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Starter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Starter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, E12 socket (external Torx)

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Starter motor

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Reliable and working starter

Complementary Modification:

Replace battery

When a starter motor fails, your engine will not start. You may turn the key and attempt to crank the engine but nothing happens or maybe only a few clicks. It is important to be sure your battery is fully charged and in good condition and that the battery terminals, positive connections and ground cables are tight and corrosion-free before condemning your starter. 

Another cause of a no-start condition could be failure of the electronic immobilizer system. If the ignition key does not communicate with the immobilizer or one of the electronic modules responsible for granting access to the starting system fails, you may have a situation that mimics a failed starter. To test the starter itself, you need to make sure that full battery current is available at the main starter terminal (B+) and that battery current is switched on at the small starter terminal when the ignition switch is engaged. If electrical current is not available at either of those terminals, then the no-start condition is caused by an electrical or electronic failure and not necessarily by the starter motor.

The engine starter motor is located on the left side of the engine below the intake manifold. It is not the easiest part to access on your BMW and can be replaced a few different ways. On all models, you can access the starter from below but it is a tight work space. I prefer to pull the intake manifold on some models. You can pull the intake manifold out of the way to replace the starter on all models. You have much better access and can avoid lying on your back for hours. The dowel for the starter is known to get stuck. With the intake removed, driving the dowel out is much easier.

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Jack up the front of your vehicle. See our article on jacking up your vehicle.

Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable. See our tech article on battery replacing.

Models with 4-cylinder engine:

In this article, I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter with the intake manifold on a 4-cylinder model off. Please see our tech article on removing your intake manifold. You don't have to do it this way, but access to the electrical connections is easier as is access to the starter.

Working at back of starter, remove the three wires at the back, there are 8mm (red arrow), 10mm (green arrow) and a 13mm (yellow arrow) nuts that have to be removed.
Figure 1

Working at back of starter, remove the three wires at the back, there are 8mm (red arrow), 10mm (green arrow) and a 13mm (yellow arrow) nuts that have to be removed. Once the nuts are removed, remove the wires from the back of the starter.

Next you have to remove the starter bolts.
Figure 2

Next you have to remove the starter bolts. The bolt heads are E12 (external Torx). This photo shows the bolts (green arrows), looking down from firewall area (intake manifold removed). If starter (red arrow) doesnÂ't come out, the dowel pin may be corroded and stuck in transmission. (yellow arrow) If you run into a stuck dowel, you can drive it out using a 10mm punch and small hammer. A new starter should come with a dowel pin installed, if not, transfer old one over to new starter. You cannot access alignment pin from above without intake manifold removed. To remove from below, put your punch into a deep socket installed on a 24Â" extension, align with pin and drive out from below, through the same access area used to remove starter bolts. If servicing from below, you can access the bolts easier by unbolting the transmission mount and lowering the transmission. Install starter and tighten fasteners. Install electrical connections, do not over-tighten battery positive (+) terminal, stud can break. Reassemble remaining items and reconnect battery. Check operation of starter, then recheck that all wiring is routed as before.

Models with 6-cylinder engine In this article:

I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter from below on a 6-cylinder model. Photos show intake manifold removed for clarity. If you want to remove your intake manifold to ease access, see our tech article on intake manifold replacing.
Working at back of starter, remove 13mm battery positive (+) cable nut.
Figure 3

Working at back of starter, remove 13mm battery positive (+) cable nut. (green arrow)

Then, remove 8mm and 10mm nuts for starter electrical connection.
Figure 4

Then, remove 8mm and 10mm nuts for starter electrical connection. (green arrows) Then remove wires from starter.

Next, you have to remove the starter bolts.
Figure 5

Next, you have to remove the starter bolts. (green arrows) The bolt heads are E12 (external Torx). This photo shows the bolts, looking down from firewall area (intake manifold removed). You can access the bolts easier by unbolting the transmission mount and lowering the transmission, if needed. Using a 24Â" extension, universal joint and an E12 socket, reach up from below left side of transmission and remove starter fasteners. Remove starter from engine by rotating counterclockwise and in a downward direction.

If starter doesnÂ't come out, the dowel pin may be corroded and stuck in transmission.
Figure 6

If starter doesnÂ't come out, the dowel pin may be corroded and stuck in transmission. (green arrow)

If you run into this issue, you can drive dowel pin out using a 10mm punch and small hammer.
Figure 7

If you run into this issue, you can drive dowel pin out using a 10mm punch and small hammer. A new starter should come with a dowel pin installed, if not, transfer old one over to new starter. You cannot access alignment pin from above without intake manifold removed. To remove from below, put your punch into a deep socket installed on a 24Â" extension, align with pin and drive out from below, through the same access area used to remove starter bolts. Install starter and tighten fasteners. Install electrical connections, do not over-tighten battery positive (+) terminal, stud can break. Reassemble remaining items and reconnect battery. Check operation of starter, then recheck that all wiring is routed as before.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Stone Comments: Is this procedure the same on a 2002 X5?
January 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No it is not. This article applies to BMW Z3 models. If we get the chance to perform the repair on an X5, we will be sure to document it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:06:47 AM