Eurovan starter remove / replace

volkswagen
eurovan

#1

97 Eurovan 6 cylinder, needs a starter.

As usual, I’ve offered to help a friend save some bucks, in this case, by slithering under this box and skinning my knuckles to pull the starter. But weather here in California has been relentlessly stormy, so I haven’t been able to even LOOK for the starter, much less decide if it’s too difficult for me to do the job without a lift (or a garage!). And I’m finding no useful youtube vids on the job, and no manuals.

If it IS too difficult, the van’s owner needs to make an appointment at a shop to have it done. I prefer to use a very reliable local auto electric shop rebuild starters and alternators, rather than just pop in a rebuilt. I’m doubtful if the local mechanic would go that route.

I’ve removed starters, but never in a German car. This one is 1997 Eurovan, 6 cylinder engine, auto transmission, I think that makes it a 2.8L.

Anyone know if this is a simple job? Or is the starter stuck in a tough spot, or has other stuff to remove to get at it, or is otherwise hard to remove and replace?

Thanks,
Roadtripper


#2

I’ll bet there are “exploded view” drawings as well as videos on how to change this starter available on the internet. Google is your friend. Go direct.


#3

Thanks Mountainbike. I did search online before posting here but came up empty handed. The only video I found was terrible - no commentary and the visual was too dark to see much.


#4

@gmroadtripper

Sorry, I couldn’t find the actual replacement procedure, but found a suggested service time of 1.4 hours to replace the starter on that Eurovan.

That sounded like quite a bit of work, so for comparison, I looked up starter R&R on a 3.8L Impala that I replaced the starter on last summer. That starter replacement was fairly straight forward and shows 1.3 hours on the same site.

I’m guessing that you won’t have to take the whole van apart to perform the operation.

That’s all I’ve got.
CSA


#5

@gmroadtripper

Just for another opinion, you could try calling a shop (or two), like the one the owner would use if you can’t help, and see what they estimate for labor/parts.
CSA


#6

With a time estimate of 1.4 for a mechanic in a shop with lifts, laying on the ground trying to do this could easily be one of those started but unable to finish projects.


#7

Thanks CSA. I appreciate your effort to look up the suggested service time, that’s a useful perspective, and gives me some suggestion that this job is not especially difficult.


#8

For the record, I too searched after your replay without success.
Perhaps if you ask the parts window guy at a VW dealer he’ll be willing to print some information for you. Manufacturers all have procedures for these things, and they’ll have an “exploded view” drawing too. IF he acquiesces and accommodates you, I’d suggest returning the next morning with a large box of assorted doughnuts. Your presence will bring smiles there forever after. :relaxed:

I’d personally greatly appreciate feedback. I’ve had success with this approach, and recommend it often, but never hear whether other dealer parts guys are as accommodating.

Best of luck.


#9

I’ve worked in Auto Parts (several years with Volkswagen parts).

The problem with looking at “exploded view” parts diagrams to ascertain how to or whether to do a replacement/repair is that they can “explode” some components out of the way that very well could be in your way. Also, no mention of the types of tools or special tools is made.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to look at a parts diagram for an idea (I’ve done it myself), but an in-person look or even a prescribed step-by-step procedure is very helpful. I know some repairs that are fairly easy with a car up on a lift can be a nightmare when the ground is nearby.
CSA


#10

@Mountainbike,
Good thought on the VW dealer, but there are none anywhere close, so I won’t be able to get you any feedback as you had asked. My regular mechanic is the one who’d get this job if I don’t do it myself, so I might ask him, though I try to minimize the amount of free advice I ask for. That’s why I started with the internet. :slight_smile:

@VOLVO_V70
Yeah, you’re right, point taken. I think I’ll give it a good hard look before I open the toolbox. But I’ve fought with other starters in awkward places while flat on my back, and so far I’m undefeated, so I have at least a good chance.

But that was for my own vehicles, not someone else’s, so it was my money at stake. This time, I can just decline if I don’t like how it looks. Helping a friend to same some money is ok unless it would open a can of worms.


#11

" I prefer to use a very reliable local auto electric shop rebuild starters and alternators, rather than just pop in a rebuilt. "

Excellent idea!
I’m not sure how they do with Volkswagen or parts that are not common to millions of vehicles, but worth a shot.

Last summer when I removed that Impala starter I took it to my local rural Auto Electrics Shop. Kermit bench tested the starter, replaced the solenoid with a new one from stock and bench tested it again, while I waited (and watched!) !

Twenty bucks (including tax) total parts and labor! That original starter had been on the car 300,000 miles and just needed a solenoid. Hats off to GM on that one. it’s still going strong.
CSA


#12

From what I can tell the VR6 starter is on the right front of the engine (looking at it from the front of the car). Here’s a picture of how it attaches to the transmission. But as to how hard of a job it is, it all comes down to how much clearance there is. It might be reachable (at least in part) from above, which would help.

edit - the place to ask this question is on a VW site like VWVortex or thesamba. Somebody there has done it.


#13

The directions are straight forward, disconnect the battery, disconnect the cable and solenoid wire from the starter, remove bolts.

You will need an 8 mm or 10 MM hex socket, the top bolt may be hard to reach.


#14

Of course there IS the challenge! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Unless, of course, you’re like me and face serious pain due to medical issues if you make the wrong decision. I back away from many jobs for this reason. Not all, but many.

Is your friend one who’d be willing to do the labor if you do the supervising?


#15

This video may be of some help.

Tester


#16

@common_sense_answer

I’m not sure how they do with Volkswagen or parts that are not common

I’ve already checked, the shop has no problem stocking the necessary parts.


#17

@the_same_mountainbik

Is your friend one who’d be willing to do the labor if you do the supervising?

Yes, if the starter was accessed from the top, like in my Toyota Sienna. She already suggested something like that.

But under the car is different, I don’t think she wants to go there…no experience that I know of, and not a good place to start the learning.


#18

@texases

Wow, thanks for the picture, that’s a big help!

@common_sense_answer

The problem with looking at “exploded view” parts diagrams to ascertain how to or whether to do a replacement/repair is that they can “explode” some components out of the way that very well could be in your way.

Yep, that’s exactly what I’m most concerned about. Thank you.


#19

Starters tend to be easier to access if the engine is oriented in the same direction as the long axis of the car, rather than cross-wise. Longitudinally is better than than transversely for this procedure in other words. I wouldn’t recommend it as a diy’er job though, even w/a longitudinal engine orientation, until you have secured the procedure how to do it. Either by a Haynes/Chilton manual or the factory service manual or equivalent.

On my Corolla, which is transversely mounted, for comparison, it’s a bit of a bear if you have to do the job laying on your back it w/the car on jackstands. I discovered with the help of some internet advice that it is possible to remove and place from out the top side by removing a bunch of stuff first, which is much easier than from below, and the way I do it now. If you think it would be easier to remove something in the way to make it easier for you, definitely consider doing that.