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How to: Replace M20 Starter easy!

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  • bernzpeed
    replied
    haha this was in march 2011

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  • bernzpeed
    replied
    i just replaced my starter and it grinds when starting the car. why is that? is the starter bad. is there anything i need to align first. any tips? thanks!

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  • artoo93
    replied
    Tunnel clearance on the autos sucks!! No real way to get a socket to the top bolts. I use a long, long 10 mm wrench to hold the reverse torx bolts while I loosen the nuts. Use a long extension and a swivel/universal socket and for sure remove the airbox. Makes getting to everything a lot easier. Never a fun task but I've gotten pretty good at it.

    Also, just FYI, if you go to start the car and get nothing when you turn the key, check the ground between the starter and the vehicle. I had this issue when I finished my rebuild and made a seperate ground from the starter to the grounding point on the frame. Fixed the issue and saved me the cost of a new starter!

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  • Blackangusinc
    replied
    A thought just occurred to me. The three starter jobs I've done have all been on Automatics. I just took a look at my wife's '90 5-speed. It looks like there is quite a bit more tunnel clearance than any of those autos had. Can anyone comment?

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  • firstRWD
    replied
    Nice enough write-up, but it doesn't make the process any easier. It's still a total PITA, so I don't quite understand the title.

    I've actually found it easier to just unbolt the two engine/transmission mount bolts and jack the engine up from the oil pan and shift it forward. That provides clearance to the bolts. Once I've taken one out once, I always put the starter bolts back in the other way, as I find it easier to to have the nut on the front side and the bolt on the rear.

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  • Blackangusinc
    replied
    So all the starters I've pulled and installed on my e30s have been a complete bitch. For that top fastener, I have to use unusually thin walled sockets to clear the knuckle on the block. The nut is usually so tight that I have to use a 1/2in impact to break it loose. Once it's loose I have to use a flex head wrench squeezed between the firewall and the bell housing lip to keep the bolt from spinning. I have to use the flex head because there is no room for the above mentioned pry bar or socket. There can't be more than a couple of centimeters. Surely, the two 87's and one 88' on which I've done starters don't have unique firewall clearances. This has got to be my least favorite e30 project.

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  • e34john
    replied
    Just did this right now. Didn't have to remove anything. Jammed a prybar into the first nut to hold it in place and I had to do some contorting to get the next one. slipped it out through the bottom and replaced it the same way. It did require two people though.

    That is another thing I've done that I never did before. These cars are pretty easy to work on.

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  • bataangpinoy
    replied
    for us US spec boys and girls:

    i pulled the intake manifold to do the starter. it takes 30 minutes to get the manifold on and off(but ive pulled alot of them). then from that point it takes another 30 to pull and replace the starter

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  • Phatputer
    replied
    Just replaced mine,
    17mm socket top and bottom, straight socket -> extension
    I did however need to be reasonably flexible with the arms to hold things in place while tightening it back up again.

    Didn't need to take anything else off, although this is a NZ / right hand drive car, so various things were probably not in the way that could have been.

    Total time for swap 45min give or take.

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  • rubad
    replied
    Just for you information I use Astro Pneumatic (AP 7114) 4 Piece Double Flexible Torx Wrench Set, which was a life saver.

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  • bzboardz
    replied
    yea your right. I was only working from the top and couldn't hold both so I just put some JB weld on the head to hold it in place

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  • TheFightingCPA
    replied
    The nut on the starter side loosens up easy enough, you just need to get the bolt side to stay in place without applying much if any pressure to it.

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  • TheFightingCPA
    replied
    You don't need the torx. Just use a hex socket, but just use it to hold it in place not to remove it or you'll strip it.

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  • ForcedFirebird
    replied
    Originally posted by bzboardz View Post
    good write up! I also just put in a new starter this weekend, and im curious as to what tool you used to hold the head of the reverse torx, while turning the nut loose
    Reverse torx socket, of course :D

    They are available at Harbor Freight tools, package of 5 includes all the ones you need for your BMW, last I saw they were $9.99.

    If you are daring, you can use an 11mm socket and a hammer to get it on.

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  • bzboardz
    replied
    good write up! I also just put in a new starter this weekend, and im curious as to what tool you used to hold the head of the reverse torx, while turning the nut loose

    Leave a comment:

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