2004 Chevrolet Cavalier : starter removal and replacement
Details of the vehicle:
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier
2.2L ecotec engine
4 speed automatic transmission ( 1995-2005 models / Hydramatic 4T40E/electronically-controlled transmission )
I wrote this aimed at someone who is new to wrenching on their cars, so I included a lot of details long time wrenchin’ people would do as a matter of course.
park brake on.
disconnect the battery. (8 mm)
disconnect battery, negative side first, then the positive side if you take both sides loose.
jack up the car, put it on jack stands on each side if possible, to give yourself more room.
Ramps: I am a big fella and I can not fit under there myself. If you have metal ramps and you can get the car to start at all… that is an option as well… but if yer changing the starter it is either going bad or already broke, so that makes it harder to drive it up on the ramps. 😀
There is a spot on each side, roughly behind each wheel where you can place the jack stand and let the car down.
You will need a 8 mm, a 13 mm and a 15 mm wrench. I used a ratchet/socket combo, in conjunction with a long extension.
If you are not good at remembering details, now is a good time to take some photos.
Another tip is to use some masking tape and label the wires. This is especially true if you are not going to get back to this project right away. Just a tip…
Remove the nut from the 8 mm post, take wire loose, hand tighten the nut back on the post so you do not lose it.
Take the nut on the 13 mm post up top loose, take the two wires off, then hand tighten the nut back on so you do not lose it.
Wires are now disconnected.
Now, there are two 15 mm bolts holding the starter on to the engine. One you can plainly see. The other is behind the body and solenoid.
Take the bottom one loose, not off, just loosen it up some. When you take the top one off, gravity is going to pull down a bit. This will make it all simpler, later in the operation.
If you kind of line up the socket/extension with the gap between the starter and solenoid, you will be in the ball park… feel around and get the socket on the bolt good.
Take the top 15 mm bolt loose. It has a good 2 inches? or so of thread, so, get your rhythm and keep turning.
Once that is out, take the bottom 15 mm bolt loose, keep yer hand on the starter at this time, as it is going to want to drop… and you don’t want it falling on you.
Once the bolt is out, do the wiggle with the starter and it should slide out to the passenger side a bit and drop right out.
Now, go get the starter tested if you are not sure that is the issue… swap it out, etc..
Once you have a new starter, to put it back in…
I found through trial and error that it seemed easier over all to put the top 15 mm bolt into the hole in the starter body, with the socket and extension already on. Holding all of that in place while you slip the starter back into the big hole and line it up with the smaller 15 mm bolt hole in the back. I did it this way because it is a blind hole. I slowly started threading the bolt with the extension using my hand so as not to cross thread it. Once it was feeding good, I switched to the ratchet and snugged it on down.
Do not tighten it all the way down. Put the other 15 mm bolt in the bottom and snug it down. Then go back and forth and tighten firm, do not over tighten!
Now for the wires, take the nut off the top 13 mm post and put the two wires back on there. Snug and tighten the nut back down.
Take the nut off the 8 mm post and put that smaller wire back on there and snug and tighten the nut back down.
Check all the bolts and nuts again to be sure… take your finger and try to “wiggle” the wires back and forth on the posts, if they move, loosen ’em back up an snug ’em back down. If they do not “wiggle”, then you are good.
Jack up the car, remove jack stands. If you used ramps, you can skip this part. 😀
Let the car back down on the ground.
Take the 8 mm wrench/socket and reconnect the battery. If you took both sides loose, reconnect the positive side cable first in case you touch something with the wrench to prevent sparks in your face. Then reconnect the negative side battery cable.
The battery side has the soft lead contacts, so keep in mind to get the screw in battery cable connector bolts started slowly by hand. This way you do not get things cross threaded and mess strip out the battery side of the thread. Once you get them started, then snug down the bolts good.
It is not good to strip out the battery connections!
Check the battery cables for any “wiggle” , as above, if loose, unloosen the cables a bit to check, then re-tighten until there is no more “wiggle”.
O.K., now with the car in park, park/emergency brake on… see if it will start. 😀
If not, you may have another issue…
Use your head and go slow.
House of Woogero
p.s. professional mechanics, if there is a safer way of doing any part of this… please send me a message. I do not claim to know everything.