6 hours to replace a starter - LW300

Discussion in 'Saturn L-series' started by oppie, May 21, 2007.

  1. oppie

    oppie Guest

    The Starter was getting a bit intermittent on my '01 LW300. It has 100K
    miles on it was worth replacing the entire starter. Carquest had a rebuilt
    for $155 (wholesale) with $55 core charge.

    The Saturn shop manual did not allude to anything particularly difficult.
    What the heck, I replace a starter in most older cars in about 30 minutes -

    The starter was tucked up above the transaxle and under the exhaust manifold
    on the rear cylinder bank. You can't even see it much less the connections.
    I had a 4" diameter mirror that I needed to see what I was doing. Luckily I
    had already gotten a set of the inverse Torx sockets as that and a universal
    joint on the socket wrench with lots of extensions were needed to reach the
    mounting bolts when I finally found them. The biggest problem was that the
    battery feed cable on the starter solenoid had become loose on the stud.
    Arcing ate away the threads on the nut/stud so the nut would just spin. Work
    area was too tight to do anything useful. Finally I got an impact hammer and
    busted off the phenolic back of the solenoid. That cleared the way to
    finally remove the old starter (which took almost 15 minutes of jockeying to
    free up). Once the battery terminal was free, there was enough room to
    hacksaw the bolt off and free the terminal.

    All told, it took about 6 hours to complete the job. Glad I didn't pay $95
    an hour on the labor. I am cut up, bruised and even after taking a hot
    shower and Advil, very sore from the extreme exertions at awkward work

    I was considering for a while to remove the rear torque mount from the
    transaxle to chassis to make for work space - either that or drop the rear
    exhaust manifold. Neither particularly easy nor recommended in the shop
    manual. There must be some trick that I missed, a miserable job.

    oppie, May 21, 2007
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  2. oppie

    Oppie Guest

    Just found Alldata showing that the starter motor could be changed in 1.5
    hours (maybe in a perfect world...)
    Oppie, May 21, 2007
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  3. oppie

    MR Guest

    I had alternator go out on our 97 SL1 a few years ago. So, not having
    much time to do the change out, I called Saturn dealer shop to find out
    est. cost of replacing it. Shop guy said that it could go as high as $600
    and I almost dropped the phone and asked if he read that right. He said
    that was about right.......somewhere between $500-$600.
    I made the time and believe me, it took a lot of time..........probably
    6-8 hrs. total over a couple of days and lots of as you say "awkward work
    angles". Had to remove power steering pump and several other things as
    best I can remember and it was a miserable job which I don't want to do
    again. I think some of those folks who designed the engines and
    compartments were ex-aircraft designers.<bg>
    MR, Jun 13, 2007
  4. oppie

    Gyzmologist Guest

    I had alternator go out on our 97 SL1 a few years ago. So, not having
    Saab: born from jets. Partially true, it is unsuccessful Saab aerospace
    engineers that get demoted and transfered to the automotive division.


    07 Saturn Sky
    98 Dodge Status ES
    94 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    Gyzmologist, Jun 13, 2007
  5. oppie

    leo Guest

    Say what???????????
    R U sure you are talking about 1997 Saturn SL?
    My alternator died the same day I bought my 1997 SL with only 70,000 miles.
    That was in late 2004.
    I'll bet you the guy who sold it me knew the alternator was bad, but I
    squeezed him from $3,500 to $1,800 and I am glad I did, cauz you always
    assume that most people lie when they sell a car to you (at least most of
    them that sold their cars to me).
    Saturn dealer wanted $500 to replace it (that was in 2004 I guess would cost
    $600 today).
    My mechanic who checked this car before I bought it (too bad he did not
    check the alternator) installed a new alternator. It cost $149 ($89 for a
    brand new delco alternator and $60 to install it). It took him an hour to
    replace it.
    I heard that replacing a starter can take couple of hours but alternator
    should not take more than 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
    Too bad my mechanic moved out of New York City. Now, I cannot even find a
    good Saturn mechanic near me. My only choice it to go to Saturn and what
    they charge
    make me contemplate a suicide. Dr. Kevorkian! R U reading this? I need you!
    Please remove all q's from my email before you reply.
    leo, Jun 29, 2007
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