DIY - Starter Motor Grind Fix and Starter Motor Replacement
The VW Starter motor has a history of sticking in the start position. This is usually indicated by a loud griding noise following engine start. The noise is usually more pronounced as the weather gets colder. It is caused when the sliding gear train gets stuck and is oversped by the flywheel, and then kicked back into its proper position. Click on the link below in order to hear what this grinding noise sounds like.
Click here to hear the noise produced by a malfunctioning starter.
The good news is that the noise is usually fixed by lubricating the starter motor internals. Since I was tired of people staring at me when I started my car, I decided to fix it.
-New OEM Starter Motor (if replacing)
-12" ratchet extension
-10 mm socket
-13 mm socket
-18 mm socket or open-end wrench
-Needle nose pliers
-Medium blade screwdriver
-Cleaner / Degreaser spray
-7 mm socket
-Wheel bearing grease or other high quality grease
-Torque wrench: range 13-65 Nm
Please be careful when performing this procedure. You WILL need some mechanical aptitude, so read through the whole thing before trying it. I can't be held responsible if I have made a mistake in the following steps.
i. Check your parts. You should have: a new OEM Starter motor if you are replacing the old one.
ii. Drive your vehicle to the location where you will be performing the maintenance. Apply the parking brake and put the transmission in gear. Make sure you have plenty of light in the area you will be working.
iii. Initial conditions
-The hood is opeN
-The front of the vehicle is raised
-The splash guard is removed
-The battery cover is removed
-The driver's side headlight access cover is removed
Remove the Battery
1. a. Loosen the 10 mm battery clamp terminal on the positive (red) side. Once loose, slide the clamp off of the battery terminal.
b. Loosen the 10 mm battery clamp terminal on the negative (black) side. Once loose, slide the clamp off of the battery terminal.
c. Remove the 10 mm bolt holding the battery housing to the platform. Use a needle-nose pliers to get the bolt out of the socket.
d. Raise the cable tray on top of the battery by pressing in on the tab at the front. Then, release the locking tabs at the sides of the battery housing and pull the housing straight out of the engine compartment.
e. Remove the 13 mm battery bracket bolt. Use a needle-nose pliers to get the bolt and the bracket from its place in the engine bay.
f. Remove the battery by pulling it straight out of the engine bay.
Accessing the starter motor
2. a. Remove the four 10 mm cover bolts holding the battery platform down to the engine frame.
b. Remove the 10 mm bolt on the driver's side holding the cable tray support.
c. Remove the 10 mm bolt on the passenger's side holding the cable tray support.
d. Remove the 10 mm bolt holding the air filter to the cable tray support.
e. Separate the battery platform from the cable tray support, and remove it from the engine bay by tilting it up and pulling it out.
Removing the surrounding components from the starter motor
3. a. To get to the starter motor, you will need to perform some interference removal with the nearby components. Looking underneath the vehicle, start by removing the front Power Steering support line bolt with a 13 mm socket.
b. Next, remove the rear Power Steering support line bolt with a 13 mm socket.
Removing the Starter Motor Cabling
4. a. The starter motor is held on by two bolts, an upper one and a lower one. Each bolt has a stud on the end, providing an attachment point for various brackets. Remove the stud nut on the lower starter motor bolt with a 13 mm socket. Then slide off the Power Steering line bracket to expose the lower starter motor bolt.
b. Next, loosen but do not remove the lower starter motor bolt with a 18 mm open end wrench or socket. It will be a tight squeeze, so use whatever tool provides the best results. You only want to loosen it so it does not fall down when you remove the upper starter motor bolt.
c. Still from underneath the vehicle, remove the stud nut on the upper starter motor bolt with a 13 mm socket. Once removed, slide the cable bracket off the upper start motor bolt.
d. Looking on top of the starter motor, remove the upper connector by pressing down on the connector tab and sliding the connector off the cable bracket.
e. In order to remove the positive terminal wire to the starter motor, you will need to pry off the small black terminal cap with a medium blade screwdriver.
f. Once the cap is removed, remove the terminal bolt with a 13 mm socket.
g. Next, remove the negative terminal connector from the starter. This connector is held on by a spring clip. You will need to squeeze the spring clip from the bottom and the top in order to get it off. Then, slide off the positive terminal wire.
Removing the Starter Motor
5. a. If you're still with me, you should take a small break because you've done the difficult part. From underneath the car, remove the upper starter motor bolt. This one is VERY hard to get to. Use an 18 mm open-end wrench to remove the bolt.
b. Finally, remove the lower starter motor bolt while supporting the starter motor with your other hand. At this point, the starter motor should slide away from the engine. Work the motor out and set it to the side.
Cleaning and lubricating the Starter Motor (only if you are reinstalling the old motor)
6. a. Take a moment to spray some cleaner / degreaser on the front of the starter motor. Wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth.
b. Remove the 13 mm nut holding the grounding strap onto the solenoid. This nut has a washer tucked under it so remove the washer as well.
c. Remove the two 7 mm motor shaft bolts from the starter motor. These bolts are very long.
d. Next, twist the casing slightly and pull it straight up away from the bottom of the motor.
e. Remove the cap of the gear train by pulling it straight away from the bottom of the motor.
f. Lightly lubricate all gear mating surfaces with grease. I used the synthetic grease I had leftover from my wheel bearing replacement, and it worked very well.
g. With the gear train extended, lubricate the inner helical gear with a Q-tip and synthetic grease.
h. Reassemble the cap and the gear train by lining up the holes properly. It will only fit one way, so do not force it if it will not go in properly.
i. Reinstall the casing around the bottom of the starter, making sure you align the bolt holes properly. Then, reinstall the two long 7 mm bolts and tighten them until they are tight. Also install the washer and the nut for the ground strap.
j. Once reassembled, I dripped a little synthetic gear oil on the large spur gear at the end of the starter for lubrication.
Reinstalling the Starter Motor
7. a. Installation is the reverse of removal. Slide the starter motor into its appropriate place underneath the car. Install the upper and lower starter motor bolts and torque them to 65 Nm.
b. Slide the positive terminal wire onto the terminal bolt. Reconnect the negative terminal connector by pushing the spring connector into its appropriate socket. Then install the positive terminal nut and torque it to 13 Nm. Reinstall the plastic terminal cap.
c. Install the large connector into the top of the cable bracket.
d. From underneath the car, slide the cable bracket onto the upper stud and tighten the 13 mm nut until tight. Also slide the Power Steering line bracket onto the lower stud and tighten the 13 mm nut until tight.
e. Reinstall the two Power Steering line support bolts with the 13 mm socket. Tighten these until tight.
f. Slide the battery platform into its place in the engine bay and install the four 10 mm bolts. Also install the two 10 mm bolts for the cable tray support and the one 10 mm bolt for the air filter support.
g. Place the battery firmly on the battery platform. When it is seated properly, install the bracket and tighten the 13 mm bracket bolt to 25 Nm.
h. Fit the plastic battery housing into its appropriate spot and tighten the 10 mm housing bolt until tight.
i. Place the negative terminal on the battery and tighten the post to 6 Nm. Then place the positive terminal on the battery and tighten the post to 6 Nm.
j. Install the driver's side signal cover and the battery cover.
And you're done. You may need to start the car a few times to spread the grease before the noise dissapears fully. Let me know with any questions or comments.
Modified by FaelinGL at 8:56 PM 10-31-2005