R & R starter almost broke my will.

AZjeff

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Had 2 no starts in the 160k 02 Xterra recently, the 2nd one was in Phoenix in the evening and it was 99 out. Turn key, nothing. Turn again maybe a little bump. Wait a bit, turn again it starts. Battery plenty of voltage after sitting overnight, time to take it out and have it tested before it strands us. Watched a couple of YT videos, doesn't look too bad. Access to the hot wire nut very tight with no room for rotation so it took a while turning 1 flat at a time with an open end. The 2 starter bolts not bad with some extensions and a wobble joint. Now to get it out. There's only 1 place it will come down out without removing suspension or driveline parts and it takes a certain sequence of rotating and changing horizontal/vertical orientation to get the solenoid in the exact spot with clearance. Also discovered the solenoid plug would not slip out between the motor mount and block and had to cut it off. It reminded me of a Rubic's Cube trying to remember the sequence to get it to a certain place then have to back it out and try something different. Had it well stuck one time and almost cursed. Watched 3 or 4 different videos again to be convinced it would come out and finally it did.

Discovered it was the original Nissan starter, not bad service, covered in oil from the RMS leak. Cleaned it up, soldered the plug back on and had it tested. Had a fail and a pass but it sounded slow. The counter guy said I could try to clean it out and see if it worked, NO WAY. Bought a new life time warranty starter from AAP. It had some sort of rubber damper between the starter and solenoid that I had to pry out as there was no way it was going back in with that on it. Getting it back in was slightly less aggravating than getting it out but it still took a lot of trial and error. First start with it sounded about 50% faster rpm than the old one. I've been a DIY guy my whole life and have changed starters on a number of different vehicles but nothing like this. With any luck I'll never think to do another one, won't even try unless it's obvious it will fall to the ground when the bolts come out.

I kept reminding myself at least there was no rust to deal with. Can't say getting old(er) made any difference but likely made it more aggravating. We should get something newer but it runs so nice and still looks really good so we keep driving it.
 
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Now to get it out. There's only 1 place it will come down out without removing suspension or driveline parts and it takes a certain sequence of rotating and changing horizontal/vertical orientation to get the solenoid in the exact spot with clearance. Also discovered the solenoid plug would not slip out between the motor mount and block and had to cut it off. It reminded me of a Rubic's Cube trying to remember the sequence to get it to a certain place then have to back it out and try something different. Had it well stuck one time and almost cursed. Watched 3 or 4 different videos again to be convinced it would come out and finally it did.

Bought a new life time warranty starter from AAP.
After all that work and aggravation, I'd think anyone would buy a name brand like Denso, if not oem starter. AAP starters seem to last a year or two. Heck, I just bought a Bosch for my Volvo and it took all of 15 minutes to get out.
 

AZjeff

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AAP is closest to home, the guy was helpful and I wanted to get it done not chase parts. And don't see us owning the xterra more than 2 more years so ordering a $275 OEM made no sense and nothing but reman'd close by so I'll roll the dice. The receipt is in the owner's book for the next guy. Thanks for questioning my considered judgment.
 
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MolaKule

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Jun 5, 2002
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Iowegia - USA
My 2012 Frontier 4X4 OEM starter failed at about 75,000 miles. I put in a reman and it lasted maybe 5,000 miles. I then installed a new starter and it has been starting well since then.

You do what you think is bet for your situation.
 

RAR

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Mar 6, 2016
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Minnesota
Good enough with that starter.

I’ve replaced many starters on many different cars and trucks (and even garden tractors), but the worst two are the starter on the Ford Crown Victoria with the nearly inaccessible top bolt that you might reach with a wrench but only turn it a couple of degrees, making certain the replacement will not be quick, and the starter on a 2004 Honda Passport.

The Honda belongs to my niece’s husband and he had no clue how to do it. I took it on and full on removal of the intake is required. And it doesn’t like to come out. In went a basic parts store starter that works just fine.

So sometimes it’s just speed and availability over OEM parts. 😎
 
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I wish the OP the best of luck with that starter. I installed a few of those new and rebuilt starters from advance/ autozone. Most of them held up fine, although I had one fail in about 3 months. Luckily it was fairly easy to remove and install and was replaced under warranty without issue.

Regarding the starters on those panther platform cars. Done a few of them too. That top bolt can be a real pain, but is accessible with about 3 feet wobble extensions and some swivels. Putting that bolt back in I always used anti seize and only snugged that bolt, in case it ever had to come back out.
 
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