broken tooth on starter?

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May 15, 2002
Jackson, MS
Need a little help with some diagnosis.

I have an intermittent noise when starting my 2000 100. It sounds like a chunk of metal grinding between the starter gear and the flywheel. The sound will disappear for weeks then return.

I have a starter in hand and plan to dive in to replace it. Any suggestions? If there is indeed a chunk of metal rolling around in there how would one go about getting it out?
I had this happen to me too, turns out the actual starter was bad. Replaced with oem starter and good as new. As far as metal back there, try one of those magnetic pickup doohickeys.
Is there room to get in there with a magnetic pickup doohickey? The fact that the noise went away for a while and came back makes me think there is something floating around in there. Anyone know the engine well enough to know what the starter engages (flywheel?), and how much space there is in that area of the engine? On a F engine I'd just take the inspection cover off the bottom of the flywheel and fish around with a coathanger till I find the pice of metal. Anything like that on the 100?
For future reference:

There is a ring behind the starter gear that holds some ball bearings in it. On my truck the ring came off and was floating around in there. The noise I was hearing was when the ring got caught up between the starter and the flywheel. The gears on neither the starter or the flywheel were damaged. There is an inspection plate at the bottom of the transmission. I removed the inspection plate and used a magnet to fish out the pieces that were loose in there.
Had the same problem. Grinding, and what sounded like the starter gear failing to disengage after engine cranked.

Sure enough, the thin
ring that seals the bearing was loose to flail into the gear. See pic. Fwiw, I wrestled with the starter bolts, but succeeded, although it took more than planned 4 hour job. Also replaced fuel injector insulators -those were toast. The new insulators are perfectly rounded, the old were rotting and molded in shape years of wear and heat.

I followed all instrux on the replacement thread here and got it done, fired right up. I did have to fab a small hose to a shop vac to clean out a couple of valves that I dropped some junk into(broken plastic connectors). This starter lasted over ten years and 180k miles- can't complain too much!

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