Fly Wheel


I own a 1998 Dodge Stratus, equiped with autostart. I’ve been told autostarts malfunction causing the ignition to restart while the car is running, which in turn, can crack the flywheel. God knows how long or how many times this may have happened over the course of 9 years, but I heard it for the first time, last week. Over the weekend while traveling 70 mph on the freeway I detected a winding noise coming from the engine. Can anyone tell me what the signs/symptoms of a flywheel gone bad are?


By autostart, do you mean remote start? If so I suggest you have it disabled. What you describe could be a remote start issue. I hear too many bad things about them to want one on my car. Frankly starting a car when cold and letting it idle to warm up is not good for the car, even if it is more comfortable for the driver.

It does not sound like a flywheel to me.

BTW do you have auto or manual transmission?


Thanks for your input…Yes, autostart and automatic trans. How would I know if my flywheel is damaged?


I agree with Joseph. It sounds to me like perhaps the starter motor may have stayed engaged to the flywheel. That’ll decimate the starter.

If the flywheel were damaged, it would likely be a damaged ring gear tooth (which will cause intermittant starting weiries as the motor occasionally spins without starting the engine). If the flywheel itself were cracked it would shake the car like the wrath of the almighty and explode within the bellhousing. And when you looked down for your legs they’d probably be missing.


What? No! Legs! I owned a 65 cutlass supreme (in 1970) that had a cracked flywheel and all I remember was an alarming sound that took me directly to a mechanic (Texaco Gas Station). There they diagnosed I had a cracked flywheel. When they removed the housing it fell to the floor in two pieces. No “wrath of the almighty” and I still have my legs. The Good Ole Days.


Thanks for the chuckle. Explosion is only a possibility, not a probability. Flywheels are intentionally made with mass significant enough to smooth out the crankshaft motions (dampers are at the other end of the driveshaft) and provide some inertial force to smooth out the transition between not being engaged and being engaged to the drivetrain. All that centrifugal force…which you physicists out there will quickly remind me isn’t really a force at all…could make the bellhousing a legsaver.

Slingshot dragsters, back in the early days when the drivers sat behind the differential with their legs over the rear axle, had a serious problem, to the extent that NHRA mandated safety shields over the bellhousings and ultimately explosion proof bellhousings to protect the drivers.