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The mkiv Supra Owners Club

How To: Overhaul starter motor contacts


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Hi, I decided to take my starter motor out today, I got the bolts out in 20 minutes, I thought that was easy! I didn't expect to spend 2 hours trying to free the starter motor, and no nearer to getting it out. I've tried almost everything but it won't come out, it catches on the fuel line and other hard lines, the gap isn't big enough for it to get through. Any advice Would be appreciated, I'm pulling my hair out here!




I finally managed to free the motor from its evil prison, I removed a 10mm nut from a bracket which secured a couple of hard lines (I don’t know what they are!), this gave me an extra couple of mm clearance which allowed me to just about squeeze/wiggle the motor out. I didn't expect the extraction to be such hard work!


Removing and replacing the copper contacts, cleaning the inside out with a small amount of brake cleaner, replacing the plunger and finally replacing the cover took 20 minutes max, easier than I thought. The copper contacts on both sides were badly worn, each one had deep grooves where the disc on the plunger makes contact, the disc on the plunger was just dirty, but I replaced it with a shiny new one.


Getting the motor free was frustrating enough, getting the motor back in was equally as frustrating. Holding an unwieldy motor in one hand while trying to line it up with the bolt holes was very difficult as you almost have to do it blind. Having another person spotting from the engine bay would make it much easier, but I was Billy no mates. After a while (I lost track of time) I gave up for the evening and gave myself time to think of a strategy, which I did! I remembered that I have a cheap endoscope/borescope which I got from Amazon last year, I fed the camera through the engine bay and positioned it directly above the top bolt, while lying on my back under the car I could see on my laptop screen when the hole on the flange was aligned with the bolt, I was relieved to see the bolt screwing in, once the bolt was in slightly I was able to easily wiggle the motor in place so I could begin tightening the bottom bolt, phew!


After this ordeal, I turned the key with some apprehension, but fortunately it turned over like it was a new car - I was delighted!


To remove the top bolt I used a 3/8” wrench with several wobbly extensions, this was enough to reach from the top bolt to the end of the gearbox (where it joins the propshaft), I didn’t have to use any expensive tools. I did use a 6 pointed 14mm socket to prevent slippage, the last thing you want to do is round off the bolt, and I was able to leave the ratchet and extensions attached to the bolt while the starter was out, making it easier when tightening the bolt back up. I used a 1/2” wrench with a universal joint and a medium extension to tackle the bottom bolt, it felt much easier to loosen than the top bolt.


The guide was a big help to make sure I had the correct tools and explained how to best access the bolts, but it didn’t prepare me for what was to follow. Would I do it again, or even recommend someone else tries it? Probably not.


IMG_6164.jpg IMG_6174.jpg

Edited by Elmo (see edit history)
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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to say thank you for the write ups. Started the job a couple of weekends ago, but having jacked up the car and put axle stands in I wimped out and decided to leave it to the garage. However the Toyota dealership was unsure about fitting parts not supplied by them, so I decided to have another crack today using the repairkitsuk pack. I must say I was pleasantly surprised how straightforward it was. I used wheel ramps this time to give me a bit more confidence working underneath. Everything was straightforward. Can see both bolts easily (stock NA). Used 3 12" extensions and a wobble to get on the top bolt - no issues. Changing the contacts was straightforward following the instructions. My handy tip: using a flexible extension to get the lower bolt started on re-assembly. Fitted that in loose, then the top bolt started easy. Satisfying job! Thanks to all.

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