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Starter motor swap and refurbish

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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 00:05   #1
John Halford
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Default Starter motor swap and refurbish

I bought a "new" 240 (1991 Torslanda) just over a year ago (from an ad in Volvo Driver) and have revelled in its responsiveness ever since. 2.0 petrol injection makes it really GO compared with the horribly sluggish 2.3 carb DL which I had run for 24 years.

However - and here I get to the point - over the last couple of months it has needed two people to start it. My wife to hold the ignition key in the start position and me to whack the starter motor solenoid with a lump of wood.

Yesterday I got round to doing something about it. I still have the old (1987) 240DL, with a reliable starter, so I drove it up wheel ramps and removed the starter. I got the Torslanda up another pair of wheel ramps (thank you, neighbour), removed the dodgy starter and fitted the one from the DL.

Now ... and here is my question ... have I done the right thing? The starter removed from the Torslanda has a slimmer body than the one from the DL. It seemed to bolt in OK, and it started fine, but now I'm worried that if the pinions are different I could damage the flywheel.

I have started to dismantle the faulty starter. The three cross-head screws on the solenoid were a pain, but eventually yielded to hammer blows to an impact driver. The next problem is the two 7mm bolts on the starter motor body which are tending to round off.

Oh, with the starter off and before doing any dismantling, I earthed the body and touched a battery positive wire to the spade terminal on the solenoid. It operated and flung the pinion out (and, to my surprise, it started to spin slowly). Touching the lead to the lower solenoid terminal, the one connected to the starter itself, the pinion spun strongly. But sounded rather graunchy. I repeated the exercise to find that sometimes there was no spark and the motor did not spin. I can't remember whether the solenoid always operated - I think it didn't.

Anyway, the shaft the pinion slides in and out on looked dirty and felt sticky. Trying to push the pinion round with my thumb was quite difficult. I expect, if and when I get the motor apart, I'll find everything caked with dirt and the brushes worn out.

Back to the solenoid: when I pulled the body off the armature it all felt a bit sticky. Obviously I can clean the parts, but should I lubricate the armature? Should it slide in and out freely? I would have thought so.

I would be grateful for your comments. Thanks.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 09:53   #2
Laird Scooby
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Originally Posted by John Halford View Post
I bought a "new" 240 (1991 Torslanda) just over a year ago (from an ad in Volvo Driver) and have revelled in its responsiveness ever since. 2.0 petrol injection makes it really GO compared with the horribly sluggish 2.3 carb DL which I had run for 24 years.

However - and here I get to the point - over the last couple of months it has needed two people to start it. My wife to hold the ignition key in the start position and me to whack the starter motor solenoid with a lump of wood.

Yesterday I got round to doing something about it. I still have the old (1987) 240DL, with a reliable starter, so I drove it up wheel ramps and removed the starter. I got the Torslanda up another pair of wheel ramps (thank you, neighbour), removed the dodgy starter and fitted the one from the DL.

Now ... and here is my question ... have I done the right thing? The starter removed from the Torslanda has a slimmer body than the one from the DL. It seemed to bolt in OK, and it started fine, but now I'm worried that if the pinions are different I could damage the flywheel.

I have started to dismantle the faulty starter. The three cross-head screws on the solenoid were a pain, but eventually yielded to hammer blows to an impact driver. The next problem is the two 7mm bolts on the starter motor body which are tending to round off.

Oh, with the starter off and before doing any dismantling, I earthed the body and touched a battery positive wire to the spade terminal on the solenoid. It operated and flung the pinion out (and, to my surprise, it started to spin slowly). Touching the lead to the lower solenoid terminal, the one connected to the starter itself, the pinion spun strongly. But sounded rather graunchy. I repeated the exercise to find that sometimes there was no spark and the motor did not spin. I can't remember whether the solenoid always operated - I think it didn't.

Anyway, the shaft the pinion slides in and out on looked dirty and felt sticky. Trying to push the pinion round with my thumb was quite difficult. I expect, if and when I get the motor apart, I'll find everything caked with dirt and the brushes worn out.

Back to the solenoid: when I pulled the body off the armature it all felt a bit sticky. Obviously I can clean the parts, but should I lubricate the armature? Should it slide in and out freely? I would have thought so.

I would be grateful for your comments. Thanks.
If memory serves, the starter pinion has the same number of teeth on so you should be ok - besides you would have heard some horrible noises by now if there had been the wrong number of teeth.

From your description, i would suggest the following. First, the brushes are badly worn. Second the armature is also worn - usually they can be skimmed and undercut to restore them to a usable condition but you'll need a lathe and then lots of patience and a broken hacksaw blade to undercut the comm.

Next, the chances are the bushes commonly referred to as D/E and C/E bushes (Drive End and Commutator End) are almost certainly worn, best to renew these. They are a press fit in their brackets and need soaking overnight in clean engine oil before fitting.

The solenoid plunger/armature should be clean and slide in and out freely in the solenoid body. The "7mm" nuts may in fact be 1/4" AF but either way, soaking first with penetrating oil should save you a lot of grief - removing the through-bolts with them still fitted is near impossible.

On the side of the main body of the starter will be a 10-digit Bosch number which will be in the format of 0 001 abc xyz. You will need this number to find a brush pack, the bushes and anything else you may find that's worn. If you let me know the number i can look to see what's available for your starter. However from everything you describe, i'd say you would almost certainly be better off obtaining an exchange unit or if you're going to sell the old car, a good secondhand unit.

Lastly, would i be right in assuming that the car the "slim" starter came from was manual and the other automatic?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 10:24   #3
Clifford Pope
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Originally Posted by Laird Scooby View Post
Lastly, would i be right in assuming that the car the "slim" starter came from was manual and the other automatic?

I don't think that is the difference. I have a collection of about half a dozen starters all removed from manual cars, and they vary, some are fat, some slim.
My current 1991 SE has an orginal slim line, and I'm pretty sure the Torslanda did too. The older cars, from the 80s, had the thicker starters.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 12:30   #4
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I don't think that is the difference. I have a collection of about half a dozen starters all removed from manual cars, and they vary, some are fat, some slim.
My current 1991 SE has an orginal slim line, and I'm pretty sure the Torslanda did too. The older cars, from the 80s, had the thicker starters.
Often with automatics, a higher output starter was used than the petrol counterparts, hence the fatter starters as they would be ~1.4kW instead of ~1kW. There's no knowing on a used car if someone has changed the starters without checking the numbers and the original fitments for comparison, however if one car is auto and the other is manual, it would be a fair assumption (especially if the rating was on the starters and confirmed the fat one is higher power) the auto needs the fatter one.

However it doesn't always follow, especially with cars of that age as Bosch were developing starters that were slimmer and lighter but produced comparable power.

Won't know for sure until the OP reports the Bosch number on it.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 18:22   #5
John Halford
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Thanks to all who have commented. The Bosch number on the starter seems to be 0 001 108 088 (but the last digit is not clear owing to corrosion: it could be a 9).

The donor car, the 240DL, is manual B23. 1987. I think there is too much wrong with it to sell (but it would be handy not to have a rotting hulk on the driveway!)

To be clear, the (good) starter from the 1987 DL is "fat"; the faulty starter came from the 1991 Torslanda.

I have now managed to remove the two long bolts (and a good quality 7mm socket was correct) and I am just going to consult YouTube to see how to withdraw the lever.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 18:51   #6
Laird Scooby
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Thanks to all who have commented. The Bosch number on the starter seems to be 0 001 108 088 (but the last digit is not clear owing to corrosion: it could be a 9).

The donor car, the 240DL, is manual B23. 1987. I think there is too much wrong with it to sell (but it would be handy not to have a rotting hulk on the driveway!)

To be clear, the (good) starter from the 1987 DL is "fat"; the faulty starter came from the 1991 Torslanda.

I have now managed to remove the two long bolts (and a good quality 7mm socket was correct) and I am just going to consult YouTube to see how to withdraw the lever.
Depending which model you have, you may have to remove the through bolts so you can remove the D/E bracket and then the lever for the pinon is held in place in a block sandwiched between the D/E bracket and the main body or you may have a bolt of one of two possible types. Either a normal nut/bolt through the fulcrum point or one with an eccentric cam on it for adjusting the throw of the pinion - hopefully one of the other two options though.

If it looks like this then you have the rubber block between the D/E bracket and body :



That's a 1.4kW starter by the way. Also appears to be a reduction drive as well - higher torque for starting.

https://www.woodauto.com/product/STR72006

https://www.woodauto.com/bom/66127/BOSCH-0001108088

First link is to the starter, second is the BOM (Bill of Materials) which is basically a catalogue of the parts in it.
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Last edited by Laird Scooby; Feb 23rd, 2021 at 18:53. Reason: Additional info on red. drive
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 21:56   #7
honestjoe
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I have a horribly sluggish 240DL..When i procured the car the starter motor sounded like a bag of spanners when cranking..Two bolts off the the bell housing and good bearing grease on the throw out shaft and all was good..HJ.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 15:07   #8
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As a benchmark, before spending more time and possibly money, how much would one of the good helpful Volvo dealers (yes there are some) charge for a starter motor. It could be horrendous, or it could be a good surprise. To follow on, take both starter motors to a trusted local auto electricians.

Re the donor car, does it need to be a rotting hulk?

I do hope some of what I say there might help.


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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 16:49   #9
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Originally Posted by Laird Scooby View Post
Often with automatics, a higher output starter was used than the petrol counterparts, hence the fatter starters as they would be ~1.4kW instead of ~1kW. There's no knowing on a used car if someone has changed the starters without checking the numbers and the original fitments for comparison, however if one car is auto and the other is manual, it would be a fair assumption (especially if the rating was on the starters and confirmed the fat one is higher power) the auto needs the fatter one.

However it doesn't always follow, especially with cars of that age as Bosch were developing starters that were slimmer and lighter but produced comparable power.

Won't know for sure until the OP reports the Bosch number on it.
The "fat" starter is superb quality with field coils and interchangeable , The "slim" one is a glorified wiper motor , cost cutting ... it is a high rpm motor so geared down with an epicyclic geartrain , which makes it sound terrible ,... !
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 20:01   #10
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The "fat" starter is superb quality with field coils and interchangeable , The "slim" one is a glorified wiper motor , cost cutting ... it is a high rpm motor so geared down with an epicyclic geartrain , which makes it sound terrible ,... !
Agreed that the older, fatter starter is proper Bosch quality, the later one with the red. drive is still a good starter and can you imagine having a 1.4kW wiper motor?

It's just a different way of doing the same job and yes, the reduction drives (epicyclic geraboxes if you prefer) do wear, particularly the bush in the centre of them but they still do the job well despite being noisy when worn.
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