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Old 02-09-2020, 02:32 PM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: CT
Posts: 35
yale is on a distinguished road

Well this a very late posting to the original request, but I have recently gotten very good at swapping the starter on my 86.5. Been through 4 in the last two years. Yeah, they are life warranty from Autozone but that doesn't help me when it needs to be towed home.
Start with the battery disconnect. I disconnect negative and positive.
Remove the brace from the middle of the intake going down to the engine mount. 12mm or 13 mm, top and bottom.
Remove the one 12mm bolt holding the vacuum canister to it's bracket (located under the intake, just in front of the starter). Lift it up slightly against the bottom of the intake and you'll find two 12mm bolts holding that bracket. No way to get the canister out with the bracket in place - and you can't see the second one, closest to the starter. Once those are out, lose the 2nd bolt as you don't need it and don't want to try to put it back in. Bracket and canister should come out. I leave the canister hooked up and just set it against the frame.
All of that gives you room to reach the top bolt of the starter. Need a 3/8" ratchet, 10" extension, and 14mm socket (I use a deep socket here). Make sure it is set to loosen. Dislocate your shoulder and slide the extension/socket across the back/top of the starter to the bolt/nut. With a directional light you can just see it and aim the socket. Attach the ratchet and it should hold there, resting on the top of the starter.
Now collect your tools (sockets (12mm, 13mm, 14mm), ratchet, 2 x 14mm wrenches, u-joint connector, and at least 2.5' of extensions). I use 3/8" tools as they fit better in the tight spots.
Disconnect the big hot line from the battery (13mm nut).
Disconnect the brown electrical lead from the ignition.
Using 12mm remove the bolt holding the transmission dipstick and pull it out of the way.
Now for the real fun.
Find the lower starter bolt and run your fingers up around the bellhousing to the top bolt.
Guide the 14mm socket/u-joint/2.5' of extensions up beside the transmission to that bolt.
Now attach the ratchet and loosen it. If you did everything correctly from the engine bay that ratchet will hold and you can simply back that nut off from under the car.
I don't recall which way the top bolt/nut sits. Mine has the bolt coming from the front with the nut on the backside (rear of the car). Makes it easier on reassembly that way (as there is no way to reach behind the starter under the intake to start a nut).
Once the top one is loose, I use the two 14mm wrenches to take off the lower bolt/nut combo.
If you left the top bolt in place the starter will just hang there while you get ready to drop it. It will take some encouragement and (proper words) to guide down through the frame and suspension components, but it does fit.
Installation is essentially the reverse of the above.
Put in the lower bolt first and get it snug to hold the starter in place.
Head topside to put that bolt in. Again, I insert the top bolt going towards the rear. I can just reach that top hole to put in the bolt and using two fingers get the nut started from underneath (without pushing the bolt out of the hole).
Whole process is about an hour, but I've done it a LOT lately.
Hope this helps folks. First time took me about 2 hours to get it out and then another hour to go back in.
Key is that top bolt and getting the ratchet to sit there while you are under the car. If you have someone to hold it for you then you're golden.
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