Removing & Refitting Starter Motors On Classic Cars

Removing & Refitting Starter Motors On Classic Cars

This guide captures ‘bygone’ advice on Removing & Refitting Starter Motors On Classic Cars. It is part of a series I am building on Starter Motor Problems 

To see all my ‘bygone’ advice guides please visit Classic Car Maintenance DIY Guides.

Remember folks these are ‘bygone guides’ … useful but the safety and personal protective equipment measures are reflective of bygone awareness. Stay safe.





Removing Starter Motors

Because the starter is directly connected to the battery it should be treated with caution until the supply has been isolated.

A slipped spanner on the live terminal can easily weld itself to the earthed engine or bodywork.

Remove the earth lead from the battery terminal and tuck it safely away where it cannot spring back on to battery.

Next disconnect the leads from the starter itself, taking care not to drop any of the plain brass and spring locking washers.

Removing A Starter Motor On A Classic Car
The starter is difficult to get at low down on the engine. Disconnect cables and undo the three mounting bolts

It is not necessary to remember or mark the leads, because each terminal is of a different size or type to prevent incorrect assembly.

The body of the starter is attached to the bell housing on the crankcase or transmission side by a flange with two or three bolts. Usually these are screwed into tapped holes but they are in close proximity to the transmission housing bolts and are often of the same size.

Removing A Starter Motor From The Bell Housing
To remove starter pull away from bell housing which then exposes a small section of the flywheel ring gear

Do not confuse these bolts, or the starter will not come free.

Take care when removing the starter flange bolts as the starter may be very heavy, especially on larger-engined cars.

It is best to loosen the bolts a little at first in turn and then support the weight of the starter while they are with­drawn. Fortunately these bolts are usually loose on their threads and can be wound out by hand.

When working on a hot engine, take care to avoid the exhaust pipe, which is often very close to the star;:er and be prepared for the bolts to be hot.

Most cars are designed for straightforward starter removal, but in some cases it is necessary first to remove the exhaust pipe or manifold.

If the starter is accessible only from below, and often the lower bolt can only be reached from underneath, make sure the front end is supported safely before sliding under the car.

Refitting A Starter Motor

Installing the starter is straight forward.

Make sure its locat­ing boss is properly inserted before tightening up the bolts.

Reconnect all leads, including those to the battery and refit any exhaust pipes removed or loosened for access.

Try the starter.

If it still fails to mesh properly or jams after following the advice in this series then I am afraid to say it may be the ring gear on the flywheel has been damaged.

If teeth on the flywheel ring gear have been damaged or broken, the flywheel will have to be removed which means the transmission or the engine must be removed first.


What Next ?

Not found what you are looking for ? Head over to my starting page on Starter Motor Problems.


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