If you are wondering whether you can rebuild a starter, the answer is “yes.” However, it depends on the extent of the damage to the starter and its age. Let us look at the details.
A starter’s function is to crank the electric starter motor. The motor then provides the engine with enough speed to induce a detonation in the cylinders, to fire the engine. Once the engine is running, the starter automatically turns off. The process barely takes seconds to complete.
As with any mechanical and electrical component, long-term use, poor environmental conditions, and accidents can lead to damage. If the damage is minimal, you should consider repairs. However, if it is extensive, you’ll need to buy another starter unit. In most instances, early problem detection with the starter means you can rebuild it to a perfect working condition.
Can You Rebuild a Starter Yourself?
This is an interesting question since drivers wish to save on repair costs. However, does the driver possess the necessary rebuilding skills?
It is possible to rebuild the starter yourself if you have experience. In addition, you’ll succeed if you can follow these instructions. Depending on your car’s specific construction and model, there might be slight differences. Before you begin, ensure you disconnect the battery.
- The first step is disconnecting the starter by removing the copper contacts.
- You then need to remove the starter. Different vehicle makes and models place the starter unit in various locations in the engine bay. You need to trace its location, then carefully unscrew the bolts holding the starter in place. You also need to remove the heat shield to access the starter.
- The next step is to separate the field frame and armature from the housing. There are two parts held together by some long bolts in most starter designs. You need to separate those two pieces carefully.
- Next, separate the magnetic end cap from the starter’s terminal C. Removing the end cap should reveal the plunger and copper contacts. Carefully pull the plunger out while checking for a spring at the end of the shaft. You need to ensure you don’t lose that spring.
- Examine the state of the plunger. In most cases, you only need to clean it up. It is best to use sandpaper to remove dirt and metal shavings stuck to it. However, if the plunger has significant damage, you need to replace it.
- You should now check the hole in which the plunger sits for the L-shaped contacts. Carefully remove those contacts by undoing the nuts, washer, and insulators that hold them into place. Their state will inform you whether you need to clean them or replace them. Use sandpaper to remove corrosion buildup and other dirt if they need cleaning.
- Next, you need to install the new L-shaped copper contacts from your starter rebuild kit. Ensure all parts of the contacts sit in the same position and order as before.
- Then, it would be best to place the plunger back in its position, ensuring you put the spring as before. If it’s a replacement plunger, the example must be compatible.
- Finally, close up the unit by fixing the magnetic end cap on terminal C in its original position.
- Now it is time to clean the brushes.
- Start by separating the cap from the field frame to access the brush holders. Since you’ve cleaned the contacts and plunger, the cap will be off, meaning the armature will be loose as well. You can use sandpaper to clean the armature.
- Next, you should easily spot the brush holder, where you need to remove the brushes. Your starter may have two or four brushes, depending on your car’s make and model. A screwdriver is sufficient to work the spring clips keeping the brushes in place.
- You can confirm that the brushes can sufficiently reach the armature. You also need to clean any dirt or buildup on the brushes. Once clean, fix them back in the holder.
- Next, put the armature back into the field frame, ensuring the small coil faces the brushes. Don’t forget to lubricate the bearing surface to ensure smooth turning of the armature.
- Now cover the field frame with the cap and screw it in place. Next, flip the field frame over to reveal the other side of the bearing and lubricate the surface. After lubrication, put the field frame back into the starter housing.
- Check to see if it is loose and fix the contacts back if needed. The starter should now be complete and you can replace into its position.
Is the Rebuild Worth It?
To fix issues with your car’s starter more simply, just get a new one. However, you may not be financially ready to buy a new one. If you know how to dismantle and reassemble the starter, you won’t need to incur high costs. Replacement parts usually cost less than buying a new starter. The less damaged the parts, the less your spendings. However, if the starter is in a pretty bad shape, expenses can quickly stack up. Damage to specific components may need the skills of a mechanic to fix, further increasing the costs.
The position of the starter also affects both the rebuild and replacement costs. The harder it is to reach it, the more work will take to fix it. If you have to move other components to reach it, you’ll have extra work once you’ve fixed the starter.
In the end, you need to assess the amount of work and the parts requiredt o rebuild your car’s starter. If it costs almost the same as buying a new one, save yourself the trouble of rebuilding. Furthermore, if you need expert-level skills to handle a complex starter, you’re better off buying a new one. Let time, cost, and complexity of the pecific starter determine your solution.
It is essential to know how to rebuild a starter. The issues with your car’s starter may be minimal and ones you can easily fix. Therefore, understanding the rebuilding process will save you time and money. In most cases, the starter will run smoothly longer if you dissemble, clean and lubricate it regularly. This article outlines how to rebuild a starter and whether it is the right solution for your car.