Help! can't get starter out! [Replacing starting motor on '93 Fleetwood: tools and r

Started by dochawk, August 05, 2022, 07:32:40 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

dochawk

[title changed; see last post for reasoning]

Short version:

I'm swapping the starting motor on my '93 Fleetwood tomorrow morning.  I can do this in minutes on my '72, but is there anything I should know going in?  And if anyone knows the sizes of wrenches I'll need before going under, it would be appreciated.

And then what will I need to rebuild the original, while I drive around on the cheap replacement?

Long version:


My staring motor failed a couple of days ago on my '93 Fleetwood.  From the slow cranking, I simply  assumed that I wasn't driving enough to keep the battery charged.  Since it always cranked up the second or third time, I wasn't rushing.

I was inclined to have it towed home, after the Walmart I was at charged the batter and pronounced it good, as it would seem to be either the starter failing, or not getting juice (I could hear the relay throw).  But since towing around here is extortionate if you're not an insurance company, I had it sent to a mechanic. We went home with our groceries in an uber.

When the truck finally arrived, the driver left, reporting that he couldn't find it.  For crying out loud, I even gave the space number at Walmart curbside!  So Hagerty sent another truck, which didn't arrive until four and a half hours after the first call!

Anyway, nearly two days until the mechanic even looked at it, and I was shocked when he told me something like $530 :o --$150 labor, $350 for the motor, and tax.  (but he said he could put in another if I brought it there).  I got, well, cranky when I found out that he was applying a 50% markup to the part from Napa.  >:(

Kudos to Hagerty, they happily towed it a second time to my house (where the driver had an adventure disconnecting the cable from the axle, but that's life).

I have an off brand coming from amazon tomorrow morning, and figure I'll use it while I rebuild the original.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

TJ Hopland

From what I remember the starter is right up front and not too bad to get to.  When you get closer to the right there is a lot of crap jammed in a small area but the middle I don't remember being that bad because there isn't anything on the left up there. 

I remember lots of things on those cars being a huge pain but the starter just doesn't stand out unless it was so bad I'm blocking it from my memory.  I think the biggest possible hassle will be the wires.  There isn't really any room between the engine and the radiator so pretty much no chance of getting to it from the top but if the wires are long enough that you can drop it it should not be a big deal.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

dochawk

Quote from: TJ Hopland on August 05, 2022, 07:43:19 PMbut the starter just doesn't stand out unless it was so bad I'm blocking it from my memory

gee, you have me brimming with confidence now.
;D

everything I've done before, I've pulled them from the bottom.  I can't imagine holding it in place from the top.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

TJ Hopland

I didn't mean you would pull the starter from the top but often times the wires are not really accessible from below so sometimes you get at those from above or the side and engine to radiator space on these was kinda tight.  I remember thinking the rear spark plugs were going to be bad but it was the front ones that were a bigger pain. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

dochawk

OK, I'm stuck.

I got the starter unbolted easily, but I'm not seeing a way to get it out without removing anything else. (14mm bolts for whoever finds this later)

*maybe* sliding it towards the back, and then angling the forward part up?

I tried removing a crossmember for the suspension (18mm), but rather than bolting to the frame, there are loose bolts inside the frame pieces (anyone know the size? 10 or 12 mm?).  I *might* be able to hold a small box wrench to it.  (I figured this out when I tried using a socket on my impact driver, and it tightened instead of loosening.)

So, *HELP!*.  any ideas welcome.

(Gosh, this is *so* much easier on the '72!)
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

dochawk

update:  still struggling to get nut off starter.  It *seems* to be a 13mm, but just might be a 1/2 inch.

I can't get it to hold still enough while torquing the ratchet, so the socket slips off.  The ring around my box wrenches is too thick to fit.

grr.

It looks, however, like I might be able to pull it out through the side once I get the bolt off.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

The Tassie Devil(le)

A lot of Metric fastenings started turning up after 1976.   Even Metric measurements in 1971 with the 8.2 Litre engines.

Bruce. >:D 
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

dochawk

I think the nuts on the starter of my '72 are metric, 7 or 8 mm for the solenoid.

I have it completely disconnected, but it's still not out.  The positive juice pole is a 12mm, while the solenoid post is an 8mm.

I removed the flywheel cover (four 10mm), which gave me room to manipulate it.

I thought I could get it out the side, tub this is as far as I could get (taken from underneath):


IMG_0625 copy.jpeg



I've gotten it this far coming up:

IMG_0626 copy.jpeg

I think that if I disconnect that first spark plug (is it #5?), it might give me the slack to move the others out of the way.

I also thought of pulling through the cowl space, but it seems to big, unless I move those fluid lines.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

TJ Hopland

So it is as bad as the ac compressor.  On that you have to use like a 4' extension from the other side of the car to get one of the bolts out then raise the engine up to get it out. 

I'm pretty sure I did the starter on my 90 but maybe the 90 had a little more room in a critical spot.

I thought everything on the 4100,4.5,& 4.9 was metric. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

dochawk

this one is actually a chevy truck 350. (afaik, the Fleetwoods never got the 4100-4.9, and always used 5L and later 5.7L from other divisions)


Oh, and how do I take the pug off on this engine?  It sure looks like the cowl for a coil, but '93 seems a bit early for that.  Do I just firmly pinch the base by the block and pull, or . . .
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

TJ Hopland

Ahhh.... I didn't think the Fleetwood went back to RWD till 94.    Ya then its an annoying mix of metric and standard stuff.

That's very strange that won't come out.  Cad must have added some extra stuff my Roadmaster didn't have.  I remember doing the starter on that and all I remember about that was if there had been like 6 inches of slack in the wires it would have been easy.  I think I had to hold the starter that was already unbolted with one hand and try and do the wires with the other.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

The Tassie Devil(le)

'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

dochawk

I thought the Fleetwood stayed RWD all along.  There was a single year where the FWD deville was repackaged (more goodies/chrome?) and sold as "Fleetwood", while the "Fleetwood Brougham".


I never picked up a shop annual for this one, as I really didn't envision working on it! 

If anyone has it, I'd appreciate a tip or the page.

And I'll start poking around for it on a cd; my first dip showed only one (I prefer the cd, as I can toss it on an old, expendable iPad)
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

TJ Hopland

Others would have to confirm but I think 85 was a mash up year where there were both RWD and FWD Devilles and Fleetwoods. 86 could have been a little messy too but then by 87 the Brougham was the RWD car and everything else was transverse FWD.  87-91 I'm pretty sure the Fleetwood was its own car which I think was a loaded Deville.  86 and 92 could have had mid year shenanigans going on to further confuse things like 85 was for sure. 

I would imagine the Fleetwood went back to the RWD car when they went to the round body which was apparently 93?  I know the other GM's did it for the 91 model year.  I was thinking Cad held off till 94 but it could be 93.  Its hard to tell on the internet since many people seem to freely interchange and combine Fleetwood and Brougham which some years are indeed together but other years are their own models but other years are a package.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

dochawk

after reading wikipedia's page on Fleetwood, it's even muddier.

It may be cleaner to just think of the '93 (and '94?) Fleetwood as a variant of the Brougham . . . the Fleetwood name bounced around a lot, it seems, in the 80s and 90s.

mmm, and part of the reason, perhaps the biggest, that I never really panned to work on this car is that I bought it as a placeholder.  I *want* a 94-96, but after a year of hunting, I settled on this until I find one (and that was almost three years ago, longer than I'd ever hoped to keep it).  So if anyone sees a great deal on a metallic blue '94-'96 Fleetwood Brougham with dark blue top . . .

1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

dochawk

I got it out!

It took a few minutes (???!!!), but I managed to worry the cowl off of the last spark plug (closest to the firewall).

And then, after about three tries, I was able to re-angle the solenoid a couple of times to clear on the way up.  I'm pretty sure that I needed the space vacated by removing the flywheel cover.

Now I'm going to rest a bit, and go back out and try to reverse it.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

dochawk

Almost there . . .

It slipped through easily.  Too easily: it slipped out of my hand and was caught by the exhaust tube.

I even actually remembered the grease *before* I crawled under.

Attaching was easy, but it was still loose.  I pulled a bolt back out and, sure enough, it was maybe a quarter inch shorter than the factory bolt.

So I put the new bolts in one at a time.   They were having trouble catching, so after a couple of tries, my paranoia kicked in.  Sure enough, the new were 13mm, rather than the factory (?) 14mm.

I got +12 attached easily, but couldn't do the solenoid wire blind.

So I took the bolts back out to manipulate the starter into a more reasonable position.

And with it out of the way, I took the opportunity to reattach the spark.

About that point I got popped in the eyeball socket by a falling bolt.

I got both +12 and solenoid attached, but my glasses were slipping. 

Hmm, and my face was wet, too, and dripping into my eye. 

Blood.

So I went in to clean up, with about a three inch gash, it appeared.

After cleaning, it's apparently just a tiny cut from the edge of the socket, but I'll have half a shiner by my nose from the weight.

 ::)

So I'm taking a Warsteiner long break to be sure I'm done bleeding, at which point I'm just the two starter bolts and four flywheel cover bolts from being done!
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

dochawk

doc 1, gm 0

I did it.

going back out after the eye incident, the new short bolt was missing.  Having plenty of things around, I went to my washer set and found that four M8 washers and an M8 split lock washer equalized the distance on the long bolt, and figured it should be the same or close for the short one.

I found my dropped sockets, went back under, and there was the short one, still in place!

So I tightened both, and moved on to the flywheel cover.  But *that* wouldn't fit right with the starter there.

So I backed them both out partway, attached the flywheel cover, and *then* tightened the starter bolts, and then the battery.

Went back in and cleaned so I could reach inside, came out, and it turned over instantly!

Now relaxing with a Voodoo Ranger IPA victory beer.

For those who find this later, here's what worked:

tools: wrench and socket 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, and 14mm, and a six or nine inch extender.   (and check the size of the nuts on your new starter, mine had 13mm)

Also, turn the wheel all the way to the left before you jack it up; this lets you reach through gaps with your left hand to grab things.


1) disconnect ground and battery (8mm).  While you're at this, remove the four spark wires on the passenger side from the last multi-holder before they go down.
2) disconnect four bolts holding flywheel cover (10mm). [it might be possible to skip this, but you *really* need the room to rotate it.
3) disconnect +12 (12mm) and solenoid nut (8mm) from starter while you still have it there; it's a nightmare once the starter is loose
4) remove two bolts holding starter (14mm)
5) move the starter out of the way (to the side, or whatever) and remove the wire to the spark plug nearest the passenger compartment. I found it easier to worry off from underneath, reaching through the starting motor's place. Also remove the other wires from the multi-clip.  Push wires out of way.
6) push the starter up from beneath as far as you can. make sure it catches on something.
7) rotate and maneuver the starter so that the solenoid clears as you lift it up and out.


Then go roughly backwards:
7) pass starter down
6) put starter nose up to attach +12 and solenoid.
5) reach up and reattach spark wire
4) put starter in place and bolts in loosely; let it hang from them
3) put flywheel cover back in place and bolt in.  It *might* be sliding under the edge of the starter
2) reattach starter bolts
1)reconnect battery

0) go clean before you reach into your Cadillac!

-1) take your wife to dinner in your recovered vehicle


I'll try to make a longer write-up for my website
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)