How to Install a Starter on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The starter on the Chrysler car is at the front of the engine, in the center of the car, close to the transmission. When it starts to fail, you'll hear a rapid clicking sound coming from it when you try to start the car. In a case like this you'll need to install a new starter but you want to be careful about what you actually buy as a replacement. A starter that has been rebuilt may have had only the part that failed replaced to make it operational, while a re-manufactured starter or even a new one will be comprised of all new parts.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Starter on a Dodge Avenger

Removing the Starter

Disconnect the black, negative battery cable. On some Avenger models, the negative cable is attached to the left strut tower. Use the grommet on the negative cable to cover the strut connection to avoid an accidental ground after disconnecting the cable.

Remove the air cleaner assembly to gain access to the starter motor if necessary on your particular Avenger model.

Dismount the exhaust pipe, if necessary, to gain access to the starter motor on your particular Avenger model with the 2.5L engine. Use a wrench or ratchet and socket for this.

Unscrew the upper starter-mounting bolt using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Raise the front of the vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on 2 jack stands to reach the bottom starter mounting screw if necessary.

Place a drain pan under the oil filter if you have a 2.5L engine and you have to remove the filter to lift the starter off the vehicle. Remove the oil filter using an oil filter wrench.

Disconnect the cable and wire from the starter motor using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Unscrew the lower starter-mounting bolt using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Lift the starter motor off the vehicle.

Installing the Starter Motor

Set the new starter motor in place and start the two mounting bolts by hand to avoid damage to the threads.

Tighten the two starter mounting bolts using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Connect the cable and wire to the starter motor using a wrench and ratchet and socket.

Install the oil filter if you had to remove it.

Replace the exhaust pipe, if you had to remove it, using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Lower the vehicle, if you had to raise it.

Connect the black, negative battery cable.

Add engine oil as necessary, if you had to remove the oil filter.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Floor Jack and 2 jack stands if necessary

  • Drain pan

  • Oil filter wrench if necessary

  • Engine oil if necessary

 How to Install a Starter on a Nissan Pathfinder

Remove the Starter

Park your Pathfinder in a safe place, preferably on a level surface.

Detach the black, negative battery cable using a wrench.

Raise the front of your Nissan using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands.

Remove the engine under cover using a wrench or ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Disconnect the battery cable and wire from the starter solenoid on top of the starter motor using a wrench or ratchet and socket. You will find the starter mounted between the transmission and engine block.

Unscrew the two mounting bolts from the starter motor using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Hold the motor as you unscrew the bolts to keep it from falling to the ground.

Lift the starter away from the engine compartment.

Install the Starter

Set the new starter motor in place and start the two starter mounting bolts by hand. This will avoid cross threading the bolts.

Tighten the two starter mounting bolts using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Connect the battery cable and wire to the starter solenoid using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Install the engine under cover using a wrench or ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Lower your Pathfinder.

Attach the black, negative battery cable using a wrench.

Start the engine and maker sure that everything is well connected and working properly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Ratchet extension

 How to Install a Starter in a Chrysler PT Cruiser

Disconnect the negative battery terminal from the car using a wrench to loosen the nut.

Remove the air cleaner box cover by unclipping it and pulling it off. The air cleaner box is a black box. Remove the engine structural collar using a socket and ratchet to remove the 5 bolts.

Mark the electrical wires on the starter using the marker and masking tape. Disconnect the wires using a wrench to remove the nuts. Unplug the wiring harness from the solenoid.

Remove the bolts from the starter motor using a ratchet and socket. Pull the starter motor away from the engine and up out of the car.

Put the new starter in place and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the electrical wires to the starter and tighten the nuts with the wrench. Plug the wiring harness back into the solenoid. Put the engine structural collar back into place and tighten the five bolts using the socket and ratchet.

Put the air cleaner cover back on the car and clip it into place. Reconnect the negative battery terminal and tighten the nut with the wrench. Start the car and test the installation.

Items you will need

  • Automobile jack

  • Jack stand

  • Wheel chocks

  • Marker

  • Masking tape

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Install a Starter on a Jeep Liberty 2005 3.7-L

Removal

Loosen the negative battery cable pinch bolt with a ratchet and socket, and pull the negative battery cable from the battery. Put the cable aside to prevent accidental reconnection.

Raise the front of the Liberty with a floor jack and slide jack stands under its frame rails. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands and remove the floor jack.

Remove the two flange bolts connecting the exhaust downpipe to the crossover pipe, using a ratchet and socket.

Proceed directly to step 6 if your Liberty is two-wheel drive. Match mark the front drive shaft to its mounting point on the front differential and to its mounting point on the transfer case, using white marking paint.

Remove the drive-shaft-to-transfer-case bolts and the drive-shaft-to-front-differential bolt, using a ratchet and socket. Pull the crossover pipe downward slightly to make clearance for the drive shaft, then slide the drive shaft forward slightly. Pull the front of the drive shaft downward to clear the front differential. Pull the drive shaft toward the front of the Liberty to remove it.

Unfasten the two starter heat-shield bolts and one nut with a ratchet and socket. Pull the heat shield from the starter.

Remove the nut securing the battery wire to the starter, using a ratchet and socket, and pull the battery wire from its mounting stud on the starter. Press and hold the unlocking button on the wiring harness plugging into the starter, and pull the harness from the starter.

Use a ratchet and socket to remove the two starter mounting bolts. Pull the starter toward the front of the Liberty until it is free of the transmission bell housing.

Spin the starter so the part that was facing the front of the vehicle when mounted is facing the rear of the vehicle. Rotate the starter so its solenoid faces downward, then pass it between the crossover pipe and the transmission bell housing to remove it – you may need to pull downward on the crossover pipe to create enough clearance.

Installation

Guide the new starter into place by sliding it between the crossover pipe and transmission bell housing, with the front of the starter facing the rear of the vehicle and the solenoid facing downward. Rotate the starter so the front of the starter faces the front of the vehicle and the solenoid is upright.

Guide the starter into its hole in the bell housing until its gear engages the teeth on the flex plate. You may need to wiggle and rotate the starter slightly to achieve engagement. Hand-thread the two starter bolts, then torque them to 40 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

Slide the battery wire back onto its stud on the starter and hand-thread its retaining nut. Tighten the battery wire nut to 9 foot-pounds. Plug the wiring harness into its receptacle on the rear of the starter.

Position the starter heat shield in place over the starter, and tighten the one nut and two bolts to 5 foot-pounds.

Skip to step 7 if your Liberty has two-wheel drive. Pull the crossover pipe downward slightly to create the clearance needed for the drive shaft. Reinstall the front drive shaft between its two mounting points – one on the transfer case and one on the front differential.

Rotate the drive shaft so the match marks on the drive shaft, differential and transfer case align, then hand-thread the drive-shaft-to-differential bolts and the drive-shaft-to-transfer case bolts. Tighten these bolts to 22 foot-pounds.

Realign the bolt holes on the crossover pipe flange with the bolt holes on the downpipe flange, then hand-thread the flange bolts. Tighten the flange bolts with a ratchet and socket.

Raise the SUV off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Press the end of the negative battery cable back on the negative battery terminal, then tighten the cable end’s pinch bolt with a ratchet and socket.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Socket

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • White marking paint

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install a Starter on a 2003 Toyota Matrix

Removal of old starter

Place the vehicle on a set of front-end lifting ramps. Secure the emergency break. Allow the vehicle time to cool down to avoid burning your hands. About 30 minutes of cool-down time should be enough.

Remove the negative battery cable and then the positive battery cable from the battery with an adjustable wrench.

Remove the driver side plastic underpinning by prying the retaining clips out with a flathead screwdriver. Set the underpinning aside. The starter is now visible.

Remove the black wire from the rear of the starter by pulling outward on the cable connector.

Remove the gray rubber cap off the starter. Remove the 10mm nut that secures the ground wire to the starter.

Remove the two 14mm bolts that secure the starter to the engine. One bolt connects to the bell housing. The bolt is difficult to reach. A short extension bar connected to the socket may be necessary.

Pull the starter outward and downward to remove it from the vehicle. It’s common for Toyota to install shims between the baseplate of the starter and the engine. Collect all of the shims. Reuse them during installation.

Installing the starter

Place all of the shims onto the baseplate of the starter. Slide the starter into place. Mesh the gear protruding from the starter base and the gear inside of the bell housing. Turn the starter to line up the bolt holes in the baseplate and the engine.

Secure the starter with the two bolts previously removed from the old starter. If the bolts are highly corroded, use new bolts.

Secure the ground wire with the wire securing nut. Push the gray cap back onto the nut.

Plug the wire connector to the starter by pressing the connector into the wire harness.

Put the underpinning into place. Press the retaining clips into their holes with your thumb.

Reconnect the positive and then the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Ramps

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • 14mm socket

  • 12mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Extension bar for socket

 How to Install a Starter in a 2002 Buick Century

Disconnect the negative terminal cable from the car battery. This will disengage the engine's cooling fan, which can start up even when the car is turned off, increasing the chances of injury for someone who is working around the engine area. Be sure to wait at least fifteen minutes after disengaging the negative battery cable before proceeding.

Identify the starter and the starter bolts on your 2002 Buick Century. The starter is located on the driver's side of the engine, at the front. There are two bolts that connect the starter to the flywheel of the transmission. If you are unsure what the starter looks like, it is roughly half the size of a football and the only engine part with two cylindrical metal pieces joined together, one of which is larger than the other. Another way to locate your starter is to trace the electrical wire from the red battery terminal, which splits after leaving the battery, with one wire going to the alternator and the other wire going to the starter.

Use the socket wrench to remove the two starter bolts. You may need to use a torque wrench to undo the starter bolts if they are on too tight for a normal socket wrench. Unclip the white electrical connection tab that goes from the 2002 Buick Century's electrical system to the starter.

Insert the replacement starter in the place of the old one, tightening the bolts with a socket wrench. If the bolts seem difficult to tighten, then you may not have aligned the starter properly with the flywheel. Reclip the electrical tab that runs from the new starter to the tab that runs to the Buick's electrical system.

Place the negative battery cable back on the battery terminal and crank the Buick Century. If it does not start, then you may have improperly aligned the starter with the transmission's flywheel. Remove the starter and reinsert again.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wood blocks

  • Socket wrench with adapters

  • Mechanic's gloves

  • Flat-head screwdriver

 How to Install a Starter on a Toyota Pickup Truck

Open the hood and locate the negative battery cable. Loosen the retaining bolt on the negative cable end with a wrench then remove the cable from the battery. Set it aside for now.

Position a jack under the front of your Toyota Pickup and raise it off the ground. Position a set of jack stands under the front suspension to support the truck then remove the jack.

Locate the starter on the passenger's side of the engine then find the wiring harness connectors on the starter. There are two connections, a push on connector, Terminal 50 and a stud and nut type terminal, the "B" terminal.

Grasp the push on connector by the connector body and pull it off terminal 50. Remove the nut from the "B" terminal with a socket and ratchet and remove the cable from the stud.

Move to the bell housing area and locate the two mounting bolt that retain the starter. Remove the two bolts with a socket and ratchet while supporting the starter with one hand. Lower the starter down and out of the engine compartment.

Raise the new starter into position on the engine and slide the nose of the starter into the hole in the bell housing. Install the two mounting bolts then torque them to 30 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Install the wiring harness connectors on the starter. Install the push on connector to Terminal 50, making sure it seats completely. Install the ring connector on the "B" terminal followed by the retaining nut. Tighten the nut with a socket and ratchet.

Raise the front of the truck and remove the jack stands from under it. Lower the jack, setting the truck back on its wheels.

Connect the negative battery terminal to the negative post on the battery. Tighten the battery cable retaining bolt with wrench.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install a Starter on a Ford 8N Tractor

Pull the 8N tractor on level ground and shut off engine. Put transmission in a low gear so the tractor will not move while you are working on the starter. Allow the engine to cool completely. Remove the negative battery cable, using the box-end wrench.

Remove the starter solenoid cable from the starter and remove the two long mounting bolts that go through starter housing, using the ratchet and socket. Remove the starter.

Install the mounting bolts in the new starter before you install the starter. This allows you to see how to guide them through the case. Install the starter and secure the mounting bolts evenly. Install and tighten the starter solenoid cable and the negative battery cable. Put the tractor in neutral and test the starter.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch standard socket set

  • 3/8-inch ratchet

  • 7/16-inch box-end wrench

 How to Install a Starter in an Acura TSX

Park your TSX in a safe, well-lit area. Turn your engine off, engage the parking brake and disconnect the negative (-) and positive (+) battery cables. Let the engine cool for at least 30 minutes prior to beginning the procedure.

Remove the brush guard from underneath the engine to access the radiator drain plug. Remove the drain plug and let the coolant completely drain into the drain pan. Keep the drained engine coolant in a safe place away from children and animals.

Remove the two bolts securing your plastic engine cover, locating at the front of the engine bay. The cover must be removed to access the intake manifold and replace the starter.

Remove the bolts and the cooling line on the intake manifold to the engine to access the starter. Disconnect the three wiring harnesses connected to the starter. Remove the two mounting bolts on each side, and then remove the bolt on top of the rear of the starter. Set the old starter aside.

Attach the new starter and begin mounting it. Use the torque wrench to tighten the lower side bolt to 47 foot-pounds. Tighten the upper side bolt to 33 foot-lbs. Tighten the bolt on top to 7 foot-lbs. These levels are specific to your TSX. Reconnect the three wiring harnesses to the starter.

Replace the intake manifold. Tighten the manifold bolts to 16 foot-lbs. Reconnect the coolant line and replace the plastic engine cover. Replenish the engine coolant and reconnect the battery cables. Start the engine and check for coolant leaks underneath. Replace the engine brush guard.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Drain pan

  • Torque wrench

  • Replacement starter

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.