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Anyone rebuilt their own starter? Easier to replace?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 seattlelegacy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:36 PM

My 84 GL wagon also needs a starter (or at least needs it rebuilt). I get the "click" "click" about ten times, then it finally engages. I was thinking pull a part for a used one since it is a hobby car (maybe 25 bucks???), but I guess worst case I could have someone like Acme auto electric rebuild it (at a cost close to replacement). What do the masses think?:confused:

#2 edrach

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:03 PM

Pull a Part would be the best; also check your battery connections and ignition switch cable; it might not be the starter after all.

My 84 GL wagon also needs a starter (or at least needs it rebuilt). I get the "click" "click" about ten times, then it finally engages. I was thinking pull a part for a used one since it is a hobby car (maybe 25 bucks???), but I guess worst case I could have someone like Acme auto electric rebuild it (at a cost close to replacement). What do the masses think?:confused:



#3 somick

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:10 PM

I have tried to buy a rebuilt kit with no luck. Ended up buying a new (rebuilt) one for around a 100 bucks.
Replacing is a very easy job. Two bolts from housing, one positive wire and a couple of electrical connectors. You will still have to climb under the car for the bottom bolt though.

Sam

#4 seattlelegacy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:18 PM

Ed, we need to make a trip up to the pull a part. I know you offered when I needed an axle, but I ponied up and paid the 60 bucks for a rebuilt (I distinctly remember it being rainy at the time, LOL). Now I need a starter, and I'm not paying a hundred bucks. If you're headed to the yard anytime, let me know, I'll try to meet you. Oh, and I just replaced the battery, cleaned the cable terminals, no help. For good measure, I'll check the ignition switch cable too. Speaking of ignition, mine is funny - the key comes right out while the car is running - which will be nice for when I have to warm the car up. I can start it, pull the key out, lock it, and walk away without fearing that someone might steal all 400 bucks of joy.

Ed, got your PM, we'll talk.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:33 PM

you can rebuild, if you're close to a warehouse or electrical shop willing to help you find the right brushes and solenoid. i rebuilt some van, forget the make when i was in atlanta. but at the time i knew of a good supply warehouse. they matched up the parts and i put them in. they are very cheap, but finding them is the hard part. i've tried to source some good supply stores in maryland and no luck with any that will help out.
it ends up being really cheap, but like i said need a little help or know where to find the parts. it'll be a matching type deal, find a replacement part based on the old one.

agree with the above too...check battery connections and starter connections. any bad connection or a bad ground from battery to engine/body will cause the same situation.

next time it clicks run jumper cables from battery ground to a good engine ground and see if it starts right up. that would narrow it down to a bad ground wire.

or - do the opposite - run jumper cables from positive battery to starter and see if it starts. if it does then your cable, connections are to blame.

as you can tell, you're only using one line of the jumper cables, make sure you use the same one.

#6 zyewdall

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 05:00 PM

Excessive clicking is usually a bad starter/starter solenoid. I lived with one for 6 months till I finally bought a used one for $25 and replaced it (after I had to roll start it a few times). Took half an hour to swap out, and the used one lasted another few years. Don't know what took me so long to give in and do it.

#7 civilpd

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:18 PM

I have repaired a starter on an 89 corolla. There were two little half moon copper contacts inside that had arc-ed away at each other. I found a little greasy hole in the wall that sold me the two half moons for about 50 cents. Put them back in and shazam, it fired right up.

I had already taken the starter apart and inspected it. From looking at the contacts, I could tell there would be no way for them to touch and that they needed replacing.

Yes, upon reflection, I think that was right after I had gotten thrown out of this joint for sneaking in the back door to talk to the rebuilder man himself. Rather nasty situation as I recall. Blasted proprietary infomaniacs...

#8 edrach

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:27 PM

I was just at PAP today; but limited in what I could get since I didn't have my tools with me. You're in luck since there was a nice '84 wagon that went into the yard today and you can get the start off that; pretty easy to do.

Ed, we need to make a trip up to the pull a part. I know you offered when I needed an axle, but I ponied up and paid the 60 bucks for a rebuilt (I distinctly remember it being rainy at the time, LOL). Now I need a starter, and I'm not paying a hundred bucks. If you're headed to the yard anytime, let me know, I'll try to meet you. Oh, and I just replaced the battery, cleaned the cable terminals, no help. For good measure, I'll check the ignition switch cable too. Speaking of ignition, mine is funny - the key comes right out while the car is running - which will be nice for when I have to warm the car up. I can start it, pull the key out, lock it, and walk away without fearing that someone might steal all 400 bucks of joy.

Ed, got your PM, we'll talk.



#9 thealleyboy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:07 PM

If availability and price is good, you cant go wrong with a used OEM.

If you need something remanufactured, it's a little more complicated. Rebuilding yourself is rarely worth the cost of parts, time, and effort. There are much better alternatives. If your town has an electrical rebuild shop, I'd give them a look. A recommendation by a mechanic is as good as gold. Often times they are competitive with the cheap import discount stores, and the quality is infinitely higher.

If you are into this car for the long haul, may as well get it right the first time...

good luck, John

#10 GLCraig

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:44 PM

I get the "click" "click" about ten times, then it finally engages.


You just need to replace the contacts in the solenoid, the parts are about $5.00 at a dealer. Sorry I don't have the part numbers.

#11 leadfootracin

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:01 PM

southend auto wrecking in renton has a in house repair and rebuild for starters and alts, have had them do reverse rotation and conv no prob, another hit may be jacks payless on rainer ave so. doing your own most of the times ends up being more of a hedake than its worth. :) :)

#12 seattlelegacy

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:43 PM

I was just at PAP today; but limited in what I could get since I didn't have my tools with me. You're in luck since there was a nice '84 wagon that went into the yard today and you can get the start off that; pretty easy to do.


I feel like a kid on christmas eve. That 84 is going to get stripped. :banana:

#13 sta_alaska

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:53 PM

its so easy to rebuild a subaru starter ive done it many times, all u need are the starter contacts nothin else needs to be replaced, there like 5 bucks at the dealer and it takes about 45 min to do it. take the starter out than remove the rear cover usally 3 screws can be a a torx or a bolt. inside you will have to take out the center contact and grind it out till its smooth. take off the the bolts from the battery pos and remove that contact when u put in the new one make sure to hammer it down with a screw driver so it stays flush with the contact. than remove the outher one and hammering it down when your done than after that you should have a great quality rebuilt starter for 5$:banana:

#14 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 11:21 PM

One interesting thing of note here - any EA81 or EA82 starter will work (EJ too I think). Personally I go for the ones from automatics as they are gear reduction units, and spin quite a bit faster. I just like em better - easier to start with the faster crank speed.

GD

#15 sta_alaska

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 11:25 PM

but the autos u have to wire in a relay...

#16 jereandjess

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:20 PM

Are the contacts that are spoken of here the same as "brushes". Is that a case of same thing, different words?

I have the similar symptoms, cold mornings get in, turn the key, nothing except lights on the dash etc. Not much clicking as others have.

Turn the key all the way on to engage the starter and back 3 times or so and then it kicks over.

New Battery, good clean connections.

198,000 on the 91 Legacy manual.

I think it is probably as simple as replacing the brushes, but the dealer closest to me I called said he could get "brush assembly", but it was $40

That is a bit different than the $5 mentioned here.

Is there a parts list with numbers available for download anywhere or microfiche lists scanned anywhere?

I have not had any luck tracking down numbers.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

~Jeremy

#17 seattlelegacy

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:59 PM

Jeremy, I just pulled a starter out of a junkyard for a little more than 10 bucks, you may want to just go that route. It took about 10 minutes to swap it in.

#18 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:24 PM

Brushes are NOT contacts. The contacts are in the starter solenoid, while the brushes are for the starter motor itself.

GD

#19 Subarian

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:08 PM

The contacts look like thick copper washers. You can clean them up with a file and they'll be good for a long time. Carbon builds up on the face of the contacts and pitting wears down the face, both from arcing. Just clean them up until they're shiny.

#20 jereandjess

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:30 PM

So are the contacts in the solenoid?

The brushes are down in the bottom of the solenoid, as I look at it with the part that goes into the bell housing facing up.

Where are the contacts that you speak of?

I just had the solenoid apart. Lots of black dust/film, a little electrical cleaner and it cleaned up really nicely. The brushes are in good shape to my eye.

I put it back in and the same problem persists. I was really thinking that once I cleaned it all up that it would make a difference. It took 2 turns of the key to get it to start. Small improvement from 3, but still no where near ideal!

Hmmmm. Any ideas where to look next?

#21 Subarian

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:37 PM

If you look at where the battery lug is on the solenoid, that will give you a good idea of where the contact is. It's pretty self-evident once you take it apart. The solenoid is powered by a low amperage circuit from the keyswitch. When that circuit is closed, it moves the plunger in the solenoid, which closes the contacts on the high amperage side of the solenoid.

#22 jereandjess

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:57 PM

Well once I took the starter apart, instead of just the solenoid, the contacts do make themselves very evident!

I went to the local auto electric place and bought a set of contacts for $2 and had the starter back in the car.

Started up so much quicker than it has in years.

So great to have the problem solved!

Thank you all for your assistance and suggestions!

~Jeremy

#23 seattlelegacy

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 12:29 AM

Damn, now I'm gonna have to rebuild the starter that I replaced for 2 bucks!.




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