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How to Replace a Starter on a Jeep Cherokee

by David Reber

The starter is an electrical motor which uses battery power to spin, thus start, the engine. Defective starter motors can be fixed. However, remanufactured starter motors are readily available and most do-it-yourself mechanics choose to simply replace, rather than repair, a defective starter motor. Starter motor replacement is among the easier jobs for the amateur and requires no specialized tools or skills beyond the basic mechanic's tool set and equipment to safely raise and support the vehicle.

Removal

Loosen the negative battery cable clamp and disconnect the cable.

Apply the parking brake. Raise the front of the vehicle with a jack, then secure it on jack stands.

Disconnect the wiring connector(s) at the starter motor.

Remove the starter mounting bolts and lower the starter from the vehicle.

Installation

Position the replacement starter and install the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts securely.

Connect the wiring to the starter motor.

Connect the negative battery cable and start the vehicle.

Listen for excessive noise during starter motor engagement. Noise may include scraping, squealing or whining sounds. If noise occurs, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, support the vehicle with a jack, remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground.

Remove the starter motor if excessive noise occurs when starting the vehicle. Add metal shims (included with replacement starter) to adjust the alignment of the starter motor and tighten the starter mounting bolts securely. Start the engine and listen for noise. Re-adjust the starter alignment, as needed, until satisfactory operation occurs; then support the vehicle with a jack, remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground.

Tip

  • Some Jeep Cherokee models use Torx bolts to mount the starter motor. These bolts have a star-shaped, rather than hexagonal, head and require the use of a Torx socket for removal and installation.

Warning

  • Never work under a vehicle supported only by a jack. Always support the vehicle on jack stands.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

David Reber has been a published writer since 1991. His work has appeared in the Kansas Herpetological Society newsletter and in "Amphibian and Reptile Conservation." He teaches high-school science and maintains a menagerie of classroom animals. Reber holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in education from Emporia State University.

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