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Old 06-19-2013, 02:50 AM   #1
bobbyrae
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1993 SL2
Default Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

New Parts needed:

brush holder
bushing
drive gear (aka "bendix")
solenoid
washer, snap ring, snap ring cover
lithium grease

Tools and equipment you will need:

10 mm socket
13 mm socket
15 mm socket
10 mm box wrench
channellock pliers
various socket extensions
set of 1/4" drive sockets
ratchet
tool for removing plastic rivets
good work lights!
vise with at least a 2" opening
hammer and driver
penetrating oil
electric hand drill and drill bits

Optional:
torque wrench
dremel tool and accessories
emery cloth

Background:
I found a guy online selling starter rebuild kits. His slogan is that if you can replace your starter with a rebuilt you can rebuild it yourself just as easy and save money. Well, not so fast! I could do it, but it took a lot more time and requires more tools. He provides a good video, BUT the starter he rebuilds in not quite the same as ours. I have provided the correct pictures and instructions here, but of course you will want to look at the video as well.

Video:
part1 part2 part3

Starter removal:
The starter will have to be removed and replaced of course, but that is not the focus here. Most of that procedure will be fairly self-evident, with the exception of the upper starter bolt. For that, you should build a socket and extension that is roughly 2" longer than the starter itself. From above the engine, you will place this assembly on the top of the starter so that the socket is on the upper bolt, and then crawl under the car and snap a ratchet on the extension where it extends past the starter. You will want to remove the manifold support bracket just before this.

One other thing: the terminal block on the solenoid is plastic and can be cracked if you over tighten. I get things snug. 'Nut driver tight'. No more than that.

Solenoid:
This is the biggest difference between our starter and the one in the video. There are NO bolts or screws on our original starters solenoids! Instead, they used something called "divets" which seem to be metal plugs about the softness of aluminum or solder. Whatever it is, we have to drill it out to remove the solenoid.

It turns out that the starter housing opening for the solenoid is EXTREMELY tight, and I decided to open it up a little, simply so that I could slide the new solenoid into place without using a hammer!

The parts are shown here.



1. There are two long bolts that hold the motor to the housing. Note the end cover, which is held to the brush plate by two small hex head screws.



2. Remove the power lead from the lower solenoid connector, then remove the two small brush plate bolts, then the large bolts (10mm nuts). The end cover will come off and the motor will be loose. Remove it.




3. The motor can be separated from the magnetic casing.



4. The solenoid has the nasty "divet" thingys! Drill them out. I found that some of the material stayed behind and so cleaned it out using my Dremel tool. Put some penetrating oil on the solenoid where it enters the housing, wait a bit, then you put the solenoid in the vise and tap it off. Be patient!



5. Then the solenoid is off and the spring and slide are left hanging out of the housing.



6. You can now remove the drive mechanism from the housing. It will slide out. HOWEVER, please note that there is rubber grommet at the base of the solenoid that will slide out as well. Make a point of taking a good look at this thing, noting how it slides in. Above all, don't lose it! It could go flying if you yank on that drive mechanism!



7. Next you have to get the snap ring off so you can remove the bendix. This is where the video really shines. Basically, just remove the washer, tap the lower cover off the snap ring, then use channellock pliers to pry and slide the snap ring off the shaft.



8. Here's the gear reduction mechanism. Take it apart and clean it up. Then apply some good lithium grease and reassemble. This would be a good time to clean up that magnetic casing. Also, I used 600 grit sandpaper to clean the brush contact points on the stator.



continued...

...
Bobby Rae
Alameda, CA
1993 SL2 A/T, 80k miles, 22/33/43 mpg
1982 Accord 5-speed, 303k miles, 23/32/40 mpg

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:51 AM   #2
bobbyrae
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Default Part 2

9. The original starter came with a needle bearing in the nose cone. Mine looked so good that I decided not to replace it. You can put the replacement in there, but it is, of course, brass.



10. Right now, when the housing is totally empty, you have to decide if you want to machine that solenoid opening to be a bit bigger. It's not required, but makes reassembly a lot eaiser. I used a Dremel grinding stone followed by some emery cloth. It worked out well for me. If you do that, it is imperative to remove all the metal filings before reassembly.

11. Reassemble the drive mechanism and be sure to grease those parts that obviously need it.



12. Important Note: in the last pic above, that washer above the snap ring is installed upside down. So what I am showing you is WRONG. I did correct this, but didn't realize the problem when I took the photo.

13. You can now slide the drive mechanism back in the housing, BUT you will want to do this gradually, as that grommet needs to be put in BEFORE the drive mechanism is ALL the way in.



14. Put the solenoid slide and spring in place. NOTE: there will probably be a plastic ring on the old solenoid that it used to center the spring. You will have to remove it from the old solenoid and put it on the new one. Then put the new solenoid on and put in the screws.



15. There's that metal plate....



16. Remove the old brush holder, put on the new one, and insert back inside the magnetic casing. This can be tricky and might cause the brush holder to come off. You can't see it on this pic, but there is an alignment tab on the brush holder. It fits that casing very specifically.



17. The motor can now be attached to the housing. There is an alignment slot in the casing and a corresponding tab in that rubber grommet (below the solenoid, remember?). Get that right and it should all feel good.



18. Put the cover plate on. First, line up the little screw holes for the brush plate and put those in, then do the longer case bolts. Reconnect that power lead to the solenoid.



continued...

...
Bobby Rae
Alameda, CA
1993 SL2 A/T, 80k miles, 22/33/43 mpg
1982 Accord 5-speed, 303k miles, 23/32/40 mpg

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:52 AM   #3
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Default Part 3

19. Now that everything seems to be done, double check that the brush plate alignment tab is in the right place.



old brush plate:



old solenoid. you can see the plastic ring on the end there.


...
Bobby Rae
Alameda, CA
1993 SL2 A/T, 80k miles, 22/33/43 mpg
1982 Accord 5-speed, 303k miles, 23/32/40 mpg

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Old 06-19-2013, 04:23 AM   #4
wi111y
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

That's an awesome writeup.

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Awesome!

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Old 06-19-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Very nice! Thanks for sharing. This should be made into a how-to.

But I must ask: Does it work?

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:56 AM   #7
bobbyrae
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimboman View Post
Very nice! Thanks for sharing. This should be made into a how-to.

But I must ask: Does it work?
Most definitely! While it isn't relevant to the how-to procedure, my particular starter was actually OK and did not NEED the rebuild. It was more of a preventative measure. There's a story there; if you search old threads of mine, you may find it!

...
Bobby Rae
Alameda, CA
1993 SL2 A/T, 80k miles, 22/33/43 mpg
1982 Accord 5-speed, 303k miles, 23/32/40 mpg

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Old 06-25-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimboman View Post
Very nice! Thanks for sharing. This should be made into a how-to.
+1, should be in the How To Library

What was the total cost? I have two dead starters sitting in my garage that I could do for "fun" if it's not too expensive.

First starter failure, I replaced with a JY starter, think it was $15 or $25. That started failing when hot about four years later, found a new starter at dbelectrical.com for $49.50 shipped

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Old 08-22-2013, 09:03 AM   #9
bobbyrae
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
+1, should be in the How To Library

What was the total cost? I have two dead starters sitting in my garage that I could do for "fun" if it's not too expensive.

First starter failure, I replaced with a JY starter, think it was $15 or $25. That started failing when hot about four years later, found a new starter at dbelectrical.com for $49.50 shipped

Cost was about $45 and I think that included shipping by Priority Mail. I liked the idea of rebuilding the original starter rather than going to some other odd brand. That's just me, of course, and I am sure that dbelectrical makes some good stuff.

...
Bobby Rae
Alameda, CA
1993 SL2 A/T, 80k miles, 22/33/43 mpg
1982 Accord 5-speed, 303k miles, 23/32/40 mpg

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Old 10-19-2019, 01:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
+1, should be in the How To Library

What was the total cost? I have two dead starters sitting in my garage that I could do for "fun" if it's not too expensive.

First starter failure, I replaced with a JY starter, think it was $15 or $25. That started failing when hot about four years later, found a new starter at dbelectrical.com for $49.50 shipped
Hey Lord (I wanted to say Good Lord!), resurrecting an old thread because I'd love to see how that dbelectrical starter worked out for you?

Anyone else have a good/bad result with DB? After reading this rebuild diy I can see why @toggenburg suggested just replace the whole starter with a dbelectrical starter and be done with it.

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Old 11-12-2019, 08:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfreq View Post
Hey Lord (I wanted to say Good Lord!), resurrecting an old thread because I'd love to see how that dbelectrical starter worked out for you?

Anyone else have a good/bad result with DB? After reading this rebuild diy I can see why @toggenburg suggested just replace the whole starter with a dbelectrical starter and be done with it.
I've installed a few DB Electric starters in heavier equipment. No complaints at all. They did what they were supposed to and still do.

It's always good to learn new things though.

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Old 11-14-2019, 12:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: Starter rebuild for early S-series Saturns

Cool, thanks for sharing it with the community.

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