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Pelican Technical Article:

Starter Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

***

Tools:

Phillips head screwdriver, 10mm, 13mm, 10mm Allen head socket and ratchet or wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Starter

Hot Tip:

Work on a cold engine since you will be working by the exhaust manifold

Performance Gain:

Eliminate no start, no crank problem

Complementary Modification:

Change your battery if it is 5 years old

Automobiles have Otto-cycle internal combustion engines. These engines need to be cranked anywhere from 150 to 250 rpm for the engine to breathe properly for starting and run on its own. It is the job of the battery to start the necessary electrical power to start the car. It is the job of the starter to use this electrical energy to activate a solenoid on the starter and supply power to the actual starter motor. Starters typically draw 175 to 225 amps to start an engine. Usually the more cylinders an engine has the more amperage is required to spin the starter. Since so many amps pass through the starter solenoid eventually the electrical contacts in the solenoid corrode and no longer make a sufficient electrical connection. Also high current passes through the brushes in the starter motor itself. These brushes eventually wear out from rubbing against the commutator of the starter motor. This can also cause the starter motor not to work. You will probably hear a click from the starter solenoid engaging but the actual starter motor does not turn. In this tech article I will go over all the steps to replace your starter motor.

You will need to work underneath the engine compartment of your vehicle. Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle. Remember to wear safety glasses whenever you work underneath your car.

ThisPicture illustrates the right side of the trunk with the interior panel already removed.
Figure 1

ThisPicture illustrates the right side of the trunk with the interior panel already removed. Loosen the negative battery cable fastener (green arrow) and remove the negative battery cable from the battery. You do not need to loosen the positive battery cable fastener (yellow arrow) or remove the positive battery cable.

ThisPicture illustrates underneath the car on the right side of the engine, looking up at the starter motor heat shield.
Figure 2

ThisPicture illustrates underneath the car on the right side of the engine, looking up at the starter motor heat shield. Remove the three 10mm fasteners (green arrows).

Using a 10mm wrench remove the front 10mm heat shield fastener.
Figure 3

Using a 10mm wrench remove the front 10mm heat shield fastener.

Using a 10mm socket with ratchet or wrench remove the bottom rear 10mm heat shield fastener.
Figure 4

Using a 10mm socket with ratchet or wrench remove the bottom rear 10mm heat shield fastener. Here I am are using a wrench.

Using a 10mm wrench remove the upper rear 10mm heat shield fastener.
Figure 5

Using a 10mm wrench remove the upper rear 10mm heat shield fastener.

Once all the fasteners are removed, pull the heat shield down and away from the starter.
Figure 6

Once all the fasteners are removed, pull the heat shield down and away from the starter.

This photo shows the starter motor (red arrow) and solenoid (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

This photo shows the starter motor (red arrow) and solenoid (yellow arrow). Remove the 13mm fastener (green arrow) on the starter solenoid.

You can use a 13mm wrench or socket with ratchet to remove this fastener.
Figure 8

You can use a 13mm wrench or socket with ratchet to remove this fastener. Here I am using a wrench.

Remove the positive battery cable (red arrow) from the stud on the starter motor.
Figure 9

Remove the positive battery cable (red arrow) from the stud on the starter motor. I will remove the starter signal wire (yellow arrow) once the starter bolts are removed. This allows me to slightly rotate the starter motor to access the fastener.

Remove the two 10mm Allen fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 10

Remove the two 10mm Allen fasteners (green arrows).

The lower fastener is tough to get to.
Figure 11

The lower fastener is tough to get to. I find it easiest to go through the exhaust as shown here. Using a 10mm Allen head socket with extension and ratchet remove the Allen fastener.

The upper fastener is also in a tight spot.
Figure 12

The upper fastener is also in a tight spot. Using a 10mm Allen head socket with swivel extension and ratchet remove the Allen head fastener.

Reposition the starter (slightly rotate it in a clockwise direction) so you have access to the starter solenoid
Figure 13

Reposition the starter (slightly rotate it in a clockwise direction) so you have access to the starter solenoid "S" terminal. Using a Phillips head screwdriver remove the "S" terminal fastener and wire.

Pull the starter motor from the engine compartment in the direction of the green arrow.
Figure 14

Pull the starter motor from the engine compartment in the direction of the green arrow. You do not need to remove the center link, idler arm, tie rod end or steering dampener but it does make access to the starter much easier. I have removed these components for photographic purposes. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Position the starter in the engine block. Start by tightening the smaller starter solenoid "S" terminal. Fit the starter into the block and tighten down the two fasteners. Fit the positive battery cable on the starter solenoid lug and tighten the fastener. Install the heat shield and tighten the three fasteners. Attach the negative battery terminal and verify the engine cranks with the ignition key in the start position.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Greg Comments: Thank you for information an please send me diagram of instructions. Thanks
September 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use the article you commented on to perform the repair. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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