Sonoma Starter R & R conumdrum

Hi guys & gals, I have a 1995 GMC Sonoma, reg cab, 5spd, V-6, 4X4, a/c. I need to replace my starter. Have viewed several youtube vids. Most show having to remove “shield” from flywheel area. My truck doesn’t have a shield. So have any of you actually replaced a starter on this exact body/equip style p.u.? I pulled the front rt wheel and crawled under. It appears that I need to unbolt the clutch release cyl. But, it sits very close to the oil pan and I really don’t want to drop that. There is a metal bracing rod that I can remove for a little more room to drop the starter from underneath. I will need to be careful about bending the clutch release cyl because of condition of the tubing. Removing the exhaust manifold from a 25 year old truck doesn’t sound like much fun.

So, has anyone here “been there, done that”? I could really use some tips. Thanks

Well, now I have been there, done that. Disconnect neg battery terminal!! Jack up pass front side and then use a jack stand for safety. Remove wheel. Go through rubber fender flap to remove starter cables. Put a string through the wire connectors and pull them up out of the way. Remove torque bar for starter removal room. Remove clutch slave cyl. There is just enough room to scrape by the oil pan. Carefully remove boot and engagement rod from cylinder and gently move the cylinder out of the way. Remove the plastic plug close to the slave. You will use this opening to align the rod when reinstalling. Don’t let anyone push down on the clutch as you will then have to bleed it off. I locked my drivers side door to keep “me” out.

With a jack and small block of wood placed under the rt frt mtr mount, I removed the bolt that runs through the mount. Next with a bottle jack and block of wood placed under the transmission tailpiece, I loosened the 4 bolts that support the tailpiece. I backed them out till there were only 3 or 4 threads holding them in.

I then jacked the front motor mount up about a 1/2 inch. Now loosen but don’t remove the two bolts holding the starter in place. There is a flywheel dust cover that must be loosened so it will drop down about 3/8ths of an inch. It is held in place by 3 8mm screws.

Now it’s time to drop the starter. Remember, it’s heavy so watch your fingers. Pull the flywheel cover down about 1/4". You now have all the room available. I had to keep the solenoid leaning toward the frame for removal. I turned the starter every which way but loose in order for it to come out. It was no easier to put back. Now reverse the order for putting everything back together. I’m 75 years old and did this on the ground. Total time was about 5 hours including getting up to fetch all the things I found I needed. Have fun lol.