removing starter motor, Bora 1.9TD (remove battery and tray)

17 Apr 2007
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United Kingdom
Tried to remove it today.

Its my sister's car

It has two bolts, the lower one is easy enough but the upper one also holds a plastic bracket for some of the wiring which makes it just about impossible to get the the bolt head.

Is there special tool for the top bolt?

I'm actually trying to get the starter off to see if there's any friction plate dust on it as its slight sluggish when first cranked and whirring, as my sister described it, when disengaging after start.
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You won't get a sluggish starter due to clutch dust. It's most likely the battery (or alternator at a push) is on its way out.

The noise when first releasing the clutch may be the clutch release bearing. This sits between the release fork/cylinder (which is stationary) and the diaphragm spring (which rotates with the engine). The part is cheap but needs gearbox removal, so I would just monitor it and leave it be for now.
Thanks mfarrow.

I'm inclined to go for the battery option as the clutch was replaced last year.
The starter solenoid or brushes will be the two places to check if you have a lazy starter and battery and battery connections are OK. Check earth strap connections and especially the positive terminal on the battery for corrosion, it must be spotless, especially where it clamps the battery terminal?

Usually the whine after starting when the starter disengages, will be the starter bendix/pinion, so have a look at the teeth when you take the starter off. Also look at the teeth on the ring-gear on the flywheel for excessive wear in one place.

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Many thanks.

I think I can get the top nut by getting underneath and reaching along the top of the starter body with an extension and socket - a bit fiddly but it is car.

There's a Yuasa brand HDuty for £76 if needed.
If the starter shrieks when its winding down, expect quite a bit of clutch dust on the starter pinion and its shaft....clean this out and wash clean with some brake cleaner. This mechanism shouldn't be oiled of course, but it can be sprayed with Duck Oil just to give it a hand.
You don't give us the mileage of the car, but if its very high then the starter may have had enough....but do check for the security of the earth leads between bodyshell and engine, of course.
John :)
Thanks Burnerman

The car's done 100k+ .......... the wonder of regular oil changes.

I always thought the lubricant to put on starter pinions was pencil lead ?
I remember having to use a socket and long extension on the starter on the Passat I had at one time. Fiddly but do-able.
Thanks Burnerman

The car's done 100k+ .......... the wonder of regular oil changes.

I always thought the lubricant to put on starter pinions was pencil lead ?

Graphite (pencil lead) was in favour at one time, due to the fact that it is dry, and therefore doesn't collect dust etc.
These days with pre engaged starters, the pinion and ring gear remain unlubricated......its just the pinion shaft that needs some help occasionally.
John :)
Usually a 4 cylinder car engine will stop in two places, helping to even out the starter pinion engagement wear on the ring gear.
It seems that the 1.9 VW engine stops in one place all the time. So the starter always engages in the same place on the ring gear, so the ring gear gets a hammering in the same place every time.

Recently did one and the teeth on the ring gear were almost completely gone/damaged in one spot and the rest were perfect.
My sister's Bora is getting a very sluggish crank and a local autosparky has tested the battery and given it the all clear.

I'm thinking the starter brushes need replacing ?
It's worth checking the earth leads and other connections of course, but the starter may just be getting lazy.
I'd go for an exchange unit, personally as you get new bushes, brushes and a refaced commutator.
John :)
I called into a local motor factors today to get some power steering fluid and was told another local motor factor of many years standing has gone bust. That and the local PartCo branch closing - on-line sales I suppose.

Anyway, back to the topic of the post.

I got the starter motor off today, stripped it down as best I could, cleaned the brushes and commutator, put it back together and tested. Doesn't seem to spin as fast as starters I've serviced in the past but seems to be cranking the engine well enough when I got it re-fitted.

I've no doubt my sister will tell me if its still sluggish on cold morning starts.

For those interested, the starter removal/fitting is quite easy if you remove the battery and shelf - loads of room then.

Only other job now is the lower front O/S suspension ball joint to replace.
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