Banner Vehicles July 2019

Ford & Holden Starter Motors

All Ford & Holden vehicles are fitted with a starter motor.
Sample Starter Motor
What does it do?

It’s a small electrical motor powered by the vehicles battery and used to start the engine in your Ford or Holden vehicle. It works as a low-geared electrical motor that is able to turn over a much larger engine due to its extreme gearing reduction. The starter motor is the main part of your engine starting system in your vehicle that includes the starter motor, a starter solenoid and the vehicle battery. When your ignition switch is activated it starts your vehicle, it sends an electrical charge to the starter solenoid. Just a note here, the solenoid in some cases can be mounted with your starter motor or be located elsewhere in your vehicle. The solenoid sends a charge to the starter motor that turns the engine over until it fires into life. Once the engine starts, the starter motor gear drops out and disengages your engine starter ring.

What is the starter motor?

Your starter motor is made up of heavy copper wire that is wound around an armature. This is then placed inside of a heavy metal case equipped with electrical brushes that contact the armature and pass the electrical charge direct to the heavy wire. As the electricity flows through the wire, it makes the armature spin. The small gear is attached to the output shaft of the armature and moved in and out by means of a drive gear. The drive gear engages the small gear with the starter ring on the engine, which then turns your engine as the armature turns and this action starts the engine.

What can go wrong?

There are two main problem areas that can arise with your starter motor. One is with the drive gear and the other is with the electrical brushes. The drive gear can fail to engage the starter gears; therefore a starter that spins but does not send the starter gear outward to engage is most likely suffering from broken or defective drive gear. Regardless of what type of starter you have, it will have to come out of the vehicle for further inspection and testing. The drive gear (which is sometimes referred to as a "Bendix drive") should move out when the starter starts to spin. The drive gear usually has a one-way clutch that is supposed to protect the starter against damage if someone keeps turning the engine once it starts. The gear should turn one way but not the other. The other problem can be with the electrical brushes, they can become burnt and fail to transfer the electrical charge to the armature therefore a starter that fails to turn when a charge is placed to it most likely has an electrical brush defect.

What can you do?

If you are looking to replace or need some advice about a defective starter motor then you should talk to one of our Ford & Holden parts experts. If you find it necessary to replace your starter motor it is almost always best to send the old unit back to our parts store as the core from your old starter motor can repaired and sold as a rebuilt unit. These will cost only a fraction of the price of a new starter motor and we think this is a great solution. Our rebuilt starter motors come with New Zealand’s best second hand part warranty.


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