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Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
All photos, diagrams, and text on this page Copyright 2013 - David Todeschini - all rights reserved - see Copyright Terms

 

Replacing Starter Motor - '97 Jeep Wrangler

 

Like everything else in this world, nothing lasts forever. Over 17 years of cranking, and the ol' starter just gave up the ghost all-of-a-sudden. No warning, just wouldn't turn over the engine one afternoon.

Luckily I decided I needed to go to the bank to make a deposit before I headed off into the New Jersey Pine Barrens; otherwise, I would have been stuck for hours maybe days before I got out.

A friendly bank employee offered to jump-start my Jeep, and I always have a set of jumper cables to help other people in this type of situation, so now it was my turn to be the one who was helped. After hooking up and waiting 5 minutes for the battery to accumulate some charge, the same problem. Starter turns and engages, the engine tries to turn over, but the starter disengages and spins like it's working on half the voltage.

The bank was just across the street from a Pep Boys, and so I had the Jeep flat-bedded (which my roadside assistance from Traveler's Insurance paid for). When it was determined the starter (and not the battery) was the problem, I push-started the Jeep with the help of the Pep Boys crew, and headed home. I parked the Jeep on the hill next to my apartment so I could roll-start it in the morning. A neighbor friend went to pick up the starter for me, and the next morning we were under the jeep turning wrenches.

 
With the bottom-facing bolts removed, the starter motor easily comes out.  DISCONNECT NEGATIVE BATTERY
 TERMINAL BEFORE PROCEEDING

Two bolts removed from the bottom and two wires disconnected, and the starter is easily removed by sliding it towards the oil pan. Photos below show mud and sand-encrusted starter which seems mechanically intact as far as worn / broken teeth are concerned. Replacement of the starter took less than 45 minutes (including short coffee breaks).

Years of mud and sand encrusted on the starter motor. Shaft bearing looks intact.
Close-up view of the Starter Motor's teeth reveal almost no wear and no damaged or missing teeth. Close-up view of the Starter Motor's teeth reveal almost no wear and no damaged or missing teeth.
 

The remanufactured motors are rebuilt in China. Close inspection reveals that the quality is just as good as a new factory part. Even the aluminum casting looks as if it never saw the road (if old castings are cleaned, any scratches or dents would remain; if they were sandblasted, the seam lines would not be there). For all practical purposes, these parts are NEW, and they back it up with a lifetime warranty.

This Duralast motor - remanufactured in China - comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Each motor has a serial number (red rectangle). Record this number before installing the motor.
This remanufactured motor might just-as-well be brand new. Starter motor and Contactor (Bendix) assembly - rear view

Jeep Starter Motors


The following are some of the more popular Jeep starter motors. The first one fits a '97 Jeep Wrangler. If you have any other model, just click on any buy link and provide information for your vehicle and results for your particular engine will be displayed.

 
 

 

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