Starter whirring: replace whole motor or just bendix?
1989 Ford Ranger XLT 4-bang. Looks like original starter motor. Couple days ago started grinding a bit on start (but still took), then yesterday just whirring, no engagement with flywheel at all. Took starter off and -- whoa, no spring on the bendix at all and looks like the bushings are destroyed (there's a lot of give) and some scratched up metal rings around the bendix.
To be clear: the Bendix moves in and out by finger pressure, there's no spring to it at all. There are two thin metal pieces that look like plates that the spring used to push against? That are just flopping around now.
When I test the starter on the ground using jumper cables, it doesn't whirr -- just pushes tight against the sides. Not sure what that's about -- seems like the angle maybe (gravity?).
Here's the key question: seems the motor itself is OK, because it whirrs (when installed). Can I just replace the Bendix and maybe bushings? Or is the whole thing toast and I should just get a new starter? (Difference between $12 and $90 at NAPA.)
Thoughts? Thanks a ton.