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Broken Starter Motor ends
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Joined:
2008/2/24 23:05
From Australia - Sydney
Posts: 427
Sometime ago, when I attempted to start my 1929 Packard 633 there was a load click from the starter motor then nothing. The end plate that holds the brushes had broken where it is attached to the body or barrel. When I removed it I found it had previously been cracked and welded and the failure this time was not at that weld. While searching for another I found a starter with an end that had also broken. I finally found a good end and was able to repair the starter. Recently a friend rang to see if I had a spare end plate for the starter motor on his 1929 633, his had also broken one of the lugs that secure it to the barrel.
We finally found another starter with what looked like a good end however when we cleaned it we found it had been cracked and welded and cracked again in another place.
That's four broken end plates ends and two of those had broken before, welded and broken again in another place. See photos attached.
Why is this happening? Some starter motors secure the ends with long bolts holding both ends to the barrel. The brush holder ends on the early Packard starters have three lugs on the end plate that are secured by counter sunk screws in from the side of the barrel. I believe this feature was common to all Packards from early 1920's until at least early 1930ís so huge numbers were built with this design The ends are cast iron so these lugs could break under load but there is no significant load on these end plates, they simply hold the brushes and a bush to support the shaft. End thrust would be taken on the drive end.
Have others had the same problem? Any thoughts?
If anyone has a good sound end to fit a 1929 Packard 626/633 (and probably many other models) we are desperate as we have been unable to find another.

Attach file:



jpg  Starter end broken 12.JPG (214.58 KB)
579_5c63e21e4d89b.jpg 1734X1153 px

jpg  Starter end broken 22.JPG (375.55 KB)
579_5c63e2338a0c5.jpg 1632X1224 px

jpg  Starter end broken 32.JPG (262.15 KB)
579_5c63e24a75ef5.jpg 1632X1224 px

jpg  Starter end broken 42.JPG (348.31 KB)
579_5c63e26d61cbf.jpg 1632X1224 px

Posted on: 2019/2/13 1:25
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
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2007/5/20 1:34
From Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
Posts: 10563
David,

Good luck with the search.

And throwing this in as a non machinist - as a last resort, could end plates be turned up on a lathe?

Posted on: 2019/2/13 2:28
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15821
Or going a bit more with Mal's thought, what about a foundry that does small job sand casting and finish up with lathe work as needed.

There are a few foundries here who advertise in Hemmings and other magazines offering the service of simple sand castings of one or two piece runs in steel or other metals for old car parts. Not sure how much the large openings would complicate things but would expect Oz to have some foundries as well but maybe concentrating more on farming or station needs than the cars.

It would take an original end plate maybe glued together with a bit added to allow for casting shrinkage and maybe some work to figure out the openings to make a center core for the pattern but if all the pieces are present that would probably be a minor detail for a good foundry.

Posted on: 2019/2/13 7:28
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Howard
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
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Joined:
2012/8/22 16:17
From Citrus Heights, CA
Posts: 102
Hi guys,
I recently had Alcast Castings in Redondo Beach, California recast the back seat footrest brackets for my 1929 model 645 and they did a phenomenal job. They cast them in bronze specifically because it is very durable. I don't know what they might say about these starter end plates, but if mine were broken I would definitely email Niko (niko@alcast.com) a photograph and get his opinion.

Posted on: 2019/2/13 9:48
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2015/12/9 15:00
From Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 63
Why not try some new technology to solve the problem.
Take off one of the good ones and have it 3d scanned. There are a number of 3d scanning services in the Sydney area.
Not familiar with 3d scanning, here is a segment from Jay Leno's Garage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n60NibYbPqQ

Then you can have the resulting model sent to a 3d printing service and make as many as you would like. One of the nice things about having a 3d model is that you can send to anyone that needs it.
Here is another clip from Jay on Direct Laser Metal 3d printing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwFspzVGUF4

Objective 3D in Melbourne offers printing services
www.objective3d.com.au

Posted on: 2019/2/13 17:57
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
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Joined:
2008/2/24 23:05
From Australia - Sydney
Posts: 427
Thanks for the responses, making a new one is a definite possibility. 3D copying would produce a pattern which we don't need as we can easily make one from one of the broken ends. Using 3D to produce a finished metal end would be prohibitively expensive. If we do make a new one it would be made from steel and re-designed so that it sleeves over the end of the barrel for better support. I would probably simply machine it in my lathe from solid. There would be some hand work to make the openings and the lugs. It would take time but my time is cheap!

BUT why have all of these ends broken, surely we are not the only ones with the problem. I understand that the 3 lug attachment method was used up to 1934 and possibly later.

Posted on: 2019/2/14 0:19
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
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Joined:
2012/8/22 16:17
From Citrus Heights, CA
Posts: 102
Hi again,

I just finished restoring my starter a few months ago so I am familiar with that starter end cap. It fit a little roughly in place and I remember wanting to hit it with a hammer to have it seat completely. Thankfully I resisted that urge because that 90 year old casting may have reminded me of its age. Perhaps someone forgot that lesson at some time in the past and cracked the specimens in the picture then just put them back together in pieces? I don't have any other thoughts on why the end caps would fracture like that. They seem pretty heavy duty, but I am a novice at material science, so there may be some aspect of old, dirty castings that makes them give up the ghost after 90 years of stress, heat and oil impregnation.

As for the cost associated with casting versus 3D printing: I researched 3D printing for my footrest brackets and some guy in the midwest wanted $1,500 to reproduce them using 3D printing then CNC milling. He explained that the cost came from the milling which would take about 8 hours of machine time...at $150 an hour. My final cost for both castings was less than $400, then a few hours of time for a machinist to clean up the precision spots. The other huge benefit of using someone with casting experience is that they can recommend what type of metal to use. I remember my machinist commenting on how impressively hard the bronze was that Alcast used, which was intentional, to help them survive another 90 years.

Posted on: 2019/2/14 9:17
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
Home away from home
Joined:
2012/8/22 16:17
From Citrus Heights, CA
Posts: 102
One more piece of advice: treat those little coiled brush retention springs with respect. One of them on my generator end cap broke, just to remind me of how helpless I am in the face of 1929 technology and I spent months searching for a replacement, to no avail. I wound up doing what most restorers do when faced with the same dilemma: I found something close on Ebay (there is still a group of small engine brush holders out there that use similar coiled springs). Best of luck!

Posted on: 2019/2/14 9:26
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/24 23:05
From Australia - Sydney
Posts: 427
Update, in our continuing search for a replacement starter motor end we have found more with broken ends. It seems this was a problem with these starters.
The ultimate solution is to make a steel (not cast iron) replacement which is possible but not a simple job.
I can't help wondering if others have not been down this path.
Thanks for the advice re the brush retainer springs, we will be careful.

Posted on: 2019/2/20 16:30
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Re: Broken Starter Motor ends
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2016/10/28 4:26
From Hemmingen, Germany
Posts: 63
David, I found somewhere a letter from 1974. The SHELL Comp. answered you on questions abot engineoil. So it looks like you got enough experiance and this special car disease and also the required stubbornness to bring this problemm/piece to an perfect result.

Posted on: 2019/2/21 2:04
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