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Starter question on 6.5 diesel suburban - high pitch whirring 1-2 seconds after start


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First off, the starter to R&R was a complete PIA. I have a 96 chevy pickup 5.7 vortec too and the starter R&R was like 30 minutes. I spent nearly 5 hours R&R the starter w/ the special sizes and adapters to get into the front support bracket. Swearing at the engineer who designed it like every 30 minutes =)


Reason for replacement was the solenoid was going out on the old one and became intermittent. Nearly left me stranded a few times.

I bought a starter from autozone - duralast for $160 bucks. I first mounted it and hooked all back up. Truck starts, then you hear a high pitch noise after releasing the key for a second or two. I don't remember my old starter sounding this way. I looked at the manual with the starter and bought some shims. Came home later tonight and installed a couple .015 shims. No change. Installed two more .015 shims for a total of four, no change. I don't hear any grinding and the truck starts right up, but it sounds like the turbo kicking in for a couple of seconds - a high pitch noise and slowly goes away. I'm going to park it until I can resolve as this isn't worth creating another problem on this truck. Autozone documentation said the starter gear is too close to the flywheel. The manual says to only add up to 4 shims at .015 each maximum.

Any suggestions? The old starter did not appear to have any shims on it. Appeared to be the original. While I was up there I added some plastic shielding to some existing wiring as the old plastic was done and crumbled.

I suspect the Starter gear is slow in pulling out from the ring gear.
With other words, the engine is driving the starter after fire up till the starter drive retracts.
My advice,..don't cheap out on a starter cause you get what you pay for.

PS, next time when you replace the starter, take the wheel and the rubber fender flap off.
Much better access to the cables and front bracket...You will be whistling instead of cussing.
Try cranking it before GP's are hot so it won't start. Just a turn or so. Should stop cranking instantly when you release the key. If solenoid is not releasing contact it will continue to crank after you let go of the key.

When the engine fires it slings the bendix gear back out of the ring gear but starter is now spinning with no load before you release key. That MAY be what you hear is the starter winding back down. The old one may have been quieter or more draggy.

If you do Autozone step up to lifetime warranty or as long as you can get on a part, at least then it's only labor. My wife's Dodge crew cab went thru 4 alternators under warranty. When it quit again at 40k miles I put a Duralast from Autozone on it and it now has 120k and running.
Is the whine a full speed whine or a wind down type of noise? If it is full speed then the starter is hanging in. We eliminate the ign switch sticking because your old starter did not do this. Although you could test this with a voltmeter.

Much as you hate the support bracket it has to be on or the starter will depart the engine usually breaking off the corner of the block. I hate doing 6.2/6.5 starters too.

These starters are stamped "No Shim" and use special starter bolts to do this. You new starter is bad if you are reaching for shims...

Best starters I found for the 6.5 are NEW powermaster units not the questionable rebuilt stuff and Esp anything from AutoZone. You will learn fast enough about the low quality of Autozone as a place to be avoided. Even local rebuilt starters have given me trouble with bad solenoids and I did break the starter drive on a Powermaster with sticking injectors. AZ's rebuilt stuff is just 'patched' not totally rebuilt. Sometimes the junkyard has better used stuff then their new parts. So far O'Reilly autolite, a line they don't carry anymore, and a Powermaster do the job. http://www.thetruckstop.us/forum/showthread.php?26396-The-Powermaster-9052-starter-for-6-2-and-6-5

And yes the defective starter will test just fine at the AZ test bench because lack of load won't weld the bad contacts for a moment like it will with the engine load. So good luck with getting warranty.

I have had the 6.2 starters hang in and require pulling the battery cable to stop the starter from freewheeling with the engine stopped. (Sparks from high load near a discharging battery...)
It's a quick wind up - wind down noise. I did not notice any difference with shims, but the booklet that came with the starter said shims might be required =(
Shims are needed only if the bendix goes in too far and rides against the ring gear--grinding sound when cranking. You did not say you had any noise so I suggest taking them out so you get full tooth engagement.

I did mine today and it also winds down for 1-2 seconds, difference may just be the noise from the gears in the starter, mine is fairly quiet and hard to hear in the cab. Had to have the hood up and door open to hear but it's there.
almost sounds like your not letting off the key soon enough as if your not sure it is really running. also from the way it started I would put a clear hose on the return line coming out of the IP and watch for air bubbles, also verify lift pump is working on a 96 you should be able to hear it run while the glow plug lite is on. I would probably also put a pressure guage on it as a pump making noise does not always pump fuel
Thanks for the input. I already ordered a lift pump last week from ssdiesel. I do have pressure out the test valve, but the fuel pump is 5 years old and is ready to fail.
If you can find a starter rebuilder in the area and rebuild the old one.

I have not heard good thing about the part store starter/alternator yet.