How to Remove Starter Bolts
In a car engine, the starter bolts secure the starter in place near the transmission. The starter is the device that allows an engine to begin turning its pistons. If the starter breaks (which is a common car problem), the car will not be able to start or run.
In order to do repairs on this part, the bolts that secure the starter within the car must first be removed. It may be important to note that different models of cars may have different styles of starter bolts. Keeping that in mind, the steps below are for removing the starter bolts from a Toyota.
Step 1 - Locate the Bolts
Finding the bolts is easy, yet getting to them may be a little more difficult. Usually the bolts are on the backside of the starter and, while they can often be seen from the front, can only be accessed from the rear.
In order to reach them, one must first climb underneath the car. If ramps or jacks are used to elevate the car before servicing it, be sure to place chocks behind the tires to prevent any possibility of the vehicle rolling. Be sure to place jack stands under the frame for safety.
Step 2 - Use a Socket Wrench
Once the starter bolts have been located, the tool of choice for most mechanics is a socket wrench. It is possible to use a long skinny wrench, but a socket wrench will grip the bolts better and will reduce the risk of damaging the bolts during removal. Unfortunately, most socket wrenches will not reach the starter bolts alone and will have to be fitted with a socket wrench extension.
Step 3 - Oil the Bolts if Needed
A penetrating oil or lubricant can be used to loosen the bolts if the socket wrench is too hard to turn. Spray the bolts with this oil and then allow three to five minutes for it to penetrate the grime. Hitting the head of the bolts with a hammer or dull chisel can knock out some dirt or rust that may be preventing the bolt from turning.
Step 4 - If Nothing Else Works, Use a Vise Grip
If the heads of the bolts have been rounded by either corrosion or from being stripped as a result of being taken out and reinstalled too many times, the socket wrench may not be able to turn them. In this is the case, try using a vise grip. Clamp the clamping portion of the vise grip over the head of the bolt so that it is snug and the rounded head will not be able to slide in either direction.
Next, turn the vise grip counter-clockwise, removing and reapplying the vise grips as needed. If the vise grip is clamped solidly to the head of the bolt, but it is too difficult to turn, a pipe can be slid over the handle of the vise grip to provide more leverage and grant the user more twisting power. If no pipe is available, one may tap the handle of the vise grip with a mallet in the direction the bolt needs to turn.