How to Change the Starter in a Toyota 4Runner

by Dan Ferrell
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Photo courtesy of Willdre at

Most Toyota 4Runners have the starter motor mounted to one side of the engine along the lower area, as most vehicles do. However, the Toyota 4Runner with the 2UZ-FE engine has the starter mounted on top between the two cylinder banks. To change the unit on this model, you will have to remove the intake manifold. Keep in mind that this procedure applies to all 4Runners except the 2UZ-FE model.

Step 1

Park your Toyota 4Runner in safe place and level surface. Open the hood and disconnect the black, negative battery cable.

Step 2

Raise the vehicle using a floor jack and support it safely on 2 jack stands.

Step 3

Remove the engine splash shield from underside the engine compartment if your particular model is equipped with one. Use a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Step 4

Locate the starter motor under and to the right-hand side (passenger side) of the engine compartment. Disconnect the battery cable from the starter solenoid--the small cylinder on top of the starter motor--using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Then, unplug the electrical connector-thin wire-from the solenoid by pressing the small plastic tab at the connector and pulling the connector from the fitting.

Step 5

Remove the mounting nuts or bolts securing the starter motor to the transmission bell housing using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Pull the motor towards the front of the vehicle and lift the starter away from the engine compartment.

Step 6

Set the new starter motor in place, making sure the teeth on the starter motor pinion gear and the teeth on the flywheel mesh perfectly-otherwise the starter motor will grind against the flywheel and damage the unit. Install the mounting nuts or bolts by hand first. Tighten the nuts or bolts to 29 foot-pounds (39 Nm).

Step 7

Plug the electrical connector and battery cable to the starter solenoid. Install the engine splash shield and lower the vehicle. Connect the black, negative battery cable and start the engine to make sure the new starter motor is working properly.

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