Tech Area

Oil Soaked Flywheel

Question: I have read alot about flywheels, without ever thinking it would apply to me, didn't pay enough attention. The work ticket reads bad spots on flywheel.....engine oil soaked. I know what to do for the engine, what I need to know is what is in store for me. And grab the crayons so I'll understand. What will I have to do, etc.

Answer: Fiero's have 4 cycle engines and they will stop on one of those cycles. When the starter is next engaged, more wear will occur in one of those 4 places (whichever position the engine stopped). Over a period of time, all four spots will eventually wear more then the rest of the flywheel teeth. Here's the crayon - it's basic black, but hope understandable.

Cycle 1: intake valve opens and piston moves down to the bottom of cylinder. Suction and atmospheric pressure pulls/pushes air/fuel into length of the cylinder.

Cycle 2: intake valve closes as piston rises and compresses the air/fuel into the small area of the combustion chamber (making it much more volatile).

Cycle 3. spark plug ignites the compressed mixture and the explosion powers the piston back down.

Cycle 4. exhaust valve opens as the piston comes back up to let the burnt gases out, and the intake opens again to start the cycle over again.

These are called intake, compression, power, and exhaust strokes. No matter how many cylinders the engine has, it will always stop on one of these strokes (last firing cyl). Hence, there will be more wear on 1 of 4 spots on a flywheel's teeth. An oil soaked flywheel can only be determined if the transaxle has been removed, and is only revelant if a clutch disc is involved and is "shuddering".

Otherwise, an engine oil leak is just that. An oil leak. Has NOTHING to do with the starter and flywheel spacing/engagement/wear. Normal wear (engine cycles), and improper starter installation (shimming/spacing) are the cause for flywheel teeth wear and a lot of failed starters. Suggest you find a shop that has at least basic knowledge of how engines work, and the relationship of how parts (in this case, starters and flywheels) are interrelated to one another. Flywheel teeth deterioation is possible from normal wear or a previous improperly spaced/shimmed starter, but "oil soaked" is pure BS.

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