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MG TD TF 1500 - Starter motor rebuild and finish

I have an early 51 TD.
My starter motor intermittently does not turn over. If I turn the armature a bit, it works. Not sure if I need to rebuild the starter and replace the starter brushes or install a new ring gear. The archives do not seem to be definitive on this topic.
I can remove the starter easily and I thought I would take it off and have it rebuilt. Installing a new ring gear seems to be a bigger job.
Also, what is the proper paint finish for the starter motor? I have seen them all black. I have seen them black but the front and rear face plates are left natural metal (with a clear coat). Are the two bolts holding the starter to be painted black or body color?
Thanks for your input.
Milton Babirak

Sticky brushes or a dead spot on the armature maybe? It could be the bushing on the gear end is worn. A good auto electric shop can sort it out. The starter was painted black when these cars were new. When I rebuild them I leave the cast parts bare (painted with "cast blast" lacquer) and paint the body with PPG urethane catalyst paint. Not original, but I like the look.

D. Sander

Thanks for your prompt response.
I read your column in the Sacred Octagon last night. Sounds like an busy year. And the 50th Anniversary should be interesting.
Thanks for the photo of your starter motor. Very helpful. I see you have a rubber cap on the wire end at the terminal. Seems like a good idea. Is it proper?
Is there any easy way to tell if the ring gear is OK?
Thanks for your thoughts,
Milton Babirak

First inclination is brushes worn down to nothing, barely making contact. Burned commutator from poor brush contact follows the neglected brush replacement. Not a big deal for repair.

You'll have a good view of ring gear teeth once starter comes out. You can always crank the engine over with the hand crank if you care to inspect all the teeth, but, unless you feed it candy and pop, it doesn't have any tooth decay.

milton, why do you think the ring gear is worn out? if, after inspection you find the ring gear to be defective, your engine or transmission will have to come out to get at the remove the flywheel, the pan has to come you can see, this is nothing faint of heart. the ring gear can be rotated 90 degrees on the flywheel after the flywheel is removed rather than replacing the ring gear. regards, tom
tom peterson

If you are not interested in a "perfect" restoration, but want a reliable, inexpensive starter,you can use a starter from an MG midget. It looks the same, and is available from your local car parts store, and is a lot less expensive than a TD or TF starter. The only thing that must be modified, is one of the two bolts that hold the starter together,,, they are countersunk round head bolts, and one of the heads must be filed down so the starter fits flush when mounted. Ive been using a Midget starter for many miles with out any problems.


If you do find that your ring gear is a bit crashed from a bad starter drive one easy fix is to use a modern reduction gear starter. It drives the front side of the ring and is a bolt-in fix for both a bad starter and a tired ring gear.

J E Carroll

If I were you I'd remove the starter motor, dismantle it, thoroughly clean the commutor, paint the housing satin black and fit new brushes if very worn. Refit and try.

This way I've 'saved' many starters and generators on cars run on a tight budget. You've nothing to lose and it's a cheap and cheerful way to spend a few hours in the garage.
Willem vd Veer

The bad ring gear causes the starter pinion to jam and lock everything up. You would have to rock the car in gear, or use a wrench to turn the square end of the armature to unlock. You usually hear the pinion pop back into place when it unlocks. If you are just turning the armature by hand, then electical problem. Most likely what the guys say above. George
George Butz

Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful comments. Really cleared things up. I will rebuild the starter motor first and inspect the ring gear when the starter has been removed.
Kind regards
Milton Babirak

I removed the starter motor. The ring gear and starter motor pinion looked fine. I sent the starter motor to a local shop for rebuild.
Milton Babirak

Thanks for the update...


This thread was discussed between 21/02/2013 and 27/02/2013

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