How To: Removal & Rebuild the Starter


1) Raise and support the rear of the car on jack stands.

2) Disconnect the negative cable from the battery.

3) Remove the under-carriage cover (bunch of 10mm bolts). You should then have ample room to work with the starter. It is right between the front motor mount and the exhaust manifold.

4) Remove the heat shield from the starter (10mm bolt).

5) Remove the two 14mm bolts on the other side of the transmission.

6) Disconnect the black plug (Terminal 50) on the end of the starter.

7) Slide the starter out of the tranny, toward the passenger side of the car.

8) Twist the bottom up toward you, so that you can access the 12mm bolt holding the battery wire to the starter (Terminal 30).

9) Turn the starter counter-clockwise. So that the gear part faces the front of the car.


10) Then pivot the starter down, so that the gear side comes right down toward you. It should then slide out of the car pretty easily.

11) Just some pics of the starter.


Removal of Copper L-shaped Contacts

12) Remove the two long, skinny 10mm bolts (blue) holding the field frame & armature to the starter housing. Pull the field frame up and off. The armature may come off too with the frame. If so, be prepared for it to fall as you remove it.

Then remove the three 8mm bolts (red) holding the cap on the magnetic switch end.


13) Here’s what you will see after you remove the magnetic switch end cap. The plunger in the middle pushes down to engage the gear on the opposite end. When it does this, the copper ring on the plunger comes into contact with the copper L-shaped contacts on either side of it. Those are what we are going to replace.


14) Remove the plunger by pulling it straight out. Be careful of a skinny spring on other end of the plunger. Keep it in a safe place.

15) Remove the cap from Terminal C and remove the 12mm nut holding its ring terminal on.


16) Remove the various nuts, washers, & insulators that are holding the L-shaped contacts in place. Take note of the order of how you removed everything. Be very cautious of the one bolt that has a washer that is connected to a wire leading down to some windings. The wire is quite brittle, and if you break it, you will need to solder it back in place. It’s no big deal though, just need a solder gun & small piece of solid copper wire.


17) Here’s the plunger & the copper contacts. Notice the roughness of the underside of the plunger’s copper ring. Sand/file it down, so that it is smooth again.

Here’s a comparison of the new contacts to the old. You can see how it has been worn away by the spinning each time the car is started.


18) Just pics of the empty starter housing. You can see I broke that connection on that washer I was speaking about earlier.


Install New Contacts

19) You can purchase the new contacts at a local starter rebuilder. Just look in your Yellow Pages for one. I’ve read a few people on the MR2 message board have only been charged a buck for both contacts. Well the guy I went to wanted $9 for ’em. Didn’t feel like running all over town so I went ahead with them.

Install the bolts & contacts the opposite of how you removed them. Noticed the new wire soldered in place.


20) Place the spring and plunger back down in the cylinder.

21) Install the cover and the three 8mm bolts.


Inspecting Brushes

22) If you want, since you have the starter out, you can check the condition of the brushes. Remove the armature from the field frame. Clean the dirt/grime off the windings with some fine sandpaper.


23) Remove the 2 Phillips screws holding the cap to the field frame/brush holders.

24) You can now see the brush holder ‘standing’ off from the field frame. Remove the 2 brushes from the holder that are keeping it in place. They are held in by spring clips, just take a skinny screwdriver to get them out. You can now inspect the brushes (sand/file if needed) and check their length. BGB calls for a minimum width of 10mm. Replace if necessary.

25) Place the 2 brushes on the field frame back into the brush holder. This may take some time & finesse with a screwdriver…

26) Insert the armature into the field frame. The small coil goes toward the brushes end. Work the brushes over the bearing and onto the coils. This may take a few minutes since you only have 2 hands, trying to work all 4 brushes at the same time.

27) May as well clean the bearing surface and the underside of the field frame cap. Apply a little bit of fresh grease to the bearing surface.

28) Watch out for the armature falling out from the bottom, and place the field frame cap over the brush holder. Line up the holes and tighten the 2 Phillips screws.

29) Turn the field frame assembly over and clean up the bearing on the other side of the armature. Apply fresh grease. Clean up the starter housing where the armature gear fits into and install it into the starter housing. Make sure the holes in the field frame cap line up with those of the housing. Install the two long 10mm through bolts.

30) Connect up Terminal C, and tighten the 12mm bolt. Starter is now ready to go back in the car.


Installation of Starter

31) Installation is exact opposite of removal.


A lot of steps, but a real easy project. Removal & installation of the starter should take 15 minutes tops. Keep track of all the bolts, screws, washers, etc. when taking the starter apart.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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