Starter motors fail mostly due to overheating. They are placed in a hostile, hot environment and cannot be expected to last indefinitely. Another mode of failure is a shorted or open winding. This exhibits itself as a "dead spot" on the commutator. If a brush lands on a dead spot the motor wont turn at all. A third failure-mode is a faulty pinion engagement. Sometimes the pinion assembly gets stiff or stuck due to lack of lubrication or wear. Starter motor rebuilding or replacement is required for all of these problems.
The driven "or friction" plate runs on a splined input shaft, through which the power is transmitted to the gearbox. The plate has friction linings, similar to brake linings, on both its faces. This allows the drive to be taken up smoothly when the clutch is engaged. When the clutch is disengaged "pedal depressed", an arm pushes a release bearing against the centre of the diaphragm spring which releases the clamping pressure. The outer part of the pressure plate, which has a large friction surface, then no longer clamps the driven plate to the flywheel, so the transmission of power is interrupted and gears can be changed.
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