Stripping the starter motor

Remove the pivot fork from the Bendix gear.

Remove the starter motor from the car (See Checking and replacing starter-motor brushes).

The body of a motor with a cover band is held together by two long bolts, usually with slot heads.

A motor without a cover band usually has four short bolts at each end but sometimes the commutator end is secured by a circular, toothed spring clip on the shaft, with perhaps two other bolts.


The spring clip is not reusable, so make sure you have a replacement: not all dealers stock them.

Wash all the parts in methylated spirit. Alternatively, wash them in petrol, but make sure they are thoroughly dry before reassembling the motor. A spark can ignite petrol vapour and cause an explosion.

When you reassemble the motor, check or re-check the insulation of the field coils (See Checking the starter circuit).

Make sure that the throughbolts do not touch the field-coil connections.

Do not forget to hold any type of terminal post to keep it from turning when you replace the nuts.

Removing the solenoid from a pre-engaged starter

Unscrew the electrical connection between the solenoid and the motor.

Remove the nuts or bolts holding the solenoid to the motor end.

Pull the solenoid off, disengaging the plunger if necessary.

Take the nuts off the connection between solenoid and motor, using an open-ended spanner to stop the terminals from turning.

Remove the nuts or screws holding the solenoid to the motor body, and pull or unhook the solenoid free.

Before refitting the solenoid, smear a little light oil on the plunger.


Stripping a pre-engaged starter

The pivot pin may be a force fit - if so, drive it out with a punch and hammer.

With the solenoid off, remove the actuating fork.

The whole fork pivots on a pin, which may be a force fit. If so, drive it out with a punch.

Or the pivot pin may itself be secured by a split pin. Straighten and pull out the split pin and push the pivot pin out from the other end.

Remove the screw holding the endplate to the body.

Finally, the pivot pin may be screwed in. Some screw pins have an eccentric shoulder to adjust the travel of the pinion.

Scratch the head to mark its position so that you can refit it in the same place. Then release the locknut and unscrew the pin.

The fork may be plastic or metal. In some cases the two prongs of the fork may be fastened to the large actuating plate by rivets, and should not be removed.

Remove the pivot fork from the Bendix gear.


If a fork of that type is damaged and must be replaced, it can be slid off the armature shaft as the Bendix assembly is removed (See Replacing the Bendix gear).

If the commutator end is held on by a circular spring clip, lever the clip off with a screwdriver. This calls for force and patience. Take care not to damage the shaft.

Remove all the bolts holding the endplates to the body of the motor. Take off the endplates. Pull out the armature.

Dismantling an inertia starter

Unscrew the two slot-headed bolts in the endplate.

Remove all the bolts holding the endplates to the motor body. Take off the commutator endplate.

Undo the small bolts on the commutator endplate and remove the terminal post.

Pull out the brushes from their housings to free the plate.

Note which brush of each pair has a long and a short lead, so that you can refit them correctly.

Pull out the armature and pinion endplate. You cannot take the plate off the shaft without removing the Bendix gear (See Replacing the Bendix gear).

We also have this article in

The ultimate video course

We take this car to pieces and then build it again, explaining how every single part works.

By the time you finish watching this, you'll understand everything inside a car.

Watch us take a Mazda MX5 Miata to pieces, and then build it back together again into a modern working car.

  • Every part explained in detail.
  • We've created the most detailed 3D model ever produced so we can show you everything working.
  • Over 20 hours of footage — see the contents.
  • Preorder and download the How a Car Works PDF for free.
  • Support the video by preordering and we'll put your name in the credits.

This will be the most in-depth course on car mechanics ever produced. Pre-order your copy now and save 75%.

Preorder for $20
Normal price $80. Pre-release in September 2017.

Read more essential guides

Replacing starter or dynamo bearings

Starter-motor bearings are usually bushes made of graphite-bronze. A few starters - especially h...

Checking and replacing the starter motor

If testing the starter circuit (See Checking the starter circuit) indicates a fault in the starte...

Checking a starter circuit

If the starter does not turn the engine although the car battery is in good condition, the fault...

Replacing the Bendix gear

The name Bendix gear strictly applies to the spiral drive mechanism of an inertia-type starter. H...

Replacing starter or dynamo bearings

Starter-motor bearings are usually bushes made of graphite-bronze. A few starters - especially h...