Disappearing Emblems
Q: Is there an easy way to remove the factory Silverado badges from my truck? I know they are adhesive, not bolted on, but I don't want to ruin them or damage the paint.
Mike Dumoniere,
via e-mail

A: Relatively thin fishing line is the key to easy adhesive emblem removable. The fishing line is used to "saw" between the emblem and the adhesive. Take a length of line that allows sufficient room to grasp the line on both sides of the emblem. Something in the 18-inch range should do. Wrap the ends of the line around two sticks or clamp the ends in a couple Vise-Grip pliers.

The adhesive residue can be rolled off with your fingers, or you could use an art gum eraser. If you really think you might ever want to reattach the emblem, take a few reference measurements or a photograph.

Broken Teeth
Q: Our family vehicle is a customized '94 Chevy Astro. It has been lowered, fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, and covered with a multicolored paintjob with some pretty wild graphics. I like the van, as it serves my young family and it still looks pretty cool.

My problem relates to the starter and flexplate. The Astro has the 4.3L V-6 and automatic transmission. I've had to replace the flexplate once and the starter twice due to starting problems. It seems like the teeth are meshing properly. I have broken off several teeth on both the starter and the flexplate.

Replacing a starter is a pretty easy task on Chevy products, but the flexplate is more involved. Everything is nice and clean. I haven't noticed any obstructions that might be causing an alignment problem. I'm getting very tired of damaged starters and replacing them. Can you suggest a way out of this problem? Thank you.
Vaughn Meade,
San Diego

A: Our first guess is that you're having an alignment problem. Starter and ring gear teeth don't just starting falling off if they are properly meshing. Check the teeth for a noticeable wear pattern. The pattern should be uniform, not too close to the edge and not too deep. The distance between the starter and flexplate or flywheel should be 0.018 inch as measured with a wire gauge.

If the gap isn't up to spec, shims can be used to correct things. These thin shims are often included with starters or they can be purchased separately. If the starter pinion gear is too close to the ring gear, use a 0.015-inch shim between the starter mounting pad and the engine block. Using a 0.015-inch shim will increase clearance by 0.0050 inch. If the first shim doesn't solve the problem, try adding another 0.015-inch shim.

If the gap needs to be decreased, shim only the outer mounting bolt. The 0.015-inch shim should decrease the gap by approximately 0.010 inch.

Even though you've replaced two starters, it doesn't mean they were perfect. We've had cases where it took three or four "economy" rebuilt starters to get a truly good one. It's tempting to pick the least expensive starter, but that's not always the best long-term value. Sure, these budget starters often come with "lifetime" guarantees, but so what? The savings aren't worth all the aggravation and wasted time. When shopping for a replacement starter, ask what parts are new and which ones are just refurbished or simply reused. We've had the best results with brand-new made-in-the-USA starters.

Those compact gear-reduction starters are a good idea. They have the extra capacity to start engines under adverse conditions such as hot engines on hot days.

You mentioned that you didn't see any obstructions on the mounting pad, but you probably didn't check the threads inside the block. It would be a good idea to chase the threads with a tap. If there is any significant debris inside the thread bores, that could affect the bolt's ability to seat completely. If the starter isn't secure, it can move and lead to damaged or missing teeth.