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Starter removal question

3434 Views 17 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  jayhunt
Facing the starter from the front of my 86 Spider, the nuts on both ends of the stud at 2 o'clock just spin (they were loose to begin with)- the stud is in tight. They won't tighten or loosen. Is it stripped or is there another explanation? Does it have to be pried loose? I don't want to go any further until solve this riddle. Any help appreciated.
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I think maybe they are not studs but bolts. You'll need two wrenches - one to hold the bolt, the other to remove the nut.

And I assume you know about the proper shouldered bolt:
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I had a heck of a time with mine during my recent clutch job... I had to be under the car with a socket on the back end while a friend was up top holding a wrench on the front end. Good luck!
1.hex-shaped end of the fastener facing the firewall is very loose but will not thread off.
2. hex shaped end of the fastener facing to the front s very loose but will not thread off
3. the treaded shaft of the stud or bolt is tight and doesn't move.
Any ideas?
4. Doesn't matter if I hold one and try to thread off the other end.
Any ideas?
Definitely bolts, not studs.

On my '87 I used a socket with a few long extensions from the front, and a box wrench on the rear, and it was relatively quick and painless, all done from the top. I think I also took off the distributor cap to make room for the ratchet.
Any ideas?
Nope, I'm stumped. I suppose the nuts &/or the bolts could be stripped. Try applying a bit of leverage in the 'off' direction while unscrewing.
I just pulled the starter on my 86 last week -- what a PITA! However, the quandary I ran into was that the two end bolts had a 3/8" head w/a 13mm (or 14mm) nut! I couldn't figure out why my socket that reached the nut kept spinning off my metric offset wrench(es). Once I tried my english wrenches... the bolts spinned right off.

...other headache... the shoulder bolt that gnhl references above was "froze" on my starter. I resorted to cutting the nut with a hack saw to loosen the stubborn SOB. That's one expensive little bolt ($20 w/shipping).

On the upside, a local alternator/starter shop on charged me $90 to rebuild the starter.

BTW - I removed the intake plenum to reach the starter.

Best of luck -- persistence is key when working on our beloved little cars!
Don't mess around with this.

Call International and get a new alignment bolt. Go on line to the bolt depot and order the other two in grade 10.8. I broke a bell housing once with a loose started. Then you really have a problem.
Follow up

The mysterious bolt and nut turned out to be a very loose bolt that was cross threaded.
I also took off the plenum (about 3-4 hours - there is a learning curve because of extremely tight quarters, so there is a lot of trial and error) to have better access to the starter bolt. The starter took about 2 hours to remove. I'll be replacing the motor and transmission mounts next with the plenum and starter out of the way.
Here are some Tips:
Disconnect the negative cable at the battery as a first step
Take pictures
Ziplock bag and label fasteners.
Tag and number connections with tape
Very small Needle-nose vise grips work great to hold a bolt while removing a nut
Don't forget to remove the 13mm bolt for the nylon strap underneath the plenum
Starter nuts are 13mm
Plenum bracket bolts are 17mm - best removed with a box end and open wrench (ones that ratchet would be even better)
Persevere - you can do it!
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Show us the pictures!
You have to keep repeating "this CAN be done - this CAN be done". Eventually, with enough beer and perseverance, it can be done.

Question about the washers

Where do the two thin washers ( two sizes ) go with the starter bolts?
Is there suppose to be a ground wire attached to one of the starter bolts?
Is it safe to test crank the rebuilt starter while the plenum is off?
I just installed my starter today - one thin washer on the bellhousing side, the other two washers install on the starter side.

My understanding is that there should be a ground wire attached on the shoulder bolt. However, my 86 does not have one. After the system was all buttoned up, the car started successfully w/o the missing ground strap.

I don't know if its safe to start w/o the plenum installed (i had the same thought). However, there are many posts on how to bench test the starter -- which is probably a much safer way to test the starter.
Do the thin washers go on the shoulder bolt?
I didn't have a thin washer for the shoulder bolt -- however, I have another post that states that there should be on bellhousing side.
My understanding is that there should be a ground wire attached on the shoulder bolt. However, my 86 does not have one. After the system was all buttoned up, the car started successfully w/o the missing ground strap.
The fact that the car starts doesn't necessarily mean that all is well. Your throttle cable may be providing the ground path - if it is, the cable will soon fail due to the high temperature created by electrical resistance.

The ground cable can be attached to any bolt on the engine or transmission. It doesn't have to be the starter shoulder bolt.

A ground strap from a NAPA store will work fine. But, one should be installed.
There should be a total of 8 washers; 5 flats (thick) and 3 waves (thin).
Each of the 3 bolts gets a flat washer on the head side. The upper and lower bolts, after being installed from the bellhousing side, then get 1 flat, 1 wave and 1 nut each. The center shouldered bolt, installed from the starter side, gets 1 wave and 1 nut only (no 2nd flat washer). There is no ground strap attached to the starter.

Before cranking the engine without the plenum installed, disable the fuel pump and ignition circuits.
Thanks for the great info! Apparently the PO had the starter remove and replaced because the bolts didn't have wavy washers. Could the really thin flat washers go on the starter battery post?
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