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|Note: These were taken after the project with the replaced bad starter as the example (No Good) Side View: Note pointed end goes into engine. Note the location of the two electrical connections. Small box next to base has a clip. A 12 MM nut holds on large cylindrical electrical attachment.|
|Slightly different side view. Please note the two-harness bracket “Ears” (My invention for what they look like). These hold the wire harness.The one closest to the observer is a clip style and easy to remove. The other has the pushpin with the 4 parts. This one is a PIA|
|Rear View: Look at the orientation of the ear brackets.Also note the location of the small electrode in relation to the upper bolt hole. You will need to feel this when you put the new starter back in.|
|Engine side perspective of the starter. The nut attached electrode receptacle is closest to the observer in this picture.|
|Head on look at the starter.Using a clock face reference: Bolt hole is at 12 o’clock. Small electrode is just before 11 o’clock. Large electrode held in by nut is at approx. 1 o’clock. Note the “ear” brackets on either bolt holding the starter together.|
Steps:Park car in garage or level ground. You are going to be there for a while.Loosen nuts on passenger car tire with car on the ground.Jack up the car and secure with floor jacks (Make sure parking break is on and wheel chocks are in before you lift) DO NOT USE TIRE JACK as you working to hold up the car. No point in getting yourself hurt.I have extra jack stands so I put emergency fall back jacks under the front lifting point and next to the side lifting points as backups JUST IN CASE. (If you pull hard on a nut you don’t want your stands to fail although the chances to do that are very minimal.)Get your radio codes. (Write down radio codes or get them before hand)Disconnect the battery (both terminals and make sure that they will not accidentally touch the terminal during your work. If you don’t disconnect the battery, this job could get very dangerous.Remove passenger side tireUsing the body clip tool, remove the splashguard, which extends from front to the side passenger side wheel well. You will not need to completely remove it, but leave it hanging. You will need this opened up to do a lot of the work. You do not have to completely remove it, just take out a few of the clips so that you can move it to the side when you need to. Find the starter: Ok Look at the oil pan and find the oil drain. Come back a few inches towards the rear of the car, and follow the engine wall above and you will see the starter. It looks like a giant silver D type battery. It is in a little hollow. This is where you will be working on this project. There is room but not a whole lot of room. On my car there were three places to get my hands in there. One directly below the starter. One a little to the passenger car tire side and one via the wheel well. Be carful if you have bulky arms this might be a bit more difficult as the spaces are extremely tight. Also I suggest that you use a long sleeve “tight to your arm” shirt. It will help keep your arms from getting beat up all day. They still will get beat up. Get comfortable. I used a boat cushion for my head and an old big towel to lie on. Old Yoga mat will work too. I used some small magnetic LED lights and an LED headlamp to see underneath. Light is a rare commodity in this space you will be working. Finding the right spot to illuminate takes a bit of experimentationGo under the car. Remove two 10 MM and one 12 MM bolt holding the intake manifold bracket. You are going to need to remove this to access the starter. This is an L shaped bracket. Two bolts go into the plastic intake manifold. The one 12 MM bolts to the side of the engine.
There will be a clip on a harness bracket facing you on the starter. If you see a picture of the starter the brackets sort of look like “ears” coming off the two bolts which hold the starter together. This one sort of has an angled piece of plastic on it. Feel for the clip from above the clip and push the clip up and out. You should be able to slip the whole assembly off the bracket fairly easy.Look at diagram for the two bolts which hold starter to engine. The top bolt has an extension shaft on it, which makes it easier to get to.
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Loosen the 14 mm bolt (lower) holding the starter in place. It is on pretty tight. You will need an extension to be able to work this properly. I extended this out as far as I could. In fact I extended this out through the wheel well beyond the passenger side wheel rotor. Put a breaker bar or larger ratchet on it. It will not take much but you will not get the leverage / torque you need if you try to do this in the tiny space where the starter is. Once you “break” the tension this will come out fairly easily.Do the same with the bolt, which holds the upper part of the starter in. This bolt is actually easier than you might expect. I did not have a diagram to start and finally figured out that the bolt was an extension bolt. The bolt portion, which holds the starter is the same as the lower bolt, difference is that the upper bolt has an extension part which extents to the end of the starter body. There is about 3 inches from that to the next obstruction on the engine. To get around that use a 14 MM Short sockets then a universal socket and then your extensions. Remove the upper bolt. Remove the lower bolt.Starter will now flop around a bit.Next you need to tackle the hardest part of this. The harness clip that clips on the other “ear” bracket is a PIA. This is a pushpin type which has four little clips all built into the same clip. (It is a small tie wrap type clip with this on the bottom.)
Carefully remove the clip. I could not get a pair of pliers on the thing to push the pins together. How I did this is I used a body clip tool (looks like a mini spatula with a cut out like a U) I wedged the body clip tool between the clip and the top of the bracket. Slowly and methodically wedged and lifted. I was able to lift it out and only busted one of the clip sides. (At the end I used a tie wrap to hold the harness in place when I installed the new starter.)When you are ready go and remove the third harness bracket. (Figure A) This is between the engine and the intake manifold. It is a rectangular box. On my car it was green. This is a clip type, which is easy to deal with. Feel with your finger and push the clip portion out and lift the harness clip off the bracket. This should come off fairly easy.
Ok now on to the challenge round. You have a starter, which is flopping, all over the place. Now you need to so some things by feel only. Follow the harness cable to the first connection on the starter body. You will feel a rubber boot, (Figure B above) which will have a tab at the bottom. Carefully pull the boot back off the connection. This takes some doing and is not as easy at it sounds. You need to pull on the top of the boot and then tug on the lower portions. DO NOT USE A TOOL ON THE BOOT. If you do you could easily puncture the boot and will need to replace the wire harness, which could be an additional nightmare for you. Assuming that you were able to pull back the boot body, you will be exposing a nut holding the end of the electrode connection. The nut is on their snug and you have a flopping starter to deal with. This is how I dealt with this. I went small vs. big. I had a ¼ drive (smaller than 3/8) socket set. I used 12mm socket and a mini breaker bar for a ¼ in drive socket set. The breaker bar is about 5 inches long. It gave me just enough space and leverage to loosen the nut. You then back off the nut and try not to lose it inside the frame. Carefully remove the electrode from the bolt stub where the nut was on. There is not a lot of room to do this. All you need to do is get it loose. If it does not come free skip to the next step do that and come back to remove it.Now just to the Left of this connection and closer to the base of the starter (part closest to where it is bolted onto the car) there is a small clip. (See clock reference picture above in the orientation pictures) You should be able to maneuver the starter a bit so that you can see this connection clearly from underneath the car. Do not damage the clip, but this has a burr on the top of the base, which holds the clip on. To remove the harness from the clip base you need to pull up on the top of the harness clip body. I used a small mechanics pick (L shaped) to gently and carefully pull up on the clip body, just enough so that the harness can be removed. Again you don’t want to damage the harness.Once you do this starter should be free!! You are halfway there. Carefully remove the starter by removing it through the wheel well. Pat yourself on the back, go have a drink and relax for a bit. Round two is coming.Now we will begin installation in just about the reverse order.Take the new starter and put some di-letric grease on the bolt terminal, which accepts the electrode, and on the clip lip for the second electrical connection. Put some on the nut as well which will hold the electrode in place.This is about the hardest part of the reinstall. You need to put the electrode on the correct way on the new starter AND put the nut on. This takes some maneuvering to do. Tighten the nut. All it needs is 7 foot lbs. To get the nut on you are going to have to move the boot up and away. Easier said than done. Once the nut is on and secure, you need to pull the boot down so that it covers the electrode and also the bottom of the electrode area you may need to gently stretch the boot a bit. Don’t use a tool. Use your fingers. This took me a bit to get it to all line up. Also you want to do it in such a way that it leaves as little of the white wire exposed between the boot and the cable harness covering the wires. This is sort of hard to explain but you will see what I mean.Boot on ready to go… ok now to the second electrical clip. This should easily slide and clip into place.Now you need to position the starter. - Be patient this takes time, as you are mostly feeling for the correct match to the engine block. Good news it will only go flush the right way.What I did here was to loosely bolt the bottom bolt first. I used a socket and a short extension (Only to the end of the starter) to help me position the bolt. One hand is holding the starter in place while the other is positioning the bolt. This takes some time to get it to line up perfectly. Take your time you do not want to screw this up.Get the bottom bolt started a few threads.Get a short socket mini extension to help position the top bolt. There is not a lot of room to work with here. There is maybe 3 inches but this straight piece will help you position the bolt and get a few threads started. The opening for the bolt will be out of sight for you so you will need to do this by feel alone. For practice I took the old starter and felt with one hand while locating the hole on the new starter with the other so I knew what to do on the car. It helped a great deal. The upper bolt hole is just above the second clip type electrode at the base of the starter.Assuming that you have both bolts positioned and started, you can now tighten them both down. The specs called for 33 foot lbs. if you have a torque wrench. Check to make sure nothing is moving on the base, and you should now be securely bolted to the car.Now clip the upper green type box clip to the clip on the side of the engine.Now clip the pushpin type clip to the ear bracket closest to the side of the engine. If it is loose (because you broke it like I did) position a tie wrap and tighten. Not too tight to break the harness wire cover, but enough to be snug so that it will not move.Now clip the harness clip on the other “ear” bracket and push into place. Your starter is now secured.Install the intake manifold bracket. The upper bolts go into plastic. Try not to over tighten. Top bolts are 10 MM and bottom bolt is 12 MMRemove your lights or other tools from the area.Install the splash shield, which you had removed or moved to get access.Install the Passenger Tire and get snug to the side of the car. Tighten in a diagonal fashion. You can torque to spec (80 foot pounds) when it is on the group.Remove your loose jacks stands and slowly lower car using your floor jack.Connect the battery terminals negative then positive. 10 MM wrench needed.Remove the wheel chucksStart the Car. Hopefully it works for youEnter in your Radio Codes.Wish you the best of luck. If this has been helpful please let me know. I appreciate the feedback