Re: starter questions

Posted by HH56 On 2024/5/18 16:03:00
The Clipper and Caribbean starters are not the same. Most 55 Clippers used an Autolite starter with a small solenoid and when motor starts spinning a regular Bendix drive moves the pinion into mesh with the ring gear. 56 was mixed with mostly Autolite still used on Clippers. The 55-6 senior models including Caribbean always used a Delco starter and large solenoid which mechanically moved the pinion into mesh. When pinion nears full engagement with the ring gear the solenoid makes contact and starts motor spinning. Parts says Delco starters are different between 55-6 but not sure what the difference might be unless it is power output because of the larger 374 in 56. Mechanically they will interchange. Starters do not care about polarity so doubt that is the difference.

Solenoids are very different between starters and with your symptom of clicks but no action the solenoid could actually be your issue. The contacts could be worn to the point of barely being able to make contact. On the Caribbean, the solenoid can be rebuilt using the STK2 solenoid rebuild kit from Napa but the Clipper solenoid must be replaced. If your starter has never had service then it certainly wouldn't hurt to be gone thru and brushes checked. Almost any auto electric motor shop should be able to do it. Virtually the same starter was used on many GM cars of the 50 and 60s. If you cannot find anyone locally, while 55 may be a bit newer than he typically works on Jason from Advanced Electrical Rebuilders has gotten good reviews by many on the forum. His info is in the directory.

The ignition switch is also a known culprit in starting issues particularly when used with the large solenoid. The heavy current needed by that solenoid can cause the internal start contact to burn or melt. If that has happened it can sometimes take several tries before contact can be made but since you hear a click each time you try probably not your issue. When the ign switch is failing usually there are other symptoms along with the poor start contact such as a rough or catching feeling when turning the key or sometimes intermittent loss of contact when just sitting in either of the on positions.

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