1986 Chevrolet Truck Starter Removal & Installation

If you notice that the engine of your 1986 Chevrolet truck is turning over slowly, you may soon need to replace the starter. If you are able to start your truck, drive to an auto-parts store to have them check your electrical system, starter, battery, and alternator--which they usually do for free--before you set out to replace your starter. Once you know that your starter is the problem, replacing it should be fairly easy.

Tools Used: Replacement starter, Chop blocks, 4 x 4 scraps, Jack stands, Floor jack, Socket wrench with adapters, Torque wrench, Mechanic's gloves, Flat-head screwdriver

Installation & Removal of Starters

Locate the starter. Trace the wires from the positive battery cable, which should split shortly after leaving the truck's battery. One part of the split will go to the alternator and the other part will lead to the starter. Recognize the starter by looking for two cylindrical units joined together, with one cylinder larger in size than the other. The starter, as a whole, is generally about half the size of a standard football. Since Chevrolet made several different truck models in 1986, it is difficult to describe the process exactly for every vehicle.

Raise your truck using a floor jack and jack stands if the starter on your 1986 Chevrolet is located underneath the engine. Put chop blocks or pieces of 4 x 4 scrap behind the rear tires in order to prevent the truck from accidentally rolling backwards while you are working on it.

Disconnect the negative battery cable.

Remove any other parts that may be preventing you from reaching ther starter or having enough room to work on the part. Generally, starters are usually found out in the open, especially with bigger engines. However, sometimes starters are located underneath intake manifolds, which require removal prior to accessing the starter itself. Alternatively, you may also need to remove the truck's debris covers underneath the engine in order to gain access to the starter.

Locate the electrical tab that connects the truck's electrical harness to the starter's electrical wiring. Disconnect the tab by depressing the button in the middle and pulling the two sections apart. If the tab will not budge, then gently pry it loose with a flat-head screwdriver.

Remove the two starter bolts which hold the starter to the flywheel. Although it is rare, sometimes the starter will have three bolts holding it to the engine; remove the third bolt if your vehicle has one.

Slide the starter out and replace it with the new starter.

Bolt the new starter into place. Use a torque wrench to tighten the starter mounting bolts to 30 to 33 ft-lbs. If you observe that the bolts are not going in easily, you may have misaligned the starter with the flywheel, in which case the engine will not start at all. You will need to remove the starter and reinsert it.

Reconnect the electrical tab connecting the truck's electrical system with the starter. Reconnect the negative battery cable and try to start the engine.

Reinstall any parts that were removed in order to access your Chevrolet's starter. Lower your truck if you had to raise it in order to access the starter from underneath your engine.

Tips & Warnings

If there are any parts that were removed in order to access your starter that are crucial to the engine's functioning, then be sure to reinstall them prior to starting your engine. Otherwise, if it is merely part of the air-intake system, then you may leave those parts off until you know for sure that your new starter has been installed correctly.

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