How to Change the Starter on Toyota Cars

by Contributing Writer

Replacing the starter on the Toyota car is one of the easiest repairs you'll ever make on the truck. Everything is easy to access, and the worst part about it is that you have to crawl under the vehicle. Replacing the starter will only take about an hour, and by doing it yourself you can save on labor costs. Be sure to choose a new or remanufactured starter. You want to stay away from rebuilt starters because some of the parts in them are old.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Starter on a 2000 Toyota 4Runner

Disconnect the negative battery terminal, which will be the black one with a minus sign (-) near it. Raise the truck with a floor jack and lower it securely onto jack stands. Place blocks behind the rear wheels to prevent the 4Runner from rolling while you replace the starter.

Remove the lower engine shield if your 4Runner is equipped with one. Use a socket and ratchet to remove the shield.

Find the starter motor, which is located on the passenger side of the engine bay and bolted between the motor and the gearbox under the 4Runner.

Remove the nut that holds the battery cable to the starter solenoid, which is the smaller round part attached to the body of the starter. Unplug the wire that clips into the solenoid by pulling it out.

Remove the starter mounting nuts that fasten the starter to the transmission, using a socket. Support the starter while you remove the bolts. Pull the starter out of the engine bay.

Install the new starter by bolting it onto the transmission bell housing. Ensure that the teeth from the starter line up properly with the flywheel to prevent damage to the starter. Tighten the nuts with a torque wrench to 29 foot-pounds.

Reconnect the wire that plugs into the solenoid. Bolt the battery cable and any other wires that were removed with the battery cable back to the solenoid.

Reinstall the engine cover if it was removed. Reconnect the negative terminal to the battery. Lower the 4Runner off of the jack stands or the ramps. Start the motor to ensure that the new starter is functioning properly.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack or ramps

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • New starter

 How to Change a Starter in a 1997 Toyota Corolla

Open the hood of your Corolla and locate the air cleaner hose running over the top of the engine. Remove the end of the hose by snapping it out of the air box than lay it off to one side. Move to the battery and find the negative battery cable end where it connects to the terminal. Remove the retaining bolt with a wrench and lift the cable off the battery.

Locate the starter motor on the front of the engine. It sits down near the bottom of the block on the driver’s side of the engine compartment between the radiator and engine block.

Unplug the wiring harness connector from the back of the solenoid after releasing the locking tab and lay it out of the way. Remove the nut on the “B” terminal on the rear of the solenoid then slide the wire off the post.

Remove the upper and lower mounting bolts from the nose of the starter then slide the starter out of the bell housing. Lift the starter out of the engine compartment and set it aside. Lower the new starter into place and slide the nose into the bell housing.

Install the two mounting bolts into the bell housing and tighten them to 29 pound-feet with a torque wrench. Slide the single wire with the ring connector onto the “B” terminal followed by the retaining nut and tighten it with a socket and ratchet. Plug the wiring harness connector into the connector on the starter solenoid.

Position the air cleaner hose back over the engine to the air filter and snap the hose in place. Install the negative battery cable on the negative battery terminal then tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Torque wrench

 How to Change the Starter in a Toyota 4Runner

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack and jack stands Wrench set Ratchet and socket set

 How to Change a Starter on a 1996 Camry

Remove the positive and negative terminals on the battery. Remove the battery hold-down bracket by removing the two nuts on the vertical rods using a wrench. Lift the battery out of the vehicle. Remove the battery tray using a socket to remove the bolts.

Remove the cruise control cover using the appropriate socket to remove the bolts. Remove the three bolts securing the cruise control to its frame-mounted bracket using a socket. Lift the cruise control up, and remove the electrical plug from the cruise control. Lay the unit to the side out of the way.

Remove the cruise control bracket using a socket. Lift the bracket out of the way. Pull the small actuator wire off the S terminal on the starter solenoid.

Remove the large nut securing the main power wire to the back of the solenoid using a wrench. Remove the wire. Remove the two bolts securing the starter to the bellhousing using the appropriate socket. Remove the starter from the car.

Install the new starter in reverse order of removal.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet

  • 3/8-inch drive socket set

  • Wrenches

 How to Replace a Starter in a Toyota Camry

Locate and remove the negative battery cable from the negative battery terminal with a wrench. Remove the positive battery cable from the battery with your wrench and set the cable aside.

Remove the two retaining nuts on the battery restraint using a wrench. Lift the retaining bar off the studs and remove the battery from the car. Remove the two retaining bolts that hold the battery tray into the car and lift the tray and restraint out of the car.

Locate the cruise control actuator. It is located right behind the battery location and has a black plastic cover over it. Remove the cover by snapping it off and disconnect the wiring harness connector from the actuator. Remove the retaining bolts that are located under the battery with a socket and ratchet. Lift the actuator out of the car and set it aside.

Locate the starter just below the cruise control actuator. Remove the two wiring harness connectors from the starter motor and set them aside. The starter connector can be released by pressing a tab on the plug and pulling it out. The battery cable will need to be removed after removing a nut and washer with a socket and ratchet.

Remove the two starter retaining bolts from the starter with a socket and ratchet then pull it out of the bell housing. Lift the starter out of the engine compartment.

Position the new starter into the engine compartment and slide it into the bell housing. Install the two retaining bolts and tighten them with a socket and ratchet.

Install the battery cable onto the stud on the new starter followed by the washer and retaining nut. Tighten the nut with a socket and ratchet. Plug the starter connector from the wiring harness into the plug on the side of the starter. Make sure it locks in with a click as you push it into place.

Install the cruise control actuator bracket, inserting the four mounting bolts into the holes under the battery tray location. Tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet. You may need an extension on the ratchet to make it a little easier to reach the bolts.

Plug in the cruise control actuator wiring harness connector to the actuator. Replace the plastic cover on the actuator.

Install the battery tray back into the car with the original mounting bolts. Tighten them with a socket and ratchet. Place the battery back in the car, install the battery retaining bar and attach the two washers and nuts that retain the bar. Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

Reinstall the positive battery cable on the positive battery terminal then install the negative cable on the negative terminal. Tighten the retaining bolts on both cable ends with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Metric wrench set

  • Metric socket set

 How to Replace the Starter on a 1992 Toyota Camry

Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery by loosening the nut with a wrench. If your car has the cruise control module in it, you have to disconnect both terminals and pull the battery out of the car.

Remove the cruise control actuator cover if you have one. This is a rectangular black cover next to the battery. Unplug the wiring harness to the cruise module and then remove the three bolts holding it in place using a wrench. Remove bracket under the actuator using a wrench.

Pull the rubber boot away from the nut connecting the main wire to the starter and loosen the nut with a wrench. Remove the wire and then unplug the wiring harness from the starter.

Remove the starter mounting bolts using a socket and ratchet while holding on to the starter. Remove the starter from the engine.

Put the new starter in place and bolt it to the engine using the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the main wire to the starter and tighten the nut with a wrench. Pull the rubber boot over the nut and then plug the wiring harness into the starter.

If your car has the cruise control module, reinstall the bracket for the actuator and tighten with a wrench. Install the cruise actuator and tighten those three bolts with a wrench. Put the actuator cover back on.

If you had to remove the battery, reinstall it and connect the terminals starting with the positive terminal. Tighten the terminal nuts with a wrench. Start the car to test the installation.

Items you will need

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Replace the Starter in a 1998 Toyota 4Runner

Open the hood of your 4Runner and disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery terminal, using a wrench to remove the retaining bolt. Lift the battery cable off the battery and set it aside.

Position a jack under the front of your 4Runner. Raise the truck until it is high enough to comfortably work under, then place a set of jack stands under the frame. Lower the jack, allowing the 4Runner to settle onto the jack stands.

From under the truck, locate the starter motor on the passenger’s side of the engine. Remove the electrical connectors from the starter. Press the tab on the push-in connector and pull the connector free of the socket on the starter. Remove the retaining bolt on the second connector with a wrench and remove the wire from the stud.

Locate the two starter-mounting bolts at the front of the starter where the starter meets the bell housing. These bolts slide in from the back, or transmission, side of the bell housing. Remove them with a socket and ratchet while supporting the starter motor. Lower the starter and remove it from under the truck.

Position the new starter in the engine compartment from below. Slide the nose of the starter into the hole on the bell housing. Insert the mounting bolts from the transmission side of the bell housing and thread them into the starter.

Tighten the two mounting bolts to 29 ft-lbs. with a torque wrench. Attach the wiring-harness connectors to the starter. Start with the push-in connector and slide the wiring connector into the starter connector until the two lock together.

Place the ring connector from the second wire on the stud, thread on the retaining nut and torque the nut to 70 pounds-inches with a torque wrench.

Raise the front of your 4Runner with a jack until it is off the jack stands. Remove the jack stands from under the truck and lower the jack, setting the truck on the ground.

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

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Starter on a Toyota T100 Pickup Truck

Disconnect the negative battery cable by loosening the nut on the terminal with a wrench. Raise the vehicle up on the driver's side using the automobile jack. Place a jack stand under the truck near the jacking point. Raise the jack stand up to the frame of the vehicle.

Crawl under the truck. Tag the wires on the starter and solenoid using the marker and masking tape to note the proper location of each wire. Disconnect the wires by using a wrench to remove the nuts and then pulling them away from the starter. Unplug the wiring harness from the starter.

Remove the bolts mounting the starter to the bell housing using a socket and ratchet. Pull the starter away from the engine.

Put the new starter in place and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the wires and tighten the nuts with a wrench. Plug the wiring harness back into the starter. Remove the jack stand from under the truck and lower the truck back to the ground.

Connect the battery terminal to the battery and tighten the nut with a wrench.

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 Toyota Tundra 4.7L

Raise the hood on your Toyota Tundra and prop it open. Make sure that it is not going to fall on your head while you are working on the engine.

Remove the black battery cable from your Toyota Tundra battery. There are two reasons for disconnecting the battery: one is to ensure that you will not be electrocuted while working on your truck's electrical system, the other reason is so that the engine's cooling fan will not engage while you are working on the engine. Wait for at least fifteen minutes so that any potential electric charges can dissipate.

Use your socket wrench to unbolt the intake manifold. Do not disconnect any of the fuel rails or injectors. Simply disconnect the plenums of the manifold and move them out of the way. You will need to disconnect the input bracket connecting the big black hose to the air intake.

Remove the two bolts holding the starter into place on your Tundra. The starter will be easy to access now that it is exposed and once the manifold is removed. Also disconnect the copper positive electrical connection bolt so that you can remove the starter from the electrical system. Disconnect the electrical connection tab which leads to the starter from the positive battery terminal.

Slide the starter out of place and replace it with the new one, lining it up with the flywheel. Reinstall and tighten the bolts to secure the starter. If you have to crank down hard on the bolts, then you may not have the starter aligned correctly with the flywheel, in which case, the truck will not start.

Reconnect the electrical connection tab. Reconnect the battery cable and start the truck. If your Toyota Tundra starts up, then you have completed the job successfully. Continue to the finishing details by reconnecting the intake manifold and double-checking to make sure that all bolts and nuts are back in place as they were before you started.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench with adapters

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Replacement starter

 How to Replace a Starter on a 1994 Toyota Pickup

Open the engine compartment and disconnect the negative battery terminal using a wrench to loosen the nut. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels of the truck.

Raise the truck on the driver's side using the jack. Place a jack stand under the frame near the jacking point for additional safety. Raise the jack stand up to the frame.

Don your safety glasses and crawl under the truck. Tag the electrical wires on the starter using the marker and the masking tape. Disconnect the wires by removing the nuts with a wrench.

Remove the mounting bolts from the starter using a socket and ratchet. Remove the starter from the engine.

Put the new starter on the engine and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the wires according to the way you marked them. Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

Remove the jack stand from under the truck and lower the truck to the ground.

Reconnect the negative battery terminal and tighten the nut with a wrench. Start the truck to test it.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Wheel chocks

  • Safety glasses

  • Marker

  • Masking tape

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Replace the Starter on a 1994 Toyota 4Runner

Raise the truck with a jack and place it on a set of jack stands. Remove the jack once the truck is secure.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench. Secure the cable away from the battery.

Work from beneath the truck to locate the starter motor at the rear of the engine compartment near the bottom. Remove the nut securing the battery cable to the switch on the starter. Pull the cable off the switch and set the nut aside in a secure place.

Pull the electrical wire from the connection. The connectors simply push together so you can pull it apart.

Remove the lower mounting bolt from the starter body with a socket and ratchet. Set the bolt aside. Support the starter body and remove the upper mounting bolt with a socket and ratchet. Set the bolt aside and remove the starter body from the engine compartment.

Position the new starter in the engine compartment and install the upper mounting bolt. Tighten the bolt with a socket and ratchet. Support the starter body while you install the lower mounting bolt as well. Tighten the bolt with a socket and ratchet. Torque the bolts to 29 pound-feet with a torque wrench.

Press the electrical connection back together until it clicks. Replace the battery cable and secure it with the retaining nut. Tighten the nut with a wrench.

Raise the truck slightly with a jack to remove the jack stands. Lower the 4Runner to the ground and remove the jack. Reattach the negative battery cable and tighten the terminal connections with a wrench. Close the hood and test your new starter.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench set

  • Socket and ratchet set