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  #1  
Old August 7th, 2019, 01:08
Number21 Number21 is offline
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Cleaning my starter?

Recently picked up a 2001 XJ with about 197k on it. Oddly, most of under the hood is incredibly clean, but the starter and solenoid are just CAKED with grease and dirt. (probably from changing the oil filter) It's working fine but my OCD really wants to clean it...

Am I playing with fire if I hit it with some degreaser and water? Should I spend the bucks on electrical contact cleaner? (will probably need several cans) Or just leave well enough alone? Really don't want to replace the starter for no reason.
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Old August 7th, 2019, 05:31
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8Mud 8Mud is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

The downside to cleaning it on the vehicle is the water, oil or whatever finds its
way inside the starter, Whatever fluid then mixes with the brush dust (carbon) inside the end cap and makes a conductive goop and/or gets stuck under the brushes.

The first time removing a starter to clean it out can be a pain. There are a few things to watch out for. After a few times it gets way easier.

One trick is to remove the cable holder, this gives you enough cable play to lay the starter on your chest to disconnect the tricky wiring.

There is usually a thrust washer on the shaft you have to watch out for. There are four brushes in there, getting them all retracted enough to reassemble can be frustrating. One of those times an extra set of hands can be helpful.
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  #3  
Old August 7th, 2019, 07:10
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Tim_MN Tim_MN is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

What for ? +284,000 miles and the original starter in my 1998.
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Old August 7th, 2019, 07:27
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denverd1 denverd1 is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

oil filter adapter o-ring needs to be replaced. it will be caked again soon if you don't. T55 socket IIRC
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  #5  
Old August 7th, 2019, 12:26
Number21 Number21 is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd1 View Post
oil filter adapter o-ring needs to be replaced. it will be caked again soon if you don't. T55 socket IIRC
No signs of wet oil or a any drips. It's not uncommon to douse the starter in oil when you change the filter, especially if you haven't had practice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim_MN View Post
What for ? +284,000 miles and the original starter in my 1998.
I like to keep my engine clean. It looks better, helps parts last longer, makes it easier to spot new leaks, and in the case of the starter it would cool better if it didn't have a 1/4" of grease totally encasing it. It looks like a 50 year old farm tractor...

You've had pretty good service for the stock starter, had to replace the starter in my '98 at about 190k and it wasn't original then. I suppose I'll probably just leave well enough alone because I would consider this starter elderly anyway.
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  #6  
Old August 7th, 2019, 20:22
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Runnin'OnEmpty Runnin'OnEmpty is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

If you really want to clean the starter, use brake cleaner rather than water. Scrape the gunk off with a putty knife, then spray brake cleaner on rags and wipe the starter down with them. Really no need to remove the starter, but be sure to disconnect the negative battery cable first.

I had to replace my 96 starter at about 65K miles. Don't know why it failed so quickly, maybe the previous owner abused it? Starters are relatively cheap and easy to change and are good insurance, IMO.
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  #7  
Old August 8th, 2019, 01:52
Dragonslayer Dragonslayer is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

I prefer having my engine bay clean and I spray down the engine compartment (no
soap), suspension, transmission crossmember, every time I rinse the exterior of
my XJ (= every week, or every other week).

I never spray the engine clean while it is hot soon after a drive. I avoid directly
spraying any electrical connector, and spraying anywhere near the distributor,
throttle body, PCM, and brake master cylinder. I have, and do, spray the starter
clean from the top of the engine compartment (I avoid spraying the starter from
underneath the car, or directly spraying the starter electrical connections).

I've never had an issue with the starter (or anything else) conking out due to
the water.
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  #8  
Old August 8th, 2019, 01:53
tech1001 tech1001 is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

I would just pressure wash it and then run the engine long enough to dry out the starter , every thing under the hood gets wet any way so water should not hurt it ,engines get steam cleaned and the starter works after that .
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  #9  
Old August 8th, 2019, 06:24
lawsoncl lawsoncl is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tech1001 View Post
I would just pressure wash it and then run the engine long enough to dry out the starter , every thing under the hood gets wet any way so water should not hurt it ,engines get steam cleaned and the starter works after that .

True, the starter gets a lot of road spray. Just stay away from connectors and electronics with the pressure washer. It's really easy to kill the throttle position sensor with a pressure washer. I usually just use degreaser and a regular hose. Lather, scrub if needed, rinse, and repeat.
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  #10  
Old August 8th, 2019, 14:40
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

Elbow grease Using paint thinner, and or water and Foamy Enginebrite as solvents. Thats my usual way. techniques vary depending on what the dirt is like.
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  #11  
Old August 8th, 2019, 19:28
tm8chris tm8chris is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

I know there's a writeup here about cleaning the starter, though can't find it anymore.
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  #12  
Old August 9th, 2019, 06:19
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cruiser54 cruiser54 is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tm8chris View Post
I know there's a writeup here about cleaning the starter, though can't find it anymore.
Is that the one about removing it to clean it?

Put it in the dishwasher while the wife is not home?
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  #13  
Old August 9th, 2019, 07:45
RCP Phx RCP Phx is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

That's not even a joke, I've always washed my engines/parts in the dishwasher or bathtub.
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  #14  
Old August 9th, 2019, 07:50
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cruiser54 cruiser54 is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCP Phx View Post
That's not even a joke, I've always washed my engines/parts in the dishwasher or bathtub.

Duh!! where do you think I got the idea? LOL.
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  #15  
Old August 10th, 2019, 15:35
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8Mud 8Mud is offline
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Re: Cleaning my starter?

I got the idea from Oldman, he mentioned dishwashers work well on greasy parts. When the wifes' dishwasher got kind of ratty looking and she wanted a new one I didn't even argue. I moved the old one to the garage.
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