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

by Justin Cupler

After a long and successful 17-year run, Jeep finally decided it was time to part ways with its aging and relatively unchanged Cherokee. The replacement was the more feature-packed and rugged-looking Jeep Liberty. It is rather obvious what Jeep’s initial goal was with the Liberty -- to make it resemble the maker’s popular Wrangler model without making it identical until its redesign in 2008. This gave buyers the opportunity to have the look of the Wrangler without the unforgiving ride. Replacing the starter in the 2005 Liberty with a 3.7-liter engine is a straightforward task that most weekend-warrior mechanics can perform, if the Liberty is two-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive Liberty’s are slightly tougher, as you must remove the drive shaft to get at the starter.

Removal

1

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.

2

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.

3

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

4

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.

5

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.

6

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

7

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.

8

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.

9

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

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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

5

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.

6

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.

7

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.

8

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.

Warning

  • The starter is deceptively heavy, so use caution when handling it.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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