How to re & re the starter

Beetler

banned by choice
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Just did this today.
starts alot better now.

It was starting to make what sounded like an old chevy with bad shims; grinding noises.
Turns faster and without any wierd noises. I was expecting to see ground or worn gears, but it was just dry and dirty in there.

thanks for the how-to.
 

loctite

New member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Location
Bonney Lake, Washington
TDI
'86 TD - 315K
Right On, Wingnut! I am in the process of an R&R on my starter and my question was regarding whether or not the gear reduction portion should be lubricated or not. I am glad to see that others lube them up as well. I replaced the brushes in mine about 2+ years ago and am doing them again, nowhere near long ago enough for them to be toast, but they were. Anyway, I greased the gears up last time and this time when I disassembled it, all of the dust from the brush (only one was worn/gone) aparently ended up in the gear case and mixed with the grease I used last time. It didn't seem to cause any additional wear, but I wish there was a way to keep it out of there. Was yours loaded up in a similar way?

Now, after all of that, I have something to contribute as well:
In days gone by older GM starter solenoids could be disassembled and all of the contact surfaces - the plate and the 2 terminals inside - could be flipped over or turned so that new surfaces would be used, in otherwords, a new solenoid. The ones on the VW starters are very similar except they are smaller and they are crimped together. However, both of the terminal studs can be very carefully tapped back into the housing far enough so they can then be rotated 180 degrees, thereby renewing the surfaces inside the solenoid. Make certain that the terminals seat back in before tightening them down or it will crack the housing.

Dave, AKA "loctite"
 

86gnxturbo

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Location
Valley View, Texas
TDI
03 jetta gls
Bought my 2003 TDI Jetta used from the dealer with 140,000 on the clock had a grind on the starter and told them I wanted it fixed before the deal was final they said it would cost me an extra $500 to fix. I said i'll do it myself and they gave me another $200 off the final price when it was taken apart it was dirty with clutch dust and bone dry of all lube. Relubed and reinstalled after a good cleaning and a ok
Glen
 

five7driver

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Location
Winchester, VA
TDI
2001 Jetta, 2004 Jetta, 2008 Jetta (totaled), 2011 Jetta
I did this whole procedure to my 01 Jetta (automatic) but still have starter noise problems. It sounds like the starter kicks but doesn't engage the flywheel then I get a loud winding noise, followed by some grindy noises. It will do this once or twice when starting a cold engine but then when it finally engages it cranks right up. After that, or when warm, it always cranks right up....any thoughts? Is my starter toast? It's only about 1.5 yrs old and has about 20K miles on it.
 

frank p

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2007
Location
edmonton
TDI
2001 jetta
york, your problem sounds similar to one i had a couple months ago. cold start ,not a problem, trying to restart when warm eventually left me stranded one day .turning over but not catching, i knew i was getting fuel as i could smell it coming from exaust . after towing car home i got on this site and found a thread on this problem. it was caused by a stickey anti-shudder valve that is connected to the egr. poped the hood, found the valve and manually pulled it open. car started like a dream. long story short, ordered race pipe from dieselgeek, got rid of fouled egr,cleaned intake and i dont give it a second thougt anymore.. hopefully this helps
 

eb2143

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Location
Rhode Island
TDI
None
Just tried this and I've gotta say it's harder than it looks. I didn't even get past the first step.

If you have a Frostheater or similar you will have a coolant line running right over the top of the wiring! Reaching the 13mm that holds the wiring shroud on is a MAJOR PITA, especially with big hands and the aforementioned cooling line. Any hints?

The write-up says to pry the shroud up, not sure exactly what this means... is this to make room for a socket down there?
 

Zsartell

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Location
MI
TDI
none
I just did this on my 2000 Jetta and it ended up taking me about an hour and a half. Once I removed the battery box I was able to get to pretty much everything except the lower bolt. For that I didn't even ahve to jack my car up, I was able to reach that by sliding under the front of the car. Just a note, I was having trouble starting hot and cold and this fixed everything. Funny thing is that it didn't really look all that dirty, but after I cleaned and lubed it it made a world of difference.

Thanks for the insight!!!
 

nylonoxygen77

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Location
Harrisburg, PA
TDI
A4 1.9 ALH
Zsartell, that's refreshing. I am having a heck of a time starting my car now. Ever since it started getting colder, it's been virtually impossible to start. It sounds like the battery is dead - it turns over, turns over, and it sounds like it's working REALLY hard. Yesterday it took so much cranking that the battery actually died. It had been run down several times before, and I wasn't sure of its age, so I replaced it. After cranking a little, and still sounding like it was working hard (tach only shows 200 - 250 when cranking) it started, and I thought that was the end of it. But this morning, the car didn't sound any better when starting. It sounds like the battery is dying again, but it's brand new! Maybe I got a new battery for nothing... I'm going to try this and see if it fixes the problem. Timing could also be an issue, but it runs great once it's started. Maybe it's a combination of all of these things.
 

Darkhrse99

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Location
ABQ,NM
TDI
2000 Jetta
nylonoxygen77 said:
Zsartell, that's refreshing. I am having a heck of a time starting my car now. Ever since it started getting colder, it's been virtually impossible to start. It sounds like the battery is dead - it turns over, turns over, and it sounds like it's working REALLY hard. Yesterday it took so much cranking that the battery actually died. It had been run down several times before, and I wasn't sure of its age, so I replaced it. After cranking a little, and still sounding like it was working hard (tach only shows 200 - 250 when cranking) it started, and I thought that was the end of it. But this morning, the car didn't sound any better when starting. It sounds like the battery is dying again, but it's brand new! Maybe I got a new battery for nothing... I'm going to try this and see if it fixes the problem. Timing could also be an issue, but it runs great once it's started. Maybe it's a combination of all of these things.
I have the same issues with my wife's bug. This summer the starter started to stick a bit, like every 1 in 10 starts. We recently moved to Colorado from the desert and the bug started having issues on cold starts only. The battery was purchased in feb. by the previous owner(velvet foot). Do you think it could be the starter failing? Maybe it's the batter, but I'd hope not after 8 months.
 

DnA Diesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2000
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
TDI
no more...
Nylon, Dark, I wouldn't be surprised if you guys both have timing issues. It's called your "static timing", the initial timing for fuel injection as the engine's cranking, before it gets up to speed and the electronic adaptation takes over to compensate for the incorrect timing (why the car runs smoothly once running). Retarded static timing will definitely make the car harder to start, especially in colder weather. Check out the VAG-COM list for someone near you and have them check your timing.

On the thread topic, I just Re & re'd the starter and like many others, had to remanufacture the solenoid/starter strap cable...the thing was just powder when I disassembled the starter...what a crappy idea. I actually braided several lengths of 8AWG wire together to make a new strap. The soldering on the solenoid end didn't work, so I had to coil the wire strap around the solenoid contact post...what a crap component! :mad: Good news is, with the fresh lube and the new strap, the car starts in a fraction of a a second!

Cheers
Duey
 
Last edited:

sinjak

New member
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
TDI
2002 Jetta
It got me to work on my car anyway

I just finished this on my automatic 02 jetta. I was wondering if an automatic would have this problem and it didn't as I suspected. When I got the starter off it was totally clean. I tried this remedy because I have hard starts cold and warm; I'm now convinced that it is the timing. It took about 2 hours to take everything apart but having done that I was able to put it back together in about 15 minutes. I am now confident that I can R & R a starter in an hour tops! Of course I had to put everything back together half-way through because an 18mm deep socket was the only one I didn't have.

Point is for all you newbies like me, do it. I took the battery and its carrier all out too. You will get familiar with your car and it is a chance to gob dielectric silicone compound all over any electrical connection you come across. I even spread it all over the main ground and the one beneath the battery. See the threads on MAF's.

By the way, the plastic thing on top of the starter is not all plastic; I hesitated about simply prying it up like the diy says for fear of breaking it. But there is a metal guide that that plastic conduit slides into. Bend it up a little bit, slide off the conduit, and then bend the hell out of it to make it easier to see the bolt Wingnut is talking about. Also, the top starter bolt has to thread out of the hole directly adjacent to the hole in the starter - RETARDED!!! You'll see what I mean.

Anyway, thanks Wingnut.
 

Horadrum

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Location
Wrentham, MA
TDI
Black A4 Jetta 1999
Hey Guys,

I just had to replace my starter due to a connection on the starter completely erroding. I wish I had taken a picture for all to see, but alas the old starter is now gone by the wayside.

Now when I start my car with the new start every second or third attempt sounds like the starter is grinding. The car will start and sometimes I will not hear the grinding noise at all. The old starter never made that sound even when it was on it's last legs. How big of a problem is this? Am I going to strip anything with this problem? Anyway, if anyone has heard of anything like this please let me know.

I appreciate the help from you guys. And again, Wingnut, thanks for the post and instructions. Helped tremendously when removing the little beast.
 

VegBug

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Location
Indianapolis
TDI
'98 New Beetle
So after reading this great write up I'm wondering if I could be helped by performing this procedure, but before do so I thought I would share my troubles and get some feedback.

So it all began when in mid/late January temps dropped to -10. I went out an tried to start my NB. Knowing how cold it was I cycled the glow plugs at 6 times and never let crank for more than 3 seconds. At first she rumbled with disagreement with the cold but then nothing. I pushed the NB into the garage and let it warm up with assistance from space heater under the hood and aimed directly at the IP and engine block, with hood down.

When I tried starting again all I got was a click from the IP and then one single hard click from the starter. Engine doesn't turn over. Checked ground wires, had battery tested, tried jumping, and still nothing.

So a friend and I pulled the starter and tested it by jumping with cables to it. The shaft comes out and it spins up but not like it should. We didn't even have to put our foot on it to keep it from torquing away. Took the starter to AutoZone for testing same result and sales guy said he thought the start was bad, even the though the machine said it was fine. The bell housing is clean compared to the photos Wingnut provided.

So, would this procedure worth attempting? What parts would need replacing and where would one get these parts?

Thanks

VegBug
 

stat1111

New member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Location
brenham, tx
TDI
2002 jetta
WORKED!!! My started had stopped completely

Hi, my starter had been making the screach sound for quite some time. 2002 tdi jetta. It then stopped completly It made the clicking sound when you turned the key and would not jump (new battery). and so I decided to try what you said. It worked and now the starter sounds just like it did when I bought it.

you saved me over 200$!!!!!!


thanks

my first post.


p.s. I did the glow plug thing with the multimeter after reading your site, and 3 of 4 were bad. 2 had complete circuit break, one was 75 ohms.

thanks for making it easy.:p:p
 

hbbowman

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2006
Location
Minnesota
TDI
TBA
Cleaning the starter

I just did a clean up of my starter from wingnuts writeup. Great writeup again, thanks. I would like to add two things:
1.l removing the battery and battery box makes the access to the starter a lot easier.
2. When the starter is out, use some compressed air to blow out the bell housing. Mine was full of more clutch dust. :)
 

SheeB

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2007
Location
Ottawa, ON
TDI
2001 Jetta GLS Manual
I got all the way up to removing the final two 18mm studs so the starter could be removed and for the life of me could not get them to budge! I am assuming removal is the typical counter-clockwise direction? Anything to assist getting these out easier?

*edit* I think I must invest in a 18mm deep socket for the solution rather than the 18mm wrench idea!
 

John Kuhn

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 1999
Location
Rubicon, WI
TDI
'14 red JSW TDI base model
Stud removal

Those two 18 mm starter bolts were really tight on our '99 Beetle also. The direction of rotation to loosen is the same as regular hardware. I had to use a 6 pt socket with 1/2" drive ratchet breaker bar to get them loose. When they are that tight don't use 12 pt socket or you may round the bolt head. The ratchet is needed because there is so little access to turn the wrench with 6 pt socket. Have a number of length socket extensions available. Access is really tight on the Beetle.
 

Victor Huge

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Drumheller, Alberta
TDI
Mk7 Golf TDI
I have to shamelessly plug my little idea for the braided wire repair in between the starter and solenoid for those who had it break; check my signature.

Hope it helps someone :)
 
L

loudog

Guest
2nd time i have to use this How to. Thanks alots for this!
Sorry for the useless post but it deserve a 2 thumb up and i wanted to give the credit for it. (wish there was a [thank you] button :)
 

johnnyonspot

New member
Joined
Feb 11, 2010
Location
Minnesota
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI
Just replaced my starter yesterday and this thread was a great resource. I could have repaired the starter, but figured it was original equipment and since I was taking it out and putting in I may as well get a new one. Anyway, the reason I needed to repair/replace is because the braided wire between the solenoid and starter motor had corroded to the point where it could not carry sufficient current to power the starter motor, and it was so thin it actually began to act like a light bulb filament, getting very hot and smoking, and yesterday morning actually starting on fire. It was worst when cold outside. I would crank it over and the starter would engage for a second and then quit. So I would turn key off and go to start again right away, about 4-5 times, then wait again for glow plugs to warm and light to go off, and run through the process again, i.e., try to start, starter engage for a second, egine turns over a bit, then stops, key to off and then back to start right away, again and again until I could get enough crank to start the engine. Now with the new starter it fires right up, even when cold. I have been dealing with this problem, or rather ignoring, for the last year and a half. It is nice to have it taken care of without paying a mechanic.
 

tango_28

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Location
Woobury, MN
TDI
2003 JSW(sold 2011) , 2009 JSW RIP 1-5-2013, 2011 JSW
It seems like the solnoid was engaging, after cleaning the starter everything is working great. Awsome wirte up
 

verbalnoncents

Veteran Member
Joined
May 21, 2004
Location
Toronto, Canada
TDI
Sport Edition 2004
What are symptoms of a broken starter?

My Car stalled today and when I went to start it back up I can hear something trying to turn over but it just doesn't.

If it was the battery I assume that none of the lights would work etc...?
 

l_c

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Location
San Jose, CA USA
TDI
Wrecked and gone: VW Jetta wagon 2002 silver TDI
Uh oh, gotta check your timing belt first!
Pop off the upper or lower dust cover
Larry
 

mk3

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta GLS 5-speed
starter braided line fix

I have to give huge props to Victor Huge for his idea to fix the braided power line to the starter motor.

My braided line toasted, literally this Friday and this fix enabled me to get rolling again over the weekend. The original braided wire was pretty much nothing but dust. The starter motor is original so I also took it apart and ran some 800 grit sandpaper over the commutator and also cleaned up and regreased the bushings.

The "bus bar" was quite easy to do starting with a 1" DIA copper coupling that I got at the hardware store and an M3 bolt, nut and washers. I used a cutter and my dremel tool and of course a hammer.

Victor's idea is in his signature and is referred to earlier in this thread.

Here are my pics



the picture below was taken before I put the bolt in



this is on my 1995 B4 VR6 with 235k miles but of course all our cars have pretty much the same setup.

thanks Victor!!!
 

treue

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Location
Chicago, IL
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI 01M
I did this job today. Good write-up, but one should really take 10 minutes to remove the battery and tray first. You'll have all the room in the world for dealing with the top bolt and the plastic cord housing thing that must come off first. It's a lot easier.
 

djdad

Member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Location
West Olive, Michigan
TDI
2002 Jetta
Thanks to Wingnut and everyone else who added information regarding that bobcat-being-neutered sound that we hear just after the engine is cranked over. I just dealt with that sound coming from my 2002 Jetta TDi on Saturday, and I thought it would be good to throw in my two cents worth regarding the steps involved.

I found that, on my 2002 Jetta TDi, I did not need to access any parts from underneath the car. Everything is accessible from under the hood. Here is the procedure that I used:

1) Anyone with a Monsoon radio, as I have in my car, jot down the frequencies of the stations that you have programmed on the "FM" band. The "FM1," "FM2," and "AM" bands are not affected by disconnecting the battery. Neither are any other vehicle functions other than the trip odometer and clock.
2) Remove the battery cover (lifts off).
3) Disconnect the heavy red wire from the positive battery clamp using a 10mm socket wrench, open-end wrench or box wrench.
4) Disconnect the positive battery cable from the battery using a 10mm socket wrench, open-end wrench or box wrench.
5) Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery using a 10mm socket wrench, open-end wrench or box wrench.
6) Unclip the plastic wire housing piece from the battery box by releasing the clips on the left and right sides of the box.
7) Remove the two screws that attach the left headlight rear cover using a #2 Phillips screwdriver. Remove the cover.
8) Loosen and remove the battery hold-down bolt located at the lower front of the battery using a 13mm socket attached to a socket wrench with one twelve-inch extension or two six-inch extensions. Remove the hold-down clamp also. Remove the battery from the vehicle.
9) Loosen and remove the four bolts attaching the battery box to the engine compartment using a 10mm socket, extension of your choice and socket wrench. Remove the battery box from the vehicle. (Two plastic wire housing pieces will detach easily during this step--note how they attach to make reassembly easier.)
10) Remove the nut holding the wire bundle tray to the upper starter mounting bolt/stud using a 13mm socket, a six-inch extension and a flex-head ratchet wrench. Slide the tray off the bolt/stud.
11) Remove the nut holding the air conditioning tube bracket from the lower starter mounting bolt/stud using the 13mm socket, six-inch extension and flex-head ratchet wrench. Slide the bracket off the bolt/stud.
12) Remove the small wire from the starter solenoid by squeezing the retaining wires on the connector and sliding the connector off.
13) Remove the lower starter bolt/stud using an 18mm deep socket, a six-inch extension and a flex-head ratchet wrench.
14) While supporting the starter with one hand, remove the upper starter bolt/stud using an 18mm deep socket, a six-inch extension and a flex-head ratchet wrench. Carefully lift the starter out of the car.
15) Clamp the starter in a vice (if available) by one of the mounting ears.
16) Remove the 13mm nut and washer that attaches the wimpy braided copper wire to the solenoid and slip the wimpy braided copper wire off the solenoid stud.
17) Remove the two long screws from the non-business end of the starter using a 7mm socket, open-end wrench or box wrench. Carefully separate the starter motor body from the gear/solenoid housing.
18) Remove the three screws holding the solenoid to the housing using a T25 six-lobe driver. (Be very careful as the screws are seated firmly and can strip out easily.) Slide the solenoid body off the solenoid piston.
19) Remove the solenoid piston/actuator fork/gear assembly from the main housing.
20) Separate the solenoid actuator fork/gear assembly from the solenoid piston.
21) Using paper towels, clean out the bore of the solenoid body and the outside surface of the solenoid piston.
22) Disassemble the three planetary gears and the ring gear from the actuator fork/gear assembly (the parts are loose-fit into the assembly). Using paper towels, clean the surfaces of the gear housing that hold the gears. Using a cleaning solvent, clean the three planetary gears and the ring gear.
23) Clean the surface of the pinion gear shaft using a paper towel.
24) Thoroughly clean the aluminum main housing using a cleaning solvent. Make sure to clean between the pinion shaft seal and the pinion shaft bushing, both of which are pressed into the housing. (Please note that, per my local VW dealer, neither the pinion shaft bushing nor the pinion shaft seal are available as repair parts.)
25) Using a good multi-purpose grease (I used Kendall Super Blue), lubricate the three planetary gears, the ring gear and the gear-mounting surfaces in the gear housing. Reassembly these parts together.
26) Using the good multi-purpose grease, lubricate the pinion gear shaft.
27) Reattach the pinion shaft/gear assembly to the solenoid piston.
28) Reassemble the pinion shaft/gear assembly/solenoid piston into the aluminum main housing.
29) Slide the solenoid body onto the solenoid piston.
30) Reattach the solenoid body to the main housing using the three six-lobe screws. Torque them as per how they were torqued when they were removed.
31) Reassemble the starter body to the main housing and attach it with the two long screws.
32) Reassemble the starter to the vehicle.
33) Take time to clean the battery terminals and the battery clamps using a baking soda and water mixture. Rinse the terminals and clamps thoroughly with clean water to remove any baking soda residue. Dry the terminals and clamps with paper towels. Lubricate the battery terminals with dielectric grease to prevent future corrosion build-up.
34) Reassemble the vehicle in the reverse order as the disassembly.
35) Reset the radio stations and the clock. Please note that the trip odometer will have been reset to 0.0 miles and cannot be changed.

Given that the price of a new starter from the dealer is well to the North side of 300 USD, it is well worth the time and effort to perform this maintenance. Since the starter pinion shaft seal is not available as a repair part, we can expect that the need to perform this maintenance will be more frequent as our vehicles age. It is not a difficult task. It does take some time, but it is rather straightforward. Allow yourself an afternoon to do this servicing. (Make sure you have the tools and servicing materials on hand first--you won't be able to drive anywhere while your car is apart!)
 
Last edited:
Top