DIY: How to Rebuild a Starter Motor

Video tutorial on how to rebuild a starter yourself at home. This is a great way to save money considering it’s only about $10 for replacement parts and a rebuilt replacement can around $150 depending on the vehicle. The repair maybe slightly more if you have to replace a solenoid.

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Tools/Supplies Needed:
-new brushes, bushings or bearings, and solenoid
-600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper
-ratchet and socket set
-electrical contact cleaner
-wire brush
-clean rags
-adjustable wrench
-paint marker

-remove starter from vehicle
-tape up any exposed holes on the starter
-clean the outside using a scraper and wire brush
-use a paint marker to mark any case seams
-remove the main power cable coming off the solenoid
-remove the outer bolts on the starter case
-these are extremely long and small, so take your time as you can risk breaking them depending on the condition of your starter
-the starter should pop right apart
-do not force the starter apart as there are plastic components which can break
-remove the solenoid
-the plunger will fit into a plastic fork so it does need to be shifted to one side so it can be removed from the unit
-remove rubber cap holding the engagement lever into place, then remove the final drive assembly
-the gear reduction just slides apart and inside you will find a series of gears
-remove the two bolts on the backside and pull off the cap
-remove the small rubber cap on the side that both holds and insulates the cable which just slides out
-pull back on the shaft to help assist the armature and brushes out
-pop the metal clips back and remove the cap on the brush carrier
-fully remove the metal clips and pull the brushes out, be extremely careful not to lose the springs in the process
-using a plastic safe degreasing, clean up any old lubricant on any parts with a clean rag
-disassemble the final drive, there is a c clip at the end of the shaft that holds the pinion gear in place
-remove the pinion gear and clutch assembly, inspect for any damage and replace if necessary
-remove another c clip, this time using needle nose plies to separate the final drive shaft
-clean up everything again with a degreaser
-there will be a bushing inside the case, so inspect that for any damage and replace if necessary
-for reassembly, apply a film of grease to any moving parts
-use a high quality grease throughout the starter motor, something which will maintaining good lubricating qualities in cold climate and not melt under high heat
-the grease will provide lubrication and hold the ball into place, make sure you do not lose it
-there will be a bushing in the end cap housing, therefore make sure it is in good condition with not play, replace if necessary
-I used a hacksaw blade to cut a slit in the bushing, do not cut all the way through as we do not want to mark the casing
-using a chisel, crush the bushing and then you’ll be able to remove it
-clean up any old dirt or lubricant
-gently insert the new bushing with a hammer, once it becomes a little lower, use the old bushing to help assist it into place and ensure it sits into the same location as before
-clean up the armature using electrical contact clean and a tooth brush
-commutator resurface using 600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper and a drill
-clean up the commutator using electrical contact cleaner and ensure the spaces between the commutator bars are clean
-the mica in these spaces should also be about 1mm lower
-using a multimeter, test the armature
-wash the inside of the start case with contact cleaner to remove any contaminants
-checked the solenoid with a multimeter
-for reassembly, install the final drive back into the case
-apply a light amount of oil to the oilite bushings if desired
-install rubber cap, solenoid and then motor case
-install the new bushes in the carrier and seat using 600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper so they match the contour of the commutator
-wash everything with electrical contact cleaner
-assembly the starter

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© 4DIYers 2013
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No part of this video or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author.



23 thoughts on “DIY: How to Rebuild a Starter Motor

  1. My vehicles starter works fine sometimes and then other times it gets very lazy almost like it's sticky. What could be the problem? Does it just need a good clean and brushes? A new battery was fitted so that's not the problem.

  2. Ok so am not a pro by any means but I recently serviced my starter (before discovering this video) and after I reinstalled it and started her up, I heard a loud pop so I instantly shut it off and searched around the engine compartment for any sign of breakage. After a thorough search I concluded it all looked good and attempted to start it back up and… nothing. Didn't even try to turn over. So after checking all the fuses and wiring a took apart my starter to see if I missed something and this is what I found. Anyone know if my ignorance is what caused this mess or if there's something I missing here. Never seen a starter implode before. Here's a little slideshow so you can see what I mean…

  3. Very informational video. A question: with the starter out of the vehicle, I've placed one probe of the multimeter on the 's' trigger terminal on the solenoid and the other probe on the case of the motor and I'm seeing continuity. Doing the same test with the braided wire that connects to the starter and the starter motor case I'm also seeing continuity. Does this indicate a short?

  4. Incredibly detailed video on how to rebuild and test a starter with solenoid. I will apply what I've learned here to a Delco Remy tractor starter with a slow crank. problem.

  5. 2006 Impala LT 3.9 automatic. No crank no start. All accessories work when key is turned to run position but starter will not run. New battery and cables, all fuses and relays work properly. There is power from the ignition switch to the starter and engine is not locked up. Starter will run off the car but, not on the car.
    Could you please help a senior citizen out.
    GOD bless and thank you so much for your video.

  6. When doing multiple trips at different stores I noticed that the starter turns over slowly but starts the car, or driving for an hour stop the engine and then start the engine starter turns slowly what can cause this? I have a new battery and the battery test out ok.

  7. Little help please =D Do the starter motors planetary box have any mechanism to avoid reverse spin? or there is some mechanisms to avoid reverse spin?

  8. Great job on the video very well edited and narrated straight to the point and every point covered. You have a sub and I liked it as well.

  9. I love your work surface. Nothing rolls away. You've done this before; I can tell. No "uhs", "ums", or "like, you know" pauses. Obviously a professional and the standard for DIY videos.

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