Back in October, I wrote a thread titled Choke adjustment 101. I stated that I read with amazement the information provided by forum members more gifted and knowledgable than I and that I try to contribute on the simpler routine needs of our older vehicles. I hope this will fall into that catagory.
Last week, the starter on my 1986 F150 with 4.9L engine provided me with warning signs that it was soon to stop what it had been doing so well for 26 years and 152,570 miles. The symptom was that it failed to engage the flywheel gear and I could hear the motor spinning [Zzzzzzzz]. Immediately following, it would start as normal.
Saturday morning was somewhat cold, but clear and dry, so off to the parts store I went and selected the better remanufactured replacement unit, paid the core deposit, since I had not yet removed my old unit... I drove the truck to get the part.
Back at home and parked on level ground with transmission in gear and parking brake applied and the wheels chocked:
* Put on safety glasses.
* Open hood and using 1/2" wrench, disconnect the negative battery terminal.
* Crawl under the passenger side of the truck just behind the front wheel [yea, no raising of the truck required!].
* Using a 1/4" ratchet with a 3/8" socket, remove the electrical cable on the top and front of the starter motor. Note how the connection is made. The cable has a flat blade, with a hole, which slides between two similar blades on the starter. The bottom blade has the captured nut and the bolt squeezes the three blades together ensuring a good electrical connection.
* Using a 1/2" drive ratchet with an 8" or 10" extension and 1/2" socket, loosen the top and bottom bolts securing the starter motor. The bottom bolt is where the ground strap attaches. As these are loosened, the starter can be rocked back and forth. Before loosening completely, support the starter motor with your right hand and finish removing the two bolts. Be prepared... the starter weighs approximately 15# [a guess] and you do not want it falling on you. Always lay the removed pieces [bolts] in a way that you can return them to their original starting point. Set the old unit aside.
* Take time to take a quick look at the partially exposed flywheel to see that the teeth on the ring gear are in acceptable condition.
* Take brake cleaner, or similar product, and spray the electrical cable ends and using a wire brush, make sure the connections are clean. [watch you eyes!!!]
* Compare the replacement starter to the old unit to make certain they are the same.
* Carefully lift the "new" unit and insert while supporting with the right hand. Insert the top bolt and turn the bolt a few turns, using your left hand. Next, thread the remaining mounting bolt through the cleaned ground cable and then into the starter housing. Again, using your left hand, hand tighten the bottom bolt. Make sure the starter is inserted flush and then tighten the bolts until they bottom out, using your fingers. That way, there is no chance of cross-threading. Using the 1/2" socket and ratchet, snug the bolts. Someone else can supply the correct torque specification.
* Slide the cleaned electrical connection blade between the two on the starter and insert the 3/8" bolt from the top and using the smaller ratchet described previously, tighten snugly.
* Look around and make sure all tools are removed from under the truck.
* Place the old unit in the supplied plastic bag and box in preparation to return to the parts house and receive the refund for the core deposit.
* Using the 1/2" wrench, reconnect the negative battery terminal.
* Clean your hands and try it out. Feel good!!!
Even putting all tools away, this is a 30 minute job or less.
Ford Torque specs for Bolts not listed in the special torque section... (Starter motor bolts are not listed in my ford manual so...)
These are the sizes of the bolt shank themselves and threads, not the wrench or socket size which can be two sizes over the bolt size... A 9/16 socket can fit the hex head (but there are exceptions) onto a 7/16 bolt etc...
To find the bolt size you can closely guestimate it by using sockets and fitting it over the threads. To find thread size, use your fingernail. 1/4-20 is 1/4 bolt size and there are 20 threads every inch.
It should be noted to check the pinion depth and any shimming that may be needed to back it away from the flywheel to avoid continuous engagement. Wouldn't want to damage any of those teeth off that pass the QC test in step 6 Especially if the old starter had a shim.
I also power it up (12v) for a quick burst for my own personal bench test for these reman's.
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