How to Change the Starter on Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer

The starter motor in a Chevrolet car is the small electric motor that turns over the engine when you turn the key. It uses a lot of power to crank the engine, and a bad one can require more power than your battery can generate. If the engine cranks very slowly or not at all, the problem could be a bad starter that needs to be replaced. The starter is located within the engine's throttle body, which is placed right next to the steering column. It must be separated from the battery to be removed and replaced.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Starter on a Chevrolet Suburban

Removing the Starter

Turn off the heater, air conditioner, defroster, lights and other electrical accessories, and make sure the ignition switch is in the "Off" position.

Detach the ground battery cable with a wrench.

Unscrew the mounting bolt form the oil dipstick tube using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Rotate the tube to one side.

Jack up the front of your Suburban using a floor jack. Position two jack stands under the vehicle frame at each side to support it.

Remove any protective shields from under the engine and the starter/transmission cover bolt (if equipped with it) using a ratchet and socket.

Unplug the oil level sensor electrical connector to position the harness out of the way.

Unscrew the retaining nut from the front axle-mounting bracket through bolt using a wrench or ratchet and socket, if you have a 4WD model. Then push the bolt tip flash with the support bushing, but do not remove the bolt. This will provide you with enough room to move the starter off the engine.

Unscrew the two starter mounting bolts using a wrench or ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Slide the starter motor forward until it clears the transmission and remove the starter cover.

Disconnect the wire and battery cable off the starter motor using a wrench or ratchet and socket. Remove the starter from the vehicle.

Installing the New Starter

Set the starter motor in place, and connect the wire and battery cable to the starter using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Place the cover over the starter and slide the starter in place. Tighten the starter mounting bolts using wrench or ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Push the front axle-mounting bracket through bolt until it is fully seated in place and tighten the retaining nut with a wrench or ratchet and socket, if you have a 4WD model.

Plug the oil level sensor electrical connector.

Install the bolt on the starter/transmission cover and any protective shields from under the engine using a ratchet and socket.

Lower the vehicle.

Reposition the oil dipstick tube in place and tighten the tube-mounting bolt using the wrench or ratchet and socket.

Attach the ground battery cable using the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Ratchet extension

 How to Replace the Starter on a Chevy S10

Removal

Disconnect the truck’s negative battery cable.

Use the jack to raise the front end and support it on jack stands. Depending on the engine model, it will help to remove one of the wheels and the skid plate.

Remove the front pipe from the exhaust manifold on a two-wheel drive model by removing its fasteners with a wrench. The fasteners may need penetrating oil for removal.

Disconnect any other components in the way of the starter motor. This can include the drive shaft, brace rod going from the engine’s front end to the bell housing, any brackets attached to the starter and the starter’s heat shield.

Unplug and disconnect the wire and battery cable from the terminals on the starter solenoid.

Remove the starter’s mounting bolts with a wrench and remove the starter motor. If there are any spacer shims, take note of their positions.

Installation

Install the replacement starter motor, making sure the spacer shims are in the same position, and tighten the bolts.

Plug the solenoid wire and battery cable to the correct terminals.

Reconnect any other parts like the heat shield, brackets, brace rod, drive shaft and pipe to the exhaust manifold.

Reconnect the wheels–if needed, lower the car and reconnect the cable to the battery.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Wrench

  • Penetrating oil

  • Starter motor

 How to Replace a Starter on a Monte Carlo

Park the Monte Carlo on a paved, level surface and apply the parking brake. Release the hood latch.

Place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires and open the hood.

Remove and isolate the negative battery terminal from the negative side post of the battery using a hand wrench or the ratchet and a socket.

Raise the front axle (one side at a time) of the Monte Carlo using the floor jack and support it with jack stands under the front frame rails.

Put on the safety glasses and crawl underneath (on a creeper if you have one and there's enough room) the Monte Carlo with the tools and new starter.

Remove the radiator lower air deflector using the ratchet and a socket.

Remove the torque converter cover using the ratchet and a socket.

Remove the electrical connections (starter solenoid BAT terminal and the starter solenoid S terminal) from the starter.

Remove the two starter bolts using the ratchet and a socket and remove the starter.

Install the new starter and replace, then tighten the two starter bolts.

Replace the electrical connections to the starter and replace then tighten the nuts.

Replace the torque converter cover and replace, then tighten the bolts.

Replace the radiator lower air deflector and replace, then tighten the bolts.

Lower the Monte Carlo to the ground.

Reconnect and tighten the negative battery terminal to the battery. Remove the wheel chock and test-start the Monte Carlo.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Wheel chock

  • Safety glasses

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet

  • 3/8-inch drive socket set

  • Hand wrench set

  • Creeper (optional)

  • Replacement starter

 How to Change the Starter on a Chevy 1500 Truck

Jack up the front of the Silverado and secure it on jack stands. Make sure the truck is solidly on the stands before you crawl underneath it.

Disconnect the positive post on the battery using an open-end wrench. This ensures you won't get shocked when disconnecting the starter from the power wire. As a backup, also disconnect the negative terminal.

Crawl beneath the truck and unbolt the heat shield, if the truck is equipped with one, using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set.

Unbolt all wiring from the starter using either the open-end wrench or the 3/8-inch ratchet and sockets, depending on accessibility. Make sure to keep all your bolts in a safe place; you will be using them when you reassemble the starter.

Pull out one of the two bolts that hold the starter to the block. Support the starter with one hand, and with your other hand slowly pull the second bolt. The starter is surprisingly heavy, although manageable, so don't unbolt it without first supporting the starter properly. Remove the starter from the truck.

Bolt the replacement starter onto your Chevy using the 3/8-inch ratchet, making sure that any shims that were previously on the block or starter are still there.

Reconnect all wiring, then reattach the heat shield and battery terminals.

Try to start your Chevy. If it starts normally, then the job is complete. If you hear the starter motor grinding, repeat the process and add shims between the starter motor and the engine. This may take a few attempts.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Replacement starter

  • Starter shim kit

 How to Replace the Starter on a Chevy Cavalier

Disconnect the cable from the negative battery terminal. Set the cable aside where it can't accidentally touch the terminal.

Remove the air inlet duct from the throttle body. This is the tube or hose connecting the car's air intake system to the throttle body.

Remove the two bolts on the starter, beginning with the top bolt. Disconnect all electrical connectors attaching the starter to the battery. Remove the starter motor from the throttle body.

Install the new starter motor into the throttle body. Torque the bolts depending on the size engine the Cavalier has. If it has a 2.2-liter engine, torque the bolts to 37 foot-pounds on a VIN 4 car and 30 foot-pounds for a VIN F. On a 2.4-liter engine, the bolts should be 66 foot-pounds.

Connect the electrical connectors to the new starter. Reattach the air inlet duct to the throttle body. Reconnect the negative battery cable and test the new starter with the ignition switch.

Items you will need

  • Replacement starter Ratchet wrench

 How to Replace a Starter in a Chevy Monte Carlo

Removing a Starter

Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal, by loosening the retaining bolt and pulling the clamp off the negative terminal.

Raise the vehicle according to instructions in the owner's manual and support it with jack stands placed underneath the frame.

Locate the starter motor. It will be bolted to the underside of the engine block near where the engine mates with the transmission.

Label and disconnect the wires attached to the starter solenoid.

Remove the two bolts that secure the starter to the engine block.

Remove the starter from the vehicle.

Installing a Starter

Lift the starter into position alongside the engine block.

Reinstall the two bolts that secure the starter to the engine block.

Reconnect the wiring harness to the starter solenoid using the labels you made during disassembly.

Lower the vehicle.

Reconnect the ground cable to the negative battery terminal by sliding the clamp over the terminal and tightening the retaining bolt.

Items you will need

  • Automotive jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench set

  • Socket set

  • Masking tape

  • Markers

 How to Change the Starter in a Silverado

Removing the Starter

Disconnect the Silverado's negative battery cable.

Raise the truck's front end and support it on jack stands. If the Silverado has a V-8 engine, remove the right wheel.

Unscrew and remove either the oil pan skid plate (V-6 engines) or the splash shield from the right front fender well (V-8 engines) using an Allen wrench.

Pull the heat shield off the starter motor if there is one.

Disconnect the cables from the starter solenoid terminals. This includes the battery cable and the starter control cable. Unbolt the transmission cover if there is one. Remove the starter's bolts and the motor.

Installing the Starter

Install the starter motor with its mounting bolts. Connect the transmission cover, cables and heat shield.

Reconnect the oil skid plate or fender well splash shield.

Connect the wheel if needed and lower the truck.

Reconnect the battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Allen wrench

 How to Replace a Starter in a '97 Chevy Lumina

Removing the Old Starter Motor

Park your Lumina on level ground, set the transmission to neutral and release the parking brake.

Open the hood and detach the ground (black) battery cable with a wrench.

Lift the front of your vehicle with a floor jack, support it with jack stands and chock the rear wheels.

Put on your goggles and get under the vehicle.

Unfasten the retaining nuts holding the heavy (battery) cable and the thin wire to the back of the starter solenoid (the small cylinder mounted on top of the starter motor) with a wrench. Move the heavy and thin wires out of the way.

Loosen the two mounting bolts holding the starter motor to the engine block with a ratchet, large ratchet extension and socket. Hold the motor assembly with one hand and finish removing the two starter mounting bolts. Make a note of the position of each mounting bolt, since they are of different sizes, and of any shims located between the starter motor, mounting bolts and engine block.

Remove the starter motor from the vehicle.

Replacing the Starter Motor

Position the new starter motor in place with one hand and install the two mounting bolts finger tight with your free hand, along with any shims installed with the original starter. Failing to replace the shims may cause the starter to grind against the flywheel or engage and fail to start the engine.

Tighten the two mounting bolts with the ratchet, large ratchet extension and socket.

Position the heavy cable and wire in their respective mounting studs at the back of the starter solenoid and install the retaining nuts finger tight. Tighten the nuts with the wrench.

Lower your vehicle off the jack stands, apply the parking brake and remove the chocks form the rear wheels.

Attach the ground (black) battery cable with the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • 2 wheel chocks

  • Goggles

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet

  • Large ratchet extension

  • Socket

 How to Change the Starter on a 2001 Chevy Impala 3400

Pop the hood. Remove the negative terminal from the battery with an open-end wrench. Do the same with the positive terminal. Lift the front of your Impala with a jack. Lower the car onto jack stands for support. Remove the jack.

Unbolt the lower radiator air deflector from the chassis using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Pull it to the side. Locate the connection between the transmission and the motor. Remove the torque converter cover at the bottom of the transmission, using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Locate the starter on the driver's side of the engine block. Unbolt the connections on the starter with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, taking note of where each connection mounts for future reference. Unbolt the starter from the engine block. Lower it carefully from the engine using both hands for support.

Lift the replacement starter up and place it in the engine compartment. Secure the starter with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Reconnect the electrical connections using the ratchet. Reinstall the torque converter cover and the lower air deflector using the ratchet.

Reconnect the negative terminal on the battery and then the negative terminal using an open-end wrench. Raise the front of the Impala with the jack above the jack stands. Remove the jack stands. Lower the car to the ground.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Replacement starter

 How to Change the Starter in a 2005 Impala

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the terminal.

Place the wheel chocks behind the back tires of the car and jack the automobile up using the automobile jack. Place a jack stand under the car near the jacking point and raise it up to the frame of the car.

Remove the radiator lower air deflector using a wrench to remove the bolts.

Take the cover off the torque converter using a socket and ratchet to remove the bolts.

Label the wires on the starter using the marker and masking tape to note the proper location of each one. Disconnect the wires using a wrench to remove the nuts and pull the wires away from the starter.

Remove the starter from the engine by loosening the bolts with a ratchet and socket. Put the new starter in place and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet.

Connect the electrical wires to the starter according to how you labeled them. Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

Replace the cover on the torque converter and tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet. Replace the lower radiator air deflector and tighten the bolts with a wrench. Remove the jack stand and lower the car back to the ground.

Connect the battery cable and tighten the nut with a wrench. Start the car and test the installation of the new starter.

Items you will need

  • Automobile jack

  • Jack stand

  • Wheel chocks

  • Marker

  • Masking tape

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Replace the Starter on a 2002 Express Van

2002 Express van starter removal

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery using a socket wrench. Place a block of wood behind the rear tire to prevent the van from sliding.

Use the jack to raise the van on the driver's side. Place a jack stand just to the rear of the front driver's side tire.

Locate the starter near the transmission behind the oil filter. Use a socket wrench, remove the two starter shield bolts, one from each side of the shield.

Use a socket wrench to remove the starter bolts. There is one bolt on the left and right side of the starter.

Holding the starter in your hand, remove the starter wire harness y pulling on the connector on the starter solenoid. Do not pull on the wire.

2002 Express van starter replacement

Reconnect the existing starter wires by pushing them on to the starter solenoid.

Thread in the two starter bolts by hand until finger tight. Using a torque wrench, tighten the two bolts to 33 foot-pounds.

Place the starter shield back into place covering the starter from the exhaust manifold. Using a torque wrench, tighten the two bolts to 53 inch-pounds. Clean the negative battery cable terminal of corrosion using a shop towel. Replace the negative battery cable using a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

 How to Change the Starter in a 98 Chevrolet Prizm

Disconnect the battery terminals with a wrench, starting with the negative terminal, to prevent shorting or arcing. Remove the battery hold-down clamp, using a wrench. Remove the battery from the car.

Raise the car with the floor jack and place the jack stands under the sub-frame. Lower the car so that it rests on the stands. Remove the two splash shields located under the radiator, using a socket. Remove the electrical connectors to the two fans. Remove the bolts securing the fans, using a socket, then remove the fans.

Remove the two bolts securing the starter to the bellhousing, using a socket. The bottom starter bolt is installed through the starter into the bellhousing; the top bolt is installed through the bellhousing into the starter.

Pull the starter out of the bellhousing and remove the two wires connected to the solenoid. The large battery wire is held on the top post on the solenoid by a nut, and the small diameter wire just pulls off. Connect these wires to the new starter.

Install the starter and tighten the bolts to 38 foot-pounds of torque. Install the two fans and connect their wiring harnesses. Install the two splash shields under the radiator. Lower the car to the ground. Install the battery and hold-down clamp. Install the positive battery terminal and tighten it with a wrench, followed by the negative terminal.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Ratchet

  • Set of sockets

  • Set of wrenches

 How to Change a Starter on a 1991 Chevy 1500

Prop open the hood for access to the engine compartment. Disconnect the battery by unbolting the cables at the top of the battery.

Trace the red cable to the bottom of the engine on the passenger side. The red cable is connected to the top of the starter. Removing the starter will require crawling under the truck.

Disconnect the cable by unbolting it from the starter solenoid. Loosen the bolt and pull the terminal off the starter. Disconnect the smaller wire by removing the nut and pulling the lead off.

Unbolt the three bolts holding the starter to the frame. The bolts are in a triangle pattern,

Pull the starter off the frame. The starter may be stubborn and can be tapped with a hammer to loosen it from the frame if needed.

Position the new starter to the frame. Tighten the bolts by hand until all three bolts are started. Secure the bolts with a socket wrench.

Connect the positive cable to the starter solenoid by unbolting the nut and placing the lead on to the stud. Tighten the nut over the lead until tight. Install the smaller wire on to the remaining stud. Do not over tighten the nuts, as this could strip out the threads.

Connect the battery by tightening the cables back on to the terminals. Ensure the red cable is attached to the positive terminal. The positive cable is designated by a "+" symbol.

Start the truck to ensure the starter is functioning correctly.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • New starter

 How to Replace a Starter on a 97 Geo Prism

Park your Geo Prism on a level surface. Raise your 1997 Geo Prism by inserting a floor jack underneath the Prism's frame on the driver's side. Put a jack stand next to the floor jack so that all four legs are resting on the ground and the jack stand is directly beneath the car's frame. Lower the floor jack and repeat the same process on the passenger side of the vehicle. Place wood blocks behind the tires of your 1997 Geo Prism so that that the vehicle does not accidentally roll backwards while you are working on it.

Remove the negative battery cable from the 1997 Geo Prism. This will eliminate the risk of electrocution as well as the chance that the engine's cooling fan will engage while your hands are caught in the way.

Crawl beneath the 1997 Geo Prism and unclip the electrical connection tab leading to the starter. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry it open if the pieces of the tab are stuck together.

Remove the starter from the flywheel on your 1997 Geo Prism. Unscrew the copper bolt that secures the wiring that leads to the starter. Flip open the rubber casing in order to access the bolt. Use the socket wrench to unbolt the two screws connecting the starter to the flywheel and slide the starter out from the engine.

Insert the replacement starter for your Prism. If you find that you have to crank down on your wrench to force the starter bolts all the way in, you may not have properly aligned the starter with the flywheel. If this is the case, the Prism will not start.

Reconnect the electrical connection tab and the negative battery terminal for your Geo Prism. Start the car in order to make sure that you have done the job correctly. Carefully lower the car and remove the wood blocks from behind the wheels.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wood blocks

  • Socket wrench with adapters

  • Mechanic's gloves

  • Replacement starter part

 How to Change a Starter on a 2000 Chevy Tahoe

Raise and support the truck on jack stands for safety. Remove the negative battery cable, using a wrench. Remove the heat shield from the top of the starter. It just pulls off.

Remove the small ignition starter wire from the "S" terminal on the back of the starter, using a wrench. Remove the large four-gauge main starter wire, using a wrench.

Remove the support bracket, using the appropriate socket. Remove the two vertical bolts securing the starter to the block, using a 15mm socket. Lower the starter out of the vehicle.

Install the new starter in the reverse order of removal.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet

  • 15mm socket

  • Set of wrenches