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How do you change the starter on a 1999 Pontiac Bonneville?

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Wiki User
08/02/2009

Okay.. First things first.. Chock rear wheels, because this repair will have to be done from underneath the car. Lift via jack on passenger side until front passenger tire is approx. 5 inches off ground. This will allow you to be able to use both hands which you will need. Remove battery terminals. Have handy a 5/8" socket, with 1/4" ratchet, and short extension (2.5 inches-3 inches). These are needed to remove the starter from the mounting, but you will need a couple of other sizes to remove the cables from the starter (1/2 inch for the battery cable, and 5/16 for the other) The extension will be needed for the rearmost bolt, but the front bolt will provide you the most trouble, because there is just barely enough room to fit the socket above the body crossarm. Once these two bolts are loosened, the weight of the starter will drop the starter practically into your hands. Remove bolts holding the wires from the starter, and replace with new starter. The wires should only go on one way, so tighten to the previous tightness. Slip starter above crossarm and wiggle into place. I highly recommend starting with the rearmost bolt (much easier) to line up the starter and hold it's weight, instead of trying to put the front in (which is much shorter than the back bolt). Once the starter is in place and tight, and all tools are clear, reconnect battery and start car before dropping your jack. The reason i recommend this is, if there is whining in the starter it may need to be shimmed, and will keep you from having to re-lift your car. If there is no whining, your job is complete. Drop jack, and unchock tires. Hold on one second !!! There is a lot more to removing the starter from a 1999 Bonneville SE with a V6, 3.8L than you described !!! For starters, the two plastic flywheel covers have to be removed, but only after removing the steel bracket/brace forward of the starter and all its hidden bolts which can't be removed without first removing the transmission line clip so you can access the bracket bolts. The rear starter mounting bolt is covered by the rear plastic flywheel cover and is NOT accessible UNTIL everything else it removed. It is a lot of greasy, dirty work with lots and lots of parts that have to be replaced AFTER the starter is replaced. Figure no less than 4-5 hours minimum and every metric and SAE socket imaginable over 8mm in size, plus every ratchet adaptor, U joint and extension you own. One hint: You WILL need a Torx-55 male wrench to remove the final, upper starter mounting bolt, a 3/4 end wrench and a "finger wheel" because there is no clearance for a ratchet wrench and darn little for an end wrench! Personally, the GM Engineer(s) who designed the placement of the starter for a 1999 Bonneville SE with a V6, 3.8L engine should be strung up by their privates with unwaxed dental floss and left to hang. Mind you, that's only based on having just replaced one of these starters .... Good luck