How To Replace A Starter
- Difficulty: Advanced
- Avg. Time Necessary: 3-4 Hours
- Cost: ~ $200
8mm Hex bit socket
10mm Hex bit socket
2x10” socket extensions
5” socket extension
universal socket connector
3/8” and ½” drive ratchets
Torque wrenches (one for 34lb/ft, the other for 60lb/ft)
Optimoly HT (or Copaslip) copper anti-seizing paste
Heating supply bolts (if replacement required)
2 of 900-067-207-02
2 of 900-067-008-02
4 of 900-380-003-02
Starter (rebuilt or new)
Washers for starter bolts (if replacement required): 2 of 900-031-005-02
Protection cap (if replacement required): 1 of 999-703-231-40
Disconnect battery and keep connectors away from battery. Because one of the terminal on the starter is a live wire connected directly from the battery.
Jack up car to at least 18” height so that you can work under it (unless you’re lucky enough to have a hoist). To raise the car that high follow the instructions in the DIY “How to jack the car up” The only difference I do is that I place blocks of wood under the rear wheels when I’m raising the car from the rear jack supports. This keeps the angle differential between the front and rear to a minimum and keeps less angled pressure on the jack stand in the front.
Remove right rear wheel (Note: Loosen the bolts A LITTLE before you jack up the car if you don’t use an impact gun. Even if you don’t have an impact gun you should be able to undo the bolts by keeping the emergency brake on and the car in gear. I don’t like loosening the bolts before I jack up the car because of the pressure put onto the wheels during the processing of jacking the car up.)
Remove heating supply tubes on both left and right sides. See the DIY “Cleaning Secondary Air Injection Ports” (http://p-car.com/diy/sai/1/sai.htm) on how to remove them. Also, besides the tubes shown in Robert’s article, also remove the metal heating supply tube found to the right of where Robert is pointing in Photo #12. There are two hex socket bolts to be removed. (If the bolts break or are very corroded you can replace them: (2) of 900-067-207-02, (2) of 900-067-008-02, (4) of 900-380-003-02).
Disconnect the right rear half shaft (drive shaft) at the transmission flange side. There are six (6) hex bolts that need to be undone – they are very easily stripped so I accessed them through the wheel well and through the suspension components.
The tools I used here are:
8mm Hex bit socket
10” socket extensions
5” socket extension
Here is a photo of the bolts (6 of them, 3 shown) which need to be undone:
(Note: If you strip the bolts or want to replace them the part number for these bolts is: (6) of 900-067-123-09).
In order to unbolt these in the manner that I’m doing it you’ll need to rotate the axle to get access to the bolts. So the procedure is: release the emergency brake, line up the bolt by turning the brake disc (or if it’s too difficult put the wheel back on and use the wheel as leverage), engage the emergency brake, loosen the bolt (but don’t remove it) and repeat. Once all bolts have been loosened you can loosen them completely from underneath the car.
To separate the half shaft from the transmission put the shaft flange towards the wheel well and move the shaft out of the way. Be careful not to damage or dirty the face of the flange – this needs to be absolutely clean during reassembly. The photo below indicates the direction in which to push the shaft.
Remove the starter wires. There are two nuts to be undone on the starter with the larger holding two wires (the 50A connection), and the other holding only one wire (the 30A connection). The 30A connector should have a plastic protective cap over it which needs to be removed. See photo below.
Cut tie wraps holding wire bundle to starter.
Unbolt starter mounting bolts. There are two of these – the lower has a large ground wire connected to it. To unbolt these you will need a 10mm hex bit socket. The lower bolt is relatively easy to take off, the upper is where we need to get creative. What I found works for me is to use the following tools (all ½” drives):
(1) 10mm hex bit socket
(1) 3” socket extension
(1) socket universal joint
Below is a photo of the tool setup I used:
Everyone will have their own way of doing this procedure, in fact the shop manual indicates a different setup using a sliding T-bar socket connection, but because the bolt on my car felt like it was almost seized I needed a lot more leverage than this setup allowed me.
With only the hex bit and the extension connected together, I reached with my right hand (laying down with my feet towards the rear of the car) up over the starter and then strictly by feel, found out where the bolt was and inserted the hex bit socket. This is the most tedious and frustrating part of the job. Once you get the feel for it the first time, though, you’ll find it much easier on subsequent tries. Once you have the hex bit inserted into the bolt, let go of it and the next step will be to attach the universal connector and the ratchet.
To install the universal connector, what I did was put myself in a position where I ended up “hugging” the transmission. The first picture shows my left arm reach over the half-shaft up over the starter.
The second photo shows my right arm and how I begin to reach over the transmission. You can see the left half shaft bolted to the transmission. Note the white cloth (and the red cloth in the previous photo) – I put these over two lines (which I believe are brake lines) because the lines had a very gummy substance on them which was very difficult to remove off my clothing (or arm J ). Also, you’ll likely need to pull up the sleeves of your work clothes to get in there comfortably (or just wear a t-shirt if you’re in a warmer climate).
With your right hand, you should now be able to feel for the socket extension which you inserted previously. You should also be able to hold it (or feel for it) with your left hand at the same time. When you achieve this capability you’ll be in an ideal position to remove the bolt. Now, with either your right or left hand, bring up the universal connector and attach it to the socket extension – make sure you don’t remove the hex bit from the bolt. (By the way, the reason I attach at this point is that I found the universal connector made it much more difficult for me to insert the hex bit into the bolt in the first place – assembling it after was much easier for me). Once the universal connector has been attached, bring the ratchet up using your right hand, over the transmission, and as you did with the universal connector, attach it the universal connector. Turn the ratchet drive bit as necessary to get it attached properly. Once you have this, you are now able to apply pressure to remove the bolt.
In my case, as mentioned, the bolt was on very tight and felt like it was almost seized. Once I set up the ratchet to be put in a position to apply pressure to the bolt, I used a hollow pipe from below and pushed on the ratchet for leverage until it finally gave way. To use the ratchet effectively, here is where you make use of the universal connector. Move the ratchet with the help of the universal joint to “click” the ratchet into position – you won’t be able to get more than one or two “click” actions at a time (not sure what the real technical word to use here is J ).
After it has been undone, remove the bolt.
Robin Sun Update March, 2006
I was able to remove the top starter bolt by using a combination of 10mm allen socket, extension and a breaker bar. The breaker bar offered less play and works well in the restricted space. I also attached an extension with a large socket so I slip it on the breaker bar to use as leverage.
Remove the starter from below carefully. This is a bit awkward given the shaft the at protrudes from the starter, but some playing around in the space should help. Also, you may find the bracket which holds the large ground cable (which you removed from the lower starter bolt) might be in the way, just bend it to give you a little more room to remove the starter.
Install new starter. The starter that I got didn’t have a nut for the 30A connector so I reused the one from my original starter. You may find that the starter has either 3 or 4 connections. The one I removed had 3 connections, the newer one had 4 connections. Just make sure the 50A connector is set correctly and the 30A as well. Ignore the others.
Make sure you have washers for the bolts. The parts manual shows two washers, one for each of the starter mounting bolts. The original install on mine didn’t have any. I ordered them and installed them.
Using the same procedure as stated above, try and get the top bolt in (again, using my right hand from the right rear over the starter. Screw it in as much as possible. Then, as before, attach the universal connector, ratchet and bolt on. The tightening torque for the mounting bolts is 34lb/ft. There’s no way I could get a torque wrench for the top bolt, so I did it by feel. If you want to see what 34lb/ft feels like, use a torque wrench on your lower bolt and remove it using the same ratchet for the upper bolt – this will give you some sense of how tight this is.
Before attaching the lower bolt, put on the new tie wraps. These wraps can be purchased either from the dealer or even The Home Depot. The ones I got are shown below. Note that these are NYLON and should be a minimum of 12” long (I used 14” to give more room to work with). These wraps should hold the wire on top of the starter to the starter.
Attach the 30A and 50A connections and tighten the nuts.
put the protection cap over the 30A connector – a must. If you can reuse the cap then fine otherwise order a new one (part #: 999-703-231-40).
Attach lower starter mounting bolt along with the ground wire and washer. Torque to 34lb/ft.
Reconnect the half shaft to the transmission flange. To do this you will need to purchase some Optimoly HT (part #: 000-043-004-00) – or, given that none was available in North America when I did this, just use some copper anti-seizing paste such as Copaslip (from the makers of Moly Slip). Please note that this material contains lead and you should use gloves when handling it and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
This paste should be put on all of the six bolts you’ll use to reconnect the half shaft. Important: MAKE SURE THE FACES ON THE TRANSMISSION FLANGE AND ON THE HALF SHAFT ARE ABSOLUTELY CLEAN PRIOR TO REASSEMBLY. To tighten the bolts use the method I outlined previously when removing them. Note that the torque for each of the bolts is 60lb/ft.
Reconnect heating supply tubes.
Reinstall right rear wheel.
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