Take a heaping cup of cubic inches. Add in lots of compression, big horsepower, and a dash of extreme operating conditions. Mix well and pour into your race car of choice. Congratulations—you’ve just created a hearty recipe for Starter Suicide.
Sound terrible? It oughta. Using a stock-style or aftermarket “mini” starter on a large cubic inch, high-compression engine is simply a disaster waiting to happen. If you’re lucky, the starter will try to crank the engine over once or twice and just give up. More likely, the starter will fry itself the instant you put 12 volts to it, taking the flexplate and other expensive parts with it.
Fortunately, companies like Meziere Enterprises have solutions to the big motor versus starter problem. Meziere named its line of high-torque starters the True Starter Series. We call them starters for bad boy engines.
Meziere really went overboard engineering the True Start starters—but that’s a good thing. Take the mounting block, for example. Whittled from a solid block of billet aluminum, it allows complete 360-degree clocking of the starter in 10-degree increments to clear most any header or chassis configuration out there. The motors are so powerful, they’re rated by kilowatts, just like electric power plants.
The gear reduction systems Meziere uses deliver massive amounts of starting torque to turn over engines up to 700 cubic inches. The reduction gears themselves are made from premium 9310 heat-treated steel alloy. The heat-treated steel lockup sprag and large roller bearings means smooth, positive starter gear engagement. And all this goodness is packaged in a compact unit smaller than a typical Chevy V8 starter, yet is 15 to 20 percent more powerful than a comparable starter.
Three Levels of Cranking Power
The Meziere True Start starters are available in three versions for small and big block Chevy:
100 Series: Designed for engines up to 427 cubic inches and 14.5:1 compression, this starter is rated at 2.2 kilowatts and has a 3.75:1 final reduction. The offset design will clear most kickout-type oil pans.
300 Series: This inline-style starter (motor and gear reduction are in line with each other) is ideal for cars with narrow frame rails or where space around the starter area is at a premium. It has a billet nose cone and works with most oil pans without a passenger side kickout. With a 1.8-kilowatt motor and a 3.75:1 final reduction, the 300 Series is ideal for engines up to 565 cubic inches and 17.0:1 compression.
400 Series: For engines up to 700 cubic inches and/or above 17:1 compression, this offset style starter has a 2.2-kilowatt motor, 3.75:1 final gear reduction, and an ultra-heavy-duty drive assembly. A bearing glide support in the nose block provides additional support as the starter extends to engage the ring gear, resulting in more stability and less bending load on the starter drive. The 400 Series will clear most kickout-type oil pans.
Both the TS300 and the TS400 starters have a roller clutch assembly that is 50-percent larger in diameter than the clutch found in typical gear reduction starters. That allows the Meziere starters to transmit more cranking power for extended periods of time without damage due to stress and overheating.
A Word about Torque
Starters produce torque. It’s the stuff that actually overcomes an engine’s rotational resistance during startup. Obviously, the more torque a starter makes, the higher its ability to turn over high compression, big-cubic-inch engines. However, Meziere does not rate the True Start starters by torque output. According to Meziere, a torque number is meaningless without knowing the load (amperage) and speed (rpm) the starter was tested at.
Meziere knows those torque numbers because it uses a standard test to compare its starters to the competition. Each starter is loaded to a specific amperage draw and spun at the same speed to determine torque output—in other words, a true apples-to-apples comparison. So when Meziere says a True Start starter delivers 15 to 20 percent more cranking torque than the competition, you can believe it.