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How to Replace a Starter on a Ford Expedition

by David McGuffin; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Mechanic's gloves

  • Socket wrench with adapters

  • Replacement starter

  • Flat screwdriver

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

If your Ford Expedition won't start, there are a couple of solutions. If you can jump-start the Expedition, the battery or alternator might be the problem. If a jump-start fails, the starter might need replacement. Fortunately, replacing the starter is a job that most do-it-yourself mechanics can accomplish in a couple of hours.

Locate the starter on your Ford Expedition. Trace the positive battery cable until it splits. One branch of the cable will travel to the alternator and the other will go to the starter, which is about half the size of a football. The starter is made of two cylindrical pieces joined together, with one cylinder larger than the other. Generally, the starter is between the engine and the transmission. You can also look under your Expedition as well as under the air-intake manifold.

Use a floor jack and jack stands to raise the Expedition if the starter is located under the engine. Prop up one side of the frame by the front driver's-side door with the jack and place a jack stand to support the frame. Repeat the process for the front passenger side. Make sure all four legs of each jack stand are resting on the ground.

Disengage the negative battery cable on the Expedition. This rules out the chance of electrocution and also disengages the battery from the cooling fan, which sometimes can turn on even if the vehicle is turned off.

Expose the starter on your Expedition if there are any parts that prevent you from accessing it. For example, you may need to remove the air-intake manifold on some models and years of the Expedition.

Disconnect the electrical connection tab, which leads to the starter. You may also have to temporarily push some electrical cables and wiring out of the way so you have enough working room to remove the starter. If you have difficulty disconnecting the tab, use a flat screwdriver to gently pry the two pieces apart.

Unscrew the copper bolt holding the electrical wire for the starter in place. This will give you more room to work with for disconnecting the starter from the engine.

Remove the bolts that connect the starter to the flywheel of the Expedition. If the bolts are extremely tight or stuck, you may need to use a torque wrench for extra leverage. Usually, there are two bolts holding the starter in place. However, depending on the model, there may be three bolts.

Remove the starter and replace it with the new one. Secure the starter with the two or three bolts you took out previously. If you find that you are cranking down on the bolts and forcing them into place, then you may not be properly aligning the part with the flywheel. If this is happening, unscrew the bolts and reinsert the starter.

Reconnect the electrical connection tab leading to the new starter and reconnect the negative battery terminal cable. Crank the Expedition to see whether it starts.

Reinstall any parts, such as the air-intake manifold or hoses, that were removed in order to gain access to the starter. If you had to raise your Expedition on jack stands, then lower it to the ground by using the reverse of the process you used to raise it in Step 2.

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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