Question about 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe

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The starter housing or bolts break whenever trying to start. I first had a problem with the starter making the whining sound that usually indicates the Bendix is bad. I took my 1996 Tahoe in to a local shop. They replaced the starter and said I needed a new flywheel. I approved the replacement of both. After I came home the vehicle sat in the driveway for about a week and I tried to start it. It made a terrible sort of backfiring noise and after several tries started making the whining sound again. To my amazement the starter bolts were broken and the starter was hanging. I took the vehicle back to the same shop and the bolts were replaced. Again, the vehicle sat in the driveway for about a week. This time when I tried to start it, it made the same noise and the housing on the starter broke and it would not start. This time I went to a different mechanic. I had talked to the Chevy expert who said it could be the crank position sensor so we replaced that and the starter again. This mechanic said that the flywheel was worn again. It sat in the driveway for just a few days when I tried to start it and the same thing occurred. The starter housing is broken and it was making the same terrible sound. I cannot afford to keep replacing starters because the mechanics are not providing any guarantee because they cannot figure out what is wrong with the vehicle.

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Wow it sounds like that they are not shiming the starter. On general motors products a new starter has to be shimmed, so that it lines up correctly with the flywheel. This is what is causing the flywheel/starter bolts to break and the noise you are hearing. Its not a hard process, just time consuming probably why it has not been done.
Sorry. Good luck! Dont forget to rate. Thanks, James

Posted on Mar 09, 2009

  • James Sledge
    James Sledge Mar 09, 2009

    Wow it sounds like that they are not shiming the starter. On general motors products a new starter has to be shimmed, so that it lines up correctly with the flywheel. This is what is causing the flywheel/starter bolts to break and the noise you are hearing. Its not a hard process, just time consuming probably why it has not been done.

    Sorry. Good luck! Dont forget to rate. Thanks, James

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Shims, are to space the starter drive gear away from the flywheel. The shim is inserted between the engine block, and the starter. The thicker the shim, the more the starter drive gear is further away from the flywheel.

Starter housings are machined from the factory, where they were made. No two housings come out the same, for the machined pad, where the starter bolts to the engine block.
The difference is minimal, granted, but thousandths of an inch count in this area.

It's generally a trial an error situation. This is why there are shim packs. Packs of shims with varying thicknesses.
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