Bendix drive
A Bendix drive is a type of engagement mechanism used in starter motors of internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s. The device allows the pinion gear
A pinion is a round gear used in several applications:*usually the smallest gear in a gear drive train, although in the case of John Blenkinsop's Salamanca, the pinion was rather large...

 of the starter motor to engage or disengage the flywheel
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store rotational energy. Flywheels have a significant moment of inertia, and thus resist changes in rotational speed. The amount of energy stored in a flywheel is proportional to the square of its rotational speed...

 of the engine automatically when the starter is powered or when the engine fires, respectively. It is named after its inventor, Vincent Hugo Bendix
Vincent Hugo Bendix
Vincent Hugo Bendix was an American inventor and industrialist. Vincent Bendix was a pioneer and leader in both the automotive and aviation industries during the 1920s and 1930s.-Background:...



The Bendix system places the starter drive pinion on a helical drive spring. When the starter motor begins turning, the inertia of the drive pinion assembly causes it to wind the spring forcing the length of the spring to change and engage with the ring gear. When the engine starts, backdrive from the ring gear causes the drive pinion to exceed the rotative speed of the starter, at which point the drive pinion is forced back and out of mesh with the ring gear.

The main drawback to the Bendix drive is that it relies on a certain amount of "clash" between the teeth of the pinion and the ring gears before they slip into place and mate completely; the teeth of the pinion are already spinning when they come into contact with the static ring gear, and unless they happen to align perfectly at the moment they engage, the pinion teeth will strike the teeth of the ring gear side-to-side rather than face-to-face, and continue to rotate until both align. This increases wear on both sets of teeth.
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