Starter

Inspect/Test/Service/Replace

  • If your testing indicates that the starter must be removed, the first step is to disconnect the negative cable at the battery.
  • It may be necessary to place the vehicle on a lift to gain access to the starter. Before lifting the vehicle, disconnect all wires, fasteners, and so on that can be reached from under the hood.
  • Disconnect the wires leading to the solenoid terminals.
  • To avoid confusion when reinstalling the starter, it is wise to mark the wires so they can be reinstalled on their correct terminals.
  • On some vehicles you may need to disconnect the exhaust system to be able to remove the starter.
  • Loosen the starter mounting bolts and remove all but one.
  • Support the starter while removing the remaining bolt.
  • Then pull the starter out and away from the flywheel.
  • Once the starter is free, remove the last bolt and the starter.
  • Once the starter is out, inspect the starter drive pinion gear and the flywheel ring gear.
Starter drive and flywheel ring gear wear patterns. Courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
  • When the teeth of the starter drive are abnormally worn, make sure you inspect the entire circumference of the flywheel.
  • If the starter drive or the flywheel ring gear show signs of wear or damage, they must be replaced.
  • Reverse the procedure to install the starter.
  • Make sure all electrical connections are tight.
  • If you are installing a new or remanufactured starter, sand away the paint at the mounting point before installing it. Also, make sure you have a good hold on the starter while installing it.
  • Many General Motors' starters use shims between the starter and the mounting pad.
Shimming the starter to obtain proper pinion-to-ring gear clearance. Courtesy of General Motors Corporation - Service Operation.
  • To check this clearance, install the starter and insert a flat blade screwdriver into the access slot on the side of the drive housing. Pry the drive pinion gear into the engaged position.
  • Use a wire feeler gauge or a piece of 0.020-inch (0.5080-mm) diameter wire to check the clearance between the gears.
Checking the clearance between the pinion gear and the ring gear.
  • If the clearance between the two gears is incorrect, shims will need to be added or subtracted to bring the clearance within specs.
  • If the clearance is excessive, the starter will produce a high-pitched whine while it is cranking the engine.
  • If the clearance is too small, the starter will make a high-pitched whine after the engine starts and the ignition switch is returned to the RUN position.
  • Every starter should be bench tested after it is removed and before it is installed. to conduct a free speed or load test on a starter, see the free speed test.

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