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DIY: Starters/Solenoids


DIY: Starters/Solenoids

What you will need:

  1. Open or box end wrenches.
  2. A jack and a pair of jack stands or...
  3. Drive on ramps.
  4. Ratchet wrench set with universal joint.
  5. Safety glasses.
  6. Wheel chocks.
  7. Correct starter and/or solenoid for your vehicle.

Before You Start:

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid, level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.
  • Let the engine cool.
  • Be sure the ignition is OFF and then remove the negative (grounded) battery cable from the battery with the puller after loosening the attaching bolt.
  • Note all wiring connections to the starter and solenoid.

   Okay, let's get to work.

Starter Replacement


  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  2. Remove the battery cable attached to the starter, either from the solenoid or the starter itself.

  3. Remove any other wires attached to the solenoid if it is mounted on the starter. Write down or note the wire positions so you can replace them correctly.

  4. Remove the mounting bolts (usually two on General Motors and Chrysler or three on most Fords). Most bolts attach horizontally through the mounting flange. On General Motors cars there may be a shim between the engine and starter. If there is save it, it must be used with the new starter. Remove any support bracket that holds the front of the starter.

  5. Now comes the fun part, getting it out. You may have to turn the wheels to one side or the other. You may have to disconnect an idler arm on some Ford models. On other cars you may have to remove or loosen transmission oil cooler lines or brackets, the exhaust pipe, flywheel housing cover, cross member, ground strap, oil pressure sending unit or other parts to give you enough clearance to drop the starter down.


  1. Install the new starter in the reverse order of removal. If you took out any shim(s) on the General Motors type starter be sure you install them with the new starter. This will usually be correct, but if there is a abnormal noise when the engine is cranking or a whine after it starts, you may need to adjust the shims as follows:

    • If there is a starter noise when you crank the engine, remove one shim.

    • If there is a high-pitched whine after the engine starts, add a shim one at a time until the noise disappears. DO NOT use more than four shims. To add a shim, loosen the inside bolt, remove the outside bolt, add the shim and then retighten both bolts

  2. Reattach the battery/starter cable to the starter. If the solenoid is starter-mounted, reconnect any other wires to it in their original positions.

  3. Reconnect the battery negative cable.

    Additional Information provided courtesy of ALLDATA DIY

       Copyright © 2000 - 2003 Vincent T. Ciulla All Rights Reserved

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