Recently I was trying to find a problem on my 1930 Model A Ford, and before I could completely figure out why my car wasn’t running well, the starter seemed to go out.  I couldn’t believe that my starter could fail at just the exact moment that I thought I had fixed my other problem!  I was incredibly frustrated, so I called my buddy Devin to commiserate.

What had happened was that when I pushed the starter button, nothing at all happened.  Just a very soft click.  It was as if the starter wasn’t even attached to the car.  As soon as I said that, Devin knew what the problem was.  Sometimes the starter can get stuck.  The gear (called the Bendix) that it uses to turn over the engine doesn’t retract the way it is supposed to, so when you try to start the engine it can’t do a thing.  The solution is to put the car in second gear, make sure the emergency brake is off, and then start rocking the car back and forth.  When the bendix in the starter disengages, you will hear it.  I had to rock my car with a pretty good amount of force, but it worked! If you do have to remove your starter it should come off easily, unless the bendix is stuck, so try this trick first.

By the way, my mystery, intermittent problem was that I had two loose wires in my dash, the ones that connect to the ammeter.  If you are having an intermittent problem with starting or smooth running of your Model A, be sure to check all the connections under the dash panel.