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Replacing starter motor in 1996 Toyota Corolla

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

The starter in our 1996 Toyota Corolla went bad and here’s the process for how we replaced it. Symptoms of a bad starter are:

  • Car doesn’t start when key in Crank position (may be intermittent)
    • Doesn’t turn over engine
    • Doesn’t dim headlights
  • Hear clicking sound from relay

If you’re interested in how and why these starters fail, this video does a good job showing the internal parts of the starter and the way the brush contacts fail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH4ufMHBgOw

Locating the starter

The starter motor is easier to find from beneath the vehicle. Lift the vehicle and use 2 jack stands to get access to what you need.

  • Remember to set the parking brake and use wheel chocks.
  • Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery before beginning work.

The pictures below of the original and replaced starter motors may be helpful for reference. 

   New Starter
Original starter New Starter

From the top of the engine bay, the air cleaner housing needs to be removed to locate the starter and access the top bolt to replace it.

Mechanical Connections

There are two bolts needed to remove the starter. They are:

Lower bolt (view from beneath vehicle, socket wrench on bolt)

Lower bolt (view from beneath vehicle, socket wrench on bolt)

Upper bolt (view from driver's side engine bay, wrench on bolt)

Upper bolt (view from driver’s side engine bay, wrench on bolt)

Electrical Connections

There are two electrical connections, a positive and a negative terminal. The negative connection is a single contact connector with a clip to secure it. The positive terminal is a bolt, nut, and lock washer.

Electrical Connections

Electrical Connections

We removed the old starter and inserted the new one through the passenger side wheel well since the plastic skirting is flexible enough.

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