1963 loud clunk when starting

20

Asked by Jul 04, 2014 at 09:45 AM about the 1963 Chevrolet Impala

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Car was starting fine until I
change out the vacuum house
for the transmission
modulator. All of a sudden it
sounds like it doesn't want to
start and makes a loud
"CLUNK".

12 Answers

56,855

Sounds like the starter isn't engaging properly. Unless you had to remove the starter when replacing the vacuum tube I doubt that the problem is related. Check the starter drive to flywheel ring gear clearance. It should be .020 inch as checked with a round feeler gauge. Might just be time for a new starter. HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
11,425

My initial suggestion was to pull the starter and check for wear on the starter gears. Make sure all the electrical lines (battery connections) are connected and the other lines are also. The solenoid may be going out and is sticking or holding up engaging until the last second and thrusting the starter gear into the flywheel after it has started to turn. Does this clunk go on every time you attempt to start it or just when it is a cold start?.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
20

Well the first time I heard it it was while the car was indeed about to start. With no success on the first try it CLUNKED again even worse this time while the car still appeared to be trying to start. Finally the third time no starting sound at all just a very loud clunk. After taking your advice and looking into the starter we found that it was cracked! Like a huge piece had completely broken off. While removing the starter no shims were found. The mechanic that we've frequently used has a habit of half-assing just about everything. So no shock there. We've been that without the proper shimming the teeth in the starter? won't align right causing this . But now. ..the new starter sounds great and the car DID start up again very briefly but will not stay on. I notice that the fuel filter is empty o_O It has freakin CRUMBS in it! Last I remember there should be fuel kind of guzzling through it. ??

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
20

And thank you very much for your time and advice (; I think this is great! :D

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
56,855

You're welcome. Glad to help. Thank you for the update. Check for chipped or missing teeth on the flywheel just to be 100% sure you're not going to have any more issues with the starter. I had a '66 Cadillac sedan that cracked the nose of the starter. Upon further investigation I discovered 3 missing teeth on the flywheel. I'm assuming you still have the original glass bowl type of fuel filter housing. You are correct. You should clearly see gasoline flowing through it on it's way from the fuel pump to the carburetor. I'd suggest removing the fuel line at the fuel pump and crank the engine. Gas should squirt out. If so, clean the removed fuel line with gum cutter and compressed air. There may be varnish in there, especially if this car has been sitting. If you get no fuel from the fuel pump, make sure the fuel line coming from the gas tank is clear. Again, use compressed air. Remove the gas cap first before applying the compressed air. You may ultimately want to drop the gas tank and clean it. Again, just to be sure you'll have no more issues. HTH. -Jim

11,425

I really hate this post. Move off an you lose a lot of typing. Js0816 has good advice. Pressurize the gas tank after removing the gas line from before the fuel/gas pump. Make sure it is running clear. Catch the gas in a clear glass jar and let it settle to see if there is trash in the line/tank or water. If there is a lot, then possible removal of the tank to clean it is recommended,along with blowing out the lines. While your at it, I'd recommend a new type gas filter in line after the pump to make it easier to change out. The old filters were to catch condensation, not junk. Old cars were very easy to work on, not only simple design, but seeing and reaching areas needing fixing. The metal castings were bad and broke easy, that's the gall back. Back when they were new, replacement parts were not expensive, and plentiful. Enjoy your Chebby man.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
20

You guys are so awesome (; I'm enjoying learning about my car. I've been saying that I need to be the one taking care of it :) Well this new advice gives me some stuff to do! Thanks again and I will post the updates!

56,855

You're welcome. Glad to help. Yes, please keep us posted. -Jim

20

Well the first time I heard it it was while the car was indeed about to start. With no success on the first try it CLUNKED again even worse this time while the car still appeared to be trying to start. Finally the third time no starting sound at all just a very loud clunk. After taking your advice and looking into the starter we found that it was cracked! Like a huge piece had completely broken off. While removing the starter no shims were found. The mechanic that we've frequently used has a habit of half-assing just about everything. So no shock there. We've been that without the proper shimming the teeth in the starter? won't align right causing this . But now. ..the new starter sounds great and the car DID start up again very briefly but will not stay on. I notice that the fuel filter is empty o_O It has freakin CRUMBS in it! Last I remember there should be fuel kind of guzzling through it. ??

11,425

Sounds like you have a crummy mechanic. Of course you changed the filter. Keep an eye on it as there may be more in the tank/lines.

11,425

There should be an inspection plate just behind the fly wheel on the bottom to check the teeth on the flywheel. Your going to get greasy, so take some cleaner, old rags, and some grease cutter and clean the plate as much as possible before attempting to remove it. If you have access to a lift, it will be a ton easier to do.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
56,855

If your mechanic is a younger guy he's not going to know about starter shims, glass bowl fuel filter housings (last used in 1967), carburetors, mechanical fuel pumps, etc. A factory shop manual might be very helpful. You can probably get one from Faxon Auto Literature in Riverside, California. HTH. - Jim

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