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OK guys, somewhere out there is someone who has pulled a starter from a GM 3800. My wifes '96 Bonneville screeches just before the starter engages. So I pull the inspection plate off the flywheel and have her start it while I watch. I can see sparks off the pinion as it engages the flywheel. I suspect the bendix drive is a little sluggish and the pinion is spinning up before it is totaly engaged. So I figure I'll pull the starter, inspect, clean & lube it. Looks easy. Manual says remove 1. battery cable, 2. splash shield, 3. flywheel inspection cover, 4. wires, 5 starter. Yea right :( . put it back together and it is still screeching. Anyone know what I am talking about? Has anybody removed this little PITA and can five me any advise? If I don't fix this soon the pinion will probably eat itself up and I will have to tuck my tail between my legs and have it done. HEEELP!

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Here is the 'offical' GM version of the repair...

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Refer to


Before servicing any electrical component, the ignition key must be in the OFF or LOCK position and all electrical loads must be OFF, unless instructed otherwise in these procedures. If a tool or equipment could easily come in contact with a live exposed electrical terminal, also disconnect the negative battery cable. Failure to follow these precautions may cause personal injury and/or damage to the vehicle or its components.

in General Information.

Raise the vehicle with a suitable safety stand.

Remove the splash shield.

Remove the flywheel inspection cover bolts.

Remove the cover.

Disconnect the starter motor wiring.

Remove the starter motor mounting bolts.

Remove the starter motor.

Installation Procedure


Before installing the starter motor to the engine, secure the electrical terminals by tightening the nuts next to the cap on the solenoid battery terminal and on the SD-255 S terminal. If these terminals are not tight in the solenoid cap, the cap may be damaged during installation of the electrical connections and cause the starter to fail later.

Install the starter motor.

Install the starter motor mounting bolts. Tighten

Tighten the bolts to 43 N·m (32 lb ft).


Use the correct fastener in the correct location. Replacement fasteners must be the correct part number for that application. Fasteners requiring replacement or fasteners requiring the use of thread locking compound or sealant are identified in the service procedure. Do not use paints, lubricants, or corrosion inhibitors on fasteners or fastener joint surfaces unless specified. These coatings affect fastener torque and joint clamping force and may damage the fastener. Use the correct tightening sequence and specifications when installing fasteners in order to avoid damage to parts and systems.

Install the flywheel inspection cover.

Install the cover bolts. Tighten

Tighten the bolts to 7 N·m (22 lb in).

Connect the starter motor BAT terminal wire. Tighten

Tighten the BAT terminal nut to 16 N·m (12 lb ft).

Connect the starter motor S terminal wire. Tighten

Tighten the S terminal nut to 2.5 N·m (22 lb in).

Lower the vehicle.

Connect the negative battery cable. Tighten

Tighten the cable bolt to 15 N·m (11 lb ft).

They are not always correct...I learned that on a engine mount replacement not to long ago...

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I also wanted to say....IMHO....the 3800 is a great engine. Cheap...easy to work on etc. You can actually see the ground below....

Last one I had was in a '92 Bonneville SE. Sold it at 224,000 with only a couple of water pump swaps and a engine mount issue. Some piston slap issues at start up...but most GM engine do some of that.

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Thanks Logan, but as usual they make no mention of this plastic shield. It looks like it is part of the flywheel inspection cover. It seems as if that cover is in two pieces. the part that covers the flywheel and another part that wraps under and around the back edge of the starter. That piece blocks the mounting bolts. I can bend the rear portion out of the way to get at the rear mounting bolt but the front portion will not move. I can wiggle this "U" shaped piece of black plastic but cannot remove it. It is sitting right over the fram so visibility is limited. It almost seems as though it is wedged in somehow. It seems as though the only way it is comming out is to destroy it and rip it out if I can get ahold of it with some channel locks but I hate to do that as I am sure it is in there for a reason.

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The problem is, I can't get the darn starter out because of this little plastic shield that is blocking the mounting bolts :angry: Starter was fine for years, just now making noise so I don't think it is shims. It seems like it may be a bit slow to engage and spins up before engaged. If I can get it out I can probably fix it.

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Just got back from the dealer where I was able to talk to a mechanic. He told me that there is a hidden 10mm bolt holding the second piece of the shield in place (service manual makes no mention or diagram of this <_ so when the wife gets home it back under there and try again. hoepfully i can figure out what is causing this screeching fix before have to replace starter. thanks all for help.>

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More than likely you will need to replace the starter.I did this job last winter on my wifes minivan also a 3800. I remeber struggling with that plastic shield and was ready to break it off until i noticed a small 10 mm bolt. Hard to see you must look carefully but its there, once thats off the rest of the job is not so bad.

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Thanks for the reply. Wish I had talked to you yesterday, but like I said, I knew someone on this board had done this before. She got home late so it's a Saturday job now. On the Bonneville the bolt is hidden by the frame. I will have to remove it by Brail. I'm hoping to save it but if I have to replace it I should be pretty good at removing it by then.

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