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1998 Weird Starter Problem

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So I decided to fire up my 2nd Corolla (98 143K) when it was -19 here, not including the wind chill.

Battery is good and charged..Starter fires up, but doesn't turn the crankshaft. Starter just make loud spinning/grinding noise. After remember my mom's old Pontiac Lemans had some teeth broken off the flywheel, i tried pushing the Corolla a little bit while in gear to move the change.

I removed starter ( 2nd time on this one ) outside when it was -5 ( -11 w/wind chill ).

Examination of bendix gear and solenoid/contacts seem fine ( i replaced contacts & sol a couple years ago for $12) .

Took the starter into Autozone for testing. Passed all tests on the machine.

The AZ clerk said the Bendix extends and seems to spin fine. Hmmmm....

After studying diagrams of the starter, i see there are transfer gears and a clutch mechanism behind the bendix gear. Could this clutch and/or transfer gears be fried? I suppose, but how to diagnose?

I also noticed that i can turn the bendix gear with my fingers both clockwise with ease ( normal operation direction), and also counterclockwise ( with a little extra torque ). I tried to do this with a Remaned starter at AZ, and found its not possible to turn bendix gear w/fingers counterclockwise.

Is the fact that i can turn the bendix both ways a symptom of bad clutch or gears inside the starter?

The question is moot i suppose, since I'll just get a boneyard starter, but I've never

experienced this problem in a starter before.


Decided to use my phone to check the flywheel after starter romoval.

As i suspected...nothing wrong with the teeth on the flywheel



ah..ty sir

I viewed the blow-out on wikipedia. It does indeed say

2-overrunning sprag clutch which permits the pinion to transmit drive in only one direction