
called a "flow thru" something like that back when. Before buying another
nothing to loose - take it apart in a cardboard box so nothing flys away like
springs do. Remove large snap ring on the barrel remove the barrel now you
will see something like a star this is where those little springs and dowels
go into. On the inside of this so called starr is where a spring then a dowel
goes I think there are three springs & dowels. Somehow you gotta hold all
dowels in while turning the whole assy. on the worm shaft. What happened
is that it was turned 'wrong way' past the worm shaft and all the dowels popped out. Not complicated it works by centrifugal force. when engine starts remember ring gear is large and the bendex is small so that bendex is
really whipping thus sucking those dowels "in" back in their little holes. Same
principal as a governor. Hope I explained this understandable. then reassemble good to go....sam

I believe the term was "Follow Through". They were designed to avoid disengaging whenever the engine would fire once or twice but not catch and stay running. It used to be common to hear a Ford starter turn the engine briefly, then buzz up without turning the engine. So you had to release the starter button and wait for the starter to stop turning, then push the button again-sometimes repeatedly! This new style drive shown here was a vast improvement! If the engine just fired once or twice, the ratchet allowed the drive to over run, but stay engaged until the engine fired and revved fast enough to release those pins and thus disengage.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by WABOOM View Post
I tested installed the new drive unit onto the starter shaft and spun it up to full speed with jumper cables. I tried several times to nudge the starter gear into retract mode with a lever while spinnin, but I could not get it to retract.
I have never tried it but have you tried to install the starter with the gear in the engaged position?
If it will mount and can be bolted in place (with the gear teeth engaged),
as soon as the engine starts, centrifugal force will be sufficient enough to allow normal operation.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

I will try to install it tonight.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

I'm gonna spin it with a 12 volt battery tonight and see if I can bump it back in with more rpms.
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

I don't think spinning the starter will retract it as that's what engages it. You
need to spin the drive like the engine would when it starts.

Last edited by Bob C; 07-31-2020 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:12 AM   #17
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Is there a pictorial drawing of that starter available that will show how it mechanically fits together?
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by WABOOM View Post
I'm gonna spin it with a 12 volt battery tonight and see if I can bump it back in with more rpms.
Just a thought, should using a 12 volt battery not spin it fasi enough, using another 12 volt battery, hook it up for 24 volts to make it spin faster.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

When the starter drive engages flywheel and spins, does the inertia and much faster rotation of the flywheel, upon starting, cause the starter gear to withdraw it's contact with the flywheel after the engine starts?
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:48 AM   #20
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

As I see it... the teeth of the ratchets twist the gear head up the helix, and then ratchets keep the gear engaged until the engine starts. Then the flywheel spins it so fast the drive unit unlocks and rewind down the helix.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:00 PM   #21
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
Just a thought, should using a 12 volt battery not spin it fasi enough, using another 12 volt battery, hook it up for 24 volts to make it spin faster.
I'd be hesitant to send 24 volts thru this starter. Would that really be a good idea?
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:06 PM   #22
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

There are two or three (depends on manufacturer) spring loaded pins that engage with an annular groove. This is what keeps the gear forward until the engine starts and spins the starter gear fast enough to centrifugally force the pins out of the groove to allow the gear to move reward.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:17 PM   #23
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Quote:
Originally Posted by WABOOM View Post
I'd be hesitant to send 24 volts thru this starter. Would that really be a good idea?
Recall that many years ago some stock car racers used to run 24 volts for easier starting using the original 6 volt motor. The ignition was from a separate source.

If you feel uncomfortable doing it, by all means don't .
Would be best to see if it will install as is.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:38 PM   #24
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

This video shows how to get them to retract with the wire wheel on a bench grinder.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTmxlDXL8hc
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:05 PM   #25
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Bob C: Thank you very much for posting that video. Amazing how simple that really is.

Here's another interesting ratchet drive starter video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn7d-KZsIxs
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:49 PM   #26
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Jumping it with 12 volts and prying it backed with a large screwdriver worked.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:00 AM   #27
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Glad you got it fixed!! I certainly learned a lot along the way about these types of starters! Those were very interesting videos that were posted above.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:38 AM   #28
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Goody gum drop. It's nice to win one. Well done WABOOM. You should take photos of the install for benefit of others. JIM
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:50 PM   #29
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Update: these starters CAN be installed with the drive unit extended in the starting position.
I disassembled the starter and cleaned up everything with electrical cleaner and resurfaced the commutator a bit. Reassembled it, painted the case and while handling it... I wound the drive unit up the helix...
this time I said "F' it I wanna know if it'll go in like this". It went in easy as pie. Started right up and I heard it release and unwind. I started it 4-5 more times just for kicks. I can definitely hear a difference with this style bendix. It's noisier, sounds more mechanical.

Last edited by WABOOM; 08-05-2020 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:36 PM   #30
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

There is a way to do this by hand, using a very sharp pencil.
The trick is to put the tip of the pencil into the end of the spiral,
in three places- sharpen the pencil for each one. Break off the tip of pencil.
I haven't done this in years, would have to go get a drive from my parts to make this more clear.
Let me know if you're interested.
Karl
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:14 PM   #31
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Karl, If possible, post your pencil procedure with photos. Tell us what happens to the pencils.
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:03 PM   #32
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Default Re: Ratchet style starter drive retract

Very interested.
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