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Autolite Starters (from Kragen/Schuck's/Checker/etc.)??
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:14 pm    Post subject: Autolite Starters (from Kragen/Schuck's/Checker/etc.)?? Reply with quote

Hey all,

I'm just wondering if anyone else on the Samba has any experience (Bus, Bug, or anything) with Autolite rebuilt starters? I had the starter on my Bus ('78 w/ 2L FI) go out last fall. After doing some tests to be sure it was the starter (mainly I knew b/c I could tap the starter with a hammer and the Bus would start right up) I replaced it with a cheapo (~$60 w/ core) from Kragen. I figured this would be fine because a starter is simple enough and Kragen gives a lifetime warranty, so I figure I'd be fine changing the starter once every 10 years or so. BUT... I've now replaced the starter 3 times with the free Kragen replacement and finally I thought I had a good one (this one has been working for almost 6 months!) until it also failed on me this weekend. Am I alone with such a terrible experience with Autolite-branded re manufactured goods?

Although I am now a pro at changing starters (about 30 minutes) I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and get a better Bosch rebuilt. I see they offer one at Kragen, but I'm wondering if they're different from the ones Bus-Boys or BusDepot offers.

Does anyone have any real-world starter-brand experience out there?
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calebmelvin Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have much to add as I have never used one of these but I do have a unused bosch rebuilt one that I bought from bus depot for my '78 before I sold it and never put it in...make you a deal Very Happy (cheap plug)
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

all i can say is that autozone brake pads
work just as good as your kragon starter

(brake pads are on my 4runner not the beloved bus)
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josh
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Although I am now a pro at changing starters (about 30 minutes)


Have you also been replacing the starter bushing?

You should always replace the bushing when replacing the starter. A worn bushing can ruin a new starter in short order.

Have you tried jumping the starter terminals under the bus when turning the key won't turn the starter?

If you can get the engine to turn over this way you probably need to ad a starter relay. The wire from the ignition switch to the starter is very long and by now very old. These old wires often have too much resistance to reliably supply the current needed to operate the starter solenoid. Adding a relay allows the starter to get plenty of current even if the wire can't supply it.

I don't doubt that the starters from flaps are often faulty but after replacing the starter three times with the same results you should start looking into other possible causes of the problem. The issues I mentioned above are often mistaken for starter problems and cause a great deal of frustration.
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Mr. Loaf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want a starter? Go to EBay and check out item # 320269235703. I put the same ND shigh torgue starter on my Bus and that starter is bulletproof. No modifications, just a direct bolt on that WORKS. You do not need a starter bushing either!
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ndevente78
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i put a flaps starter on my 78 7 years ago and still no trouble, and Mr. Loaf the ad for the ebay starter states will not fit 091 trannys, sorry but 78 has 091 tranny
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Mr. Loaf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the original post said nothing about what transmission was in the 78. Mine is an aotumatic. The Ebay seller has 4 listings for that seller with different VW applications. I think that the 3rd one listed will fit. It does not say it will not fit the 091 trans.
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ndevente78
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh well in that case i retract my statement i didnot look any further in the the Shocked ad but the # you posted says in the middle of the ad will not fit 091 trans. i did not look to see his other ads. good find by the way! Cool
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies:

Josh--I haven't been replacing the starter bushing, could this really cause the starter to fail so quickly? What would the symptoms of a worn bushing be? The starter always worked fine until the engine had a long hot summer run, then the starter doesn't turn over (the idiot lights dim slightly when I turn the key, but nothing at the starter) until I crawl under the van and tap the starter with a hammer a few time. Would a worn bushing explain this? I do already have the hot-start relay installed and it is functioning properly.

Mr. Loaf--that starter does look sweet but his ad now does say "fit all VW tranny's except 091 style transmissions..." and none of his other starters will work with a 091 tranny. But thanks for the info.

I guess I could give one more Autolite starter a shot and this time change the bushing and go from there. Thanks for the help so far.
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keifernet
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hurst_dave wrote:
Thanks for the replies:

Josh--I haven't been replacing the starter bushing, could this really cause the starter to fail so quickly? What would the symptoms of a worn bushing be? The starter always worked fine until the engine had a long hot summer run, then the starter doesn't turn over (the idiot lights dim slightly when I turn the key, but nothing at the starter) until I crawl under the van and tap the starter with a hammer a few time. Would a worn bushing explain this? I do already have the hot-start relay installed and it is functioning properly.

Mr. Loaf--that starter does look sweet but his ad now does say "fit all VW tranny's except 091 style transmissions..." and none of his other starters will work with a 091 tranny. But thanks for the info.

I guess I could give one more Autolite starter a shot and this time change the bushing and go from there. Thanks for the help so far.


Damn right it can.... and does...

MOST starters come with a new bushing attached and a note stating NO WARRANTY if you do not change the bushing. Bosch starters do for sure and some of the "FLAPS" ones like you have been buying should/do too.

People act like changing the starter bushing is something difficult but it's not... I don't get it Confused Laughing Razz
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject: you read my mind Reply with quote

Keifer, funny that you posted this because I just found your post from over 4 years ago that explains exactly why the bushing is important:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=62379

...thanks for the info, it didn't appear to be too hard to remove but I'm lazy with bushings I guess (the shaft of my original starter wasn't too worn and I always figured a thin coat of grease could go a long way) but I didn't realize the bushing was needed for critical shaft alignment and starter longevity--and since the starters turned over so quickly and smoothly I though my bushing laziness was justified. I'll get a tap and die set and pull the bushing when I change the starter next time.

-Dave
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Karl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got tired of replacing 'rebuilt. starters over and over again. I believe all they do is repaint them....... The Bosch rebuilts last a little longer than the cheapos..... but not as long as the originals. At one time, Bus Depot was offering NEW, not rebuilt or remanned, starters for a little more than a rebuilt price. They last as long as an original. But they are NLA.
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WestyPop
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A VW, but w/c note, re. Kragen starters... the 6th "free replacement" for my VW diesel has been working great, only because I asked the Kragen asst. manager(tearing her hair out!) to just get a "Bosch rebuilt".

Later I found out (while working as a Bosch wholesaler's rep.) that Bosch supplies their "Bosch rebuilders" with genuine Bosch parts (directly) for less than the other mass rebuilders pay to buy crappy Chinese parts. That's why Bosch can put good guarantees on their stuff and not eat tons of returns, like most mass rebuilders/"remanufacturers" get back.

Kragen can get the Bosch brand rebuilt starters/alternators/generators, but they make more money on the lower quality units... if the customer doesn't return the part on warranty.

(If you have a good local rebuilder, a good relationship with her/him can go a long way also. There are a couple in the SGV/IE area of SoCal. P.M. me if you want a reference there.)


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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seldom buy an off the shelf rebuild. IMHO most are junk. Years ago I was in charge of maintaining a large fleet of Ford trucks. At the time I started the company kept two starters and two alternator on the shelf for every vehicle and changing a starter was a daily occurance, one or two trucks seem to need it each day. The aftermarket parts were so poor in quality that my favorite local rebuilder refused to even touch Ford starters. I eventually found a rebuilder that used only new Motorcraft electrical parts, but still used a junk starter drive. I would buy the rebuilds from them, junk the starter drive, and install an OEM Ford drive. Average starter life went for a few weeks to several years.

Has anyone tried installing the starter from a late Vanagon into a Bay? This should give a lot more umph. I can get a Bosch starter for a late Vanagon for cheaper than the smaller starter for the early Vanagon. I wonder if the late Vanagon Bosch starter would be cheaper than the 091 Bay starter as well?
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:20 pm    Post subject: I agree Reply with quote

I think I'm going to take my Autolite back to Kragen and exchange it (lifetime warranty--yay!) for the Bosch rebuilt and pay the difference of ~$30. I'll change the bushing at this time as well and hopefully this will take care of my starter problems until I rebuild the engine some years into the future.
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:49 pm    Post subject: doh! Reply with quote

Well I just called and unfortunately Kragen's "OE Quality Rebuild" which says Bosch in the description is actually the same part number as their Autolite brand starter, meaning they're the same part although the price is different. Apparently the internet has parts listed that their store's computers don't. I'll give Autolite one more try, hopefully all will be fine if I change the bushing this time...
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Karl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
I seldom buy an off the shelf rebuild. IMHO most are junk. Years ago I was in charge of maintaining a large fleet of Ford trucks. At the time I started the company kept two starters and two alternator on the shelf for every vehicle and changing a starter was a daily occurance, one or two trucks seem to need it each day. The aftermarket parts were so poor in quality that my favorite local rebuilder refused to even touch Ford starters. I eventually found a rebuilder that used only new Motorcraft electrical parts, but still used a junk starter drive. I would buy the rebuilds from them, junk the starter drive, and install an OEM Ford drive. Average starter life went for a few weeks to several years.

Has anyone tried installing the starter from a late Vanagon into a Bay? This should give a lot more umph. I can get a Bosch starter for a late Vanagon for cheaper than the smaller starter for the early Vanagon. I wonder if the late Vanagon Bosch starter would be cheaper than the 091 Bay starter as well?


It will not fit on a bay. The solenoid is at about 12 o'clock instead of 9 o'clock and hits the body.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karl wrote:
Wildthings wrote:

Has anyone tried installing the starter from a late Vanagon into a Bay? This should give a lot more umph. I can get a Bosch starter for a late Vanagon for cheaper than the smaller starter for the early Vanagon. I wonder if the late Vanagon Bosch starter would be cheaper than the 091 Bay starter as well?


It will not fit on a bay. The solenoid is at about 12 o'clock instead of 9 o'clock and hits the body.


Thanks
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hurst_dave
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: autolite starters stink Reply with quote

Well I replaced my Autolite starter one more time (as well as the bushing this time) and it died within 2 months. This is the forth Autolite to die on my bus in the last year; they are complete junk. I'm now ordering a Bosch rebuilt starter from Bus Boys and hope I have better luck.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

im a little late joining in, but i replaced my starter with an autozone one, about 2 years ago? my starter works fine. as does my alternator, also an autozone part. i drive almost daily, and although it can be slow turning *sometimes*, it hasnt failed me yet.

i figured the same thing, with a lifetime warranty, i dont care if i have to change it once a month, i'll never pay for it again...

i think what was actually wrong with my first one was that the bushing was gone. =D it would barely turn the engine at all.
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