GM Firebird 1967-1981 Repair Guide

Starter

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise the car to a convenient working height.
  4.  

Starter removal on certain models may necessitate the removal of the frame support. This support runs from the corner of the frame to the front crossmember. Loosen the mounting bolt that attaches the support to the corner of the frame. Loosen and remove the mounting bolt that attaches the support to the front crossmember and swing the support out of the way. Installation is in the reverse order of removal.

  1. Disconnect all wiring from the starter solenoid. Replace each nut as the wires are removed, as thread sizes differ from connector to connector. Note or tag the wiring positions for installation.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front bracket from the starter and the two mounting bolts. On engines with a solenoid heat shield, remove the front bracket upper bolt and detach the bracket from the starter.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front bracket bolt or nut. Lower the starter front end first, then remove the unit from the car.
  6.  
  7. Reverse the removal procedures to install the starter. Tighten the two mounting bolts to 25-35 ft. lbs.
  8.  

See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: Before removing the starter mounting bolts, detach all wiring from the solenoid

OVERHAUL



Drive Replacement

See Figures 2, 3 and 4

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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of a common starter motor



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Fig. Fig. 3: Use a piece of metal pipe to drive the retainer toward the snapring



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Fig. Fig. 4: Use two pairs of pliers to press the retainer over the snapring and thrust washer

  1. Disconnect the field coil straps from the solenoid.
  2.  
  3. Remove the through-bolts, and separate the commutator end frame, field frame assembly, drive housing, and armature assembly from each other.
  4.  
  5. Slide the two piece thrust collar off the end of the armature shaft.
  6.  
  7. Slide a suitably-sized metal cylinder, such as a standard 1 / 2 in. pipe coupling, or an old pinion, onto the shaft so that the end of the coupling or pinion butts up against the edge of the pinion retainer.
  8.  
  9. Support the lower end of the armature securely on a soft surface, such as a wooden block, and tap the end of the coupling or pinion, driving the retainer towards the armature end of the snapring.
  10.  
  11. Remove the snapring from the groove in the armature shaft with a pair of pliers. Then, slide the retainer and starter drive from the shaft.
  12.  

To assemble:
  1. Lubricate the drive end of the armature shaft with silicone lubricant, and slide the starter drive onto the shaft with the pinion facing outward. Slide the retainer onto the shaft with the cupped surface facing outward.
  2.  
  3. Again support the armature on a soft surface, with the pinion at the upper end. Center the snapring on the top of shaft (use a new snapring if the original was damaged during removal). Gently place a block of wood flat on top of the snapring so as not to move it from a centered position. Tap the wooden block with a hammer in order to force the snapring around the shaft. Then, slide the ring down into the snapring groove.
  4.  
  5. Lay the armature down flat on the surface you're working on. Slide the retainer close up on to the shaft and position it and the thrust collar next to the snapring. Using two pairs of pliers on opposite sides of the shaft, squeeze the thrust collar and the retainer together until the snapring is forced into the retainer.
  6.  
  7. Lube the drive housing bushing with a silicone lubricant. Then, install the armature and clutch assembly into the drive housing, engaging the solenoid shift lever with the clutch, and positioning the front end of the armature shaft into the bushing.
  8.  
  9. Apply a sealing compound approved for this application onto the drive housing; then position the field frame around the armature shaft and against the drive housing. Work slowly and carefully to prevent damaging the starter brushers.
  10.  
  11. Lubricate the bushing in the commutator end frame with a silicone lubricant, place leather washer onto the armature shaft, and slide the commutator end frame over the shaft and into position against the field frame. Line up the bolt holes, then install and tighten the through-bolts.
  12.  
  13. Reconnect the field coil straps to the "motor" terminal of the solenoid.
  14.  

If replacement of the starter drive fails to cure improper engagement of starter pinion to flywheel, there are probably defective parts in the solenoid and/or shift lever. The best procedure would probably be to take the assembly to a shop where a pinion clearance check can be made by energizing the solenoid on a test bench. If the pinion clearance is incorrect, disassemble the solenoid and shift lever, inspect, and replace the worn parts.

Brush Replacement

  1. Disassemble the starter by following Steps 1 and 2 of the Drive Replacement procedure earlier in this section.
  2.  
  3. Replace the brushes one at a time to avoid having to mark the wiring. For each brush, perform the following:
    1. Remove the brush holding screw.
    2.  
    3. Remove the old brush and position the new brush in the same direction (large end toward center of field frame).
    4.  
    5. Position wire connector on top of brush, line up holes, and reinstall screw. Make sure screw is snug enough to ensure good contact.
    6.  

  4.  
  5. Reassemble the starter according to Steps 10-13 of the previous procedure.
  6.  

Solenoid Replacement

  1. Remove the screw and washer from the motor connector strap terminal.
  2.  
  3. Remove the two solenoid retaining screws.
  4.  
  5. Twist the solenoid housing clockwise to remove the flange key from the keyway in the housing. Then remove the housing.
  6.  
  7. To reinstall the unit, place the return spring on the plunger and place the solenoid body on the drive housing. Turn counterclockwise to engage the flange key. Place the two retaining screws in position and install the screw and washer, which secure the strap terminal. Install the unit on the starter.
  8.  

 
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