Starter REplacement - 07/09/2006

Inadequate starter performance plagues most higher performance cars, especially on GM ones. The starter solenoid is right by the exhaust manifold and the parts store rebuilt starters are usually not the best of quality. Having toasty 30 year old wiring only leads to problems trying to start the car when hot. The Lemans was no exception. It started fine when it had a 350, but with the 455 it needed a little extra "oomph" to get up and go. Nothing is worse than a car that won't start, so I decided to take care of it.


Old starter is removed. Date tag was a parts store rebuild (high torque version) from 1991. Not bad to have lasted for 15 years.


Old starter compared to a "medium torque" starter (that fell off the workbench apparently). The larger copper pipe indicates a high torque starter due to (I believe) more windings inside the starter. S terminal is on the right side of the solenoid and the R terminal is on the left.


The biggest culprit in older cars is that wiring! The solenoid and "run" wire needed to both be replaced. The S terminal wire (purple) engages the solenoid to turn the starter on and engage the shaft in the starter to the flywheel. It takes a good 35-50A to turn on, so 10ga wire should replace the 14ga factory wiring. Not needed? Well, it's best to have more than needed when it gets old. Blue wire substitutes for purple.


Solder the wires together in a place that is easily accessible so that when I need to replace the rest of the wire from the firewall, I don't have to drop the starter.


Crimp AND solder the terminal to the starter.


Yellow wire is done the same way. It goes to the R terminal on the solenoid to provide 12V to the coil when the engine is cranking.


Alternator source wire is relocated from the battery terminal on the starter to the battery cable itself. No real reason why the 12V source for the rest of the car needs to go down to the starter where it gets REALLY hot (being only 1/2" away from the manifolds). Being pressed for time this cable is going to be used as-is since it was crimped from the factory.


Starter is installed. Clean and flush against the block! Wires were made slightly longer to give slack when installing terminal connections on the starter.


Block support bracket is still maintained. Helps with grounding and support perhaps? It was original to the 350 when I pulled it out, so I kept it!

Pull the wires up and crank the key, everything runs as normal! The car now fires on the first crank even when it's 100F outside and the engine is 215F. Good 2ga cables that are soldered on are required for this.

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Last updated July 9th, 2006