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How to Replace the Starter on a 2001 Saturn SL1

by Cassandra Tribe

If your 2001 Saturn SL1 won't start and you know the battery is good, you may need to replace the starter. You will need a minimum of tools and about an hour of your time. Be sure the engine is completely cool before working.

Remove the Starter

Park your 2001 Saturn SL1 on a level surface. Engage the parking brake and open the engine hood.

Remove the negative cable from the battery by loosening the bolt on the connecting end with an open box wrench and pulling the cable off the battery post.

Locate the starter. The starter in a 2001 Saturn SL1 is located on the passenger side of the car, to the rear of the engine block, just beneath the intake manifold (where the exhaust pipes join the engine block).

Remove the intercooler pump bracket (it has one bolt at its base) which is blocking access to the starter. The pump bracket looks like a metal swing arm with a slot in the center and supports the intercooler pump. Remove the bolt with an open box end wrench and pull the pump and bracket out of the way.

Remove the nuts from the front two posts of the starter that hold the wires from the ignition coil and alternator in place. Pull the wires off the starter.

There are only two bolts holding the starter in place. Remove the bottom bolt of the starter first. Use an open end box wrench due to the small access area. Pull the bolt out.

Support the starter with one hand and remove the top bolt. Pull the starter from the engine.

Install Starter

Install your replacement starter by holding it in position and inserting the top bolt first. Do not tighten the top bolt all the way. Push the bottom bolt into place and hand tighten the bolt. Once both bolts are hand tight, use a torque wrench to apply the right amount of torque. For the starter bolts, tighten to 37 lbs.

Reconnect the wires to the posts at the end of the starter. Make sure to put them on the correct post; the coil wire goes on the upper and larger post.

Reinstall the intercooler pump bracket. Torque the bolt to 15 lbs.

Reconnect the battery and close the hood.

Tip

  • Take a photo with your cell phone before you disconnect the old starter so you will have a reference for how things should look when you connect the new one.

Warning

  • Never attempt to replace the starter with the battery still connected.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.

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