How to Replace the Starter on a 2001 Mercury Sable

by Allen Moore

Without a functioning starter motor, the 2001 Mercury Sable would never be able to move under its own power. The electronic motor is powered by the Sable’s battery, which spins the starter motor rapidly and ejects a gear from the nose. This gear contacts the Sable’s flywheel and turns it, which starts the engine. If you turn the ignition key to the start position, but only hear a whirring noise, your starter will most likely need to be replaced.

Step 1

Raise the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable with the battery wrench. Position the cable in such a way as to prevent it from contacting the battery terminal prior to reinstallation.

Step 2

Raise the right front of the Sable up with the floor jack and place a jack stand under the passenger side frame rail. Make sure you do not place the jack stand in a position that will prevent you from accessing the starter.

Step 3

Slide under the Sable and use the socket set to disconnect the wiring from the back of the starter, which is located at the side of the engine where the transmission bell housing is bolted to the back of the block.

Step 4

Unbolt starter with one hand while supporting its weight with your other hand. The starter is very heavy, so do not let its weight hang from a bolt that isn’t fully installed as this can damage the starter. Be ready to support the weight fully when the bolts are removed, so that you don’t drop the starter on yourself, either.

Step 5

Compare the old starter with the replacement starter to make sure they are identical. If the replacement starter is longer or wider, has different wiring connections, has a solenoid located in a different position or has bolt patterns that don’t match, return it for the correct starter. Due to the myriad of engine applications and mid-model year changes, coming home from the local auto parts store with the wrong starter is not an uncommon occurrence.

Step 6

Hold the replacement starter in position with one hand and thread the bolts in with the other hand. Tighten the bolts down with the socket set. Do not stop supporting the weight of the starter until the bolts are fully installed.

Step 7

Reconnect the starter wiring with the socket set. Lower the Sable off the jack stand and reconnect the negative battery cable.

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