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Old 06-17-2024, 10:27 AM   #1
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Default Is the bendix a nigtmare?

I bought a 1930 Tudor (three door) 9 months ago and have been working to get it reliable. It drove well on the test drives and subsequent drives with the exception of shifting very hard...no shifts without a lot of grinding even double clutching and on flat roads...until a manifold gasket started to leak and I put it away for the winter. I did replace the bendix (US made original style) once after suspecting that was a starting problem in Spring only to find that it was inadequate grounding of the battery. At the 7 month point I drove it in a two day rally that took it through 300 km of steep hills and hairpin curves....quite an eye opener regarding how much work it is to drive/steer in those conditions and a real test of how much of a challenge to use the brakes early and often as well as getting enough RPM to keep enough steam to make it up the next hill without grinding a pound of gears to downshift to 2nd. Serious second thoughts about whether this is the classic car for me. At a fuel stop on the way home the car would not start and started giving that characteristic electric drill sound telltale of a starter/bendix problem. An ADAC (German AAA) push start got me home and into my barn/workshop only to find the flywheel side bolt of the bendix missing. I do not have a lift and dropping the transmission while the car is up on jacks did not appeal to me. I am getting a bit stiff in my old age. I had it towed to a reputable classic car mechanic who dropped the transmission only to find not one missing bolt...but THREE lodged in the transmission. The mechanic was quite surprised that nothing catastrophic had happened while driving. I am the fourth owner and the previous owner had it for less than a year and did zero work on the car so that means that the other two bolts dropped and were replaced while in the hands of the one who restored it after 47 years in a barn. He sold it off so that his wife would not be stuck with it while he died of cancer, so he is not around to ask. It seems that the traditional bendix is a serious problem for this car and I am not up for taking it to a specialist when the bendix self-destructs every few months. Now I am looking at an alternative. Meeting with the mechanic in a couple of days to discuss an alternative starter system. Any suggestions? I like the car as original as possible but will not be showing it. It needs to be reliable to make it worth owning as a sunny weekend tourer for 100 or so km. Is this perhaps a time to shift to 12V and a modern stater, alternator, coil, etc? Seems the12v switch should be manageable for about $1200-$1500.
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Old 06-17-2024, 10:58 AM   #2
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

It’s in the installation,not using worn parts,the bolts can’t be worn and loose in the threads,the flywheel teeth have to have proper shape along with the pinion gear .
the locks have to be new each time, the bolts tight,the spring tight and not distorted,
45 years untouched on my car,has survived driving out of the garage on the starter,starting in gear many times when the clutch was stuck etc.
First starter I rebuilt 50 years ago,original to the car
the original generator has be more reliable than the chevrolet alternator in my truck (3 rebuilds in 40 years)
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Old 06-17-2024, 10:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Just went through that nightmare. My USA made Bendix failed after
2 starts. The bolts they used were wrong. The back bolt was so poorly
installed, it completely popped out.

Both the Modern Bendix & original style USA made drive are not made
any more. I bet when you fish out the bolts or bolts, one will be not
broken. You should either use a shop vacuum or a magnet to fish out
the remains.
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Old 06-17-2024, 11:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

What Kurt in NJ said X2... original starter un-touched in my 31' for the past 50 years. I was a high school kid, put it together from as found used original Ford parts. I guess that I must have done it right!
Good to hear from you.... I hope that you can get the problems straightened out, there in Germany.

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Old 06-17-2024, 11:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Nothing wrong with the original 6 volt system! Just make sure all components are OEM quality (you may need to find good used stuff). Make sure the ring gear is installed correctly (bevel to the rear). If the threads in the shaft for the Bendix bolt are worn, the bolt will not stay tight.
On the hard shifting, make sure the clutch releases completely. With the pedal held down and the engine idling in neutral, the gears must coast to a stop after a few seconds and you can shift into gear without grinding. The disc may be dragging against the flywheel and pressure plate. Make sure the trans has the right gear oil (too thin can cause grinding).
Also, there are parts available to convert the original trans to synchronized 2nd and 3rd gears.
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Old 06-17-2024, 12:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

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X-2,3 on posts 2 & 4 , if you think about it ??? How have these 90 + year olds make it into this century !!!!! Most here that post with problems have modified parts !!!! Most with non- modified usually do post with problems. IMHO
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Old 06-17-2024, 01:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big hammer View Post
Most here that post with problems have modified parts !!!! Most with non- modified usually do post with problems. IMHO
What does that even mean?
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Old 06-17-2024, 02:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

see this page:

https://modelastore.com/index.php?ro...arch=bendix%20



1. A-11375-D Starter Bendix Spring- For 3/8" Bolts ( there is a 5/16ths version BOLT also).

$12.50


MUST USE this spring.

The Model T spring looks similar but coil is wound wrong way

The V8 looks similar and is wound the wrong way.

Other manufacturer Bendix springs are not likely to work correctly.


2. A-11377-D Starter Bendix Bolt Set- 3/8 inch
$5.50

Each bolt is for a special location.

New lock washers MUST be used each time and be installed correctly.

Hardware store bolts will not last very long. (too soft and shanks are wrong)

The bolts MUST be installed in correct position on Bendix and can not be interchanged.

3. A-11384 BENDIX KEY FOR STARTER DRIVE
A-11384 Bendix Key For Starter drive
Availability: In Stock
$0.30

Key way must be correct size and shape. (Again hardware store keyway may or may not work.

Bendix with correctly installed parts will work for a long time. The 6 volt starter in my coupe IS same one that was in the car when we bought it in 1962.

More than 60,000 miles since then.

This car has been used in a delivery operation with more than 4,000 ( start / shut down cycles) for the last 15 years


The only problem was 20 years ago the spring broke.

Wrong parts installed cause MANY problems.

Last edited by Benson; 06-19-2024 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-17-2024, 02:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

I lost a bolt off of my bendix and can't find it with a magnet. Will I be okay to
drive it with that bolt laying in there.
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Old 06-17-2024, 02:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Y-Blockhead, I think Big Hammer left out the word “not”. As in, “Most with non-modified parts usually do NOT post problems.”
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Old 06-17-2024, 02:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Proper restoration eliminates the need for most modifications.
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Old 06-17-2024, 02:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

I have a modern Bendix in my car with no problems. The bolts are captured so they do not come out. See https://modelastore.com/index.php?ro...roduct_id=4110. That one is out of stock but it will give you an idea of what they are. As with any device, there are good ones and bad ones. The ones made in the USA are the best.
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Old 06-17-2024, 04:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in San Antonio View Post
Y-Blockhead, I think Big Hammer left out the word “not”. As in, “Most with non-modified parts usually do NOT post problems.”
David, thank you. That makes a lot more sense!
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Old 06-18-2024, 12:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Tom OHIO,


Until it gets jammed in the flywheel.
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Old 06-18-2024, 03:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 40 Deluxe View Post
Nothing wrong with the original 6 volt system! Just make sure all components are OEM quality (you may need to find good used stuff). Make sure the ring gear is installed correctly (bevel to the rear). If the threads in the shaft for the Bendix bolt are worn, the bolt will not stay tight.
On the hard shifting, make sure the clutch releases completely. With the pedal held down and the engine idling in neutral, the gears must coast to a stop after a few seconds and you can shift into gear without grinding. The disc may be dragging against the flywheel and pressure plate. Make sure the trans has the right gear oil (too thin can cause grinding).
Also, there are parts available to convert the original trans to synchronized 2nd and 3rd gears.
I did not know that about the trans conversion.

Do you know what the parts are needed for the synchronized 2nd and 3rd gears?

Last edited by old31; 06-19-2024 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 06-18-2024, 08:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom F OHIO View Post
I lost a bolt off of my bendix and can't find it with a magnet. Will I be okay to
drive it with that bolt laying in there.
Hi Tom-I also tried a magnet but couldn't get it out. I took my shop Vac
and put a smaller hose in it and luckily, I got it out. The smaller hose I used
was about 3/4" ID. The size is a little critical because it has to be big
enough to grab the bolt but small enough to push the hose all the way down
to the area where it is. I have even heard of people putting magnets onto the
flywheel and hand cranking to get it. I choose the vacuum method as I didn't
want something like that falling off for some reason and causing more trouble.

If you play with it long enough, you'll probably get it.
Dino F.
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Old 06-18-2024, 09:30 AM   #17
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Go modern for reliability.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Starter Modern Replacement Bendix Drive 185kb.jpg (63.1 KB, 25 views)
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Old 06-18-2024, 10:00 AM   #18
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

The 12-volt conversion makes it necessary to change the older style bendix to the later type as illustrated before. The starter spins at a higher RPM on 12-volt unless the fields are changed to the partially shunted type used for 12-volt systems. The 12-volt converted starter doesn't spin as fast.

I'm not sure if the parts source problem is a back order thing or if the parts will no longer be available. We are entering into another time when a lot of reproduction parts are no longer going to be produced unless folks step up to take over the manufacturing. When the world economy is troubled, these things start to happen.
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Old 06-18-2024, 03:13 PM   #19
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorwrench View Post
The 12-volt conversion makes it necessary to change the older style bendix to the later type as illustrated before. The starter spins at a higher RPM on 12-volt unless the fields are changed to the partially shunted type used for 12-volt systems. The 12-volt converted starter doesn't spin as fast.

I'm not sure if the parts source problem is a back order thing or if the parts will no longer be available. We are entering into another time when a lot of reproduction parts are no longer going to be produced unless folks step up to take over the manufacturing. When the world economy is troubled, these things start to happen.
I'll repeat myself again, the modern Bendix & original model are gone. company is out of business.
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Old 06-18-2024, 03:23 PM   #20
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Default Re: Is the bendix a nigtmare?

Yes that had me nervous. I went today and bought me a new flexible magnet and I got the bolt and the washer out.
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