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SV whining at ignition


Platinum Level Sponsor
Greetings all-

Not sure what my problem is, so it's hard to search old forum posts. I have a new unpleasant sound at ignition in my ‘67 SV about 25% of the time. This occurs at the first turn of the key to ignition, but not all the way to engage the starter. It sounds like a high revving, spinning or whining sound; not a clicking sound. It sounds like something spinnng up to speed, but it’s pretty loud. The car will start, but the sound doesn’t always stop. Sometime I can turn it off & turn it on again , and the sound will not reoccur. When I turn it off, I can hear “the rotation” slowing down and then stop. What is this? Starter? Solenoid problem? Alternator?


Platinum Level Sponsor
“Starter Bendix?” I have to admit that I have no idea what that is.
Fuel pump: hmm, uncertain. I’ll have to look into that, but I do not think I have an electric fuel pump.


Gold Level Sponsor
Most electric fuel pumps would give a ticking/clicking sound, rather than a high revving, spinning or whining sound.


Diamond Level Sponsor
If the flywheel is engaged and the car starts, the bendix is not returning to it's resting position.
Perhaps a broken or weak spring on the bendix.


Donation Time
So since you're unfamiliar with the term Bendix, The starter has a longer shaft coming out the nose where the gear that engages the flywheel is. When not being used the starter gear sits at the far end of the gear away from the flywheel. When you turn the ignition the starter starts running and the gear is forced by inertia down the shaft to engage the flywheel. The shaft and the inside of the gear are grooved to cause this to happen. When released the starter stops and the gear is forced by a spring to disengage and move back to the far end of the shaft. That is the Bendix mechanism.

What might be happening is that the shaft and gear sliding surfaces are dirty and slow to do this job, so the starter spins for a moment first until the gear finishes moving down the shaft to engage. I've had a sticky starter before and that's how it can sound. And when the switch is let go, if the gear is slow to kick out it can keep the starter shaft spinning from the engagement to the flywheel until it finally moves out.

What I would do is pull the starter and clean the shaft and gear mating surfaces and see if the noise goes away, odds are it will. But, do not use grease or oil as they will eventually attract more dirt and gum up the works again. Either leave them clean or use one of those dry lubricants.


Silver Level Sponsor
Or try this. Jack up the front of the car and safely secure it. Slide your body underneath the clutch and have a can of WD 40 with a 'straw' attached. Spray the heck out of the bendix and the shaft. You might need a flashlight to see. Don't spare on the WD 40. Lower car, then try to start. Worked for me over the years many times.


Diamond Level Sponsor
I interpreted the original post to mean the noise starts when the ignition switch is moved from the "Off" to the "Run" position. This is prior to attempting to start the car. So what things spin up during "Run" position? air blower motor, electric fuel pumps, an electric windshield pump is possible, windshield wiper motor, etc.

Standard setup is switches in the Up position are off. Down position is on. Is anything already sitting in the Down position before moving the ignition switch to "Run"?
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Platinum Level Sponsor
Yeah, I'm with Hartman... by the description this clearly occurs when the starter is not engaged, and indeed even on shutdown. I'm betting it's the blower motor and either the bearings are seizing up or there's something stuck in the squirrel cage fan making loads of spinney noises. I've had leaves get into blowers and the noise is maddening.


Platinum Level Sponsor
On the order of a playing card in bicycle wheel spokes?
Precisely. I had a Honda that this occurred on, and, given how impossibly difficult the fan was to get to, I was honestly debating if just setting fire to the lot was the best course of action.

Tom H

Platinum Level Sponsor
I agree with Puff and Mike. Should be easy to check - just flip the Blower switch when you hear the noise and see if it stops!


Platinum Level Sponsor
Didn't want to leave this thread hanging, but the noise has not reoccurred since I posted my original question a month ago. Maybe just asking about it made it go away? Mike is correct that the noise starts (or started) when the ignition switch is moved from the "Off" to the "Run" position; prior to attempting to start the car. I'll pay attn to the blower and follow Tom's advice if/when the issue ever comes back.