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How-to: Replace starter

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Re: [gti-vr6] Replacing a bad starter "Bob Tillman" <bobt@p-vector> Mon, 15 Apr 2002 22:38:49 -0400
RE: [gti-vr6] Replacing a bad starter "Dan the Subscriber" <dansubscribes@prodigy> Mon, 15 Apr 2002 23:05:28 -0400

From: "Bob Tillman" <bobt@p-vector>
To: "C G" <indycorradog60@hotmail>, <list@gti-vr6>
Subject: Re: [gti-vr6] Replacing a bad starter
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 22:38:49 -0400

IMPORTANT:  SEE ALSO aqn_what_vw/VR6/debug_starter_probs !!!

Hi Cory -

Believe it or not, I just changed the starter on my car today in the parking
garage at work.  Took about 1.5 hours.  Don't need to look for hills to park
on anymore! ;)

The Bentley is pretty close, but I can perhaps offer a few tips.  Here's the
procedure I used:

- Disconnect battery negative cable.  (Remember you'll need your radio

- Put a floor jack under the oil pan (using a block of wood so as to not
dent the pan).  No need to use an engine lift (as in Bentley) or to remove
the front mount bolt; just take the pressure off the mount.

- To see what you're doing, you can drop a work light into the engine
compartment between the starter and the radiator.  You can see the top bolt
of the starter through the air grill above the driver's side turn signal.

- Remove the 13mm nut holding the two fat positive wires to the solenoid.

- Remove the 1-conductor connector from the solenoid.

- It also helps to remove the splash shield between the tranny and the
driver's side wheel (just undo the two speed nuts and pull it off).

- Use a 13mm socket and a 9" (?) extension to remove the small nut at the
top starter mount.  This nut holds on a wire harness.  Remove the nut and
pull the harness off the bolt, and pull it aside.

- Use a 17mm socket to remove the power steering line clamp from the bottom
front of the transmission (it's in the way of the lower starter bolt).

- You'll need a 16mm socket for the two starter bolts (the top one requires
a deep socket).  None of my metric sets had them, but my 6-point 5/8" SAE
deep socket fit great, and not at all sloppily.  Remove those two bolts.

- Pull out the starter.  My kit came with a new bushing to fit into the
tranny housing (for the nose bearing of the starter) but I couldn't get the
old one out, so I just kept the old one in there.

- Assembly is the reverse of disassembly, as they say.  When I'm ready to
reconnect the battery, I put the key in the driver's door lock; if you
"unlock" it within a few seconds of connecting the battery the alarm won't
go off.

That's it!  Good luck...

- Bob T.
  '96 GTI VR6 178k miles (new starter today)
  '98 GTI VR6 38k miles (hers)
  '00 Passat 4-motion wagon (ours)

From: "Dan the Subscriber" <dansubscribes@prodigy>
To: "C G" <indycorradog60@hotmail>
Subject: RE: [gti-vr6] Replacing a bad starter
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 23:05:28 -0400
Cc: "GTI List" <list@gti-vr6>
        I went after my starter a few months ago.  Here is the two cents I'll add
to what Bob said.

1) I'd stay away from jacking the oil pan.  There is plenty of spots you can
support the motor from without risking that.  The oil pan isn't THAT strong
and I'd hate to see it cave-in,crease, or dent on you are dealing
with seals that you don't want to brake.

Not to mention that if yours is setup anything like mine (97 vr6) then you
don't need to support the block anyway because you won't need to work on any
support bolts.  (Bentley mentions this but I think it is for the 2.0L

2) use an extension and rachet wrench from the underside to work on the top
bolt on the starter....I found this to be the easiest way to get at it.  My
extension was long enough  so the wrench could move past the end of the
starter.   Short extension works for other bolts

I did all my work with the car up on ramps and from underneath.  Took me
about 1.5 hours to figure the best way to get at the bolts.....went back in
a lot faster.  I second the motion from Bob on the new bushing....I couldn't
come up with an easy way to get the old one out without creating more damage
that good.  I didn't have to remove anything other than the starter.

Lastly, when I got mine out I found that my PROBLEM WASN'T THE STARTER AT
ALL, rather the  braided copper lead from the solenoid to the starter was
corroded and broke.  I took the starter to local shop that works on electric
motors and they whipped one together for me for a fraction of the cost of a
new starter...easy fix.

Good Luck,


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