Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/3/20 2:56 p.m.

In most cases, there is nothing inherently wrong with the starters that came on our classics. Like a noble workhorse, they step up and do their jobs over and over again. The problem is that many of these units have been doing that job for 40 or 50 years. Just like that workhorse, these starters nee…

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wspohn SuperDork
8/3/20 4:47 p.m.

Given that the gear reduction starters tend to cost between double and 2.5 times what the original style did, one has to think a bit before going that way.

I own several cars that use BMC B series engines and the late style of pre-engaged starter has considerably more grunt than the original early starters did and because they pre-engage with the teeth before exerting torque, they are bolt in replacement for the early style despite the fact that the ring gear teeth are chamfered the opposite way.  I run a stock late MGB starter on my race engine, which is 12:1 compression and is a fairly stiff challenge to a starter and the stock late style BMC unit performs just fine.

Given the possible misfitting issue that you mentioned and the large price differential, I tend not to bother fitting the gear reduction style.


CAPTREJohnston New Reader
2/1/21 1:16 p.m.

Putting a modern gear reduction starter in my 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider in 2014 was the single best modification I've made to it in my 47 years of ownership.  The difference in the speed with which it cranks the engine over is night and day compared to the origianl Bosch starter.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/2/21 6:20 a.m.

I use them in almost all the project cars I build and have never had a starter problem.

volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
2/5/21 1:07 p.m.

After doing a little research I discovered that Volvo used the same starter in the 1960's B18's (and probably even earlier in the B16's...) up through the 240 volvos in the 1980's.  Then around the mid-late 80s they changed over to a gear reduction unit.  Thus, while I have not yet confirmed personally, I'm strongly suspicious the later 240 gear reduction starters are a drop-in replacement for the heavy old starters in the B16/B18/B20 found in pV444, PV544, Amazons/ 122, 1800, and 140's. 

As it happens I have a new gear reduction starter out of a 240, and plenty of b18's/ b20's to try it in...

GrizwoldsZ New Reader
6/14/22 10:44 a.m.

I guess I'm lucky. I own a Datsun 240Z and a factory gear reduction starter from a later model 280ZX bolts right in. I've had this setup for several years now with no issues.

jr02518 HalfDork
6/15/22 9:26 p.m.

Adding the newer, smaller and lighter starter to my Datsun helps with room for the headers that will happen, in the furure.

Getting the original out of the car is no fun, but it happened.  Taking a page from the Lotus play book, lightness has been added! 


Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
6/16/22 12:12 p.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

Wow, what a difference.

PeteLoBianco New Reader
6/16/22 6:58 p.m.

I'd express a little concern here if switching from a "crash" or pull starter to the push type.  Used to play with English Ford engines (Super 7) and we never switched types of starters without switching flywheels.  The pull type starter had a flywheel with the ring gear applied from the back.  The push type had a flywheel with the ring gear applied from the front.  In both cases it seated against a lip with the starter pushing or pulling against that lip.  I had heard (never experienced) horror stories of starters removing ring gears over time.  Is this not the case when switching on other British cars?

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