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Long story, but I will TRY to be brief.
87 Bronco Custom. Straight six with granny low four speed.
About 1-1/2 years ago, I had a local mechanic do a clutch job.
While "in there" he suggested that we replace the flywheel.
We then opted to replace the starter, so that everything would be new, and "matching".
Clutch works great, but I never felt comfortable with the starter/flywheel.
It sounded (felt) a little louder, rougher, when starting.
Mechanic said " dont worry about it. Everything is fine.
If it fails, it is under full warranty for two years".
Spring forward to just recently: I started the truck and after the engine fired, the starter motor remained engaged with the flywheel. Not only was the bendix engaged, but the starter motor was still trying to crank.
Before I could disconnect the battery, it had fried the solenoid.

SURPRISE the mechanic is nowhere to be found!
I had it towed to another mechanic that I have used in the past.
He replaced the solenoid and starter motor.
Still sounded slightly "off", but started ok.
3 weeks later, same thing happens.
I towed it back, and he, under warranty, replaced the solenoid and starter.
He assumed that it must have been a faulty solenoid.
3 days later, same thing happened.

So, now, I am doing it myself.
I replaced the ignition switch this time and the solenoid.
The first time that I tested it, it again remained engaged.
My question.... I assume that the ring gear on the flywheel is wrong,......but even if the bendix were to get stuck on the flywheel, wouldn't the starter motor stop cranking when the key is brought back to the ON position?
I can tuer the key OFF, and even remove it, and this thing is trying to start!
Is there some type of switching mechanism on the bendix that keeps the starter motor cranking while the bendix is engaged?
Any other likely culprits?
I apologize for the long post.
Thanks in advance.
Mike
 

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Don’t have much for you.

Next time it continuously cranks, pull the signal wire from your ignition switch off the solenoid first (probably a little push connector). This eliminates the ignition switch as a starting source and can help you whittle down where to focus.

There’s much chatter about aftermarket solenoids failing soon, if not straight out of the box.

I had some starter trouble and took it to a starter man who described that the bendix gear is first ejected to hit the flywheel. As it’s traveling, it closes another set of contacts that actually spin the starter motor. I’m guessing you’re thinking the bendix gear may be sticking in the flywheel? If so, does the starter immediately rengage upon supplying power, or do you have to go through the start sequence again?
 

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Doesn’t the Bendix style run full starter power through the fender mounted relay?

If so, then something is holding in the relay. The starter will stop when the relay opens. It does not have a means to stay energized at the starter.

So relay, ignition switch or wiring issue.
 
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