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G2 Acura Legend Starter Replacement DIY w Pics

3382 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  jackderek281
Yes! You can Remove the Starter via the Alternator.

I’m a cheapskate and persistent owner of a 1993 Acura Legend 5 speed. As many of you know the factory service manual calls for removing the Gen2 Legend driver’s side CV halfshaft/driveshaft and unbolting the exhaust Y-pipe — separating suspension ball joint, tie-rod, loosening 250-300 ft-lb 36mm axle nut, use of a slide hammer, rusted/broken exhaust bolts, exhaust leaks, etc. Mechanic’s book time is ~4hrs ($400-700 labor). And of course the mechanic will want to use their starter source with markup ($200-750 parts).

I believe this Remove the Starter via the Alternator Approach will also work on Gen1 Acura RL (1996-2004 = KA9) cars. Very similar longitudinal 3.5L V6 layout. Can anyone confirm?

Gen2 Acura Legend Starter Removal with Pics DIY

Remove the battery
Remove the battery tray (5 bolts)
Remove the alternator tensioner (1 bolt)

Remove Alternator Lower Bolt:
This is the first of 3 Difficult Bolts. You can use a pry bar to lever the alternator to release the tension on the alternator belt. If using a pry bar be very careful to not damage any wiring. Loosen the hidden lower alternator pivot bolt using the right combination of medium length socket, extension, and ratchet as shown. Seriously. A long socket is too long, a regular short socket is too short, intermediate length 3/8” black impact socket is just right! This pic was taken upon reassembly, so the belt and alternator bracket are already out of the way. The alternator belt lower run hides and somewhat blocks the lower alternator bolt. Force your socket around the belt. Or pry/force the alternator to release tension on the alternator belt before loosening this lower bolt. Yes, there is a hidden horizontal access hole thru that engine mount!

Picture taken upon reassembly. On disassembly, the lower alternator bolt is hidden by the alternator belt.

Tilt Alternator To Take Alternator Belt off the Alternator Pulley

Remove Alternator Bracket:

14mm front alternator bracket bolt is easy.
3x 12mm alternator bracket bolts are angled 60 deg upward into the cylinder head. Basically hidden if working from above, so feel for them. They are arranged in a triangle. One of them is the 2nd Difficult Bolt. I used a small 1/4” ratchet and 12mm socket for the easy 12mm bolts and a 1/4” drive 12mm swivel socket (swivel and 12mm socket all in one) for the difficult bolt.

Remove Alternator:
Unbolt one ring connector (12mm?) from back of alternator.
Pullout green multi-connector plug from back of alternator.
Unbolt one wiring bracket (10mm nut).

Remove Negative Battery Cable to Engine Ground 14mm bolt

Remove Battery Cable Bracket:

Take a pic of the brackets before disassembly To make reassembly much easier. I used 10mm ignition wrench (3.5” long) and or small 10mm box end wrench.

Disconnect Starter Signal Wire Spade

Disconnect Positive Battery Cable from Starter Solenoid

Remove Lower Starter Bolt:

My pic was taken during reassembly, but it helps to show the lower starter mounting bolt hole (super clean in pic). Easy access. 14mm 54 ft-lbs. Note the driveshaft hasn’t been disconnected. Can you pull the driver’s side driveshaft inner joint out enough without separating ball joints, loosening the 300 ft-lb axle nut, slide hammering the knuckle? I don’t think so. Tell us if you’ve done it.

Remove Upper or Rear Starter Mounting Bolt:
This is the 3rd Difficult Bolt. I’ve seen some people remove the fuel filter, fuel filter bracket and work from above. My fuel filter to gas line connection is super frozen, so I removed the upper rear starter bolt from underneath. Car is on a properly setup jack stand. Floor jack also in place as a backup. You can see the upper rear starter mounting bolt from underneath looking up about 45 deg angle along the exhaust Y-pipe. It’s inboard from the exhaust pipe and in the center of the picture below. My car has a clutch slave cylinder on the right side in the photo.

The 14mm upper rear starter bolt is cadmium plated (gold color). It threads forward thru the transmission housing into the starter and is slightly longer than the lower starter mounting bolt which threads rearward towards the back of the car. Both are 14mm about 5” long, 54 ft-lbs.

I used a 12pt 14mm socket, 3/8” swivel, long extension.

I think I used a 1/2” breaker bar to remove it, which really needs a 12pt socket to get the breaker bar where you need it to be. Or better yet, use a safer 6pt 14mm socket and 1/2” ratchet. Raising the car higher also means more room to swing the breaker bar or ratchet. There’s an art to using a swivel with a long extension and not mangling a 54 ft-lb torqued bolt. Stay calm and make sure the socket stays square on the bolt head. If the socket starts to tilt, stop and reset it square. You can do it!


Not shown: 1/4" drive 12mm swivel socket (swivel and socket all in one).

Birth of the Gen2 Legend Starter from the Alternator Hole!


Install a New, not Rebuilt or Remanufactured Starter:
The starter being removed was given to me by Don at Hilltop Auto, Daly City supposedly from a low mileage JDM engine, cleaned, rebuilt and bench tested by me, installed 2013. It quickly developed a one loud click, no start problem that became worse over time, esp when the battery voltage dropped below 12.5 volts, like one out of 5-12 attempts the starter would spin and start the car. I installed a new ZM 994 (?) solenoid with cap bolts so I could swap the starter solenoid using only a 10mm ignition wrench and not remove the starter, which I did a second time in 2018. Upon necropsy, I saw grease on the bad starter motor brushes which I believe came from a sealed cartridge bearing side seal leak. Grease on the brushes causes a high current draw, which may have also damaged the two starter solenoids, both ZM 994 made in Brazil.

I installed a Rock Auto Power Select 100% New Starter 17710N bought in 2018. Since it’s hard to get to and remanufactured starters often fail early, pay for the 100% new starter. All new parts, not remanufactured! Now it seems to be available as Rock Auto Wai Global 100% New Starter 17710N $149 (June 2021). More Information for WAI GLOBAL 17710N AutoZone sells a Duralast Gold 100% New Starter 17710N $207 plus $40 core charge (June 2021). Likely all from the same manufacturer, same part number, all described as 100% New starters.

Starter Installation:
I used Permatex Copper Anti-seize on the starter mounting bolts, negative battery cable to engine ground and most of the bolts during reassembly. The copper version supposedly conducts electricity better. The positive cable to solenoid carries high current, so make sure it’s tight. I crimped the signal wire spade closed to make sure it‘s connection is tight. I removed a very long 10mm starter assembly bolt and reinstalled it to hold the factory wiring bracket.

Alternator Install:
The Helm Factory Service Manual says to tension the alternator bolt so that there is 10mm deflection when 10kg or 22 lbs are applied to a used (not new) alternator belt midway between the crank pulley and alternator pulley. I think the goal was 6-7mm deflection for a new alternator belt. The 14mm lower alternator bolt and 14mm alternator bracket front bolt are supposed to be torqued to 32 ft-lbs.

I started my Legend maybe 15-20 times and every time it started on the first try. I hope this DIY helps you. Long live the Legend!

1993 Acura Legend 5 speed, 212k odo

Other DIY’s under old pchu username:
EGR Valve and Pipe Cleaning to pass CA Smog EGR function fail
Heater Blower Motor Brush Replacement (2021 you can source the motor cheaply)

Future DIY:
What I do to pass CA dynometer rolling road smog at 211k miles.
40psi in tires, clean PCV (it should rattle), check PCV to valve cover grommet, newish spark plugs, newish Nippon Denso (ND) oxygen sensors. Optional 10% lacquer thinner (YouTube Scotty Kilmer) to clean injectors, catalytic converters, drive and use it all up immediately! Do not let it sit in tank or fuel lines! Refill from empty with new gas. Same day fresh oil change. Drive car 20-25 miles immediately before smog test. Car emissions are super clean (2021)
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