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Broken Block

This is a discussion on Broken Block within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hi All, I have a NASTY situation and I'm hoping someone else has run into this before and can help ...

  1. #1
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    Broken Block

    Hi All,
    I have a NASTY situation and I'm hoping someone else has run into this before and can help me with some advice!

    The weather has warmed up and the salt has been washed off the streets-it's time to get the SS out and see how she survived the winter... This car is a stock 2001 SS 6 speed with 29,000 miles on it. I'm into the old Camaros so it's only fair to buy my wife a newer car for nice weather-that's fair right!

    A couple of weeks ago I decided to start her up and had a dead battery. I charged it up and she ran fine for about 10 mins on the driveway. Well Wednesday I decided to take her out for a Spring shake down. Dead battery so I repeated the above process. The car 'kind of started' but wouldn't run. Then nothing when I hit the key. Oh well I'll replace the battery and then take her out. I installed the battery and nothing. I raised the car up to see what I could see-imagine my surprise when I saw the starter broken in half and hanging by the wires. I looked a little closer and noticed that the mounting boss on the block was broken in half-lengthwise.

    I called Chevrolet and basically got nothing except a bring it in and we'll look at it and go from there. I'm almost finished with my frame off '69 Z/28 restoration, so I'm technically competent. The guy I spoke with told me that I needed to speak with their shop foreman. He returned my call and said that he had heard of this before-but that it was EXTREMELY UNUSUAL!!!! His thoughts were that due to a battery that was not fully charged, the starter solenoid did not engage the flywheel like it’s supposed to. He thinks the solenoid kicked in and out and got caught in the flywheel and broke the starter housing and the block. His advice was for me to pull the engine and take the block in to have it welded, then re-tap the hole.

    If anyone else has run into this before I would really appreciate any advice! Do I need to pull the engine or can it be welded in the car? I've been messing around with cars for over 30 years and I've NEVER heard of this before. Neither has any of my buddies???? HELP!!!!

    The moral to the story is that if your battery is NOT fully charged, either charge it up or replace it.

    Thanks guys! Dave
    Last edited by z28dave; 03-20-2010 at 08:43 AM.

  2. #2
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    Someone posted up a similar story within the past few months if I recall correctly. I don't remember anything about the battery being weak though.

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    I think this is the one I was thinking of: LS1 Block Replacement

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    Thanks!

    Hi Jeff, thanks for your help! The block isn't trashed obviously. The weld will be stronger than the original casting. I just don't know if there's enough room to work without pulling the engine???
    Thanks again! Dave

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    Yeah this comes up once in a while. The general consensus is you need to remove the block to have the broken piece welded back on.
    I actually came across an in-car fix for this on a junk LS1 block and kept it. I haven't been able to locate who makes it or sells it. Its a steel block with a couple tabs and a threaded hole in it. The block sits on top of the old starter mount on the block and tabs help locate it and keep it from spinning. then a long stud is threaded up through it and the starter. Heres some pics:






    Last edited by Cutlass; 03-20-2010 at 08:08 PM.

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    Hey Cutlass that's the best news I've heard so far! What would the possiblity be of me having some of these made? I know of some good machinists and I'd love to make these available to other un-lucky guys! I wold love to talk to you about this, if you like I'll give you my number & we can talk about it?! Thanks again! Dave

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    I was thinking that someone must have custom made this thing. I mean, I'm not sure but...there aren't any numbers/letters/names on it. I've searched for hours on the net looking for it and can't find a thing. PM me and we'll chat about it.

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    Cutlass -- any idea what causes this? Is the solenoid sticking and not allowing the starter to disengage?

  9. #9
    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Honestly...I'm not sure

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    If I understood the shop foreman at the Chevy dealer correctly; I believe that the voltage fluctuation from the weak battery is the probable culprit. I imagine something along the lines of when you hit the key the solenoid kicks in, but maybe not completely, then back out, and then because your still trying to start the car it kicks back in and gets caught in the flywheel. The torque from the starter is enough that if it gets caught at the 'right' spot, it gets in a bind and bang! He didn't explain it quite like this, but this is how I believe it happened.

    I've seen starters with broken nose cones, but I've never heard of this one. I talked to an 81 year old car buddy of mine, and he's never heard of this, and he's been messing with cars since he was a kid during the depression era.

    This may become more common in the future with more aluminum blocks around as opposed to cast iron??? I really like the idea of an aluminum block and saving the weight off of the front end of the car for handling, but maybe the cast iron weight penalty isn't too terrible after all?!?!

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    Whatever causes it, that is some serious carnage. We need a "breakaway starter" design that will sacrifice itself to save the block. OP: Let us know how you make out on the repairs or replacement.

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    I'll keep you posted. Serious carnage-that's one polite way to say!@#$%^&*()_+!!!!

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    I am making a better deal! It take the place of the outer bolt! I am putting the final touches on this! I call it the starter Bridge! Its built like a bridge is! you can contact me if you like more info! no more new motor! And its a permanent fix! Thanks!
    Last edited by Y2KPewterSS; 07-26-2010 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Removed contact info, not a sponsor

  14. #14
    I know this is an old thread, but the block breaking is not that uncommon. It is caused from the unequal length bolts. It's a design flaw with the starter. The updated starter has 2 equal length bolt holes. Obviously, not much help though once the block has already broken.

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    well it seems that i wont be able to show you on here for now,but you can get a hold of me with with a private message.i very useful info for all those who need it! Thanks!

    Steven Isenhower

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    Click for full size
    Click for full size

    Yeah this comes up once in a while. The general consensus is you need to remove the block to have the broken piece welded back on.
    I actually came across an in-car fix for this on a junk LS1 block and kept it. I haven't been able to locate who makes it or sells it. Its a steel block with a couple tabs and a threaded hole in it. The block sits on top of the old starter mount on the block and tabs help locate it and keep it from spinning. then a long stud is threaded up through it and the starter. Heres some pics:
    Click for full size

    Click for full size

    Click for full size

    Click for full size
    Cutlass, I had the same thing happen this morning. Where did you find the block that goes on top of the starter?

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    Starter bridge for LS motors

    Quote Originally Posted by bhunter0830 View Post
    Cutlass, I had the same thing happen this morning. Where did you find the block that goes on top of the starter?
    2nd Sucks Racing - The home of 2nd Sucks Racing,
    Take a look at this bracket. it solves it for ever.

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    It was taken off of a blown up LS1 engine my friend was working on. I've haven't been able to locate what exactly it is or who makes it.
    -------------------------------------
    Kooks 1 7/8" race headers, Kooks ORY, Borla catback, Nitto 555R, LS6 intake manifold, Shaner S3 ported stock throttle body, SLP lid, smooth bellows, JAAM Ram Air kit, Elite Engineering catch can, LS6 valley cover, EGR and AIR deleted, Frost tune, and Simpson Racing child car seat in the back. 13.2 @ 108MPH

  19. #19
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    2ndsucksracing.weebly.com go check this fix out, solves all the problems.

    Steven

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    It was taken off of a blown up LS1 engine my friend was working on. I've haven't been able to locate what exactly it is or who makes it.
    Thanks! I had enough left on the block to thread a longer bolt on. Also JB welded the piece that came off. Now if I could just figure out why everything else isn't working.


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