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How to Replace the Starter - some tips

61196 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Bowjock
I did it my way! and here's how.
Safety First Always. Safety glasses. and disconnect the ground cable from the battery. Chock the rear tires.

-Viewing the Starter-
I jacked up the Left front end, set the jack stand, and used my air impact driver to remove the lug nuts & tire (still love the sound of it).
From here you can see the starter.

-Removing the Skid Plate-
I then checked that my jack stand was still secure then crawled underneath to see the bottom nut to the starter. The skid plate was in the way, so I took it out by removing the 4 bolts using my impact driver and a 9/16 socket.

-Removing the Lower Nut from Mounting Post-
The Lower mounting post and nut is in a really tight spot, so I used a 5/8 ratcheted box end wrench (I tried many different configurations of sockets and wrenches just couldn't get anything else on it and still have room to turn em) , even then you only get 5-10 deg of rotation. This nut was on so tight, I had to add another wrench to the end to gain torque, and this still didn't break it loose. I had to tap the wrenches with my 2# sledge hammer. Not much room, but it worked. I then continued using only the ratchet wrench, and two clicks at a time, removed the nut and washer. placed them in a safe spot where they wouldn't get kicked around, etc.

-Top Nut-
I returned to the wheel well and used 3/8" drive ratchet and short extension with six sided 5/8" deep well socket. That gave me just enough length to allow the ratchet to clear the end of the starter so I could turn the Bolt. Again, it was very tight, so I used a 'cheater bar' to increase torque. I removed the bolt and washer and put them in a safe place. I then pulled the Starter back off the bottom post and rotated it (top toward me) so that the wire posts were facing me. (note: when pulling the starter out, you have to make sure the transmission oil line bracket is moved out of the way as it will inhibit removal. I did this by use of a hooked wire made from a coat hanger. the bracket acts as an additional washer on the top starter mounting bolt and has tangs that encompass the starter frame,, )

-Two wires-
In the tire well still, with the wire posts facing me, I used my 3/8 ratchet to remove the nuts and washers. The large nut took a 14mm socket and the smaller nut, a 9/32. I put em in the safe place too. (However, my new starter came with new nuts and washers for the wiring)

-Getting the Starter out of the engine compartment- THE TRICKY PART!
Here's where I will save you a LOT of time. (skip to next paragraph to save even more time) For me, I wasted two hrs. because someone told me that with some finagling, and twisting and turning and cussing, you could get the thing out of there. I tried going to the rear, to the side , to the top,out the front. All to no avail. I got the point where I almost had it out, coming thru the wheel well, but the steering wheel yoke(?) was in the way. I only needed 1/4 inch!!. So I walked away for a bit, then stared at it for a bit. Then I figured that if I could get the steering wheel shaft moved, it'd come right out. So I decided to remove the splined shaft end at the steering box, it has the U-joints on it and the lower part slides up into the upper, so I hoped it wouldn't be too hard, as it had only 1 bolt.

-Removing the splined shaft end of the steering wheel shaft-

Turn the steering wheel so that the bolt is facing up, then turn the wheel a little more so that the bolt head is in the 2 o'clock position.
Using my 3/8" ratchet w/ no extension and a 1/2" socket, I completely removed the bolt. (the splined shaft has a notch in it that catches the bolt, so it has to be completely removed). I then used a ball joint splitter fork to seperate the end from the splines and slid the shaft in on itself, then lifted it out of the way. This allowed me to just reach in and EASILY remove the starter from the engine compartment!

To recap-
-unhook neg batt. cable
-jack up the left front and remove tire.
-remove the skid plate
-remove lower nut and washer using 5\8" ratcheted box end wrench
-remove the upper bolt and washer using 5/8" socket on 3/8" drive ratchet
-pull starter back and rotate until wire post facing out.
-remove 2 wires, larger one using 14mm socket, smaller one using 9/32" socket
-loosen the end of the steering wheel shaft by completely removing the bolt w/ a 1/2" socket, and seperate the splined shaft using a ball joint splitter fork. -Lift the shaft out of the way, and remove the starter from the engine compartment.
-to install, reverse the steps ( see below for detailed steps)

Installing the new Starter

After getting the starter close to where it goes, reach in through the wheel well and install the wires.
Then get the bottom mounting hole started onto the lower mounting post, taking care to pull the Trans. line bracket out of the way ,continue sliding the starter into the hole so that the starter goes flush to the mounting surface. Install the top bolt finger tight, but don't tighten yet.
Go under the vehicle and install the washer and nut onto the lower mounting post and tighten (got it as tight as I could given the close quarters and using only 1 wrench) Return to the wheel well and tighten the upper bolt. Then go to engine compartment and re-assemble the steering wheel shaft. Then re-install negative battery cable. Then reset the clock on the radio :) Start engine to test that all is kosher, if so, proceed. Install skid plate.
Next put the tire back on, put lug nuts on w/ impact wrench, remove the jack stand, and lower the jack. Finish tightening lug nuts by hand using lug wrench.

Hope this helps. I know it would have saved me a few hours,
Live and Learn, then Teach
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Good writeup. Thanks for sharing.
what year is your Durango? I have a 2011 Citadel and I am having a hell of a time getting to the starter!
I just changed the starter in my 2011 Hemi Citadel. Not too bad. First, most definitely remove the negative terminal from the battery. (Under the passenger seat) The two bolts from the back were accessed using an 18" 3/8 extension and a 15mm socket on a swivel. I left the top bolt hang for ease of re-assembly. The front was easy to get to after removing the splash guard. The battery terminal is 13mm and again used the 18" extension and swivel combo. The starter wire is a simple spade connector. It came out the front with relative ease with nothing else being removed. When putting the starter back in, it can be held from the drivers side above the control arm. It took about 20 minutes to install. I have had way worse jobs.

Good luck
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