The 1999 manufactured direct drive starter motor in my car is getting old. My maintenance plan involves a 6 monthly service to clean and lubricate it's internal components. Read on for what I did!
Step 1: Removing the Starter.
First step is to disconnect the battery. Mine is a tiny lifepo4 battery that cranks the engine far batter than any lead acid ever did. I have it a bit over 2 years now and its still going strong!
The 12volt heavy cable and control wire to the solenoid were dropped out. The cable harness mounting bracket was removed. Two 14mm bolts held the starter to the flywheel. Fairly easy to remove.
Step 2: Disassembly.
The motor casing is held by two long 8mm bolts. The solenoid was held by two 10mm nuts.
Taking apart very carefully, I separated all internal components. The brushes assembly is very tricky as the springs tend to fly out and can easily be lost!
Step 3: Cleaning the Commutator.
The groves in between the commutator bars were clogged with carbon debris. Using a knife I cleaned all the grooves.
Step 4: Lubing the Solenoid.
I simply used powerlube on the plunger for the solenoid. I didn't bother taking apart it since I was time constrained and eventually intend to replace the solenoid.
Step 5: Lubing the Rotor and Stator.
The pinion is 9 teeth and slides along a bunch of helical grooves in the shaft. I used a rag to clean sediments off the assembly then I powerlubed it all up. Now the pinion slides super smoothly.
I cleaned the grime off the stator insides using the rag.
Step 6: Cleaning the Brushes Assembly and Non Drive End Bearings.
The brushes all seem to be in great condition. I cleaned old grease from the bearings and uses powerlube on them after.
Step 7: Cleaning the Nose Cone.
Again, all internal grime was wiped and the drive end bearings were lubed.
Step 8: Reassembly!
The hardest part here is getting the springs back in with the rotor inserted and brushes retracted. I used a clear plastic bag to trap any spring wanting a break for freedom. It takes some patience but all 4 Springs went back in.
The non drive end cap went on after. Once on, I turned the partially assembled starter to sit on its base. The top of the rotor shaft has a washer that has to go in one orientation as in the pic.
Next the solenoid pinion actuator was inserted and the nose cone slid over carefully.
I ran the two 8mm bolts into their positions to seal my work. I put a generous volume of powerlube into the pinion and rotor housing. The brushes assembly end cap has a drain hole so the power lube flowed out there.
The solenoid is the very last component to be installed. The rubber grommet had to on before the solenoid. The tip of the solenoid plunger has to fit into the fork of the pinion actuator. I pulled the fork outwards then slipped the plunger tip into it. Next the two 10mm bolts went on and assembly complete!
Step 9: Reinstallation!
Putting back in was easy. It took 4 tries with my remote starter to have the starter engage the flywheel but afterwards she cranks way faster than before! Sounds much better too.
This job has helped to maintain the service life on my car's starter. Overall I'm quite happy.