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Old 03-20-2006, 08:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a 1999 Ford Taurus SE with the 3.0L OHV engine. I think my starter is bad and I am going to replace it (electrial strength is fine, but car won't turn over sometimes).

My question:
As a mechanical novice with a Chilton's book, is it relatively straightforward to replace the starter without the use of special tools or skills (i.e., torque wrench, ohm-meter, special wrenches/sockets, etc?).

Autozone sells a starter with a lifetime warranty for $100 and if I can save the labor costs on something that is easy to do myself...
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Old 03-20-2006, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The starter is easy to do on your car. Make sure you disconnect the battery first, then jack up the front end, use ramps, whatever.... The start is right at the front of the engine by the oil filter... You'll need a 15mm socket to remove a wire harness bracket from the upper stud on the starter, then a deep 13 mm socket or a wrench to remove the stud. You'll need a shallow 13mm socket or wrench to remove the lower bolt from it - there are only those two bolts. A 1/2" socket or wrench fits best on the starter positive cable nut, but i think a 13mm would work too if you're careful, and there will either be a 10mm nut holding the smaller wire for the solenoid, or perhaps it's just a clip-on terminal - i can't remember exactly. All in all, it shouldn't take you much more than 1/2 hr.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you should make sure its not the silinoid or how ever u spell it because if its just the silinod its alot cheaper to replace. if u need to know how to test it i will tell u
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Old 03-20-2006, 08:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Solenoid
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by redsthatboy@Mar 20 2006, 03:10 PM
you should make sure its not the silinoid or how ever u spell it because if its just the silinod its alot cheaper to replace. if u need to know how to test it i will tell u
So, the solenoid can be replaced without having to replace the entire starter?

How would I go about testing it? Can this be done at Autozone or Advance Auto Parts?
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Old 03-22-2006, 02:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Starter motor replacement is pretty straight forward - on one occasion I did it on the street in the snow and ice. You need to jack it up for clearance and you have to disconnect battery first (if you don't you will surely short it out).
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are a number of possible problems here:
  • wiring problem
    bad starter solenoid
    bad starter motor
    bad transmission range sensor (MLPS)
    bad ignition switch
I would start by checking the wiring. Make sure the battery connections are clean and secure. Same goes for the three connections at the solenoid.

Assuming those are good, put a voltmeter on the small wire connected to the solenoid (the "S" terminal). It is a push-on-type connector. Ideally you do this while it's still connected, but if you can't then disconnect it first.

When the key is held in the "start" position, you should see at least 10V or so there. If so, this confirms the problem lies within either the solenoid or the starter. If there is no "click" sound from the solenoid when the key is turned, the solenoid is faulty. If there is a click, it's "probably" okay and the problem is in the starter motor. Probably.

If you do not see around 10V or more at the "S" terminal with the key turned, the problem is in the wiring to the solenoid, the ignition switch, or the MLPS (or the shift cable).
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Old 03-22-2006, 09:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Autozone can bench test the starter and tell you if its bad. Should take less than an hour to R&R the starter. My starter in the same model Taurus went out after 80,000. Never had a starter fail that early. How many miles on your bull?
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Old 03-23-2006, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ISHOU@Mar 22 2006, 10:09 PM
Autozone can bench test the starter and tell you if its bad. Should take less than an hour to R&R the starter. My starter in the same model Taurus went out after 80,000. Never had a starter fail that early. How many miles on your bull?
Thanks! I'll take it to Autozone tonight. I have over 75,000 miles on it. The odomoeter is off, though, because it sometimes don't register miles. That's ANOTHER problem I have to fix. But first, I need to fix the starter. Then the transmission. Then the suspension. then the speedometer...
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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A couple of final questions:

When the car doesn't start, I can get it to start if I wack the starter/solenoid with a hammer a few times. Then it starts right up (for now). Does this mean the whole starter is bad, or is there still hope it could just be the solenoid?

And lastly, is it possible to just replace the solenoid?

Don't wanna buy the whole thing if I just need to replace the solenoid.

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