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Triumph TR6 - Rabid Racoon in the starter

Has any one had success eliminating a problem with the starter not engaging properly. In 1 out of 10 starts, the pinion on the starter does not mesh with the flywheel ring gear and it makes a horrible noise akin to goosing a rabid racoon; a sort of "haGRINNNNGK!" I've replaced the starter and the ring gear with no success. The flywheel is seated properly, the right way around. I was thinking perhaps shim the starter outboard slightly? Any thoughts?

I had a similar sound develop in what I imagined was anything from worn con-rod bearings, broken con-rod, you name it. It sounded like 5 or 6 spoons in a coffee can and someone was shaking it back and forth. In Auburn, Indiana, at TRA, I even had a friend (who works in Cardiology) get out his medical stethoscope to listen to the noise. But that morning the noise wouldn't develop. Usual !! On the way home, I pulled out the starter while at Mosport for the TR races at the end of June. The starter pinion which in my TR3A spins out towards the rear to engage the flywheel was not retracting all the way back. I assumed that some dirt was the cause. The tips of the pinion teeth where getting "zinged" by the teeth on the flywheel. But not always. After driving about 50 feet, the noise would stop.

I cleaned the parts with solvent and one of the race guys loaned me his spray can of Prestone Silicone Lubricant. That fixed the noise. The teeth looked fine on the pinion gear. Till last week when the noise came back on two occasions. But it hasn't happened again in the last trip to Gananoque and back this Tuesday (345 miles).

Thus endeth the first lesson.

Hopefully this can help. Now as for the rabid raccoons, that's another story. Canada is paying the State of Maine to drop packets of fish-meal with anti-rabies serum in it - from airplanes all over up-state Maine to keep these un-desireable Yankee raccoons out of Canada. We treat them like the terrorists that they are. So if the problem really is a raccoon in your starter, call the US Air Force to drop some of these packets (paid for by Canadain taxpayers) onto your TR6.

Thus endeth the second lesson.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

oh MY. Racoon abuse.

Pardon me whilst I contact the SPCR here locally and have them contact the National Office.

Methinks that graphite is a good lubricant for the 'bendix' setup on the starter. It doesn't draw dirt much and seems to work out quite well on the Chevrolet small block which is notorious for having 'hanging' (and other) starter issues.


Jim (racoonless, so far)
Jim Deatsch

Ya HOO Don!!!!

Now if we could get the our US friends to admit they started the cow problem....
Rick Crawford

Hi Bryn

Have you done a thrust washer check for crank endplay. Starter is static with only so much throw. If Crank is moving have seen it cause intermitent starter problems. See this page.


Bill Brayford

Whoa - just be glad the brakes don't squeal like a stuck pig or the transmission growls like a constipated bear... then there'd be REAL trouble.
Brent B

Thanks all;
I'll try the graphite on the pinion and check the thrust washer play. Maybe I'll through a couple fish-meal anti-rabids packets into the bell housing as well. Funny you should mention the stuck pig ... And what were you doing in Ganaoque? Not far from my humble home.
Thanks again,


Bryn - It was a nice day on Tuesday and Louise and I decided on a whim to derive the TR to visit her sister and husband who were camping near Gananoque. So we left about 11 AM, got to Ivy Lea about 1:15 PM and were home again about 11 PM. Had a nice dinner on the upper deck at the Gananoque Inn. A total of 345 miles there and back. "TRusty" just goes and goes and goes ...........

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

This thread was discussed between 21/08/2003 and 22/08/2003

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