How to Remove the Starter on a Geo Tracker

by Marion Cobretti

The starter in your Tracker engages the engine’s flywheel with a small gear within it called the pinion. Under standard operation, the pinion should, once the engine starts, automatically disengage itself from the flywheel. In some cases, a defective starter won’t engage the flywheel at all. The effect is often audible when you attempt to start the engine: the starter will make a loud clicking or a whirling sound similar to an empty garbage disposal. The starter in your Geo Tracker mounts on the lower driver’s side of the transmission. With a few tools, you can remove it in 25 minutes or less.

Step 1

Apply the emergency brake, then lift the hood on your Tracker. Unbolt the negative cable from the battery with a socket wrench. Wrap black electrical tape around the terminal at the end of the negative battery cable. Lay the cable down within the engine compartment away from all other metal, including the engine.

Step 2

Raise the car with a hydraulic jack behind the front, driver’s-side tire. Position a jack stand beneath the frame rail near the hydraulic jack to help support the weight of the car.

Step 3

Slide under your Tracker head first and visually locate the starter. Look for it on the side of the engine. It mounts exactly where the transmission and engine meet. The starter resembles a large metal capsule. The solenoid attaches to the top of it.

Step 4

Label the two wires connected by nuts to the solenoid clearly with white painter’s tape. This will help you remember their places once you remove them.

Step 5

Remove both of the nuts holding the two solenoid wires in place with your socket wrench. Take the wires off their terminal studs. Remove the third wire--black--from the solenoid by hand. Grasp the wire by its rubber boot and pinch it between two fingers, then pull it off its connection. Tuck all three of the wires out of your immediate working area.

Step 6

Remove the upper mounting bolt at the base of the starter with a socket wrench. Grasp and hold the starter with one hand, then remove the lower mounting bolt from the starter with your socket wrench as well. Pull the starter outward 3 inches from its mounting position and lower it out of the engine compartment with both hands. The starter re-installs in reverse.

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