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Starter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Starter Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$250 to $300

Talent:

**

Tools:

15mm, 13mm, 10mm socket, 22mm Crawfoot

Applicable Models:

R53 (2002-06)

Parts Required:

New or rebuilt starter, exhaust gaskets

Hot Tip:

Make sure you have disconnected the battery

Performance Gain:

Car starts

Complementary Modification:

Replace ground strap

The starter motor is an electric motor powered by the battery, commanded on when the driver rotates the key or presses the START button. The modern MINI starter motor is a permanent magnet direct current electric motor with a solenoid mounted on it. When current from the vehicle battery is applied to the solenoid, the solenoid engages a lever that pushes out the drive pinion on the starter driveshaft and meshes the pinion with the starter ring gear on the flywheel of the engine.

The solenoid closes the high-current contacts for the starter motor. The starter motor then turns the engine. Once the engine starts, a spring in the solenoid assembly pulls the pinion gear away from the ring gear, and the starter motor stops.

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.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. 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 include your vehicle information.

When replacing the starter you need to partially remove the exhaust manifold, so make sure you have a new manifold to head and down pipe gasket. You are going to be working both above and below the vehicle so please see our article on jacking up and supporting your car.

Before replacing the starter make sure to check your battery and ground strap.
Figure 1

Before replacing the starter make sure to check your battery and ground strap. A weak battery and/or faulty ground strap can easily be the cause of a non or hard starting car. Once these are checked and you are sure it is the starter at fault, begin replacing it by disconnecting the battery. At a minimum make sure to disconnect the ground cable for the battery (red arrow). There is a direct cable from the positive side of the battery to the starter and if you accidentally ground the starter with a tool while working on it you can cause serious damage to yourself and the car.

The starter motor is located on the rear of the engine below the exhaust manifold.
Figure 2

The starter motor is located on the rear of the engine below the exhaust manifold. You will need to be able to reach down behind the motor to remove it (red arrow).

If you have an after-market strut brace that interferes with access to the starter you will need to remove it.
Figure 3

If you have an after-market strut brace that interferes with access to the starter you will need to remove it. Most after-market braces attach to two of the three shock tower bolts; if you only remove two you should not upset the alignment of the vehicle.

Looking in behind the engine you can see the heat shield above the exhaust manifold (red arrow).
Figure 4

Looking in behind the engine you can see the heat shield above the exhaust manifold (red arrow). Depending on the type of coils you have it may be easier to move the plugs and wiring harness out of the way (yellow arrow).

Remove the two 13mm bolts (red arrows) and remove the heat shield.
Figure 5

Remove the two 13mm bolts (red arrows) and remove the heat shield.

With the heat shield removed you can access the exhaust manifold (red arrow).
Figure 6

With the heat shield removed you can access the exhaust manifold (red arrow). It is a tight fit but remove the eight 10mm bolts holding the manifold to the head. Remember to replace the gasket when re-installing the manifold.

You are going to be lowering the exhaust so disconnect the upper O-2 sensor on the left side of the engine (red arrow) and lower the wiring down to free it up.
Figure 7

You are going to be lowering the exhaust so disconnect the upper O-2 sensor on the left side of the engine (red arrow) and lower the wiring down to free it up.

With the exhaust manifold free, move to under the vehicle.
Figure 8

With the exhaust manifold free, move to under the vehicle. You need to disconnect the O-2 sensor from the pipe (red arrow). You can do this by either removing the sensor from the pipe with a 22mm Crawfoot socket or disconnect the sensor wiring and move it out from the heat shield removing the 10mm nuts holding the shield in place as needed. Next you want to remove the two 15mm nuts on the pipe connector (yellow arrow).

Depending on the sway bars on your car you can either completely remove the exhaust manifold and Cats or if you have really beefy bars just lower it out of the way.
Figure 9

Depending on the sway bars on your car you can either completely remove the exhaust manifold and Cats or if you have really beefy bars just lower it out of the way. Do not forget to install new gaskets for the exhaust when installing.

Next you will need to remove the heat shield that goes between the exhaust manifold and the starter.
Figure 10

Next you will need to remove the heat shield that goes between the exhaust manifold and the starter. First remove the 13mm bolt holding the shield to the oil filter housing. The shield has two rubber grommets (red arrows) that sit on two metal spuds on the starter. Slide the shield off the spuds and remove it.

Use a 13mm and 10mm socket and remove the wiring to the starter (red and yellow arrows).
Figure 11

Use a 13mm and 10mm socket and remove the wiring to the starter (red and yellow arrows). It is impossible to get a picture of the mounting bolts on the starter but you will be able to see them and feel them. Use a 15mm socket and remove the two bolts.

The bolts are surprisingly long so be prepared to keep turning until they come free.
Figure 12

The bolts are surprisingly long so be prepared to keep turning until they come free.

You can now remove the starter from between the engine and firewall.
Figure 13

You can now remove the starter from between the engine and firewall. In this photo you can see one of the spuds the heat shield sits on (red arrow).

Installation is the reverse of removal.
Figure 14

Installation is the reverse of removal. Make sure that when you install the lower bolt that the bracket that holds the two hard metal coolant lines is in place as this bolt also holds the lines and bracket to the motor.

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