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Starter Problems

SYMPTOM: Draggy, slow starter.

This starter problem is one I have heard of a lot and experienced it myself. Hope I don't get too technical or long-winded here.


  1. In my case, it was a worn armature “nose” bushing. There is a bronze bushing in the transaxle (bellhousing) that supports the working end of the starter (shaft and gear). Most do-it-yourselfers don't replace it because of the extra work or ignorance that it exists. Without replacing it, the starter does not last long, because the starter is not built like those which U.S. cars use. Will talk about this later. But at this point, the starter requires replacement. New/rebuilt ones all come with a new bronze bushing too.

  2. There is also a common problem where the key switch does not provide enough current to the starter solenoid to make it kick in. They have a relay kit that will upgrade this and give it more juice to pull in the contacts.

  3. A similar symptom can be caused if there is a bad connection between the ignition switch and solenoid. The place that I have encountered is the male-to-female (inline) spade connector for the large red wire, located on the driver side under the rear seat. This wire goes through the floor pan on the way to the solenoid. Often, repairing or replacing this connection solves a world of problems. Try this before replacing an ignition switch or installing the relay kit.

  4. You might have a bad solenoid where the contacts are burnt and won't feed enough current to the starter motor.

Often, at first, it only happens when it is hot. My theory is that a hot engine is harder to turn over and requires more from the hardware and wiring. So, any of these can be the culprit, but #1 is usually the favorite.

Bilz Homaid Tuuls


  1. Replacement starters should come with a bushing provided & attached with a piece of wire and tag.

  2. If you don't want to replace it, you need to upgrade to an autostick starter. However, it costs 50-100% more. But it may be worth the investment if you are not real handy with the mechanical junk. (read on) They have a support mechanism (nose piece) for the shaft and do not use the bushing in the transaxle at all.

  3. Replacing the bushing with the transaxle installed is done "blind," by feel only (because it is up in the hole where the starter goes).

  4. They SELL a tool for removing the bushing. After reading the rest, you might want to go that route.

Check out the attached drawing of "Bilz Homaid Tuuls"


  1. Danny Glass who used to manage the Roy Rogers in Raleigh gave me a tip on this. He suggested something like a tap (slightly larger than the bushing.. I think a 1/2" one works) be screwed into the OLD bushing. This will give you something with a bite to pull the old one out.

  2. I did not have one the right size, so I ground down a bolt to LOOK like a tap, just slightly bigger than the hole in the bushing. After you screw it in to get it anchored inside OLD bushing, you pull it out, and the bushing should come with it. Might have to use vise grips or something to get a good grip.


The harder part is installing the NEW one. 

  1. I made another tool out of a long bolt and nut; the bolt being just small enough to slide inside the new bushing.

  2. With the nut screwed onto the bolt about and inch (then, maybe, an optional washer), slide the new bushing onto the end of the bolt. Use the bolt to insert the bushing into the hole. Then tap on the end of the bolt to install the bushing (the nut, or washer, should hit against the bushing circumference).

  3. It is not that tight of a fit, but I had trouble getting a good enough swing at the bolt head with a hammer, so (getting a little fancy here) I used an air powered chisel with a pointed end in it to drive the bolt.

TIP: If you don’t care for all this bushing replacement, you can SPEND A FEW EXTRA DOLLARS and upgrade to an Autostick starter, which fits right in. The Autostick starter has a built in “nose” to support the end of the armature and does not use the bushing, here before mentioned. If you have the bucks, it would be my suggestion.