The Tom Wilson’s white Ferrari used to make a horrible noise whenever the starter was engaged, and I knew immediately what the problem was. The teeth on the flywheel had gotten so worn that the gear on the starter was having trouble engaging. The bad news was the car needed a new ring gear. This toothed gear goes around the flywheel mounted to the back of the engine’s crank shaft, and to get to it, the transmission had to come out. On a Vintage Ferrari, this meant removing the interior, removing the center console, and removing the driveshaft before even starting on the transmission removal. To add insult to injury, this 250 engine used a one piece flywheel, with an integral ring gear. Later models had a replaceable ring gear, but the whole flywheel would have to replaced for a new ring gear on this car.
I had one more solution that I was hoping to do the trick. Tom wanted to install a new modern hi-torque starter to replace the old Ferrari unit, and before I started down the path of a new ring gear, I decided to see if the new starter would engage the ring gear differently. To my relief, the new starter engaged perfectly, and had no grinding noises! If you look closely at the worn teeth on the flywheel, the old starter was only engaging half of the depth of the flywheel teeth, so the new starter pinion was ejecting further onto the flywheel and engaging firmly with the old flywheel. We just saved ourselves a lot of time, and money. Whew!