Been lurking here, for a while, got a situation that has me stumped.
This seems to be the best forum I've found, so here is my problem.
Sorry for the long post.
I have a 1987 Sunstar. Last fall I decided to repower it.
I bought a new BS Vanguard 18 HP engine, and put it in, with minimal issues.
First time I turned the key, the end of the starter shaft broke off-and the bendix ended up laying in the bottom of the flywheel cover.
The guy I bought it from replaced the starter-we both just assumed it was defective.
Put the new starter in, everything seemed ok, so I put it out in the shed, until spring.
2 weeks ago, I started it and mowed, just fine.
Last week I go to start it, and starter doesn't mesh, on the first try, so I try again, it starts, but has a loud noise-lasted a few seconds, and stopped-engine sounded normal, so I started mowing. I stopped to talk to my neighbor, and when I tried to restart, the started was dead-solenoid clicked, but that was all.
Pushed it back to the garage, and finished mowing with my other (much smaller) mower.
When I took things apart-the shaft of the new starter has failed in the exact same manner, as the first-the difference, is this time the engine started-and tore it all to heck, bent the starter shaft, threw the plastic cap that contains all the bits of the bendix to the other side of the engine-found it lodged under one of the covers on the opposite side. It also tore up the teeth on the ring gear.
The shaft seems to have a groove on the end, that has some kind of ring, or keeper that keeps the bendix together-and pushes the starter gear back.
There is a plastic cover that keep it all covered and contained.
In both cases, it looks like the shaft has broken at the groove. I have pictures of both, and they appear almost identical.
I decided to have a local repair look at it-(I bought the engine from a dealer quite a ways away, long story, not really relevant here, only adds to my frustration)
I'm on the hook for labor so I really don't want keep just putting starters on this thing.
I looked around, on-line, and didn't find anything to suggest this is a common issue on these engines.
Thanks, in advance.