What are the chances of the fly wheel being stripped if the starter on an 87 Ford Ranger suddenly stops engaging but still spins loudly and how do you check?
If the starter has been grinding against the flywheel for quite
some time there is a GOOD chance that the flywheel is stripped. On
the other hand, if it just started and it's engaged thoroughly in
the past, you probably just have a bad starter bendix. Pull the
starter then use a screwdriver or some other tool for prying to
slowly turn the flywheel and inspect each tooth of the flywheel.
Look for any that are significantly worn down or missing. If ANY
fit that category you will need to pull the engine or transmission
and replace the flywheel or flexplate depending on whether it's a
manual transmission or an automatic.