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Tech Article

Starter Removal: Tragicomical Stories of Desperation

Last Updated: 03/29/2016
Parts Group: Starter
The top starter bolt on a Volvo 240 with the B230 engine can be very, very difficult to remove, especially if the bolt is very tight, and if traditional bolt-loosening techniques don't solve the problem. But regardless, space is limited, the angle is awkward, and it's a miserable task. My assistant and I struggled with the problem for hours until we finally had a breakthrough.

While I was trying to learn about helpful tips on the Web, I came across various stories of personal desperation on the BrickBoard and TurboBricks forums as to this very problem. I'll keep them gently anonymous, except for person H (Art Benstein near Baltimore). I think he deserves a standing ovation. Person C (T. Richard) also gets an honorable mention.
  • Person A messed with it for 4 hours, and finally used a Dremel tool and cut a hole in the firewall, to get easier access.
  • Person B even tried an impact wrench, and that didn't help. He was feeling very tempted to also cut a hole in the firewall.
  • Person C had success after he used a compressor-driven air gun attached to extensions with a six-point hardened socket. His alternate approach was to use a 1/2" breaker bar with a 12" to 24" long pipe extension for leverage, also attached to the extensions with a six-point hardened socket. His final suggestion was to take the car to a local shop, and pay them to loosen the bolt, and then retighten it just slightly.
  • Person D messed with it using a socket, multiple extensions and a 24" breaker bar, with no success. Finally, for him, an impact wrench eventually got the bolt loose.
  • Person E offered the disconcerting-to-me advice of cutting off the bolt head with a Dremel tool.
  • Person F commisserated with the others, and mentioned that it had taken him several tries.
  • Person G tried, and failed, and finally took the car to the dealer to have the work done.
  • Person H had also used the classic approach of a socket, universal joint, multiple long extensions and a breaker bar, with much success. However, in one extreme case, that didn't do it, so he cleared some items on the firewall, above the bolt, out of harm's way, and then put a slight-angle box end wrench (Sears Craftsman, number 43928) on the bolt head, and whacked it with a 3-pound hammer. This worked.
  • Person I posted hearsay about someone else who had drilled a hole into the floor-board, then used a key-hole saw to be able to reach the bolt head with a socket, an extension and an impact wrench -- from inside the car. Afterwards, he screwed some sheet metal over the hole, to cover it up again.
  • Person J had already removed the engine out of the car and he cut the heads off the bolts.
In contrast to many of the above, my tech did well: Starter Removal. Part of what helped us was this: Can a six-point socket apply more torque?.
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