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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old October 11th, 2004, 20:13   #1
Wingnut
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Default How to re & re the starter

Due to a rash of these starter problems lately, I dug through my old photos from my last starter removal to do another how to.

Firstly, the major problem with these things is that clutch dust accumulates around the starter and causes the gear to stick momentarily upon startup. This causes an annoying screeching or grinding noise. To fix the problem, you have to remove, clean & relubricate the starter.

First thing is to locate the starter. It is located just under the battery tray at the front of the transmission. It is quite simple to remove due to the fact that there is only 2 bolts and 2 wires to remove. But it can be a pain to access. Due to the tight quarters, I was not able to take all the necessary shots, but hopefully the ones I did take will help. I also had assistance with the photos from member dvsails.

So here is the starter from the top:


Kind of hard to see huh? Well, here is another picture with some stuff moved out of the way. I lifted up the wiring shroud so you can see the starter underneath.


This shroud has to be unbolted and removed so that the wires can be moved out of the way to access the top starter bolt. Just pry it up like done above and using a 13mm socket, you can unbolt it. It is actually bolted to the starter bolt. You can see where I put the nut back on the end of the stud.


The next step is to unplug & unbolt the wires connected to the starter. there is a heavy gauge wire that comes directly from the battery and a smaller wire to engage the starter when the ignition is turned to Start. This wire is plugged into the solenoid right next to the main power wire. The plug just comes off by squeezing the spring clips and pulling of. The power wire comes off with a 13mm socket. Here is a view from below:


Here is another angle with the plug disconnected:


And here is the view from above. Once the cable is unbolted, CAREFULLY move it out of the way and do not touch it to any metal parts in the engine bay. This wire is live. Many people say to disconnect the battery to do this job, but if you take care and use some electrical tape to wrap the end of the wire and set it off to the side you should be OK. I have done several starters and have never had a problem. It also goes without saying that you should be careful when using the ratchet to unbolt this nut since it can easily touch some metal and short out the battery.

So now that you have the wires removed and safely set aside, you can remove the top starter bolt. It requires a deep socket since the bolt has the extra stud on it to hold the wire shroud:


Now the top work is done, you need to crawl under the car to access the bottom of the starter. To do this, jack up the front of the car and secure it with a solid jack stand for safety:


You will also have to unbolt part of the belly pan to access the underside of the engine compartment. Once under there, you will have to remove an air-conditioning bracket. Similar to the wire shroud on top, the A/C bracket is bolted to a stud on the lower starter bolt:



Remove the bolt with a 13mm socket and move the bracket out of he way:


Then you can remove the lower starter bolt:


At this time, there is nothing holding the starter, so you may need a helper to assist holding it while you remove the bottom bolt. Or, just leave the top one in till you are done underneath and remove the top one last. Once both bolts are out, remove the starter. It requires some twisting & maneuvering to get it out, but it will come:


You can see the accumulation of clutch dust. This is what caused the starter gear to stick in the engaged position and make all those horrible noises:


If you have some parts cleaner, give it a shot before you take it apart:


Now just throw it on a vice and pull it apart and clean and relube the internals. To do that, you have to remove the casing:


There are 2 long bolts that attach the head to the housing:


Once these bolts are removed, the head should just pop of:


Oh, I forgot to mention that you will have to remove the ground strap too. Then once you have the head off, spray some goo lubricant in the end of the gear from inside. On a recommendation from another member of Freds, I used a chain lube to spray onto the shaft of the main gear. I also used some wheel bearing grease for the internal gears:


Once everything is cleaned & lubed, just reassemble it and put it back in. Installation is opposite of removal.

NOTE: This job is not for everyone, so please read it thoroughly before beginning to make sure it falls within your comfort level. This procedure is also not necessarily going to fix all problems. Some starters may be worse than others and this may or may not work for everyone. It has worked for the few that I have done, but YRMV. Finally, I take no responsibility for anything that happens while anyone is attempting to do any of this work. Please use common sense and good judgement when working with tools and live wires.

NOTE 2: I will be doing another one this week and will take more pictures. I missed a few steps the last time, so I hope to make this 'how to' more complete once I take more pictures. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 23:03   #2
MaxThrust
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Default How to re & re the starter

Wingnut, you rock buddy. Thanks once again for a super write-up that will benefit many club members.

YMMV

Mike
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Old October 12th, 2004, 09:25   #3
debensey
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Default How to re & re the starter

Great post. Thanks.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 16:42   #4
northstar
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Default How to re & re the starter

Once again Wingnut this is an excellent write up. This is great timing as my starter is making noise & I wanted to remove it for cleaning. I have one question. I would like to disconnect the battery so that I don't short anything out & I also wanted to check the connections under the battery at the same time. Do I have to do anything special before disconnecting the battery, Are there any codes to get? I am worried about not being able to start the car after the battery is reinstalled.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 17:56   #5
rmarkw
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Default How to re & re the starter

Wingnut, another great how to.
I would add for the NB owners, that they will have to remove the battery box to be able to access the starter from above. It's a good oppertunity to clean the ground connection under the battery box.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 18:50   #6
VelvetFoot
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Default How to re & re the starter

Nice writeup. Thanks!
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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:02   #7
tdiflyer
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Default How to re & re the starter

Thanks for the detailed writeup. I did a starter cleaning and lube on one of my Jettas last summer and they're both in need of it now, so your procedure will be helpful. One caution from my experience - the back-up light switch (shown between the batter box and shift linkage in your second picture) is close to the starter. It's awkward to R&R the starter due to its weight and tight access. Some time after I had done the job, I realized I had no backup lights and found the switch was snapped off - be careful!!

I also have a different explanation for the source of the noise. Mine only happens when the starter is freewheeling at high RPMs just after disengaging. I found a lot of radial free play between the drive gear shaft and the bushing supporting it. I believe the shaft just buzzes in the bearing once it is no longer stabilized by its engagement with the flywheel. If standards have this problem more than autos, it's quite possible that the clutch dust accelerates the wear. I put a good coating of wheel bearing grease on it, but it only lasted 6 months.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 16:26   #8
TDITN
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Wink Bolt sizes

Wrench sizes needed:

13mm for nuts holding the brackets on the primary bolts (top&bottom)
18mm deep socket for the primary bolts holding the starter on engine
7mm for the long bolts holding casing on starter
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Old March 6th, 2006, 18:56   #9
Dick_Larimore
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Always remove the negative lead from the battery when working on the starting motor. NEVER take the risk that you won't ground out the battery lead at the starter when using a metal socket and ratchet. Grounding that lead can result in a current flow in excess of 1,000 amps. You don't want to be holding the wrench when this happens. It's not worth the risk. This is not a risk of electrocution. It is a problem with very hot metal parts, molten metal expulsion, and damaged battery cables and terminal.

Second, shorting the battery lead to the "S" terminal (terminal 50) solenoid lead will result in the starter cranking the engine. A really bad move if the manual transmission is in gear.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 15:32   #10
ReferenceDesign
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got the dealer to replace mine first time but I had to record the noise and play it for them to get them to recognize the problem.

Mine is back again. Time to lube rather than replace.

A tip on disconnecting the battery. A good idea but then you loose your adapted settings. Try this. Connect a very small trickle charger to the battery posts before you pull off the ground (-) lead. These chargers are current limited by design and so a short does not cause a 1000A melt down.

If you do short you will loose your settings so try not to crowbar the charger. Turn off all interior lamps, radio etc so a door opening does not kill the voltage.

car on jack stands always, emergency brake set and rock that puppy with your hip before you get under. Better to find a sliding jack stand while not looking up at it.

Charlie
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Old February 21st, 2007, 04:17   #11
moogleslam
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is there anyway to get to the bottom bolt without getting under the car?
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Old February 21st, 2007, 05:12   #12
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A big extension and limber hands

It takes all of 20 seconds to remove the bilt while under the car though...
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Old February 21st, 2007, 06:13   #13
moogleslam
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unfortunately, with my starter dead, i can't drive it up on ramps, and i'm not in the greatest spot to jack it up either.... but i'll give it a try i guess. i just bought one off ebay, brand new, same part number as the bosch remanufactured one, for $120 - yeah, more than just the noise problem - just clicking, but this guide is useful anyway. also, though i have a jetta, i'm gonna have to take out my battery/battery box as i have a greasecar conversion kit, and the filter is right in the way
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:40   #14
volmaniac
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the bentley manual says that a bushing should be replaced when reinstalling the starter.... has anyone done this and does anyone have a part number for the bushing?

and belated thanks to wingnut for another awesome how to.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volmaniac
the bentley manual says that a bushing should be replaced when reinstalling the starter.... has anyone done this and does anyone have a part number for the bushing?

and belated thanks to wingnut for another awesome how to.
I dunno what bushing they'd be talking about.
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