I found a generic Bosch starter manual online and put a copy in my photo album. Please note that this is the first time I have posted pics and the resolution is not too great.
The manual provides instructions for bench testing both the "pull in" and "hold in" coils in the solenoid (after it is removed from the starter), and my solenoid passed both tests. I also found a copy of the specs for my solenoid (a "ZM" unit, no. 624) on the zm site. On that website, dimensions are given for the solenoid rod extension (22 mm) when the solenoid is energized, and my solenoid matches that.
I have also checked the action of the switch internal to the solenoid that connects the battery cable to the starter motor windings using a multimeter across the posts of the solenoid as I move the plunger in and out (again with solenoid removed from starter). The switch is only âmadeâ when the plunger is nearly completely retracted (say less than 1/8â away from full retraction) and opens at the same point when the plunger is allowed to slowly extend.
I do know that when the starter is installed in the car, there are tons of amps going through this switch, so maybe this static test is not indicative of the real world.
I talked to Hite Parts Exchange (where I bought the reman starter and who seem to do good work) this morning and they were somewhat stumped, but certainly willing to check out the starter if I sent it in to them. We did discuss the idea that the pinion is mechanically binding to the flywheel ring gear. They said that they had heard of enlarging one of the starter mounting ear holes to allow some radial adjustment between the pinion and ring. I am certainly willing to try this, but it seems that there is a counterbore in the bell housing and mating boss on the starter that may prevent this from doing much good.
I mentioned that my engine was rebuilt in 2002 and since that was done by Jack Ashcraft, you would think the ring gear is not a problem. The transmission was also rebuilt around that time by Bud Clark so the bell housing should not be a problem, either. And both of these units are the original ones that came in my car.
Amazingly, there are solenoids to fit the Sonett starter on that well known auction site right now. I just bought one for $30 and will see if that fixes it. I figure it will cost that much just to ship the starter back and forth to Hite in Columbus, even if they fix it for nothing. If the new solenoid does not do it, I will try opening up one of the starter mounting holes. If no luck then, I guess, send the starter back to Hite.
Will let you know how it goes. Totally weird, and again thanks for everyoneâs help.
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