How to Replace a Starter in a '97 Chevy Lumina

by Dan Ferrell
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Your 1997 Chevy Lumina, with its reliable 3.1L engine, needs a strong starter motor to efficiently crank the engine every time you sit behind the wheel. But a failed armature, worn brushes, pinion gear teeth or problems with any other of the motor’s internal components may result in the starter failing to turn the engine. However, you can give a new life to your Lumina starting system now by replacing the bad starter at home to make sure you can fire up every time you turn the ignition key.

Removing the Old Starter Motor

Step 1

Park your Lumina on level ground, set the transmission to neutral and release the parking brake.

Step 2

Open the hood and detach the ground (black) battery cable with a wrench.

Step 3

Lift the front of your vehicle with a floor jack, support it with jack stands and chock the rear wheels.

Step 4

Put on your goggles and get under the vehicle.

Step 5

Unfasten the retaining nuts holding the heavy (battery) cable and the thin wire to the back of the starter solenoid (the small cylinder mounted on top of the starter motor) with a wrench. Move the heavy and thin wires out of the way.

Step 6

Loosen the two mounting bolts holding the starter motor to the engine block with a ratchet, large ratchet extension and socket. Hold the motor assembly with one hand and finish removing the two starter mounting bolts. Make a note of the position of each mounting bolt, since they are of different sizes, and of any shims located between the starter motor, mounting bolts and engine block.

Remove the starter motor from the vehicle.

Replacing the Starter Motor

Step 1

Position the new starter motor in place with one hand and install the two mounting bolts finger tight with your free hand, along with any shims installed with the original starter. Failing to replace the shims may cause the starter to grind against the flywheel or engage and fail to start the engine.

Step 2

Tighten the two mounting bolts with the ratchet, large ratchet extension and socket.

Step 3

Position the heavy cable and wire in their respective mounting studs at the back of the starter solenoid and install the retaining nuts finger tight. Tighten the nuts with the wrench.

Step 4

Lower your vehicle off the jack stands, apply the parking brake and remove the chocks form the rear wheels.

Attach the ground (black) battery cable with the wrench.

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