How to Change the Starter Motor in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

When the Vehicles ignition switch is turned, an electrical signal is sent to a switch, called a solenoid. The solenoid routes that signal to the starter motor via a single cable. A gear within the starter motor exits the body of the starter and intermeshes with the engine's flywheel. When the ignition key is released, the solenoid turns the signal off, and the starter disengages with the flywheel. The starter is defective if it fails to push its gear into the flywheel or if its gear is worn and cannot turn the flywheel.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Starter Motor in a Toyota 22RE

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the negative battery terminal, using a wrench to loosen the retaining bolt. Lift the cable off the terminal and isolate it from the battery.

Raise the front of your Toyota off the ground with a jack and support it on a set of jack stands. Be sure the stands are on solid, flat ground, then remove the jack. Slide under the passenger’s side of the vehicle and locate the starter from below.

Locate the two wiring harness connections on the rear of the starter solenoid. The “S” terminal is a push-on connection; pull it straight off the terminal and push it aside. The “B” terminal is a stud terminal; loosen the nut with a socket and ratchet, then remove the wire from it and push it aside.

Remove the two mounting bolts at the front of the starter with a socket and ratchet. Pull the starter back from the bell housing, then lower it out of the engine compartment.

Raise a new starter motor into place and install the retaining bolt. Tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet, then connect the two wiring harness connectors to the starter.

Place the wire with the ring connector onto the “B” terminal and install the retaining nut and tighten it with a socket and ratchet. Push the second connector onto the “S” terminal, making sure to seat it all the way.

Raise the front of the vehicle off the jack stands with a jack, remove the jack stands from under the vehicle and lower it to the ground. Install the negative battery terminal on the negative battery terminal and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

 How to Change the Starter Motor on a Motorcycle

Remove the battery's negative cable from the battery with a 10 mm wrench then stow the cable where the wire cannot touch the battery terminal. Remove the large negative cable from the starter/solenoid. Remove the large positive cable from the solenoid. Remove the small wires from the solenoid.

Remove the bolts holding the starter housing to the engine block. Slide the starter out of the block until it comes free. Inspect the starter gears in the starter and the engine block for wear, damage or missing teeth. Severely worn, broken or rounded teeth on the engine gear indicates an alignment or wear issue with the starter, and the gear must be replaced at the same time as the starter.

Insert the new starter into the engine block. Install and torque the starter bolts to factory specifications for your year, make and model of bike. Follow the factory recommendations for aligning the starter gears. Misaligned starter gears may lead to low starter power (starter grunt) and premature gear wear.

Reconnect all cables and wires leading to the starter/solenoid and torque to factory specifications for your year, make and model of bike. Reconnect the battery negative cable and tighten firmly with a 10 mm wrench.

Test-start the bike and listen for starter grunt and excessive gear noise, indicating a misalignment. Repeat the procedure of removing the starter and re-installing it if it is misaligned.

Items you will need

  • Mechanic's tools

  • 3/8-inch torque wrench

  • 10 mm wrench

 How to Change the Starter Motor on a Mazda 2300 Pickup Truck

Unbolt the negative cable from the battery terminal using the battery wrench.

Raise the right front corner of the Mazda 2300 with the jack. Lower the front onto the jack stand, placed under the frame. Make sure to position the jack stand where it won’t interfere with access to the starter motor.

Unbolt the starter wiring with the socket set. The starter is located on the side of the engine next to the transmission bell housing.

Hold the body of the starter with your strongest hand while you unbolt the two starter-mounting bolts with the socket set using your other hand. Never let the starter hang down on the loose bolts. Move the old starter out from under the 2300 and put the new starter in its place.

Thread the mounting bolts through the starter flange and into the engine by hand. Tighten the mounting bolts using the socket set.

Reconnect the starter wiring with the socket set and then reconnect the negative battery cable to the negative battery terminal with the battery wrench.

Take the 2300 off the jack stands, using the jack.

Items you will need

  • Battery wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Socket set

 How to Replace the Starter Motor on a Mitsubishi Montero

Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable for safety. Use the pliers to loosen the nut and slip the cable off. The starter is an electrical item; disconnecting the battery will prevent shock.

Gain access to underneath the vehicle and remove the engine protective guard (not all models are equipped with a guard).

Remove the starter access cover. Unplug the wiring modules from the starter.

Remove the bolts mounting the starter. Use a penetrating solvent (like liquid wrench) to loosen the bolts if they are too tight. Do not discard the old starter.

Place the new starter in the same position as the other. Use the torque wrench to tighten the bolts to between 20 and 25 foot-lbs. Reconnect the wiring module.

Crank the vehicle, to make sure the starter is working correctly, before re-assembling the other components.

Replace the starter cover and the engine brush guard. Reconnect the negative battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • Replacement starter

 How to Replace the Starter Motor for a 2004 Dodge Stratus

Removal

Open the hood and locate the battery at the rear driver-side corner of the engine compartment. Install your memory-saver device according to its instructions. Using a ratchet and socket, loosen the negative battery cable nut and disconnect the negative cable. Position the cable where it cannot accidentally contact the battery negative terminal.

Locate the air cleaner housing in the forward, driver-side corner of the engine compartment. Unplug the air temperature sensor wiring from the sensor and detach the air makeup hose. Using a nut-driver, loosen the air duct hose clamp and pull the duct off the throttle body. Pry out the push-pin retainer on the radiator bracket, using a flat screwdriver. Remove the air cleaner retaining nut on the upper driver-side of the housing, using a ratchet and socket, and lift the housing up and out of the engine compartment.

Locate the starter in the area revealed by removing the air cleaner housing. Using a ratchet and socket, remove the starter mounting bolts and the ground wire from the starter mounting flange. Unplug the solenoid electrical connector. Using a ratchet and socket, remove the starter terminal nut and disconnect the solenoid and B+ wires from the starter. Remove the starter from the engine compartment.

Installation

Install the wires and nut on the terminal and torque the nut to 90 inch-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket. Connect the solenoid wire to the solenoid terminal, and position the starter in its place. Install the retainer bolts and the ground wire. Tighten the bolts to 40 foot-pounds.

Settle the air cleaner housing into position, being careful to align the housing sockets with the locating pins in the housing support bracket. Install the retaining nut and tighten it securely. Install the duct onto the throttle body and tighten the hose clamp securely. Install the push-pin retainer, and plug in the air makeup hose and the temperature sensor wire.

Install the battery negative cable onto the negative battery terminal. Install and torque the terminal nut to 140 inch-pounds. Disconnect the memory-saver device and test-start the engine.

Items you will need

  • Memory-saver device

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Nut-driver set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Starter Motor on a Honda Civic

Pop the hood. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery with a wrench and then disconnect the positive terminal. Remove the air intake tubing from the throttle body using the flathead screwdriver, then pull the intake tubing and resonator out of the way to reveal the starter.

Disconnect the battery connections on the starter by hand to unplug the harness, and with a ratchet for the bolted-on connections. Take note of which wire goes where for reassembly. Unbolt the starter from the engine using the 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and socket and take it out of the engine bay.

Set the replacement starter on the engine and bolt it in place using the ratchet. Connect the electrical connections using and open-end wrench and your hands.

Reinstall the air intake tubing using a flathead screwdriver, then connect the battery, starting with the positive terminal and ending with the negative terminal.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Replacement starter

 How to Replace the Starter Motor on a 1990 Volvo 240 DL

Locate the negative battery cable end under the hood of your Volvo 240. Remove the retaining bolt from the cable end with a wrench and remove the cable from the battery.

Locate the starter from the top of the engine compartment. Look straight down under the intake manifold on the front of the engine. Remove the wiring-harness connector from the starter. The first is the “S” terminal; unplug it from the connector on the starter solenoid. Lay the wire out of the way for now.

Locate the second connection, the “B” terminal. Remove the nut from the terminal with a wrench and remove the cable from it. Lay the cable aside and move to the front of the starter.

Locate the two retaining bolts on the face of the starter and remove them with a socket and ratchet. Lift the starter out of the engine compartment. Lower a new starter into place and align it with the hole in the bell housing.

Slide the nose of the new starter into the bell housing, then align the mounting holes on the starter with the holes on the bell housing. Install the two mounting bolts into the starter and tighten them to 25 ft-lbs. with a torque wrench.

Plug in the “S” terminal connector to the connector on the starter, making sure it locks in place. Slide the “B” terminal wire onto the “B” terminal at the back of the starter solenoid. Thread the retaining nut onto the stud and tighten it with a wrench.

Install the negative battery cable on the battery terminal and tighten the retaining bolt on the cable end with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Starter Motor in a Mitsubishi Eclipse

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery with an adjustable wrench.

Place the front end of the Eclipse on two jack stands so you can get under the vehicle. The easiest way to access the starter is raising the front of the vehicle and crawling under it to change the starter. However, you can remove the air cleaner ductwork and reach the starter without getting under the car. To do so, remove the band clamps that hold the ductwork to the throttle body and to the air filter box. With the ductwork removed, look down between the engine and the radiator to find the starter.

Remove the solenoid electrical harness from the starter. Push the locking tab inward and pull the plastic harness off the starter solenoid.

Remove the nut that holds the ground wire to the back of the starter with an adjustable wrench. Pull the wire off the stud and thread the nut back onto the stud to prevent losing the nut.

Locate the two starter mounting bolts on the back of the bell housing. Remove the bolts with a ratchet and socket. Hold the starter in place with one hand while you remove the bolts with the other to prevent the starter gear from jamming into the flywheel. Jamming could damage the flywheel teeth.

Pull the starter out of the bell housing. Pull any shims off the base of the starter and transfer them to the new starter.

Push the starter into place. Turn the starter to mesh the starter gear with the flywheel in the bell housing. Turn the starter until the bolt holes in the starter and bell housing line up.

Hold the starter in place and thread the two bolts from the back of the bell housing to secure the starter into place. Tighten the bolts to 30 ft-lbs.

Remove the nut from the end of the starter and slide the black wire onto the stud. Replace the bolt and tighten it to 30 ft-lbs.

Reconnect the wiring harness to the starter solenoid.

Place the air cleaner ductwork onto the throttle body and secure the band clamp. Place the other end of the ductwork onto the air cleaner box and secure it with the band clamp. If you did not remove the ductwork, skip this step.

Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Ratchet and socket set

 How to Replace a Starter Motor on a Ford Falcon

Raise the front of the car with a hoist and support its weight with safety stands.

Remove the starter solenoid cable from the starter motor. The starter solenoid is bolted to the passenger's side of the engine compartment, next to the battery. The solenoid's cable can be traced to a threaded stud on the side of the starter motor. The tip of the cable features a metal eyelet, which slides onto the threaded stud and is held in place with a single nut. Remove the nut with a wrench then pull the cable off of the threaded rod.

Remove the starter from the transmission. The starter motor attaches to the transmission's bell housing with two bolts. Remove the upper bolt first with a wrench. Grasp the bottom of the starter to hold it in place then remove the bottom bolt. Lower the starter out of the transmission.

Position a new rubber dust ring onto the face of the starter, where the starter mounts to the bell housing if applicable. Falcons produced in 1962 and 1963 featured a rubber dust ring to help seal the seam between the starter and the transmission. Later models did not use the dust ring. Note that one side of the dusk ring is flared. The flared side must face the starter motor.

Insert the starter motor into the transmission's bell housing then install the starter's two bolts with a torque wrench. Each bolt must be tightened to between 12 and 15 foot-pounds of torque. Overtightening the bolts can damage the bell housing.

Slide the metal eyelet on the tip of the starter solenoid cable onto the threaded rod on the side of the starter then tighten the cable's nut onto the eyelet with a wrench.

Raise the car with the hoist and remove the safety stands, then lower the car to the ground.

Items you will need

  • Hoist

  • Safety stands

  • Wrench

  • Rubber dust ring (1962-1963 models)

  • Torque wrench

About the Author

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