How to Replace the Starter on a 1996 Ford Windstar

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The starter motor on the 1996 Ford Windstar is a fairly elementary piece of machinery. The starter consists of an internal electric motor, which engages a gear in the nose cone of the starter then ejects it outward to turn the Windstar’s flywheel. This, in turn, starts the Windstar. If either part fails, the starter can no longer properly perform its job. When this happens, you need to replace it immediately. Anyone with basic auto repair skills and some good upper body strength can perform this job in about an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Battery wrench
  • Socket set
  • Open the hood and remove the negative battery cable from the battery using a battery wrench. Position the cable end so that it cannot contact the battery terminal accidentally.

  • Slide under the Windstar with the socket set and locate the starter. It’s best to get a visual reference from the replacement starter so you know what you’re looking for underneath the Windstar. The starter is on the passenger side of the engine, where the engine and transmission join.

  • Remove the wiring harness and ground strap from the back of the starter, using the socket set.

  • Hold the weight of the starter with one hand while you remove the starter mounting bolts with the other, using the socket set to remove the bolts.

  • Pull the starter out and compare it to the replacement starter. Check them side by side to make sure they are physically identical before installing the replacement unit.

  • Hold the replacement starter in position with one hand while you thread the starter mounting bolts through the starter flange and into the engine with the other. Tighten the bolts down with the socket set. Never let the starter hang on the unsecured bolts.

  • Reconnect the negative battery cable in reverse of removal. Start the Windstar to verify the new starter functions properly.

References

  • "Ford Windstar & Freestar 1995 Through 2007: Haynes Manual;" Ken Freund; 2007
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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