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Discussion Starter #1
I just found out today that the starter is under the intake manifold. What a revelation. I suppose this was engineered for space considerations?! I cut my teeth working on and rebuilding small block chevys. I lost interest when that hobby became work. This N* has rekindled my interest in engines again. I have replaced my share of bendix drives and starter motors and I would never have dreamed of looking under the intake. I guess I am dating myself, but I certainly enjoy the performance of my N* STS more I'm sure than I would working on it. Sorry, I just had to vent.
 

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Yes it is under the intake manifold.

Three things cause starter motors to fail; heat, moisture and corrosion. By putting the starter under the intake it is kept cool, clean and dry so it lasts virtually forever. Starter failures on Northstars are relatively rare.

If you do need to change it it is a very easy job. No need to crawl under the car and get rust in your eyes nor disconnect exhaust parts to get the starter out. Just remove the intake manifold bolts, lift it up at one end, prop it with a piece of wood and change the starter. No coolant in the intake and the seals are reusuable.

You can change the starter much easier on a Northstar compared to other setups once you get the hang of it. It is not something to be afraid of so no venting required.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Since you put it that way............:bouncy:

I would however have to contest the heat issue. But the manifold is plastic or a composite thereof, and there is no carb, linkage and assorted garb to remove before removing the manifold, so maybe it is not such a nightmare afterall. You are certainly correct on all other points. I have never seen a conventionally mounted starter that wasn't full of grease and grime.

Mine is not a problem as of yet, it just came up in a discussion with a local mechanic when talking about coolant change and the N* in general.

The mechanic also recommends against the 'limp home mode'' in case of coolant loss. It may surely get you there but possibly at the cost of the engine or other megabuck parts. He quoted $5000 from Jasper for a N*
 

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The N* is probably one of the quickest and easiest starter changes I've ever done..and I've done a lot of them. I think it was 15-20 mins including gathering all the tools. Something else you may not know is that the intake manifolds are re-usable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is good to know. How critical are the torque specs? I presume pretty high whenever dealing with plastic and aluminum. Just wondering if you or anyone has experienced problems with stripped threads.
 

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The starter stays far cooler under the intake in the valley. That area will run at coolant temperature as the water jackets for the block form the valley. So it will never get hotter than the coolent temperature in the valley.


A starter mounted in a conventional location will be basted by the exhaust manifolds and get much hotter. Haven't you noticed metal heat shields on other starters to try and keep the heat from the exhaust manifolds away from the starter??

Trust me, it is a lot cooler inside the valley for a starter compared to outside the engine.
 

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Boombottz said:
This is good to know. How critical are the torque specs? I presume pretty high whenever dealing with plastic and aluminum. Just wondering if you or anyone has experienced problems with stripped threads.
*VERY* critical. MAKE SURE there is no gunk or oil or grime on the bolt threads. I made that mistake (oil on the threads), and crushed my intake trying to torque it to spec. I'm kind of surprised they didn't install metal fittings to prevent that. Anyways, be careful. I would normally recommend doing it by hand, but the bolts are torqued tighter than you would expect. So, get a good wrench, and if you see one or more that isn't getting any tighter, stop.
 

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No, that'll cause you to over torque them because it will lube the threads.
 

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Off topic alert! But I have to chime in on Limp Home mode as possibly wrecking the engine--it won't. I (others too as I recall) have been in that mode SEVERAL times before I finally did the HGs, and when the engine was apart there NO signs of warpage or other heat related nasties. It's been about 4k miles since that work was done and...I won't offend the gods of karma by saying more but you get the picture...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to all for the input. It's the real life experiences that make this forum info great.

What caused your coolant loss? Were you using Dexcool?
 

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As a "rookie" I changed my '95 SLS Starter today in under 2 hours, counting the time to drive to NAPA to get a new one (under $200.00). Not a bad job.
 

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TaitRJ said:
As a "rookie" I changed my '95 SLS Starter today in under 2 hours, counting the time to drive to NAPA to get a new one (under $200.00). Not a bad job.

Lot easier doing it over the fender than crawling under the car and lying on your back, eh??
 

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Yo Vinny!

If you can replace the starter in 20 minutes like PJS suggests, I want some of those drugs. To be blunt - it aint happenin'! It will take you 20 minutes just to locate the right bolts to take out, and three times that long to expose all the areas you have to get to to reach the bolts, the head, the cables and hoses in the way etc. Have you looked under that hood lately? Even a magician would have a problem getting his hands in there! Someone is prone to slight exageration. Not saying it's super hard to do, just much more time consuming than you may been led to believe. I know, I've done it and next time it goes to the shop. My motto these days - "there's people for that kind of work, and it's not me".

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #15
MUGSANDLUKE said:
Yo Vinny!

If you can replace the starter in 20 minutes like PJS suggests, I want some of those drugs. To be blunt - it aint happenin'! It will take you 20 minutes just to locate the right bolts to take out, and three times that long to expose all the areas you have to get to to reach the bolts, the head, the cables and hoses in the way etc. Have you looked under that hood lately? Even a magician would have a problem getting his hands in there! Someone is prone to slight exageration. Not saying it's super hard to do, just much more time consuming than you may been led to believe. I know, I've done it and next time it goes to the shop. My motto these days - "there's people for that kind of work, and it's not me".

Steve
:histeric: :thumbsup: Yeah! I can relate. Back in the day, I worked on my car all week one night.:D "The smoker you drink, the player you get"
 
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