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1954 jeep wlleys

This jeep has a 230 tornado motor, and it keeps burn out starters. The fly wheel looks good. Does anyone know what the cause could be?

Pep Boys starters? I had a friend that went through seven lifetime Pep Boys starters in just over two years. Mercifully the transmission died and sent it to the junkyard.

No. Pep boys doesn’t carry that year. We took it to Arts electric a local shop with a good reputation. They have rebuilt it twice.

From personal experience…you can only rebuild a starter a limited number of times. When it’s worn out…it’s worn out. I think it’s time you bought another starter.

From what I was told and the price they charged, I thought it was good to go. Thank you for the advise

Any other ideas?

Starters fail in many ways. What exactly has “burned out” so far?

If the armature commutator is badly worn newly installed brushes won’t last long and most shops are unable to rebuild the commutator. It is unlikely that a new armature is available at a reasonable price. I am guessing that is the problem.

When you say ‘burned out’, what parts have failed on the starter?

Fun fact: I just learned that “Willys” was originally pronounced “Williss”, not like “Willy’s”. The company’s been gone so long, who knew?

Probably there isn’t a good ground wire between engine and body. You may benefit by installing one. Nothing burns out motors like a bad ground.

Good idea about the ground, and an easy fix.

Known to be burned up or assumed to be burned up?

This Willys has not been converted to a 12 volt battery system has it?

Look the starter body and end caps over for some identifier of the manufacturer. Willy’s used parts from other manufacturers like GM and Ford for a lot of their external parts. You may find that the starter will cross to a much more commonly available starter. Packard Electric made a lot of electrical parts for all the manufacturers back then, except for GM which used Delco.

Ask the rebuilders if they put the armature on a lathe and turned the commutator. If they didn’t, that will accelerate the wear of the brushes.

230 tornato is a 12 volt engine. The drive head is being sheared or shattered off.

That sounds like the Bendix spring is broken or very weak. This pulls the drive gear back when the engine starts.

The man that rebuilt it twice, told us this stater doesn’t disengage until the motor reaches a certain rpm. I’m not sure I believe him though

It should disengage as soon as the flywheel starts moving faster that the starter can drive it. Which generally is about the same time the engine starts and you release the key from the start position or release the starter button.

Per Wikipedia:

“The 6-230 Tornado OHC engine was introduced in midyear 1962, replacing the flathead.”

Is this correct? You have a 1962 motor? How hard is the starter to remove? You might try removing and lubricating it at a frequency greater than the failure frequency, at least long enough to find out if it’s a lubrication-related failure.

You might check with your rebuilder to make sure the starter is a true 12 volt starter. If it is the OEM starter for that year of Willys, it would be a 6 volt starter. A 6 volt starter can be used on a 12 volt system but it will crank at a very high speed; produce a lot more torque; and draw a lot of current. It will survive if you do not prolong the cranking i.e. overheat it. Also discuss with your rebuilder if the electric motor can be rewound, (armature and fields) for 12 volt operation.

Your rebuilder is right. The 50’s starter bendix had an inertial engagement. Lock pins would keep it engaged with the flywheel teeth until the engine overspins the armature releasing the pins by centrifugal force and spinning the pinion back into the rest position. If the engine failed to start the bendix would stay locked in until such time that the engine did subsequently start. You can verify that the pinion is still engaged by manually turning the crankshaft and listening for the starter turning along.

There is a drive pin for the bendix worm shaft. I suspect that the starter being a 6 volt driven at 12 volt, the bendix spring between the worm shaft and pinion probably cannot absorb enough of the engagement shock to spare the pin.

This is really odd - you’re sure it’s the Tornado engine? Here’s more info:

It’s a much later engine, not something I’d expect in an old Willys.

The 1962-65 Tornado engine is also credited by wikipedia as the first postwar US made overhead cam engine,it was not, the 1949 Crosley was. What year is your engine? Has your Jeep been completely converted to 12 volt?