DIY Toyota MZFE V6 Engine Starter Motor Replacement


This Do It Yourself (DIY) article provides the procedure involved in replacing a Starter Motor on any Toyota and Lexus V6 engine designated as the 1MZFE. This would include the Camry, Solara, Avalon, ES300, RAV4, RX300 and HighLander.

Typical failures can be detected with intermittent 'clicking' noises when attempting to start the engine with perhaps an eventual turnover of the engine. If the condition of the battery is good, and all connections to the battery are corrosion free, it would be a fair assumption that the Starter Motor is the source of the problem and will get progressively worse. Attempts to rebuild the starter, in my opinion, is a waste of time. The cost of a re-built or re-manufactured starter with a warranty out weights the time involved in a DIY rebuilding effort with a questionable outcome.

No special tools are required to perform this replacement. A metric socket wrench or box wrench set with pliers is all that is needed. The steps are straightforward and should not take over 1.5 hours to complete at a moderate pace.

There are only two mounting bolts that secure the Starter Motor to the Transmission Housing; one electrical plug; and one positive wire lead.

Remove the Battery

  • Remove the battery's Hold Down Bracket. In addition, the Bracket has a slide fit plastic box that should be removed by pushing a tab inward will pulling up on the box.
  • Disconnect and Positive then Negative Battery Terminals.
  • Remove the Battery's plastic base plate.

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Remove the Air Filter Box

  • Start by removing the Air Filter Box Lid. The Filter Hose Clamp must be loosened, an electrical fitting disconnected, two vacuum hoses detached and two Box Cover Hold Down Clips pressed downward to detach from the lower box. Slowly wiggle the Air Tube out of the rubber hose. Flip the cover over and disconnect the white plastic wire harness fastener from the box with a pair of pliers.
  • Remove the Air Filter
  • Remove the lower portion of the Filter Box by unbolting the three hold down bolts.

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Unbolt the Accelerator Control Box Frame

  • Unbolting the Accelerator Control Box Frame will allow room to remove the Starter Motor.
  • After unbolting, remove the plastic wire harness fastener from the frame.

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Disconnect the two wires leading to the Positive Battery Terminal

  • Disconnecting the two wires leading to the Positive Battery Terminal will allow the removal of the Starter Motor with the Positive Wire attached. This is preferred rather than removing the wire from the Starter where working space is limited.

Remove the Electrical Connector on the Starter Motor

  • Pinch and pull off the electrical connector on the Starter Motor.

Unbolt and remove the Starter Motor

  • Remove the two bolts that secures the Starter Motor to the Transmission Housing.
  • After removing the rear/right bolt, unbolt the Cable Bracket secured to the transmission. This will allow more wiggle room in removing the Starter Motor.
  • Pull and angle out the Starter Motor with the Positive Wire attached. Gently push away any cable, wire or bracket obstructions away while pulling the Starter Motor out.

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Transfer the Positive Wire Lead from the Old Starter to the New Starter

I prefer using the 12mm nut from the old starter in lieu of the 13mm nut on the re-manufactured starter.

Reverse the above procedure to install the new Starter Motor

  • Installation of the new starter can be performed by reversing the removal steps as previously outlined.

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