Bendix Bolt Removal
It is not uncommon for a starter Bendix drive bolt to break off or fall out of the Bendix shaft. The loose bolt is of concern as it may jam to cause damage.
To remove the bolt from the bottom of the flywheel housing, firstly remove the starter motor. If you do not have available a flexible pick-up with a magnet, try a large blob of sticky wheel bearing grease applied to the flywheel. Slowly turn the engine over with the crank handle so that the grease returns to the original position. If you are lucky the bolt will be stuck in the grease. Remove the bolt and clean off the grease.
John Moorehead, MARC WA Newsletter Aug/Sept 2014
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Bendix Drive Springs
When the Model A was introduced in 1928 it was equipped with the Abell starter drive. By mid 1928 production was switched to 100% Bendix drive. The Bendix drive was considered to provide a smoother, quieter operation and more reliable.
Many Bendix drives resembled the ones used by Ford, but other makes engaged the starter on the other side of the vehicle and the spring was wound opposite in direction to the Ford spring. If one of these alternative springs is used on the Ford starter motor then it will unwind. If the Model A Bendix spring is held vertically it is termed left hand with the end coil for the securing bolt coiled in a clockwise direction. The alternative design has the coil wound anti clockwise. If second hand springs are sought at swap meets and the like then this difference should be noted.
John Moorehead, MARC WA Newsletter May 2016
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Installing the Starter Bendix Drive
The small Bendix Drive gear that’s bolted to the starter motor puts up with a lot of use (and abuse when you forget to retard the spark before starting). Eventually you will be working on yours and I have a tip for you about installing it back on the starter shaft. The Bendix is bolted to the shaft with 2 special bolts and lock washers, as shown in the photo below. One bolt has a specially-shaped end that goes down into a hole in the starter shaft. This is critical, to lock the Bendix to the shaft; do not substitute a plain bolt for this.
The other bolt is “special” only because it is only 11/16” long. This allows the bolt to lock the spring in place, without having the bolt actually touch the starter shaft. Don’t be tempted to use a 3/4” long bolt instead of the correct shorter one. See the comparison photo of a 3/4” bolt and the correct bolt.
When this longer bolt is used, it presses against the starter shaft when tight and it messes-up the Bendix operation. Don’t forget to install the half-moon- shaped Woodruff key in the shaft before slipping the drive on the shaft. You may also use 2 spring clips (optional). Be sure to lock the bolts down tight by bending the ear of the special lock washer up against the bolt head. If you don’t, these bolts will work loose and fly out of the starter drive. I carry a spare Bendix spring (they are known to break) and a set of these special bolts and lock-washers with me in my parts kit on tours. If I don’t need them, someone traveling with us might. This will help quickly get them back on the road too.
Have a Model A Day!
Jim Cannon (MAFCA), MARC WA Newsletter Jan 2021
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