How to Change Your Starter - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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How to Change Your Starter

On a 2007 4.7L Commander [or why you might want to just take it to your mechanic].

Starter died, and after much thought and research, I decided to do it myself. First, why: the OEM part from the dealership is about $90, and you can buy this from the parts department. You can get various remanufactured starters for between $50 and $200 (with most I found about $150). There is NOT, as best I can tell, an OEM alternative, such as Mean Green as there is for older wranglers and CJ's. Now, more importantly, the mechanic's labor: the jeep dealer quoted me $590, minimum, including the part for the job. That is $500 dollars in labor and a minimum charge, subject to go up for time. The local mechanic was only slightly better and would have used a rebuilt part.

Given the cost and the time estimates I saw, I decided to do it myself. Regarding the estimates, here is what I saw: it would take about two hours, it is like playing tetris under a vehicle, and one person said that NEEDED to remove the drive shaft for access.

It took me about 4 hours, taking my time of course. The tetris analogy was spot on. But I did NOT need to remove the drive shaft, although it would have made the actual removal and installation far quicker (but since I have never pulled a drive shaft on a car made after 1977 I decided it was more trouble than it was worth).

So, there are your considerations for anyone facing the same problem (battery is good, starter just clicks and nothing happens). For reference my jeep is exactly 35 months old and has 50.5k miles.

...

FIRST, LET THE CAR BE ALL THE WAY DOWN [likely not a problem if you just found out you have a bum starter and have taken the pains to look at this and locate a new one, but that exhaust is HOT]

SECOND, disconnect the positive battery terminal (its the amps that kill you)

Loosen lug nuts, jack up the car and support with jack stand (do this as far forward and to the outboard of the vehicle as possible for access). Remove the tire & wheel assembly.

Climb on under with a 13mm socket and remove the oil pan cover (four bolts). Now, before you get going underneath, remove the fender clips from the wheel well molding and remove it - this will provide you with more information on what you are dealing with and provide access to the wiring.

Take a look in and get a feel for where the wires are, I would recommend disconnecting the small wire (the little male/female clip on) now and saving the bolted on battery cable until after you have removed the mounting bolts.

Now, climb back under. The starter is located just forward of the transmission (and actually bolts on to it), on the drivers side, and at about the 7 or 8 o'clock position looking from the rear of the vehicle. The starter is held in place by two (2) fifteen millimeter bolts and the wires (one clip, one screw, a 13mm). I HIGHLY recommend you wear mechanic's gloves. Using a socket, loosen the bolts (either order, I did bottom first) and remove for reuse.

Now remove that 13mm battery cable.

Before you start trying to shimmy the assembly out, you need to remove the heat shield while it is still in the engine compartment. I spend 40 minutes trying to shimmy the starter assembly out with the heat shield in place, just not happening. [this is likely why some decided removal of the drive shaft is necessary]

Once you have the heat shield off, tetris part one begins: shimmy the thing around, probably about seventeen thousand ways, until it comes out just about in the center of the bottom of the car (it won't go out the side).

Once you get it out, check the heat shield against the new part. I had heard before hand that Jeep redesigned the heat shield a bit, but the dealer said not for the 4.7. WRONG, the screw is moved about an inch. A series of gradually bigger torx bits worked from both sides will put about a perfectly sized and flattened hole for attachment.

Now work the new starter in place, then place and attach the heat shield (yes, more tetris). That done, orient it correctly and attach the battery wire with the original nut. Now move it into place and attach the mounting bolts. Reattach the battery cable, fender molding and oil pan. Have a beer.

I have pictures that I will try to attach as an addendum. If I misstated anything, I am welcome to be corrected. My hope is that anyone who tackles this does it with more information than I did.

Cheers.

It's a jeep thing... I am one of the few people, outside of rockcrawling, that has made use of the "if you can read this, please roll me over" sticker
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77 CJ-5, 4" suspension 33x12.5 R15 BFG AT/KO
- gear shift is Budweiser tap.
07 Jeep Commander
- stock for now

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 03:58 PM
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Great write up!

Isn't the started covered under the powertrain warranty?



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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 04:53 PM
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I'm fairly certain the starter is not covered under powertrain.

I wish to recommend a change to step 2.

Always remove the negative cable first.....here's why.
If you remove the positive cable with the negative still attached and your tool bumps ANYTHING metal on the vehicle (ground) a arc will ensue.
Anything your tool bumps will be damaged from arcing, as well as the tool itself, and sometimes the hand holding the tool.
On pre-computer cars this was the end of the event.
On computer equiped vehicles this arc moment often belts the ecm, usually killing it.

I am more than capable of doing this repair but.....I don't wanna.....hello, Chrysler Service Contract, I broke my car....handle it.

Rob


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robby View Post
I'm fairly certain the starter is not covered under powertrain.

I wish to recommend a change to step 2.

Always remove the negative cable first.....here's why.
If you remove the positive cable with the negative still attached and your tool bumps ANYTHING metal on the vehicle (ground) a arc will ensue.
Anything your tool bumps will be damaged from arcing, as well as the tool itself, and sometimes the hand holding the tool.
On pre-computer cars this was the end of the event.
On computer equiped vehicles this arc moment often belts the ecm, usually killing it.

I am more than capable of doing this repair but.....I don't wanna.....hello, Chrysler Service Contract, I broke my car....handle it.

Rob

I was only borderline capable, but I think it would have been easier if I had step by steps... I changed one of these out on my 77 CJ5 in about 20 minutes a few years back. By comparison, this was like pulling teeth!

As for a service contract, if I could have afforded one of those I would have went with the Hemi [insert cursing about MB and Mitsubishi electronics]

ETA: good point on the negative first! I have definitely put a 12v shot of power into my hand before and it stings.

It's a jeep thing... I am one of the few people, outside of rockcrawling, that has made use of the "if you can read this, please roll me over" sticker
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77 CJ-5, 4" suspension 33x12.5 R15 BFG AT/KO
- gear shift is Budweiser tap.
07 Jeep Commander
- stock for now

Priors:
03 Jeep Rubicon (still in the family - got passed down)
03 Dodge Durango SLT plus (with the 5.9L)
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:42 PM
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Irishman538,

I think you did great for no manual present.
Necessity really is the mother of invention isn't it?

I don't think we can blame MB for anything.....mitsu electronics though.....thats a different story.
First time I heard a new starter listed for 90.00 I new it was a POS.
Even though it would be EXT warranty I'm tempted to put one in stock.
You know it'll take a dump on a Sunday afternoon.....before a holiday.....no other vehicle available, right?
At least, that generally is how my luck runs.

Well, good job, sounds like you avoided spending a stack of money.

Rob


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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robby View Post
Irishman538,

I think you did great for no manual present.
Necessity really is the mother of invention isn't it?

I don't think we can blame MB for anything.....mitsu electronics though.....thats a different story.
First time I heard a new starter listed for 90.00 I new it was a POS.
Even though it would be EXT warranty I'm tempted to put one in stock.
You know it'll take a dump on a Sunday afternoon.....before a holiday.....no other vehicle available, right?
At least, that generally is how my luck runs.

Well, good job, sounds like you avoided spending a stack of money.

Rob

Thank you! I don't know whether it was more necessity or just wanting to avoid being raked over by the jeep dealer and/or local mechanic... I am very annoyed at the engine design in general (this is my first none wrangler/CJ and they are world apart in ease of service), and I hear that is due to MB involvement. I know the battery was 50% more expensive than a similar one just because the "mercedes" style posts limit options.

And, yeah, that is near exactly what it did to me. Died on a saturday evening at the grocery store, and ruined my plans to go sailing on sunday. I am keeping the old starter, having it remanufactured and adding it to my tool box.

It's a jeep thing... I am one of the few people, outside of rockcrawling, that has made use of the "if you can read this, please roll me over" sticker
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77 CJ-5, 4" suspension 33x12.5 R15 BFG AT/KO
- gear shift is Budweiser tap.
07 Jeep Commander
- stock for now

Priors:
03 Jeep Rubicon (still in the family - got passed down)
03 Dodge Durango SLT plus (with the 5.9L)
Farm Equipment
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 11:09 AM
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here's the powertrain warranty:
-----------------

LIFETIME POWERTRAIN LIMITED WARRANTY

2006 Model Year Vehicles and 2007 Model Year Vehicles and 2008 Model Year Vehicles Sold and Delivered On or After July 26, 2007

At the expiration of the 3 year/36,000 mile Basic Limited Warranty, DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC extends to the original purchaser or retail lessee of each 2006 model year, 2007 model year and 2008 model year Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle sold and delivered on or after July 26, 2007 limited powertrain warranty for the lifetime of that original purchaser or retail lessee.

LIFETIME POWERTRAIN LIMITED WARRANTY

A. Who is Covered?
You are covered by the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty if you are the first registered owner or lessee for use of the vehicle. Subsequent owners or lessees, even if they are within the same family or business, are not covered. Successor business entities or persons to whom the vehicle is transferred by operation of law are also not covered.

B. What’s Covered
The Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a powertrain component listed in section E below that is defective in workmanship and materials. There is no coverage for towing in the event of disablement.

C. When It Begins
The Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty begins at the end of the Basic Limited Warranty.

D. Excluded Vehicles
SRT vehicles, Sprinter vehicles, diesel equipped vehicles, all Ram Cab/Chassis vehicles, rental vehicles and government vehicles are not covered. Vehicles used as a police vehicle, taxi, limousine, postal delivery vehicle, or ambulance are not covered by the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty.

E. Parts Covered
The Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty covers these parts and components of your vehicle’s powertrain supplied by DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC:

- Gasoline Engine: cylinder block and all internal parts; cylinder head assemblies; timing case, timing chain, timing belt, gears and sprockets; vibration damper; oil pump; water pump and housing; intake and exhaust manifolds; flywheel with starter ring gear; core plugs; valve covers; oil pan; turbocharger housing and internal parts; turbocharger wastegate actuator; supercharger; serpentine belt tensioner; seals and gaskets for listed components only.

- Transmission: transmission case and all internal parts; torque converter; drive/flex plate; transmission range switch; transmission control module; bell housing; oil pan; seals and gaskets for listed components only. NOTE: MANUAL TRANSMISSION CLUTCH PARTS ARE NOT OVERED AT ANY TIME.

- Front Wheel Drive: transaxle case and all internal parts; axle shaft assemblies; constant velocity joints and boots; differential cover; oil pan; transaxle speed sensors; transaxle solenoid assembly; PRNDL position switch; transaxle electronic controller; torque converter; seals and gaskets for listed components only.

NOTE: MANUAL TRANSMISSION CLUTCH PARTS ARE NOT COVERED AT ANY TIME.

- All Wheel Drive (AWD): power transfer unit and all internal parts; viscous coupler; axle housing and all internal parts; constant velocity joints and boots; driveshaft and axle shaft assemblies; differential carrier assembly and all internal parts; output ball bearing; output flange; end cover; overrunning clutch; vacuum motor; torque tube; pinion spacer and shim, seals and gaskets for listed components only.

- Rear Wheel Drive: rear axle housing and all internal parts; axle shafts; axle shaft bearings; drive shaft assemblies; drive shaft center bearings; universal joints and yokes; seals and gaskets for listed components only.

- Four-Wheel Drive (4X4): transfer case and all internal parts; transfer case control module and shift mode motor assembly; axle housing and all internal parts; axle shafts; axle shaft bearings; drive shafts assemblies (front and rear); drive shaft center bearings; universal joints and yokes; disconnect housing assembly; seals and gaskets for the listed components only.

F. When Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty Does Not Apply
You are not covered by the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty if you are a second or subsequent owner of the vehicle.

G. Inspections
In order to maintain the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty, the person or entity covered by this Powertrain Limited Warranty must have a powertrain inspection performed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep dealer once every 5 years. This inspection will be performed at no charge. The inspection must be made within sixty (60) days of each 5 year anniversary of the in-service date of the vehicle. You must have the inspection performed to continue this coverage.

H. Other Provisions of This Powertrain Limited Warranty
All other terms of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty including the Section 1 (Your Rights Under These Limited Warranties) and Section 3 (What’s Not Covered) apply to this Powertrain Limited Warranty.

This document supplements the warranties and conditions described in the vehicle’s Warranty Information book.
No other coverages are altered or extended based on this supplement.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 04:58 PM
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Next time you are bored, read the ALLPAR review of the 4.7 V-8.

I doubt if there was much MB influence on it.....likely was drawn up a couple years before MB was involved.
If your honest with yourself, the job would have been easier with driveshaft removal and, truth be known, if you can do a starter a driveshaft is a walk in the park....don't sell yourself short....you sound quite capable.

The primary reason for the 4.7's existance was that the 318 was becoming too expensive
to modify for emission and CAFE standards and Chrysler wanted to be able to base a new V-6 off the design.

Read up on it.....impressive lil motor.

Rob


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 06:14 AM
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Quick question. I just replaced the starter on my 2006 Commander. The starter was such a pita to remove. After disconnecting the battery cables, I noticed there is very little room to remove the starter. The heat shield was removed and then the starter was changed out. The heat shield is metal, so I really do not understand how it will keep the heat away. My question is.....is the heat shield necessary because it is such a pita to put back in place with the lack of room?

2006 Jeep Commander 4.7
2004 Pontiac GTO
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 07:16 AM
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YES!
The heat shield, even though it is metal, reflects the heat away from the starter....in particular, away from the solenoid which is rather heat sensative.

Always remember this: There are no unneccessary parts EVER installed on a vehicle.
The final phase bean counters at the manufacturer will see to that.....if it'll save a penny, it won't be on the vehicle.

Rob


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