How in the hell do you get a starter out of a 2001 gmc sonoma 2wd 4.3l

Got the two bolts out. I’ve been trying to get it out for quit a wile though.
It seems like there is not enough space. Does any one have any experience taking them out?
Thanks for your replies.

Remove the splash plate if you haven’t already.

I went online to check. Someone also said to jack the transmission up just a little. Can give up to half inch of clearance.

I’m pretty new to working on cars. The splash plate is the plate with 2 bolts that goes around the entrance of the bell housing there the starter goes in right? I dont know where to start when lifting a transmission…

Do you see this behind your starter?

If so I believe there are 4 bolts holding it.

It can indeed be a puzzle to remove a starter. The first time I did it on my Corolla I followed the service manual’s incomplete instructions. Easy enough to unbolt it, but to get it out of the engine compartment I had to remove the passenger side front wheel and the under-engine shield, remove the starter bolts and wires, which dropped the starter into a morass of suspension & cooling system parts, axles, and steering parts; it was locked solid in sort of like a jail cell, all that stuff blocking any attempts to remove it from the engine compartment. Eventually – and this took quite some time of experimenting – I tried turning the steering wheel this way and that and that eventually feed up enough space I could snake it out bit by bit. Turn, snake, turn, snake etc etc. Not a fun job.

The next time I had to do it I inquired on an internet forum, not this one. A kind fellow w/Corolla experience in the UK told me it was easiest for a driveway diy’er without a lift to remove it from the top side. This involves removing the battery, air cleaner box, air induction stuff up to where it connects to the throttle body, a few electrical harness items, and the heater hoses. Then I could just undo the bottom bolt, and while holding it while undoing the top bolt, lift it up and out the top. Turned a 2-3 hour job into a 30 minute job.

Here’s what the service data says for your truck.

Lift vehicle, remove differential shield (in applicable), remove starter motor, disconnect wires, remove starter from vehicle, taking note where the shims go. Disconnect battery first of course.

I have no idea what the differential carrier shield has to do w/it. It’s rear wheel drive, right? Or maybe that’s for the 4WD version, and referring to the front differential. Which isn’t applicable to your 2WD truck.

If you register with Autozone there is a repair guide for your truck. Here is a link to the section on starter replacement.

I had a 2000 Blazer 4wd awhile back, I let my mechanic replace the starter. In theory the starter should come right out on a 2wd. The 4wd starter replacement is a bit more involved.

Good luck,

Ed B,

When you say behind to you mean the opposite side from where it connects to the bell housing?

The splash/rock/dust guard is attached to the bell housing, toward the rear of the truck from the starter. It’s either sheet metal or plastic. Install one of the starter bolts loosely until the guard is off and out of the way. Make sure all the wires are disconnected from the starter… NOTE remove the negative battery cable before doing anything on or near the starter. But of course you have done that.

No experience w/Sonoma, but I have to lift the transmission/engine an inch or two to do a timing belt job on my Corolla. The underside of the transmission is bolted from below to several mounts that are sort of holding it up off of the cross members. So it is pretty easy on the corolla with a little inspection to see what’s holding the engine and transmission to the car’s body, then just unbolt those bolts, 2 or 3 of them as I recall, and then put a block of wood under to equalize the pressure and jack the engine/transmission up a little. In my case I have to remove the front engine mount too. You have to remove enough mount bolts so the engine/transmission is able to at least rotate upward a little.

Just being curious, are you dead certain the starter motor is faulty? Just because it doesn’t crank the engine does not mean that it’s bad. Neutral safety switches, ignition switches, junction terminals, battery cable ends and so on can cause a starter motor to be inoperative.

The starter starts my car. Ive been hearing a crazy noise coming from the area. I tracked it down with a stethoscope. I’ve seen two videos on youtube with same car and same noise. The starter wasn’t disengaging. Im going to check the flexplate and torque bolts when I can get the damn starter out.

From what little I could see the teeth looked a little worn and the bendix (pretty sure that’s what its called) gear was really loose.

Is it the same thing as an inspection plate?

It sounds like the starter needs to be shimmed. You can buy these shims in a kit at any auto parts store. They’re dirt cheap.Use the thinnest shim first and see if that takes care of the problem. It not, go to the next thickest.

This really needs to be fixed PDQ. Continued use like this can take some teeth off of the flywheel and then if the flywheel stops in that spot the starter will not crank the engine at all. Hope that helps.

Ive been driving it for 2 years and it just now starter. Could a starter just all of the sudden need shimms? I’m not driving it. My girlfriend has been super cool and letting me use her car.

Yes, this kind of problem can cerntainly come on at at any time. One evening my sister called me about starter noise on her Pontiac when she was getting off work. Starter gnash. Luckily there was a parts store 2 blocks down with shims.

Years ago a friend bought a brand new Z-28. In the first year his car went through 3 starters and 2 flex plates under warranty before he gave up and sold the car. Apparently neither he nor the Chevy dealer was aware of the shim issue.

Granted, it could be the starter but since shims are cheap and easy to install it’s worth a shot. I’ve got a '98 Sonoma with the 4.3. I’d go look now but it’s pouring rain. Maybe later I’ll check the starter accessibility.

i had a fwd chevy with the 3.1 motor and the starter was between motor/radiator. it was SO noisy. almost a screech. i parked in front of service door and tv room was on other side. starter finally died and the replacement was SO quiet. i found no shims to speak of.

It turned out to be my bendix gear on my alternator not working properly. I believe it wasn’t retracting and hitting my flex plate. Just a heads up for anyone having trouble getting their starter out in this year Sonoma, I had to take off the wheel well to get the wires lose from the starter. I used a socket extension and went in from the side and behind the front suspension. You There was no way I could get the starter out without taking the wires off an no wiggle room to get to the wires.

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