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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.
 

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Great write up!

Isn't the started covered under the powertrain warranty?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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] :rofl:

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

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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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Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

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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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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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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?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
Robby - thanks for the info on the 4.7 (I should know better than to listen to scuttlebutt like that!). I am just increasingly regretting not flipping the extra few bucks for a Hemi (or for leather, or sunroofs) since I have decided this vehicle will be driven until it dies or is totaled. And you are right, I should have just pulled the driveshaft, but I got a little nervous since I had never done that on as new a vehicle, and more importantly, I did the job in the driveway in front of my house instead of towing it down to the garage at my folks farm (less tool choice, cheaper jack stands, more heat, worse lighting...). At any rate, thank you for the vote of confidence!

As for the heatshield, it is aluminum [i think], but if I recall from adding the new whole for the modified mounting post location, it is sort of quilted and I believe has some synthetic fiber materials involved - it is installed just a few inches from the exhaust pipes so I imagine it will be subject to some extreme heat, especially in stop and go driving where heat will radiate around it more.
 

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Irishman,
My Commander is a 07 sport 4.7.....no sunroofs, no leather.
My impetuis for this selection has a lot to with being 57 when I purchassed it, and my automotive background.
I have a 6.1 Magnum, a B4C (POLICE SPEC z-28) Camaro and a 95 modified and 96 stock Impala SS.
So, I feel the high power spectrum is covered.

So, the 4.7 was the correct engine for me based on knowing I would not be towing my big stuff, but I would be towing something from time to time.
This lower horsepower/torque engine is mated to the same trans as the Hemi so odds are, warranty or not, the trans will never be overtaxed.
At the time I had the option of the QDII or QTII 4WD system.
Although there is no denying the capabilities of the QDII, my intended winter usage and no real plans of going offroad, and the simplicity of the QTII system made it the logical choice for me.
After reading thread after thread about sunroof issues, leaks, side seals falling apart, rattles, and the fact I don't open it unless it is sunset or later....I took a pass.
Leather interiors.....too hot or too cold and the hides look worn and crack long before I'm tired of the vehicle.
Kids and their muddy shoes are grown and gone, so the only passengers are adults and I no longer have to worry about surprises in the seat cushions (yep, they used to sneak food in there even though they knew I'd go nuts if I found it.)
Cloth works for me.....I can scotchgaurd it, shampoo it, and replace it if required for minimal expense.

So, from my point of view....your Commander is perfect.

But, even if you don't agree, you do have one of the more capable and well thought out vehicles made available to the public and you will get many years of service from it.

Just me musing,
Rob
 

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Just had to replace my starter this weekend. irishman was spot-on with this alternative to removing the axle. i've got a couple of things to add - having a universal joint and couple of extensions helps a lot. 1) remove the "bottom" heat shield bolt. 2) remove both mounting bolts. 3) you can now maneuver the two cable connections so they face downward, making it easier to disconnect. 3) now remove the fender well. you'll need to "flip" the old starter around a bit and remove the second heat shield bolt. now here's the kicker - you can just reach through the hole in the fender well, and with a little maneuvering/flipping/rotating you can easily pull the starter through the fender well! Don't forget to have a few replacement plastic rivets handy...see my post about NOT paying $5 each for them...
http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/showpost.php?p=176704&postcount=11
 

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SECOND, disconnect the positive battery terminal (its the amps that kill you)
Well, in the case of a car battery, its the amps that will create massive sparks and heat any metal that shorts the hot lead to the starter to glowing red with temps that will cause 2nd/3rd degrees burns. i.e. a metal watch band or ring on a finger (which your idiot if you don't take those off before working around a car battery) accidentally shorts that battery cable to the starter, you will have a NASTY, NASTY burn.

In the middle of a Florida Summer, with my arm dripping wet in salty sweat, I have gotten a bad shock from a car battery, less than any household AC power. Its possible to suffer actual injury from shocks from a 12VDC car battery, but the conditions to conduct that much current are so unlikely, its really a secondary consideration to burn and fire hazard that it more likely when working with heavy cables connected to the car battery.

A badly shortly battery can overheat and explode, the amps from a live battery cable to the battery can cause the terminal to weld itself to what ever is shorting it, and its possible the battery will start to melt down, even explode, before you can break the terminal free to stop the short.

Sorry to split hairs, and that is probably what you meant, or at least most of us understood what you meant, just a little extra info for any Newbs that might NOT understand why its so important to remove battery cables when working with or around any of the high electric power items, like starters, alternators, anything with a thick cable you could possibly short, disconnect the battery before getting near it. Yes, a shock is NOT likely to happen or if it does, be more than just minor pain, BUT, burns, fires and even an exploding battery are possible if you short heavy wires to the battery.
 

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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?
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.
 

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My belief is that I just need to tighten my connectors. Also looks like a PITA, especially if I need to take down the starter just to get at the connections.

If I take the wheel well liner off, can I get good enough access?

Here's my scenario:

1) Over the past couple of weeks, the car has clicked a few times and the proceeded to start (sometimes after 1 or 2 slow cranks)

2) We went off-roading this past weekend and had more of a problem and took multiple key turns to get it started after some clicking.

3) I jiggled the wires with a stick last night. It took many clicks and key turns to finally get it started.

4) Today I pulled the wired in the opposite direction and perfect starting every time.
 

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I replaced my starter about a month ago with difficulty...started with no problems after replacing... about a week ago it started making a relay clicking noise ...but starts every time?
 

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My belief is that I just need to tighten my connectors. Also looks like a PITA, especially if I need to take down the starter just to get at the connections.

If I take the wheel well liner off, can I get good enough access?

Here's my scenario:

1) Over the past couple of weeks, the car has clicked a few times and the proceeded to start (sometimes after 1 or 2 slow cranks)

2) We went off-roading this past weekend and had more of a problem and took multiple key turns to get it started after some clicking.

3) I jiggled the wires with a stick last night. It took many clicks and key turns to finally get it started.

4) Today I pulled the wired in the opposite direction and perfect starting every time.
Your pull on the wire may be enough to stop the problem. I was only able to get a finger on it and pushed it as hard as I could onto the connector. It hasn't been a problem since. Weeks ago.
 
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