Horrible predicament! Honda Element starter rear 14mm bolt lodged!

Messages
68
Location
Wheat Ridge Colorado
I have a horrible situation that there might not be a fix for! I'm replacing my 2008 Honda Element starter. (I have an earlier thread about this). My neighbor (experienced shade tree mechanic) said he could do it for me from under the car. He was successful at getting the starter out. I took it to have it rebuilt. When my neighbor was putting the starter back in tonight, he dropped the rear 14mm bolt behind the starter while trying to get it in the hole to screw it in. As he tried to get the bolt out, it kept falling further behind and under the starter and is now lodged behind the starter in a sort of vertical position. He tried taking the starter back out and now the starter is stuck because of how the bolt is lodged behind the starter. The starter won't budge now not matter how much or how hard he tries to wiggle it. He wants to try putting in another 14mm back bolt and putting in the 17mm front bolt but I'm worried that the starter might not be fully snugged up against the motor and might be a little crooked and cause major damage if he tries starting it like it is. I don't know what to do!
 
Messages
36,108
Location
ME
Get a mirror up in there! The magnet or something like sticky tape on a coat hanger will get it, if you can see it.
 
Messages
35,245
Location
NY
Originally Posted by PimTac
One of those flexible retrieval tools that has claws.
+1 That and a magnetic pickup tool, and start fishing for it.
 
Messages
1,301
Location
Athens, GA
I think he's saying that the bolt is wedged in tight, no magnet, tape, or claw is going to be able to dislodge it. That's a predicament for sure. Might have to go with brute force. Either that or start taking things apart until you can get it free.
 

Garyd

Thread starter
Messages
68
Location
Wheat Ridge Colorado
The problem is, the bolt is lodged in there so tight that even if we get a magnet or a grabber in there we won't be able pull it out. The way that it is lodged in there, the starter itself is now stuck and won't budge. I guess that after the bolt fell, he tried to move the starter a little to get it and that caused it to lodge between the walls and the starter. It's a long bolt with a middle lip and the walls around the starter have ledges that the lip is wedged into. I'm thinking our only option is to take off the intake manifold and get at the starter from the top.
 
Messages
8,439
Location
Texas
Try slowly rotating the flywheel (using the crank) counter clockwise to raise and loosen the bolt. That's if it's stuck where I think you're saying.
 
Messages
35,245
Location
NY
Originally Posted by Garyd
The problem is, the bolt is lodged in there so tight that even if we get a magnet or a grabber in there we won't be able pull it out. The way that it is lodged in there, the starter itself is now stuck and won't budge. I guess that after the bolt fell, he tried to move the starter a little to get it and that caused it to lodge between the walls and the starter. It's a long bolt with a middle lip and the walls around the starter have ledges that the lip is wedged into. I'm thinking our only option is to take off the intake manifold and get at the starter from the top.
Do as GMBoy said. Sometimes banging the area with a rubber mallet can help knocking it loose too. Unfortunately patience is going to be the key here.
 
Messages
3,460
Location
NC
If that starter top bolt is like a 2008 Honda Civic, it's a big PITA. My son cross threaded the top bolt when he put it back in, and then broke it. Luckily, the starter will work just fine with one bolt just as long as you snug the bottom bolt up every now and then. Take the bottom bolt out, and then take a dead blow hammer hitting it to force the starter out.
 
Messages
2,047
Location
missouri
Most modern starters use permanent magnets. Hitting the starter can break the magnets. You gotta do what you gotta do. If you hit the starter take back to the rebuilder and have him check it. Is it possible to take the thru bolts out of the starter motor and disassemble it on the car. Again, you may have to take back to the rebuilder, but at this point it is an option.
 
Messages
369
Location
San Diego, California
The starter can be swapped out in less than an hour from the top. There is a half dozen 10mm bolts and a few plastic clips that need to be removed from the core support, then it can be lifted and pulled forward for clearance. Unbolt the throttle body and lay it to the side. There are a couple electrical connectors and vacuum lines that need to be removed from the intake manifold, then I believe five bolts to get it off. Then this whole situation is easily accessible and can be rectified. I would never attempt this from below.
 
Originally Posted by Jim_Truett
The starter can be swapped out in less than an hour from the top. There is a half dozen 10mm bolts and a few plastic clips that need to be removed from the core support, then it can be lifted and pulled forward for clearance. Unbolt the throttle body and lay it to the side. There are a couple electrical connectors and vacuum lines that need to be removed from the intake manifold, then I believe five bolts to get it off. Then this whole situation is easily accessible and can be rectified. I would never attempt this from below.
^THIS! Scott
 
Messages
1,306
Location
PEARL River la
Originally Posted by SLO_Town
Originally Posted by Jim_Truett
The starter can be swapped out in less than an hour from the top. There is a half dozen 10mm bolts and a few plastic clips that need to be removed from the core support, then it can be lifted and pulled forward for clearance. Unbolt the throttle body and lay it to the side. There are a couple electrical connectors and vacuum lines that need to be removed from the intake manifold, then I believe five bolts to get it off. Then this whole situation is easily accessible and can be rectified. I would never attempt this from below.
^THIS! Scott
+1 Done many like this.
 

Garyd

Thread starter
Messages
68
Location
Wheat Ridge Colorado
Originally Posted by tiger862
Originally Posted by SLO_Town
Originally Posted by Jim_Truett
The starter can be swapped out in less than an hour from the top. There is a half dozen 10mm bolts and a few plastic clips that need to be removed from the core support, then it can be lifted and pulled forward for clearance. Unbolt the throttle body and lay it to the side. There are a couple electrical connectors and vacuum lines that need to be removed from the intake manifold, then I believe five bolts to get it off. Then this whole situation is easily accessible and can be rectified. I would never attempt this from below.
^THIS! Scott
+1 Done many like this.
The only problem with this and the reason my neighbor felt it would be easier to take the starter out from the bottom is that the 2007 - 2011 Elements (mine is a 2008) have this large metal resonator on the back of the air intake manifold that prevents easy access to the starter because it has to be taken off in order to take the manifold out and the bolts to it are very hard to get to and you have to try to remove them blindly or you need to remove the "T" frame from the front of the radiator and loosen the radiator mounts to try to take the whole manifold and resonator out in one piece. There are several videos on youtube showing that taking the starter out from the bottom can be easier and quicker but they are sort of misleading because it makes it look like you have more room to work than you really do. I'm for now getting to the starter from the top to try to unlodge this bolt but my neighbor thinks he could just mount another 14mm bolt into the back of the starter but I'm worried that because of the lodged bolt, the starter is in there crooked and will not mesh right and could cause major engine damage if we try to start the car with it like that.
 
Top