Flex Plate problems--if not solved this time I part out my truck - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
'99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the '99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Flex Plate problems--if not solved this time I part out my truck

Blew a trans seal at 92,000 miles and burned up trans. Ford garage screwed me $5,500 for a rebuilt. At time, told me my flex plate was curiously worn and needed replacement. They put in new one and a new starter.

Went about 20,000 and it wouldnt start---made a lot of noise though. I replaced starter with the big CHinese units you guys use in here. Seemed to work for awhile then same symptoms (which was a coincidence Ill say why later) A garage told me I was missing teeth on the flywheel in ONE spot---about 5 teeth. When I stopped the truck at that spot, the starter gear would just spin in it and I ended up learning to take a wrench to the alternator nut and turn the engine to a spot with teeth. Paid $1500 for a new flex plate and a third starter. Went OK for about 20K then same thing. I bought a FORTH starter and it did the same thing. I had thought maybe the starter wasnt sticking out far enough. Now ive gone through THREE flex plates and four starters. Symptoms the same---about four to five teeth in a row gone. As Ive kept running it this way by wrenching it, I now see that the teeth on the flex plate are all starting to wear on the engine side edge. I greased them and the starter gear with different colors and found that the starter isnt fuly engaging the flex teeth but especially less in ONE spot. I asked the Ford garage if they coud run it with the inspection plate off to check mif the flex or something else isnt running perfectly true but they said they couldnt do it or check anything without taking the tranny off. Ive read about a few other guys having this same problem and have never seen a solution.

A few people have said to check for some kind of engine to tranny 'dowels' being gone or bad??? Others say the converter may be out of round or something? I notice that at idle, I have a grumble and rattling almost as if a pipe or part of the engine is up against the firewall. No one can find anything loose or hitting anything it shouldnt be. Could an out of round plate , converter, whathaveyou cause this vibration by being unbalanced?

I cant have my wife taking a wrench under the hood to get the thing started and eventually all the teeth will be gone. Its very gradual. There isnt even any metal in the bottom of the inspection cover.

HELP!!!!! A reward to anyone who can help! I cant pay Ford the minimum $500 they want just to drop the tranny. Then they want more to do diagnostics. They will figure out a way to rape me to death. Case in pojnt...just blew alternator. Ford charged me $65 to tell me it was bad. Jesus--Autozone would have done it for free, I learned. Ford wanted $380 for the alternator and $175 to put it in. I got a new lifetime guarantee from autozone for $180 and put it in in under 15 minutes. Sheesh

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:27 AM
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Wow - talk about a messed up adventure. Ford isn't being truthful with you about testing with the transmission on. You can use a dial indicator with a magnetic mount. Either through the inspection pan or through the starter hole, you could set the indicator up to ride on a non toothed portion of the ring and spin it either with the alternator like you've been doing, or even better with a socket wrench on the harmonic damper bolt. You could then do it along the toothed side, although you would need to hold the indicator pin back while someone else spun it and measure against the same part of the tooth.

That would check for lateral runout and horizontal runout. Either should be minimal. I'd guess anything over 1/8-1/4" would cause problems. Causes could be the dowels being gone and the plate not being centered when installed or a run of bad flex plates. I understand the concept of a bad torque converter. I'm not sure starting RPM is high enough for an out of balance TQ to cause an issue. A warped mouting surface to the TQ would. When the flex plate was tightened up against a warped TQ mounting surface, the flex plate would be the one to give. Another possibility would be the transmssion mounting surface being warped. If the transmision is flexed when tightened down, I could see that putting all the strain across the flex plate. I'd quit taking it to Ford. Find yourself a transmission expert (not the 18 year old at AAMCO) and talk it over with him. Maybe even give Brian at BTS a call - or John Woods since your on his side of the globe.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:54 AM
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To diagnose this problem.
Lets start at the crank rear flange.
The flex plate is bolted to the crank flange with nine bolts, the torque converter is then bolted to the flex plate with six bolts, the torque converter drives the pump and input shaft to the transmission, all this should run true, no wobble.
There is no reason the seal should have gone out at that milage, unless the trans. got overheated from towing or you were stuck in mud or snow.

The flex plate was changed several times. The only way to know if the flex plate is running true would be to slide the trans. back with TC disconnected, and run or just turn over the engine with an indicator on it, it's very doubtful that that would not be running true, the crank flange face flatness would of had to be machined wrong, but by running the engine, it should be very visible any wobble in the flex plate. If that is running true, then the problem is the pump shaft or the drive shaft is bent. To me either one of those is the problem that made the seal go out. Below is a pic of the pump and drive shaft, you can see the green seal, that is the original seal from 99 to 00, the seal was changed in 01 to a teflon seal to stand higher heat.
If Ford exchanged the trans. or even just rebuilt the original, it should be warranted for more than 20K miles. I would call Ford Customer Service and explain what is going on.
All that said, that is the only way to diagnose the problem, either do it yourself or take it to a trans. shop and explain what is going on.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:57 AM
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Same problem, standard tranny though

I have the same problem, I assume a million others will soon!

I am on third starter and soon to be third flywheel

I am adding a push button starter switch as well as new wire from battery to switch to starter, to avoid the ford ignition and relay system???

Maybe the ford ignition switch, relay, and whatever else the volts go through are not delivering enough voltage to the small post on the starter, and thus not throughing the starter out hard enough to engage the flywheel/flexplate properly???

My small wire to the starter was corroded pretty good, so i cut it off the end of the small wire to the starter and crimped a new one on. As well as the new wire and push button start.....and an LED light, that will glow whenever the starter is engaged.....I think there was a TSB/Recall, for some 99's that the starter would energize randomly wile the truck was running so this will indicat if the starter ever engages while the truck is running?

Does not solve the flexplate issue you have? My flywheel is chewed as well, and i know a local mechanic that will replace it for 300.00 including parts!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1013 View Post
The only way to know if the flex plate is running true would be to slide the trans. back with TC disconnected, and run or just turn over the engine with an indicator on it
That's the traditional way of doing it, BUT with multiple flex plates already eaten I was thinking something must be warping the plate when it is installed. If the TQ mounts were out of alignment, it would flex the flex plate. If the transmission wasn't hanging straight, it would flex the flex plate. If you take everything off, you won't be checking the flex plate the way the starter sees it.

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IF MY BODY IS EVER FOUND ON A JOGGING TRAIL JUST KNOW THAT I WAS MURDERED SOMEWHERE ELSE AND DUMPED THERE
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to you all!

This is the most info Ive received from anyone all the time Ive had the problem. Im going to print out these conversations and find a local tranny expert. Now I can understand possible causes for this. As I said, I run into guys once in a while who have the same exasperating problem.

Thanks very much.

2001 F-350 Lariat,CC,LB,SRW,4X4,Auto,7.3,2"lift,KYBs, 3.73, steel oil x-over, aFe Stage II Pro 7, AirCond mod, Fumoto, DP 60,80,100. AIH Delete, hi-lite/fog-lite on mod. CNC HPOP hoses. 360 degree illumination six light LED system for backup, fog and sides. Dead bird in grill. Part of finger in new ball joint nut. (really!)
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:31 PM
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Marvin,

I just looked at my inspection cover while doing the oil on my 2000 7.3. There's 3 10mm bolts on the passenger side and 2 on the driver's side (one is up above the starter, you'll need a fairly long extension and probably a universal to get to it, best to use a 1/4" since it's close quarters there) and you can take off the cover. Then you can start her and watch you flex plate to see what it's doing. You could also have somebody else crank it while you watch the starter engaging.

BE CAREFUL!! You've got the gears of the flex plate staring you in the face and could EASILY get hurt badly if you're not careful!!!
That being said, since yours is lifted, you should easily be able to see any misalignment or flexing going on (more room under her).

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 09:08 AM
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Starter TSB

Article No.
03-20-5
10/13/03
^ DRIVEABILITY - NO START/REPEAT STARTER
FAILURE - REPEAT STARTER REPLACEMENT
^ ELECTRICAL - STICKING OR BINDING IGNITION
LOCK CYLINDER BETWEEN START AND RUN
^ ENGINE - STARTING - STARTER STAYING
ENGAGED AT START UP
FORD:
1999-2003 EXCURSION, SUPER DUTY F SERIES
This article supersedes TSB 02-19-4 to update the service procedures and service part information.
Issue
Some 1999-2003 SuperDuty and Excursion vehicles may exhibit the condition of starter staying engaged after releasing key from start position, repeat starter failure or a sticking/binding ignition lock cylinder. This may be due to:
^ An Ignition Lock. Cylinder Binding Not Fully Returning From Start To Run
^ Short Condition On Starter Relay Circuit 113 (YE/LB) Or 1093 (TN/RD)
^ Sticking Starter Relay
^ An Internal Short In The Power Distribution Junction Box (PDJB)
ACTION
If one of these conditions occur, inspect the starter and flywheel for damage and replace as necessary. Inspect the starter circuit for shorts including the Power Distribution Junction Box (PDJB) and verify proper cylinder lock function. Service as necessary. Use the following procedure to diagnose the starter circuit and system components.
SERVICE PROCEDURE
To check for short in the starter relay circuit 113:
1. Check terminal #2 at starter relay for voltage with key in run position (move key from "OFF" to "RUN") with the engine off. If voltage is present, locate and repair short. If no short detected, continue with Step 2.
2. With starter relay terminal #2 removed and vehicle in park, monitor voltage at starter relay terminal after cycling ignition from START to RUN (Do not assist key back to run position)..
a. If voltage is present after cycling key returns to Run position, Connect NGS/WDS or Scan Tool and monitor PIDS. Check for KEY_START and KEY_RUN. If the KEY_RUN PID is not seen after any KEY_START PID, the ignition cylinder lock is seizing and must be replaced.
^ For 1999-2001 vehicles, access the GEM (Generic Electronic Module) to view PIDS
^ For 2002-2003 vehicles, access the HEC (Hybrid Electronic Cluster) to view PIDS.
b. If key check is functioning properly and voltage is still present, check the starter relay for sticking by swapping with a known good relay and repeat Step 2.
NOTE IF ALL OF THE ABOVE CONDITIONS ARE VERIFIED FOR PROPER OPERATION, THE ISSUE MAY BE CAUSED BY AN INTERMITTENT BINDING CONDITION IN THE IGNITION CYLINDER LOCK. PROCEED WITH REPLACEMENT OF IGNITION SWITCH LOCK CYLINDER (11582).
IGNITION SWITCH LOCK CYLINDER REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE
1. Disconnect the battery ground cable and wait at least one minute.
2. Insert the ignition key and turn it to the RUN position.
3. Insert a punch into the access hole (located in the lower steering column shroud, below the lock cylinder) and press the release button while pulling out the ignition switch lock cylinder.
NOTE SOME VEHICLES DO NOT HAVE AN ACCESS HOLE AND REQUIRE LOWER SHROUD REMOVAL. REFER TO THE APPROPRIATE MODEL WORKSHOP MANUAL, IGNITION SWITCH LOCK CYLINDER REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION SECTION 211 IF ADDITIONAL DETAIL IS REQUIRED.
4. Install new Ignition Lock Cylinder and verify proper function.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 11:47 AM
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Good post!

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Wow good post

Now thats something I never would have thought about. A small sticking that doesnt seem obvious. The engine makes too much noise to hear it and the sticking could just be small enough to start wearing a bit at a time---there is never any metal at all sitting in the cover when weve replaced everthing, yet the teeth on the starter and flexplate have rubbed looking or rounded front edges except for the fuly broken ones. I suspect those may have had a little more wear that caused them to wear ata faster pace. It makes sense then that once one was gone, the ones on either side would go next, thus leaving that 5 tooth hole I keep, landing on.

If thats the problem and it was a service bulletin, I wonder if Ford will pay for it? Its been hapening since before my original miles warranty was over.

Thanks, Marvin

2001 F-350 Lariat,CC,LB,SRW,4X4,Auto,7.3,2"lift,KYBs, 3.73, steel oil x-over, aFe Stage II Pro 7, AirCond mod, Fumoto, DP 60,80,100. AIH Delete, hi-lite/fog-lite on mod. CNC HPOP hoses. 360 degree illumination six light LED system for backup, fog and sides. Dead bird in grill. Part of finger in new ball joint nut. (really!)

Last edited by MarvinVR; 01-09-2012 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Typos, as usual
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:58 PM
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you might also check when you pull the flex plate out, that you also check gear mesh with the new starter to insure they are exactly the same. I've seen this before

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 10:24 AM
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Marvin did you find the solution to your problem?

What is your solution?

My attemp at solving my problem:
I ran a push button starter switch, straight from the battery to the switch to the starter...While i was there i also ran a wire from the starter(small terminal, same as switch, to an LED in the cab, that will light up whenever the starter is engade)
And, like many industrial diesel engines, I ran a Neg. wire from the starter to the neg terminal on the passenger battery = direct current flowing back to the battery - no hop scothing volts through the trany, through the block, through this ground and that one eventualy maybe getting to the battery....

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