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Discussion Starter #1
im looking for a starter brace for my 454 engine.i keep destroying starters(6 in the last 18 mos)ive looked and called everywhere but cant seem to locate or even find a pic .its a 1991 tonawanda 454.the one from my smallblock does not fit and the hole on the engine is huge 12 mm i believe.any ideas?
 

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why do ya need the brace?

what's the timing set at?
what about the flexplate, is it out-of-round? missing teeth? carb or TBI?
staggered or straight?
also, what about the gap between the starter gear and ring gear?
I'd aim for about .025" to .040" clearance(about the thickness of a medium sized paperclip).

I've NEVER heard of a chevy engine needing a starter brace.... a caddy motor yeah, but not a chevy... after my 500 went through 3 starters in one day I just made one out of some flattened steel tubing and bent it accordingly. :goofball:
 

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I was in the same spot you were about a year ago. I was looking for a starter brace because of the same reason you are. I would go along with what k10caddy said and inspect things a little further. My problem toruned out to be some messed up teeth on my flywheel. an easy fix.

If your hell bent on throwing parts at it then I Think chevelles with BB's came with starter braces. but I could certainly be wrong.
 

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Ok yeah I thought they did. Remember someone saying that when i was looking for info on them. Your right about being able to build one. I still dont think thats his problem though.
 

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Even on my 13 to 1 509 I dont need one. Usally the hard start comes from to small of battry cables, or batt. I use 00 cables when possible. Also the engine ground is another possibility. Starter brace is a bandaid for another problem.
 

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had the same problem on about 8 starters on my old 350. problem i had was the starter heads were not made correctly. i would grind off the teeth in about 2-3 days. gm wouldnt warranty them anymore. so the last one i put on i compared it to an old one i had on the bench, sure enough it wasnt made correctly. swapped heads and havent had a problem since. and it is on the second engine, original one blew when i swamped it. may not be your problem but i would check it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks guys
i finally got a part # 3965588 .its a discontinued item but some dealers still have them in stock(none by me though)about 6 bux.this eng was originally tbi but i pulled it off and put a edelbrock manifold and holly carb on.it never had a flexplate as far as i know prolly a man trans b4 me.i bought a cheap flexplate from summit for 100 bux.the 1st starter went about 6 mos now its anywhere from 2 weeks to a few mos.no warning at all just starts to crank normal then after a few cranks it just kinda locks up for a second and goes another 1 or 2 cranks and does the same thing.it all downhill from that point.the ring gear teeth are taking a toll but all in all they are still not very bad.the starter instructions say the shaft the gear rides on and the flexplate theeth should have about 1/8 between them.to achieve this i have to run a pretty thick washer under the outside starter bolt to kick it inward.i always blamed the engine for this but its prolly the cheap summit flexplate that is actually small in dia.i know the brace is just a fix for other problems but i think once it jams up once the starter is shifting a bit.my timing is a bit advanced but i like it just where it is.ive never tried a gear reduction starter either.do you think this may help me?changing the starter is easy in my rig but i never know when its gonna go.
thanks
mark
 

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Discussion Starter #10
what's the timing set at?
what about the flexplate, is it out-of-round? missing teeth? carb or TBI?
staggered or straight?


what should the timing be set at?roughly?
this was originally tbi.it has peanut port round port heads.
by staggered or straight do you mean the starter holes im using?if so im using the staggered ones
 

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I had a problem of my 454 cracking the starter nose. Went through 6 starters (most on warranty thank goodness). Anyways, after a couple of years and 6 cracked starters, I got a mini-starter from Summit. It worked for 10 years - I do alot of mud and water 4x4ing, so I am TOTALLY pleased to get 10 years out of it. I'll probably just have it rblt locally and keep running it. Maybe you should get one of those mini-starters.

My friends with BBC engines in their muscle cars have had their share of starter problems also. A few installed the starter brace bracket you speak of - no problems now. If you don't get a mini-starter, than I would run the starter brace bracket.
 
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