1st thought is you need shims if the flywheel is hitting the starter. What is the year and model of the vehicle?
At the back end of the engine is a large ring gear connected to the engine crankshaft. If there is a starter (some engines do not have starters) it will be mounted in the engine such that the bendix gear of the starter can engage the ring gear and spin the crankshaft. It's called a bendix because it jumps out to engage the ring gear (while the starter motor is running) and retracts off of the ring gear once the engine is running (starter motor no longer running). It is typically access from under the car. If you must replace it, let the engine cool off first. Otherwise the starter will be just as hot as the engine is.
When starting an engine the starter motor turns the crank shaft via the fly wheel at a set speed. Once the engine is running the speed of the flywheel increases above the speed of the starter motor. To stop the starter motor from being damaged once the engine is running a clutch mechanism is used to stop the flywheel turning/ spinning the starter motor mechanism too fast or 'Overrunning'.
Two possibles: It needs to be shimmed. Chances are if it is a replacement starter it needs to be shimmed. you can buy shims at almost any parts store, they go between the starter and its mounting point on the block. usually one will be sufficient. also possible you have burrs on the flywheel or starter gear that are hanging it up, should be able to tell that when you pull it to add the shim. I recently had a starter grinding problem with my boat which has a Chevy 305 engine. You could lose a lot of time trying to find the correct shim thickness, not to mention you have the possibility of breaking a bolt off in the engine. I fixed my problem by having the starter bolts just loose enough to move the starter with my hands while I had someone bump the ignition switch. I had to move the nose of the starter down and it corrected the grinding.
That is a broken/worn teeth on the flywheel or on the starter pininon gear. That is why you hear a grinding noise. It's the starter turning without being able to engage.From what you describe I would suspect that the starter is not fully engaging. I'm assuming that the grinding noise you hear when you try to engage the starter is INSTEAD of the engine cranking. If I assumed wrong, ignore the following:Pull the starter, check the flywheel for excessively worn areas. Most of the time the flywheel is ok, it's just the starter. If you feel comfortable working on the starter, just get a new bendix and clean up the rest of it. Any time you disassemble a starter you should replace the bushings and brushes. Never remove the starter with the battery still connected. Remove the negative terminal from the battery before you attempt to remove the starter.
It's a real pain. I had to bend the head of a wrench to get at one of the 4 bolts holding it in. If you have the engine out, it's real easy. A lot of times the starter is the not the problem on these bikes. The starter bendix that is behind the clutch is the problem if you hear grinding when you try to use the starter.
The grinding noise you hear may be due to worn bushings on the starter. When the bushings wear, the armature will "drop" and grind against the inner part of the starter, causing it to rotate slowly and not spin fast enough to start the engine. Remove the starter and have it checked out at your local AutoZone or similar auto parts store. If the bushings are worn, it is likely that the armature and internal wall of the starter may be also be damaged and the whole starter will have to be replaced.
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