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Old 12-08-2012, 05:24 PM
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HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

Help! I need a "how-to" to remove/replace the starter motor in my 2005 5.7L Hemi WK. I've been scouring the web.

My WK began intermittently not starting - just a click, or series to clicks, and occasionally some weak cranking. The Jeep starts with jumper cables or a helper battery. The battery (two years old) puts out 12.7 volts, and hydrometer shows a specific gravity of over 1.300 in all cells at 60 degrees, indicating a very healthy charge. Terminal connections are clean of corrosion and tight. Further, the headlights come on full with the key, and do not dim while cranking. OBD II reader displays no error codes. At this point, I do not suspect the battery. I swapped the starter relay with the A/C relay (identical). No help. It's a California Jeep, never driven in salt or snow, and always garaged with 110K miles. Still, I looked at the battery harness pigtails that attache to the starter motor solenoid, which are clean, and corrosion free (from what I could see). I banged on the starter with a 2 pound hammer - no effect. Pushed the yellow wire terminal to more fully seat the connector at the solenoid (used a long steel bar). No help. I suspect a bad starter motor.

The 2005 5.7L WK has a horizontal cross member supporting the transmission (not the "two bolt bracket"), that also secures the front suspension at both ends, which is in the way. Also, the drive shaft is directly underneath the starter. Further blocking access is the exhaust pipe that crosses directly under. I've replaced starters, but have never seen one so inaccessible!

Can it be that NO ONE on the web has removed a starter from a 2005 5.7L WK?

What is the procedure for removing this thing?!
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:19 PM
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Re: HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

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Old 12-09-2012, 02:07 AM
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Re: HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

Nothing?

I couldn't wait. Here's how I removed the starter:

On hand:
1/2" air impact wrench
3/8" air wrench
13mm, 14mm and 15mm wrenches and sockets
1/2" and 3/8" socket wrenches and breaker bar
large assortment of socket extensions
Ramps, floor jack, jack stand
LED headlamp, trouble light
Fish hook removal pliers
Gin


1. Drove up on ramps. This is going to be a breeze. I've replaced lots of starter motors.
2. Put cardboard under the car, as my creeper wouldn't provide enough working clearance.
3. Removed the skid plate. Hmm. Where's the starter? Easter egg hunt begins.
4. Noticed that I can't even get my hand through between the cross member, exhaust and front drive shaft to get near the starter.
5. Snaked a hammer through this maze, and banged on the starter. Tried starting - no help (slow turning engine, then clicks).
6. Can see the yellow wire attached to a terminal - snaked a 20" metal bar through, and pushed on it (as if corrosion may be the problem). Attempted starting again; no help.
7. Used a creative combination of ratchet extensions to reach the forward axle flange bolts. Removed all four. My Craftsman 1/2" air impact wrench couldn't do it (its 30 years old). Used a breaker bar. The bolts are in with blue lock tight, and fought me the whole way out.
8. Pulled the axle back, and pushed it aside - only gives a couple of more inches clearance, but its enough. Considered removing the other end.
9. Removed the two starter motor bolts with a Frankenstein combination of ratchet wrench extensions. Removed the neg battery terminal.
10. The starter motor comes off, but is trapped in its location. I removed the two 10mm bolts holding the heat shield to it.
11. Unable to access the hot cable or yellow terminal wire attached to the solenoid. Considered removing the exhaust. Loosened exhaust bolts.
12. Injured thumb. Went inside in disgust. Had some drinks. Surfed again for anyone else in my situation.
13. Found something about needing to remove the drivers side wheel and inner fender well.
14. Without removing ramps, jacked up the front left suspension to raise the tire off the ramp. Added a jack stand for safety.
15. Removed the wheel.
16. Removed three plastic rivets, which attached the plastic inner fender to sheet metal. Destroyed them in the process. (found replacements later at Harbor Freight).
17. Folded the inner fender well out of the way, exposing a portal into the engine bay about as big as a possum. Only one had fits through at a time.
18. Cannot remove the electrical connections from the starter, as its flopping around. Oh, and its ok to let it hang by the wires. They are plenty strong.
19. After a long time, going between the possum hole, and under the Jeep, I finally bolted the starter BACK to the engine for some leverage.
20. With the starter finally in a fixed position, returned to the possum hole, and yanked the hot cable until a nearby plastic cable tie broke off, giving me some slack (not much).
21. Poked a pair of really long fish hook removing pliers into the possum hole, and disconnected the yellow wire terminal from the starter solenoid.
22. Bent the red cable enough to put a few different wrenches on the nut holding it to the solenoid. Started with a deep ended wrench, then socket wrench. Its tight.
23. Both wires off, unbolted the starter again from the engine. Snaked it out of the Jeep, past the (now freed) driveshaft. Swore a few times in victory. Paraded the starter motor past wife (who responded with quizzical looks). Did I mention its the wife's car? I made that Jeep my bi*ch.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:51 AM
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Re: HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

Update on my starter-removal-from-hell...

O'Reilly's had one for for a reasonable $105. Got it in using a reverse sequence, as posted above. Loosely installed the two starter motor bolts - just enough so I could bolt on the cable from the battery through the "possum hole" in the wheel well. Reaching one hand at a time, I used a 1/4" drive 13mm socket wrench to snug it, then a deep offset 13mm 12 point wrench to tighten the nut holding the cable lug to the solenoid... and then the stud sheared off! DOH!

Ok, pulled the starter AGAIN. The stud is made of copper - not steel. REALLY? To attach a heavy battery cable with a large steel lug? Its reman'ed in China - "Ultima" brand. I can't recommend it. Returned it to O\Reilly's and got my core back. Yep, the original has a steel stud.

I called INTEX Auto Parts in San Jose (usually the best price), and was quoted $270 for a reman starter. REALLY? Sorry, guys, I have to keep calling around. (The O'Reilly clerk said a starter from the dealer might run $500).

Next stop was A&M Auto Parts - an old time place with some cool old guys that have been there forever. Should have gone there first. They tested my starter while I watched. At first, it didn't spin, then did slowly. Repeat attempts got a full spin out of it. The old guy said it was "dragging", and may have a bad spot on the stator. If it stops there after a start, it won't start again, and that banging it with a hammer might move it enough to start again (I actually HAD tried banging it with a hammer - no luck).

They can have one overnight for $189. Fine. I went home and took apart the core. The stator that contacts the brushes is dark and worn, and there's only a hint that grease was ever in it. The stator does not spin freely - takes some effort. Besides that, I don't see an obvious fault.

I'll post a recap tomorrow.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:00 PM
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Thumbs up Re: HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

I just replaced mine today. I attempted to remove the starter through the little possum hole by the drivers front wheel. After a bit of manoeuvring i managed to get the starter out through the hole. Also was able to get the new one in the same way without damaging it. Thought it would be easier than disconnecting the drive shaft.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:54 AM
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Re: HELP! How do I remove the starter? 2005 5.7L

Crossing my fingers and hoping beyond all hope that I never have to replace my starter...
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