Because you asked...

8/5/2008: CAUTION: Recently it has come to our attention that at least one company has been selling an inferior competing product on ebay! If someone is selling a product claiming it will fit multiple cars that conflict with the list you find here: Beware! These starters will not fit many if not most cars they claim to, for instance the same starter claimed to fit the XJ6 and the 3.8 Jaguar, this cannot be. This is a person with no knowledge of British cars. Please stick with your British parts dealer, or our distributor on ebay, Competition is a good thing, but only if they are selling you a product that will work on your car.

First, I would like to make the point that I don't criticize my competitorís products. Everything I have seen indicates to me that all the people making aftermarket starters for British cars make fine products, that I would not hesitate to sell or install in my own vehicle. They are just too expensive.

My only problem is with some recent advertising that is claiming that the units that some are selling are new, not 'rebuilt'. I have been in this business for a long time, and if these units were available new, I thought I would know about it. So I decided to check out these "new" starters. I acquired a few of these units to look at and what follows are my findings. The good news: I found nothing to change my mind that these units are well made and are bound to work just dandy. The bad news: they are not new; they are just like every one else in the industry, factory remanufactured. I have included a few images to help educate you so you can make an informed choice when purchasing a gear reduction starter.

The shipping container with boxes. If anyone has any doubts, contact me and I will send a notarized witness statement that the pictures here are what came out of the box. I have no reason to try to fool you, as I said these are nice units, just not new units.

One of the units before I disassembled it
A link to the patent listed on the housing. Trying to read a patent can drive you crazy, but you will see nothing about any 'internal modifications' because there are none. Since patent holders are required to list their patent numbers on all of their products[you've seen the little labels] we can assume there are no other mystery differences.

Here is the first clue, the surface of this housing has obviously been subject to corrosion. No new starter would look like this. It in no way affects the fit or function of the unit, but it is not a new part.

If this were a new unit, this half moon shaped surface would be freshly machined

The internal bearing bores and surfaces here would also be shiny and freshly machined, never sandblasted, below is an image of a new unit I use for the Rover V8 starter and my Advance line of starters.

Notice the shiny machined surfaces. Doesn't make work any better, but it shows if it is new or not
This view shows that the windings are painted the same as the case. If it were a new unit, it would look as in the image below, with a clear lacquer.

A view of the new unit, showing the difference in the windings.

This is a bit more arcane, but this is the contact plunger in the solenoid. If you look carefully at the copper disc to the left, you will see a step on the surface. It has been turned to clean it up . Probably will last another 100k miles, but it isn't a new part.

Well, there it is, just another example of false advertising. Why do they do it? I honestly don't know. Trying to justify their high prices I guess.

Don't overpay. You can have it all, quality and price.

Gustafson Specialty Products LLC
The finest quality and the best prices