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VW / Audi Starter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

VW / Audi Starter Replacement

Peter Bodensteiner

Time:

2.5 hrs

Tab:

$190

Talent:

*****

Tools:

6 mm Allen bit, 13 mm socket, 8, 10, and 13 mm combination wrenches, small flat-blade screwdriver

Applicable Models:

 
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi A4 Quattro (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
Audi TT Quattro (2000-04)
VW Beetle (1999-02)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Passat (1996-00)

Parts Required:

New starter motor

Hot Tip:

Make sure you've removed the electrical connections from the starter before you remove its two mounting bolts

Performance Gain:

Effective cranking of the engine during startup

Complementary Modification:

Replace air conditioning compressor, replace/upgrade diverter valve

On the face of it, the bolts and connectors holding the engine's starter in place are not any more complicated than those of any other under-hood components, like the alternator, for example. It has a couple electrical connections to remove, and three bolts that mount the starter to the bell housing and engine block

The catch, however, is that the starter motor is fairly buried behind and underneath other components in the engine compartment. It's nestled underneath the passenger-side engine mount, blocked from above by the turbocharger, exhaust piping, and heat shielding, from below by the front subframe, and in front by the air conditioning compressor.

Begin by removing the A/C compressor. You can remove the four bolts holding it to its mounting bracket and set it aside, with the refrigerant and electrical connections intact. With the compressor out of the way, you can reach up from below and to the front of the starter to remove the electrical connections and the forward mounting bolt. The two rear mounting bolts can be reached through the wheel well and/or from directly underneath.

To back up for a moment, there are a few other things you should do before you can remove the starter: disconnect the battery at the negative terminal; jack up the car and remove the front passenger-side wheel, remove the plastic undertray; and move the radiator support panel into the service position. Also, you should make sure the car is completely cooled down before working on the starter because of its proximity to the exhaust system and turbocharger, but presumably, if you're replacing the starter, you won't have this "problem."

The first step of moving the A/C compressor aside is to remove the compressor's belt from its pulley.
Figure 1

The first step of moving the A/C compressor aside is to remove the compressor's belt from its pulley. Loosen the outer two 6mm Allen bolts to allow the tensioner pulley to move; this will give you enough slack to maneuver the belt off of the crank and compressor pulleys. See the Engine Belts project for more detail on this procedure.

This is the top of the A/C compressor.
Figure 2

This is the top of the A/C compressor. The two 13mm bolts to the left must be removed (green arrows).

From underneath the A/C compressor, you can see the two bottom 13mm bolts (green arrows) that must also be removed.
Figure 3

From underneath the A/C compressor, you can see the two bottom 13mm bolts (green arrows) that must also be removed. Note the top bolt that has been partially loosened (18 ft-lb).

Once the compressor is out of the way (make sure to suspend it with a wire or set it on something so that you don't strain the electrical connectors and refrigerant lines that are still connected to it), it's easy to see the area where it nestles in the aluminum bracket that holds it against the (iron, and thus rust-colored) engine block, as well as the four spots, two above and two below, that accept the bolts that the compressor in place.
Figure 4

Once the compressor is out of the way (make sure to suspend it with a wire or set it on something so that you don't strain the electrical connectors and refrigerant lines that are still connected to it), it's easy to see the area where it nestles in the aluminum bracket that holds it against the (iron, and thus rust-colored) engine block, as well as the four spots, two above and two below, that accept the bolts that the compressor in place. The upper left corner of the photo shows the leading end of the starter motor, including the 6mm Allen bolt (green arrow) that helps hold it to the engine block (16 ft-lb). The pipe in the center of the photo carries oil from the center section of the turbocharger back to the oil pan.

This photo shows all of the electrical connections that need to be removed from the starter.
Figure 5

This photo shows all of the electrical connections that need to be removed from the starter. Use a 13mm wrench to remove the top bolt, which holds the ends of two thick electrical cables in place (12 ft-lb). The small 8mm nut in the foreground (35 in-lb) should also be removed in order to release one of these cables from the starter mounting bracket.

Here the first of the two thick cables has been disconnected, as has the bracket that holds it in place on the brass-colored bracket holding the front of the starter in place.
Figure 6

Here the first of the two thick cables has been disconnected, as has the bracket that holds it in place on the brass-colored bracket holding the front of the starter in place. Note the plastic electrical connector that also must be removed. It connects to a flat, thin metal terminal on the starter; you can leave that connection in place until you can move the starter down a bit to access it more easily. However, make sure to remove the two larger cables fully before moving the starter--the act of moving the starter can cock the cable ends on the threaded bar coming out of the starter. You're better off removing these cables before moving the starter anywhere. Once you have the electrical cables disconnected, remove the 6 mm Allen bolt that holds this brass-colored bracket to the engine block. Picture 7: Looking in through the wheel well with the wheel removed, you can see the two 16mm bolts (green arrows) that hold the rear of the starter in place against the bell housing (48 ft-lb). Behind the lower bolt you can see another bolt, with oil residue on it. Disregard this bolt.

You can reach these two bolts either through the wheel well or from below, whichever works best for you and your tools.
Figure 7

You can reach these two bolts either through the wheel well or from below, whichever works best for you and your tools.

With the two long bolts removed, the starter can be worked free.
Figure 8

With the two long bolts removed, the starter can be worked free. The flat metal heat shield that obscures the body of the starter in this photo remains attached to the starter as you remove it.

In another example demonstrating that you should do what I say and not what I do, note that I have yet to remove all of the electrical connections from the starter, yet it is free from its mounts.
Figure 9

In another example demonstrating that you should do what I say and not what I do, note that I have yet to remove all of the electrical connections from the starter, yet it is free from its mounts. I found that this made it incredibly hard to remove the top wire from the mounting stud and I had to move the starter back into position to remove it. I placed the 8mm nut on the left back on just to avoid losing it. Note that the teeth of the flywheel are visible in the lower right of the photo--this is where the starter gear engages the flywheel, allowing the starter to turn the engine.

Now out of the car, here is a clear view of the front of the starter.
Figure 10

Now out of the car, here is a clear view of the front of the starter.

And this is a view of the rear of the starter, showing the gear that transmits the torque of the starter to the flywheel.
Figure 11

And this is a view of the rear of the starter, showing the gear that transmits the torque of the starter to the flywheel.

12
Figure 12

Installation of your new starter is simply the reverse of the removal of the old starter. Double-check the correct attachment of the electrical connectors before you reconnect the battery and attempt to start the engine.

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Comments and Suggestions:
DT Comments: Will this write-up work on a 98 A4-Quattro with a 2.8 30V engine?
September 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, this is a four cylinder article.


We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sidney Comments: Very well written and great PICS.
I have a 2000 Audi A4 Quattro 1.8 ATW engine.
Quesstions:
1. When putting the AC compressor belt back on and tightening the two bolts, do you have to adjust tension on the belt-if so how?
2. Looks like there is enough room to lower the AC compressor without going to the service position-please comment.
August 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1. If you model has the slotted hole tensioner for the bolt to move within, you have to tension by using the HEX boss. Apply tension, then tighten the tensioner bolts. Measure tension using a belt tension tool and confirm it matches the spec in the AUdi repair manual.

2. if it looks possible, give it a try and let us know how it works out. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jonathan Comments: Thanks for this, very helpful. Made my starter swap a breeze :
June 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ghadaffi Comments: So educative
December 31, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mateo Comments: Also, because I did not understand how to loosen the belt, I just wiggled the compressor pully out once the bolts were removed. Was able to squeeze it back on then attach the bolts. Hit the key for a second before tightening bolts to set the belt correctly. Also, not a bad idea to hit the key for a second as soon as starter bolted in and wires connected to make sure it is working before finishing the rest. Also, worth using jumper cables to test the starter before even beginning installation. You never know when you might have gotten a bad one.
July 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good point on the test starter actuation. Just be careful not to start the engine, which could happen. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mateo Comments: Thanks so much for your great article. It was very useful, especially the pictures. I would like to add a little info regarding my particular model. It is a 2001 Audi a4 1.8 with AWD and turbo. I don't know exactly how it differs by model. For mine, I did not put the radiator in service position. Looking at it, It did not seem like it would help. I was able to access everything just fine. It may have been a little easier to do so, but not enough to make the work of putting it in service position worth it in my opinion. Secondly, my compressor only had 3 bolts, two in the front and one in the middle in the back. Thirdly, I disconnected the wire from the compressor and was able to leave the hoses and lift it down and to the side. The bolts on the starter were easy to get to, one from the bottom, and one from the wheel well. Hope this info is helpful to those who can use it. Thanks so much for the well written overview.
July 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
esmer Comments: I'm trying to change the starter in my car, I have a 2002 Audi A4 1.8 .. but I need to be more specific on what to remove so I won't get electrified.
June 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article applies to:
Audi A4 (1997-02)
Audi TT (2000-04)
VW Passat (1996-00)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Beetle (1999-02)

If your vehicle is listed here, follow these steps. Start by disconnecting the battery.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
adrian Comments: thanks fo the information. you gave us a big help
June 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Boy Comments: Thanks A lot for this information. This site helped me save tones of time on my Passat Starter replacement. One note is that Duralast starters come universal for cars that need both "R" terminal and "S" terminal on the starter solenoid where my Passat only has an "S" terminal and therefore i was a bit confused which was which. Other then that. Thanks a lot for the info on this site!!!
November 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ken Comments: vw passat 2000.The AC compressor and its belt must be removed to get at the starter.You can keep hoses attached to compressor.
November 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mac Comments: Dear Wayne i am very confused on an Audi TT 2004,why on earth would you want to remove AC BELT and other bits when they are on the front of the engine, and the starter motor is located on the flywheel end attached to the bell housing, all you have to remove is the battery and tray, I thought your articles were good but, but now i.m not so sure One last point when you refer to passenger side,how are we supposed to know which side you mean, vehicle could be left or right hand drive. I await your reply with interest ,yours Mac.
August 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The a/c belt and a/c compressor have to be removed in order to access the starter. This is the way the factory instructs you to replace the starter, as well as the preferred method of professionals.

Being the article was authored int he US, assume the passenger side is the right side. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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