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How to Install a Starter on a 2003 Toyota Matrix

by Zyon Silket

If you need to install a new starter on your 2003 Toyota Matrix, you need to remove the old broken one first. Fortunately, the process of replacing the starter in the Toyota Matrix is not much different then changing one in a domestic engine. You will be able to change the starter in a relatively short period of time and without any significant cost in tool investment. Only basic automotive tools are needed to complete the job.

Removal of old starter

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

Step 6

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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

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