Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

The forum for all of your technical questions on your classic FIAT autos
Post Reply
whitehause
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:01 pm
Last Name: White
First Name: Tim

Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by whitehause » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:23 pm

My starter gives me trouble once in a while. I replaced it with a factory new one, but after a year it started giving me intermittent starting issues again. Hot or cold didn't matter. It's almost like the solenoid gets weak and won't engage the starter. If I stick a copper pipe between the intake runners and tap it a few times I can usually get it to turn over. Question is, since I'm rebuilding the motor, is there a good upgrade starter I can put on? As we all know, replacing the starter with the motor in the car can turn a mild mannered man into a raving lunatic in no time :lol:
Autoracambi sells one that looks like a good option, just wondering if anyone has any practical experience with any of the aftermarket ones.
User avatar
bartigue
seimila club
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:49 pm
Last Name: Artigue
First Name: Bradley
Contact:

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by bartigue » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:30 pm

The "gear reduction starter" sold by Autoricambi is the best option. It is more efficient than the OEM starter, weighs less, and you can install it without the frustration of the original.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Brad Artigue
1969, 1969, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1982 124 Spiders
1969, 1970 850 Spiders
77 X1/9
http://fiat.artigue.com
fp55scca
duemila club
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:34 am
Last Name:

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by fp55scca » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:48 pm

--Tim, even if you weren't building a performance motor, I would suggest an upgrade to an AR gear reduction starter. These are modern, Japanese built starters that are very reliable, and they can easily handle a higher compression motor.

--Plus, it makes the "dreaded" starter motor change-out much easier because you can get it in and out a lot easier due to its smaller size and weight. On that topic, OE starter motor removal and replacement is made much easier if you will use a 13mm deep socket and universal joint with a suitable extension (12" - 18") for the top and center bolts for the starter. You can easily get a starter out in 10 minutes.
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
whitehause
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:01 pm
Last Name: White
First Name: Tim

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by whitehause » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:58 pm

Yea, the first time I ever did it (20 years ago now) I thought it was the worst starter position I'd ever seen. On the 79, with all the emissions tubes and fittings it took me all day. I got so frustrated I unbolted the whole intake. :roll:
Fiatz79
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:19 am
Last Name: Sitnick
First Name: Ronald

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by Fiatz79 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:01 pm

bartigue wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:30 pm
The "gear reduction starter" sold by Autoricambi is the best option. It is more efficient than the OEM starter, weighs less, and you can install it without the frustration of the original.
This was one of the best upgrades ever for my '79.
User avatar
miker
quattromila club
Posts: 4002
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:55 pm
Last Name: Richmond
First Name: Mike

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by miker » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:54 am

My brother was selling is 1981 Spider and the starter was giving out. So I pulled the OEM starter out of my '77 for his car, and put in a new Auto Ricambi starter in mine. I'm really glad I did. It just works. When a car sits for awhile, you have to crank it more, and the gear reduction starter really helps. And yes, it is much easier to get in and out, a prerequisite to many repair jobs (e.g., clutch).
MikeR (mirafiori.com since 1995)


1977 Fiat 124 Spider
Previously owned:
2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione #236 (now owned by my son David)
'86 Bertone X1/9
'81 Fiat Spider 2000 #236
'78 Fiat 131 four door
'76 Fiat 128 4 door
'74 Fiat 128 4 door
User avatar
SimcaBertone66
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:28 pm
Last Name: DeGasperis
First Name: Joseph

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by SimcaBertone66 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:16 pm

yes, gear reduction for TC's ...yeah !!
Joe DeGasperis
User avatar
jseabolt
seimila club
Posts: 6228
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:27 pm
Last Name:

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by jseabolt » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:55 am

I must march to the beat of a different drummer but for starters (no pun intended), removal of a 124 Spider has never been that bad a job for me. I hear people mention this all the time. Maybe because I weight 150 lbs and I'm 5' 10" tall and have long slender fingers.

The thing I hate the most when it comes to Spiders is doing a valve shim adjustment. I'd rather take a beating than spend 2 to 3 hours adjusting valve clearances. Always seems to be hit or miss and I end up with band-aids on several fingers after the job is done.

I've unbolted 124 starters and moved them out of the way to swap transmissions and even removed them from the car and never thought it was that big a deal. To get to that top bolt everybody complains about, use a short socket, swivel and an extension. And air ratchet/cordless drill makes this job much quicker because the bolts are so long and I think are fine threads.

To remove the stater from the car, I just turn the steering in one direction and finagle it out between the center link and tie rod end and drop it from below.

What your describing having to tap the starter with a pipe sounds like the bearings are going out. This finally happened on my Spider after 35 years. In my case the engine would turn over if the car sat for a couple of hours but wouldn't turn over when hot. I find it hard to believe the bearings on a rebuilt starter have failed after 1 year. No matter what the quality of the bearings are. But you mention this happens when the engine is cold or hot so I would suspect some issue with the solenoid not getting full power.

If the starter "clicks" and requiring hitting the ignition switch 10 times, to me this is a sign that the solenoid is not getting enough power. Some 25 years ago I installed a starter solenoid from a riding mower on my Spider and it fixed this problem permanently. You disconnect the red wire going to the car's starter solenoid and plug it into the female spade connector on this riding mower solenoid. The run a wire from the starter post to one post and a wire from the other post back to the car's starter solenoid. The polarity doesn't matter. This sends full battery voltage to the solenoid.

Image

Since then I have done the "brown wire fix" and it seemed to cure my glowing indicator light issue I'd get with the headlights on (even with relays) and my circuit breaker is no longer tripping going to my 12 to 15 VDC step up converter I'm using on my wipers when the heater fan is on. So this brown wire fix has done something.

It's easier to just run the wire off the alternator post rather than the starter post. They both ultimately connect to the + side of the battery.
There are various articles on this. But in a nutshell, there is an unused pin on the bottom of the ignition switch. You run a 12 AWG wire from this pin to the post on either the starter motor or the alternator.

I've been meaning to bypass this relay to see if the brown wire fix solved the low power to the solenoid issue.
spider2081
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:36 pm
Last Name: Laborde
First Name: Dave

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by spider2081 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:25 pm

It's easier to just run the wire off the alternator post rather than the starter post.
I agree, As you stated electrically both points are the battery + terminal. A difference being the alternators output passes through a #10 wire to the battery terminal of the starter solenoid. This wire is marginal in size and in many cases has been over heated. It becomes crystallized/brittle over time. There can be a measurable voltage drop between the alternator output post and the starter solenoid's battery terminal because of this. I like to replace this wire with a new #8 gauge wire.
The brown wire fix does increase the current carrying capacity of the wire feeding the ignition switch terminal 30 by the diameter of the newly added wire. It also bypasses a connection in the original brown wire on the driver side fender well. On early cars this connector is a white nylon 2 or 3 pin plug. On later cars it is a single bullet connector. Both often become loose and corroded over time and require maintenance.
Inside the ignition switch both terminal 30's feed the same contacts so if the ignition switch needs service the brown wire fix makes little or no difference. The starter solenoid relay you installed is a great correction for failing ignition switch "start" contacts.

I also think the original stater has served us well and often gets a bad rap. I like your approach for removing and replacing the starter. I don't think you mentioned there is no need to remove the starter bolts from the bell housing. Especially the top one. If that one is left in the bell housing one only has to find it with the socket to install it. Removing the clutch cable and speedometer cable can make wrenching easier.
User avatar
jseabolt
seimila club
Posts: 6228
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:27 pm
Last Name:

Re: Is there a reliable upgraded starter for a 2L DOHC?

Post by jseabolt » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:57 pm

Actually using a 10 AWG of even an 8 AWG wire going from the alternator to the ignition switch would be better than a 12 AWG.

And as mentioned replace the wire from the alternator to the starter post. That was another thing I did I forgot to mention.

8 AWG is probably more appropriate for an alternator to starter replacement wire but a 10 AWG should be adequate for the "brown wire fix". Once the wire starts getting larger than 10 AWG it's kind of hard to route it through the firewall because it's harder to bend.
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests