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Old 01-26-2008, 08:51 PM   #1
1320Fastback
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 131461
Join Date: Nov 2006
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Northern occupied Mexico
Vehicle:
1998 Outback
White/Grey

Default How to change starter contacts.

This is a little write up for those of you whose starters “click” when you turn the key. While this is not the only thing that may cause your starter to click it is very likely one of the reasons.

Note: My car is a stock 98 Outback, 2.5L NA, 4EAT. I don’t know if older/newer or standard shift transmissions use a different starter or not, but I would be surprised if the internals are different.

I am NOT responsible for any damage you do to your own car, house or whatever. While this is not a difficult project, we all know that Sh_t happens.
  • Raise driver’s side of car and place on jack stand. It’s not necessary to lift the car off the ground as long as you can slide under it comfortably.
  • Write down radio station presets and disconnect battery.
  • Remove air chamber bolts 10mm and air chamber mount 12mm (yellow arrows below).
  • Remove the B+ wire from the starter and unplug the ING wire.
  • Loosen the top starter mounting bolt 14mm (red arrow above).
  • Remove the bottom starter mounting nut and washer 16mm. (I used a 16mm socket with wobble joint and a 14” extension, 3/8 ratchet).
  • Remove the top mount bolt and remove the starter from the top of the engine bay.
  • Remove the 3 solenoid cover screws then the cover. (yellow arrows below)
  • Remove the plunger, there is a spring and a little ball that may fall out also.
  • Remove the B+ post. Hold the post with a 13mm (it’s the never been used wrench in the back of your roll away drawer) the outer nut on the post is 14mm.
  • Removal of the other post and contact is the same as above.
  • Hold the contact with pliers and tap out the stud with a nut on it to protect the threads.
  • Press new contact onto bolt with pliers.
  • Reinstall is the reversal of removal.
  • Connect the battery last and push the CD back into the CD player.
My old contacts measured .056” thick and the new ones are .095”thick. The old plunger measured .066” thick and the new one is .080” thick. These had over 188,000 miles on them. The new ones are the two inner ones.

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:33 AM   #2
Cougar4
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Member#: 53443
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Anchorage, AK
Vehicle:
2001 LL Bean Outback
Winestone

Default

Nice job 1320Fastback. I'm sure this will help a lot of folks.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:02 PM   #3
voodoochylde
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Member#: 135005
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Southern WV
Vehicle:
1999 Impreza L
Red

Default

Good Job! I did this on my old '90 Legacy before she threw a rod. Hardest part for me was getting the daggone bottom bolt out and back into the starter.

Hrm...looks like the contacts are exactly the same on your '98 and my old '90...
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:45 PM   #4
1320Fastback
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Northern occupied Mexico
Vehicle:
1998 Outback
White/Grey

Default

Yea I think Nipondenso(sp) starters are all pretty much the same.
My 86 Toyota 4Runner is VERY similar to my 98 Subaru.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #5
fredythemachine
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Quebec, Canada
Default

Thanks for the thread!!!

It saved me a couple of bucks, it has actually cost me 10$!

I had to go to a starter-alternator shop to get the contacts.

My car is a 97 legacy mt and has 314k km on it, so the contacts were worse than yours.

Really easy job to do, I didn't have to raise the car at all.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
dvancleve
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Member#: 5211
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: SWIC
Location: Chandler, AZ
Vehicle:
2007 Outback XT Ltd.
Diamond Gray Metallic

Smile Thanks and a some notes...

I got mine swapped out with less difficulty than I expected. I got the top bolt out with a 14mm socket and 6" extension from the top. I got the bottom nut off with a 17mm socket and the same extension. I pulled the starter out from the bottom. I used a rebuild kit from eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/?cmd=...m=220757918951 which I tried to confirm was right for my '97 Legacy Outback 5 speed, but the rod on the plunger that I got was much shorter than the original:
.
I will try to get the correct part from the seller or maybe a 50% refund or something. The washer on the plunger was a lot less worn that the side contacts so I filed it a bit smoother and reused it. My contacts looked like this:
.

Anyway, thanks again to 1320Fastback and I hope my notes might help somebody else a bit... Doug

Update: I got the correct plunger from the eBay seller and got my return postage refunded. Seller is "suppersellstore"

Last edited by dvancleve; 07-04-2012 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:18 AM   #7
SubaruImpreza_power
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Member#: 13910
Join Date: Jan 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Greenwich, CT
Vehicle:
1997 Legacy outback
blue

Question

On this site here which one of the contacts fit the starter on a 97 Outback?

http://www.nationsautoelectric.com/densoparts.html
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:09 PM   #8
jk91001
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Member#: 280915
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Thanks to the original poster. I replaced the 2 connectors on my 1999 Legacy SUS Special Edition today. Went pretty smooth, best as I can tell. I didn't replace the plunger, it looked to be in good shape, but I frankly didn't read the full post well enough to order one to be on the safe side. It sounds to my ear that perhaps the starter turns a bit longer before it actually gets the engine to turn over (maybe just a 1-Mississippi count), but hopefully it's just my imagination and I haven't just kicked the problem down the road a bit. I was getting the loud click with increasing frequency, especially in the AM, so I was happy to find this solve online. Cheers. jk
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
KyleH
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Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Orlando
Vehicle:
2002 WRX
Silver

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When you say click, do you mean one click and then no cranking at all or click click click click like when your battery doesnt have enough power to turn over?
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #10
SubaruImpreza_power
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Member#: 13910
Join Date: Jan 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Greenwich, CT
Vehicle:
1997 Legacy outback
blue

Default

when the starter contacts go out it's just one solid click and nothing else.. I never heard the click sound like anything else as far as how it sounds.. my guess is he mean it was starting to happen more often.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
jk91001
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Default

That's right. Sorry to be vague. One click, increasing frequency as to whether on any given day the car would start w/o a problem or NOT start, with this problem. Generally on the 3d try it would connect and turn over on the days it was troublesome, but I had a few occasions where after a few minutes of dealing with it I was still stuck.
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