Automotive Repair help needed: Is it difficult to replace a starter in a car?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JasenP, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    The ol' gal needs a new starter and I would like to know if it is just a simple matter of marking the wires and swapping the old for the new?

    I am picking up a rebuilt starter this afternoon and I am told it's a 15 minute job. Is their any calibration or belts to worry about?

    She's a 1991 Cavalier 4 cylinder with a manual tranny.
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    I'm not an expert in the matter but there are no belts involved. The hardest part will be getting TO the starter, as it's usually located near the bottom of the engine--you might have to raise the car and go in from underneath.

    Make sure to disconnect the battery (negative terminal) before proceeding.

    KJP
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I replaced the starter on my 383 equipped '72 plymouth. It just bolts in place. I would suggest getting some LiquidWrench to loosen-up the bolts. Also make sure the car's been off for awhile. No need to burn yourself on the headers/manifolds/whatever is near the starter on a cavalier.
    All in all, it's one of the easiest jobs in car repair[​IMG]
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    While you are picking up the starter, either grab or take a look at either a Chiltons or Haynes service manual. Should give you a decent idea of how to do it, and it should be very easy. I've done them on a few different cars, and it was pretty easy on each of them. Disconnect the battery FIRST.
     
  5. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    72 olds cutlass...I had to shim it a bit to keep the gears meshing ok, but it was a 15 minute job total..
     
  6. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    As said before, you'll have to get under the car. Disconnect the battery first, and pay attention to the shims. Otherwise, piece of cake.
     
  7. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    Oh sweet Irony!!
    I went to pick up the new starter, and my car wouldn't start. It had been grinding for a few days now, but now it just whirrs...
    Luckily one of the maintenance guys saw me kicking the car furiously and took me to the auto parts store. Now I get to replace it in the parking lot after work.
    NOT A GOOD DAY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    You couldn't push-start it? With the car getting older, it might be time to learn how. It should be easy with that lightweight car and little engine.

    I used to have an old Z28 that would misbehave at all the wrong times. I became a pro at push-starts.
     
  9. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    Heh, "a 15-minute job." Not usually on a FWD vehicle due to the starter generally located on the back of the engine near the firewall. I changed the starter on a relative's Dodge Aries once... I couldn't even SEE where the starter was, from ANY angle! Worst starter I ever changed. A Cavalier is easy in comparison, but still not fun due to the FWD and sideways engine.

    If you haven't done it yet, yes, just disconnect the negative battery cable, take off the two starter wires, and then swap the new starter in. Definitely disconnect the battery. I had to re-learn that lesson one time when I thought I was too good to need to bother with it.
     
  10. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    The starter on the Cavalier was right in front and easy to get to once I jacked it up.
    After waiting for tools, I was able to replace the starter in about 20 minutes. Not bad for a first-timer. [​IMG]
     
  11. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    I work at a dealership, the job to change a starter on a 91 Cavalier pays .6 of an hour. A very simple job. The starter though (part #6415MS-aftermarket) should cost no more than $70. These starters should be shimmed though, as you were saying it was grinding(common problem). Also check the integrity of your flywheel ring gear while you have the starter out or examine the internal gear (bendix) on your old starter for wear. If all that looks good. Shim it and replace, its 2 bolts! Do not over tighten bolts because these have aluminum housings and can possibly snap. Hope that helps[​IMG]
     
  12. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    I ended up paying $85 after I got my core charge back. The starter itself was a rebuild and has a lifetime guarentee so I didn't think I was doing too bad price wise.
    I did shim it and the internal gear on the old starter looked pretty rough. The beast has 143,000 miles on it so I am not terribly worried about anything else but oil and gasoline. [​IMG]
     
  13. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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