Starter overhaul

Rooy
Elite Member
Joined: October 25th, 2008, 1:12 pm

February 12th, 2009, 11:15 pm #1

Had the opportunity to dig into the starter a while back, so I thought I'd share.

It began when the starter quit in mid-crank, one cold day. The battery was still good, new actually. I had known the connections from the battery to the starter were in sad shape (it also cranked somewhat slow), but I hadn't gotten around to cleaning them. So that's where I started. I disconnected the negative on the battery and then removed the positive connection at the starter. It was very rusty and corroded, so I figured that was the problem. It was a bit of a pain to get two hands down there to hold it and wire brush it. I decided to take the other connection (the short lead from the solenoid into the starter) off and clean that up while I was at it. And that's where this simple terminal cleaning job turned into a starter overhaul.

I undid the nut for the connection, and pulled the terminal off.....literally. I was now holding the terminal and a very short piece of copper wire. The thick wire was so corroded it just snapped like a twig. The problem was that there's no insulation covering that short piece, so the elements are free to corrode it. So, out came the starter (not too bad, the two bolts were a little cramped to get to, and the starter had to come out the bottom through a pretty tight space). I wanted to just splice a new piece of wire and terminal on externally and call it good, but it broke off pretty much flush with the starter, and the wire was crumbling apart anyways. So the starter had to come apart for a little surgery.

Came apart easily enough, and after cleaning all the carbon residue and gunk off the parts, I started on putting a new wire in. It's fused to a flat copper bar that connects to the field coils. I removed what was left of the wire and prepared a new piece. I braided two pieces of wire (think it was 10 gauge) together to make sure it was beefy enough. After failed attempts to solder it on with an iron, I ended having to carefully use a mapp gas torch (I really need to get a mini torch). Burned plenty of insulation off, so I wrapped everything neatly with electrical tape. I soldered the other end of the wire to the old terminal, since I didn't have any new terminals of the correct size. I then wrapped the new wire up real good with tape.

As to the rest of the starter, other than a good cleaning, I lubed the bushings on each end and gave a very light coat of grease to the plunger in the solenoid. Cleaned the commutator up with some fine sandpaper. Brushes still had plenty of length left. I wanted to remove the cover from the solenoid to resurface the contacts inside (in my experience, these get really pitted), but it looks like the cover is held on with two crimps through the metal body (in addition to having to unsolder the wires on the cap), so I didn't want to push my luck by breaking something else. I cleaned the copper posts and the steel terminals on the solenoid up real well. New nuts on both posts, and covered the connections with dielectric grease. Wire-wheeled the rust off the end cap of the starter, the body, and the solenoid, and gave everything a fresh coat of paint. Looks like new now, works great, and spins much faster than before. I'm quite pleased with the result.









Last edited by Rooy on February 12th, 2009, 11:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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billy508
Elite Member
Joined: November 10th, 2008, 10:46 pm

February 13th, 2009, 12:04 am #2

:thumb Good job!!!! Thanks for the very well written post. You proved a great point "Just fix it!!!!" :drivin :drivin
Dreaming of Geos on the Gulf V 2017
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Will
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Joined: September 10th, 2008, 3:14 am

February 13th, 2009, 12:06 am #3

Very nice write up. Thanks!
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Johnny Mullet
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Joined: September 8th, 2008, 1:49 am

February 13th, 2009, 12:55 am #4

Good job!

Moved to Guides/HowTo :deal
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jeff
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Joined: January 26th, 2009, 11:19 pm

February 13th, 2009, 1:06 am #5

Nice stuff. Rooy's starter service. My 98Geo w/bad front end just got a new starter before I bought her......$90.00 said the seller.
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Rooy
Elite Member
Joined: October 25th, 2008, 1:12 pm

February 13th, 2009, 1:21 am #6

Thanks guys. I thought about just going the rebuilt route, but those can be a crap-shoot sometimes. I really prefer to rebuild stuff myself whenever possible. Takes more time, but I don't mind. I read a lot about guys just being reman'd half shafts when the boot tears. Me--I took it apart as soon as I noticed the tear, cleaned out the joints, regreased, new boots. Takes more time and is pretty messy, but it's satisfying, and cheaper too.

Johnny Mullet, I thought about posting it in the Guides forum, but I really didn't take enough pics during the rebuild to show all the steps and parts like I would've wanted for a real guide/how-to (hands get too dirty to handle the camera without stopping and washing up).
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kurtis1971
Elite Member
Joined: July 4th, 2010, 1:06 pm

July 9th, 2010, 1:41 pm #7

i need to do this with old yeller
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of
it.
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

A venturesome minority will always be eager to set off on their own, and no obstacles should be placed in their path; let them take risks, for godsake, let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches - that is the right and privilege of any free American
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