Why different starters?

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So, I was just about to head to a local "U-pull-it" yard to pull a starter for my 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. I was figuring since it is the 3.1 V-6 motor which is fairly common, it would be no problem to find a starter. But a little voice in the back of my head said, "not so fast." Thankfully, I listened to that voice and did a quick internet search for said starter. Turns out our buddies at General Motors had quite a bit of fun switching starters between years on the 3.1 V-6. Witness - If I use a "Bestest" starter as an example, my '95 takes starter #03-0529X. This same starter can also be used on a '94-95 Buick Century or a '91-93 Buick Regal or a '91-95 Pontiac Trans Sport. However, if I happened to have a 1996 Oldsmobile 3.1, it uses the "Bestest" 6473BX starter. This can also be used on any Olds made from '96-98 or any number of Buick models made in those same years. Why the difference? What is it about the 1995 Oldsmobile 3.1 that is different from the 1996 Oldsmobile 3.1 that would hinder me from swapping one to another? Is the difference minor so that if I did in fact head to the junkyard and pull a starter from a late 90's model 3.1, I could then bring that starter home and easily bolt it onto my 3.1? Or is the difference so radical that I will be forced to either find a '95 3.1 as a donor or (gulp) actually visit the parts store and buy a new starter? Tomorrow is Saturday and is suppose to be bright and beautiful in these parts - a great day for wrench twisting. Like the man said to "Dirty Harry" - "I needs to know."
 
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I looked on rock auto and all the part numbers for starters are different on those years. So i think you need the right year. I don't know the differences but since all the part numbers are different and none cross i would look for the correct one. It appears that a 94 ciera 3.1 has the same part numbers as the 95. So they did something different in 96.
 
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The difference is huge, they made the 96 the next generation and it's the real start of intake gasket issues. I think they also have more compression/ power, and some stuff to make OBDII work.
 
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In addition to what others have said, they started going t to permanent magnet gear reduction starters too. Those would be preferential if they would fit.
 
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I used to work at Advance Auto during college. Brakes for the GM A-bodies were similarly tough to sort out. Someone'd come in for brakes for something and there'd be about three or four different brake pads depending on the powertrain/braking system combination, which is apparently gleaned only via the RPO code which, of course, customers didn't know even existed. So it was fun...had a lot of come-backs for incorrectly guessed parts.
 
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Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
I used to work at Advance Auto during college. Brakes for the GM A-bodies were similarly tough to sort out. Someone'd come in for brakes for something and there'd be about three or four different brake pads depending on the powertrain/braking system combination, which is apparently gleaned only via the RPO code which, of course, customers didn't know even existed. So it was fun...had a lot of come-backs for incorrectly guessed parts.
In 1989 my father bought a wrecked, low mileage 1987 F250. He had to put a lot of work into it, practically rebuilding it. EVERY trip to the Ford dealer required him to have the VIN, and even then, a lot of times, he would just have to bring stuff to the dealer for them to identify what revision it was. Apparently there were a lot of running model year changes that year.
 
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Originally Posted By: The_Eric
In addition to what others have said, they started going t to permanent magnet gear reduction starters too. Those would be preferential if they would fit.
This ^ they are lighter and way easier to change on the car, pretty much any 60degree v6 starter will work up to about 04 depending on vehicle model and I believe even the 2.2/2200 ohv cavalier motor starters work too. Back when I was into my old cav guys would be installing the new style starter since its way easier hoisting it above your head installing it.
 
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Why a salvage yard? I had to get a starter for a 3.1 v6 and wholesale from someone we do lots of business with it was $45.00 with a lifetime warranty. How much at a junkyard?
 
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Originally Posted By: crazyoildude
Why a salvage yard? I had to get a starter for a 3.1 v6 and wholesale from someone we do lots of business with it was $45.00 with a lifetime warranty. How much at a junkyard?
CreeGuy presents himself as the sort of resourceful feller who'd grab a trout with his bare hands instead of waiting in the drive-thru for a filet o' fish. wink
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Originally Posted By: crazyoildude
Why a salvage yard? I had to get a starter for a 3.1 v6 and wholesale from someone we do lots of business with it was $45.00 with a lifetime warranty. How much at a junkyard?
CreeGuy presents himself as the sort of resourceful feller who'd grab a trout with his bare hands instead of waiting in the drive-thru for a filet o' fish. wink
LOL. FWIW, when I was buying a lot of junkyard parts in my college days and just starting out (early to mid 1980s), the junkyard cross reference book wasn't all that accurate. It would list parts that looked the same as not compatible for different years. An example was I replaced the power rack in my '84 Buick Skyhawk with a manual rack from a Pontiac. It shouldn't have worked according to this book, but the parts all looked ok except for the coupler that connected the intermediate shaft. Changed that aND I was good to go.
 
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IIRC, I replaced a late model BOP starter that was reverse rotation and permanent magnet once.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
The difference is huge, they made the 96 the next generation and it's the real start of intake gasket issues.
I know some of you like bringing GM's intake gasket issues into every thread, but in one about starters? Seems a bit of a stretch. The Gen II engines came starting in 1994 and that's when the intake issues began. Yes, back in the pre-Dexcool days.
 
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Originally Posted By: Miller88
In 1989 my father bought a wrecked, low mileage 1987 F250. He had to put a lot of work into it, practically rebuilding it. EVERY trip to the Ford dealer required him to have the VIN, and even then, a lot of times, he would just have to bring stuff to the dealer for them to identify what revision it was. Apparently there were a lot of running model year changes that year.
I've had a similar experience with that era Ford E-150 Club Wagon: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/3143229/1
Originally Posted By: paulo57509
I don't hate Fords but there are some things I've not liked about them. I've owned a few of their Econolines. The '77 one ton Club Wagon I had was an excellent truck. I had an 1988 Club Wagon that had an AOD transmission. The shift quadrant went P-R-N-OD-D-L (IIRC). At the time I used to do quite a bit of driving in the mountains. I'd have to gear down for steep grades by shifting into L. The trans would go into 2nd until the van slowed to around 25MPH then it would drop into 1st. And it would stay in 1st and not upshift until you put it back into 3. 3rd was too tall; 2nd would be about right and 1st was too low. Made the van a pain to drive in the hills. The same van needed a tail light socket (the turn indicators would faintly illuminate when the headlights were on). Ford used to sell a replacement socket with crimp connectors already attached. I went to the dealer to buy one and was told they don't stock it. Weird for something so common. I did get a part number, though. My Dad used to stock them when he owned his own shop. I go to another dealer and got the same story....don't stock it. I go to a Ford dealer that specializes in trucks. The guy tells me the socket is $93. [censored]? He goes in the back and brings out this huge box and pulls out part of a wiring harness and a socket attached which is not for an 1157 bulb. "You need a socket for an 1157?" He goes back and brings out EXACTLY what I was looking for. Ford blue plastic bag with the socket inside. Then he tells me that Ford hasn't used that part since 1986. ??? Since this van, I have not owned a Ford since.
 
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Originally Posted By: paulo57509
Originally Posted By: Miller88
In 1989 my father bought a wrecked, low mileage 1987 F250. He had to put a lot of work into it, practically rebuilding it. EVERY trip to the Ford dealer required him to have the VIN, and even then, a lot of times, he would just have to bring stuff to the dealer for them to identify what revision it was. Apparently there were a lot of running model year changes that year.
I've had a similar experience with that era Ford E-150 Club Wagon: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/3143229/1
Originally Posted By: paulo57509
I don't hate Fords but there are some things I've not liked about them. I've owned a few of their Econolines. The '77 one ton Club Wagon I had was an excellent truck. I had an 1988 Club Wagon that had an AOD transmission. The shift quadrant went P-R-N-OD-D-L (IIRC). At the time I used to do quite a bit of driving in the mountains. I'd have to gear down for steep grades by shifting into L. The trans would go into 2nd until the van slowed to around 25MPH then it would drop into 1st. And it would stay in 1st and not upshift until you put it back into 3. 3rd was too tall; 2nd would be about right and 1st was too low. Made the van a pain to drive in the hills. The same van needed a tail light socket (the turn indicators would faintly illuminate when the headlights were on). Ford used to sell a replacement socket with crimp connectors already attached. I went to the dealer to buy one and was told they don't stock it. Weird for something so common. I did get a part number, though. My Dad used to stock them when he owned his own shop. I go to another dealer and got the same story....don't stock it. I go to a Ford dealer that specializes in trucks. The guy tells me the socket is $93. [censored]? He goes in the back and brings out this huge box and pulls out part of a wiring harness and a socket attached which is not for an 1157 bulb. "You need a socket for an 1157?" He goes back and brings out EXACTLY what I was looking for. Ford blue plastic bag with the socket inside. Then he tells me that Ford hasn't used that part since 1986. ??? Since this van, I have not owned a Ford since.
The 1-3-OD thing is annoying. My Taurus had that. My Cherokee does too.
 
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