Focus Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

64 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I detail my symptom troubleshooting at, but here I'll add a few notes about the (hideous) replacement.

The manual makes it sound easy:
1) Remove the air cleaner outlet tube.
2) Remove the starter motor bolts.
3) Raise and support the vehicle.
4) Disconnect the starter motor electrical connector.
5) Detach the starter motor.
6) Remove the starter motor.

My comments:

1) Pull out the whole air cleaner box as well. After disconnecting a tube that enters the box from the engine side and also a big electrical connector, pull up hard on the whole box: 4 claw feet will pull up out of rubber sockets.

2) These bolts (13mm) are top-side, below the EGR. They look like they are tranny bell housing-to-engine bolts, but they just connect the starter. The one toward the front of the car also pins down the battery ground cable. The second one is a couple inches from that, back toward the fire wall.

4) Under the car at this point. The connector nuts are on the starter solenoid, which is part of the starter motor assembly, but visually is a cylinder mounted on top of the starter motor, tucked between the starter motor, the engine block, and the intake manifold. The nuts face the passenger side of the car. They are above the intake manifold-to-engine bracket (a flat plate). There are actually three nuts there, but only two of them fasten the connector. You want the two that are farther away from the starter motor itself. They are 13mm and 10mm. You can see the 13mm nut. The 10mm nut is recessed in a hole behind the 13mm nut. The nut you don't remove is toward you -- you can feel it and easily enough remove it (but don't do that, this is just for description). A little telescoping mirror would help a lot here, as well as pictures of the starter from the Internet -- just so you know what you're looking for. Once the two nuts are removed, you can pull the connector off the studs toward the passenger side.

5) Here you are removing a third starter motor mounting bolt from the bottom of the car. It goes through a bolt-hole ear just like the two removed top-side, but this bolt runs into the tranny, in the opposite direction of the top-side bolts.

6) I think that it is impossible or nearly impossible to remove the starter from this '02 Focus without removing the intake manifold bracket. It is a flat rectangular plate between you and the starter. An oxygen sensor connector simply pulls down out of the plate (keeps the connector and wire from dangling). Two nuts came off for me easily. The two bolts running into aluminum intake manifold are a different story, however. I broke the first one off (head shear). The second came out successfully after being heated with an acetylene torch. (The steel of the bolts chemically "welds" to the AL over time to produce this problem.)

Even with the plate out of the way, a good deal of finesse and jiggling (several have mentioned Tetris in connection with the maneuvers) are required to get the starter out.

The installation is equally hideous. I actually found it to be worse. For me it was definitely a two-man job at several points, one set of hands above and the other below.

These comments will make a bit more sense if you are starting with the manual's diagrams (though they are not great) or with one of the other Internet instruction sources or videos. Some of those will also vary the approach. For instance, removing the third bolt, creating slack in the harness hose, pulling the starter out and down with the extra slack (and perhaps flipping it in the process), and then removing the solenoid connector nuts.

Ford may have heard the outcry about this job (the word "evil" is used by some). Later years have the starter in more accessible locations.

15,429 Posts

Nah, they don't care about how easy it is to do maintenance any longer, rather, they have gone the other way, why you pull intakes to change spark plugs now and the like. The era of the $800 dollar sensor change is upon us. Making it harder gets them more throughput in their dealerships when the average guy gives up in frustration. They don't care about fast work in their own shops either, the $100/hr. rate just adds up to more profits. The mechs are so strapped now they commonly break sensors and other close by parts in their haste to get the job done because nothing comes off easy any more. Common to get one thing fixed at dealer now but another pops up when they broke it. Of course they generally say nothing about that until you complain.

The install of the average part is tied in every way to how easy it is to do on the assembly line, final assembly is done now 85% or more with a gloved hand as the primary tool there, with a click or a snap on of parts. Bigger assemblies are pre-bolted on when it is easier because a whole car not around them yet. Look at the engines and it is clear they are easy to work on if out in the open, put them in that hole though and that all changes. CAD 3D design that allows for more constriction of space lead to a lot of that.

19 Posts
Slightly older thread, but I found it useful recently. I did have trouble visualizing the cable connections and couldn't see them using a mirror -- I had to use an endoscope. 2002 2.0 liter SPI with manual transmission here.

Here is a good picture of the end of the starter and solenoid clearly showing the terminals:

The small silver-colored terminal at the 4 o'clock position is the one that has the 10mm nut. The top one is where the positive cable connects to and has a 13mm nut.

And here is what the cables look like with the starter removed and viewed from underneath:

The connector on the left and bottom is for the negative and connects to the 10mm nut terminal.
(hard to get a clear picture of this)
1 - 4 of 4 Posts