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2005 commonrail cummins starter install and tips (long read)

Old 08-11-2013, 11:14 PM
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2005 commonrail cummins starter install and tips (long read)

Haven't really posted anything useful lately, So grab a beverage and some chips, this might be good reading for you..

so for those of you who work alone, and are contemplating doing a starter on your automatic common rail Cummins... well... its not easy, and its not fun, but after doing it twice already I figured I would help out those of you that are contemplating doing this..

The only tools you will need are a 1/2 inch socket and ratchet, A can of PB Blaster, a small cheater pipe, a 1/2 inch wrench (battery terminals), Your best friend on this whole ordeal will be a 10MM ratcheting 12 point wrench (TRUST ME ON THIS), a regular one will really set you back a whole lot of time.. Anyways you will also need a 15mm socket deep, a small ratchet strap (yes it will make things easier) and instead of a creeper, I used saddle pads to lay on while doing this on the gravel.

removal is pretty straightforward, as it is with any starter, First I sprayed PB Blaster on the three bolts and let it soak for about 10 minutes.. Secondly, undo the battery negative terminals and set them aside. Next proceed downward to the starter. I use saddle pads laid down to give me more room to work than a creeper(and they are quite comfortable actually) Use the 10mm ratcheting wrench to loosen them. THEY WILL BE TIGHT the first go round, so a small cheater pipe and some patience will be your friend. You will run into those pesky oil cooler lines, and if you have a 4wd, the control arms, and differential will seem to be in the way.. You will probably ask yourself what the heck you got into, But loosening the bolts is not the hard part trust me...

once you are able to get the bolts loose, just proceed to knock down the starter. it has its angle to remove and it goes with the bigger belly side up, please note that, and at a slight angle. Once you can get it off, you can spin it slightly and use the 15mm socket to undo the connection to the battery, this should be fairly easy. Once that is done, you can undo the yellow and blue wire that I would guess goes to the starter relay or solenoid relay on the control box. use the wrench end of the 10mm to press in the little tab, and it should pop out quite easily. Place the starter out of the way on the axle, or back in the hole (a good idea would be to check the flywheel teeth for damage, and the starter gear as well)

now you are ready to remove the starter. The EASIEST WAY to do this is right next to the oil pan between the front drive shaft. Here at this point is where you take your small ratchet strap. The first oil cooler line with the rubber connection, (please observe the position it is in, and try to keep it with the same bends) you can bend it in almost a Z shape on the rubber side to give you some more room to remove the starter. The second oil cooler line, I hooked a small ratchet strap to it on one end, the other end to a step on the truck (I have steps) and just cranked it out of the way with just enough tension to get it out of your way. The window you have just created will be your easiest way to get the starter out of that mess that is down there. Now comes the fun part of getting this thing out. once it comes out of where you have it (the original hole or near the front axle) you will have to twist it, and wiggle it at some funky angles to clear the connection, and the stud where the battery cable hooks to. It takes some time and patience and honestly a little cussing, but once you find its trick, it will come out quite easily.

now if you rebuilt your starter or were in a bad jam and had to get a new one to get your truck on the road, get your new starter, and the install is just the inverse of it all. Wiggle it in through the window that you created to remove it, it will take some persuasion and twisting but you can get it in there. Once it is in there, connect the sensor, and the battery cable back up to the battery with the 15mm socket.

Once the connections are hooked up, you have the hardest parts out of the way. Time to lift up the starter and line it up in the holes that it goes into. Again, it goes bigger side up, and you will have two bolts that are super easy to do, but the top one is a little bit tough, unless you got long arms, and can bend easily. Start one bolt by hand while holding the starter in position. Get the bolt in there just enough to hold it. Do the same with the second and third bolts, the upper one being the toughest, id save that one till the end.

As with any starter, tighten them gradually and evenly, if you do not do that, you will have a gap that could cause damage to the flywheel, and or the starter gear teeth. Once they are all tightened to your satisfaction (or as tight as you can get them),DONT FORGET to undo your ratchet strap and bend your rubber lined oil cooler line back to the way that it was.... go hook up your batteries and you are good to go.. check all connections one last time, and fire up your ride..

You are now done...

However, IF YOU NEED SOME BOLTS as in my case, I damaged my starter by running only two bolts on it, The mounting ears cracked and the starter fell off, hence why I had to redo it the second time, (the first time to test it) .

the bolts that work flawlessly, and I have some of are below..

Dorman (from o reily auto parts)
part number 442250BP
Class 8.8 Hex Head screws Coarse
M10-1.50x35mm is the measurement

They will take a 17mm six point deep socket, and seem to hold really well, and wont slip like the factory 12 point bolts. Expect to pay about 2.50 for the set of three...

Well, hope this was useful, and thanks for reading this..

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Old 05-26-2015, 04:53 PM
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thanks for the write up. hopefully i never have to do it. haha
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:22 AM
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Nice info, thanks. I just R&R'd my starter yesterday on my 2004 2WD and have a little extra info:
1. I couldn't see the top bolt from above (or below) so I removed it from under the truck using a 12-point socket, long extension, and a wobble-extension to give the exact length needed to rotate the ratchet on the front end of the starter. The first ratchet I used (a Craftsman) had ratchet teeth that were too large to allow any ratcheting in the small space. I switched to a Kirkland (Costco) ratchet which worked.
2. On my 2wd truck, the tranny lines didn't have to be pulled out of the way. The starter slid out between the tranny lines and the oil pan without any trouble.
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