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Old 04-15-2010, 03:16 AM   #1
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Replacing starter on 91 Formula

I have a 1991 Firebird Formula with 305 TBI/Auto. I need to replace the starter.

I have read that you sometimes need to drop the exhaust Y pipe that runs under the starter (for clearance, so that starter can drop out easier). Anyone change a starter on a 91 Bird with 305..did you have to drop the Y pipe?

When dropping the Y pipe, I assume we have to unbolt from the manifold drop down and disconnect from the back pipe..ie. that goes to rear of car.
The exhaust has not been off in many years. Anyone have any issues (tips to offer) with old rusty bolts/studs when trying to drop the Y pipe? (ps - I have no cutting tools)

I checked and most parts retailers (Autozone, Advance, Carquest) want around $80 for a remanufactured starter with 1yr-2yr warranty. Are these reman'd starters any good ?

There is a local shop here that rebuilds starters..I recall the price being around $100 when I got my high torque pontiac V8 starter rebuilt. I think the 305 starter might be a bit cheaper..around $75?...basically the same price as I would pay from Autozone, etc. Any trying getting their starter rebuilt? Tips?

Any other advice is appreciated. Thx
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:23 AM   #2
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

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Originally Posted by govan22 View Post
I have a 1991 Firebird Formula with 305 TBI/Auto. I need to replace the starter.

I have read that you sometimes need to drop the exhaust Y pipe that runs under the starter (for clearance, so that starter can drop out easier). Anyone change a starter on a 91 Bird with 305..did you have to drop the Y pipe?

When dropping the Y pipe, I assume we have to unbolt from the manifold drop down and disconnect from the back pipe..ie. that goes to rear of car.
The exhaust has not been off in many years. Anyone have any issues (tips to offer) with old rusty bolts/studs when trying to drop the Y pipe? (ps - I have no cutting tools)

I checked and most parts retailers (Autozone, Advance, Carquest) want around $80 for a remanufactured starter with 1yr-2yr warranty. Are these reman'd starters any good ?

There is a local shop here that rebuilds starters..I recall the price being around $100 when I got my high torque pontiac V8 starter rebuilt. I think the 305 starter might be a bit cheaper..around $75?...basically the same price as I would pay from Autozone, etc. Any trying getting their starter rebuilt? Tips?

Any other advice is appreciated. Thx
Mock my words, you will regret going to Autozone... .. get something else from a different store... you could get a Reman AcDelco from RockAuto.com for about 85 dollars.. don't know their warranty... the starter I have in my 305 is an autolite I think, their Nascar line... could be BorgWarner, but it's been such a long time since I replaced it .. I really don't remember... well anyways, they don't make'em like they used to...
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:04 AM   #3
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

You have to disconnect the pipe from the manifolds. You can let it hang.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:28 AM   #4
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

You might want to replace it with an lt1 starter. its small, higher tourqe, and weighs less.
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:28 AM   #5
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

Do you have aftermarket headers? I didnt have to drop anything other than the 2 bolts that hold it. I would def buy a name brand starter or something from napa. I dont trust any starters from autozone or advance auto, they are pieces of junk from china no doubt. I went with a proform mini starter with no complaints.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:02 PM   #6
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

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Originally Posted by KNBlazer View Post
Mock my words, you will regret going to Autozone... .. get something else from a different store... you could get a Reman AcDelco from RockAuto.com for about 85 dollars.. don't know their warranty... the starter I have in my 305 is an autolite I think, their Nascar line... could be BorgWarner, but it's been such a long time since I replaced it .. I really don't remember... well anyways, they don't make'em like they used to...
I went with a autozone one three months ago and it already went out ... so I would say they are not the best choice.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

The old starter came out without having to drop the exhaust pipe. That was a relief - removed the old starter in about 15min.

I bought a Champion remanufactured starter (see pics below). This Champion Starter was purchased at Parts Source (Canadian Tire affiliate) and came with a 3yr warranty (though price was $159..ouch). I am in Niagara Falls Can...Autozone/Advance Auto (in N Falls -usa) only had the $75-80 1/2yr warranty reman starters in stock...the better starters (ie. $114 Remy starter from Advance had to be ordered).

Hopefully, this Champion is a decent reman.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:16 PM   #8
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

Pics of Champion starter
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1114 (Medium).JPG (66.1 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1115 (Medium).JPG (65.5 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1117 (Medium).JPG (56.5 KB, 11 views)
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

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Originally Posted by Ilike2stroke383 View Post
You might want to replace it with an lt1 starter. its small, higher tourqe, and weighs less.
Do they just bolt right up? Do I just go into NAPA or wherever and ask for a LT1 starter for a 1996 Trans Am?
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

Wow, nice box!!!
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

Some advice on getting a starter, get a BRAND NEW one. Several years ago my starter went and I had a reman installed by a local performance shop. About 3 days later I parked my car in front of my house/ shut it off for a couple of minutes and went back out to start it. NOTHING, lights would work but no clicking sound at all. About one hour later I went back and it started right up. Brought it back to the shop and had another reman installed and a week later the same thing happened. Went back again and told them to install a BRAND NEW starter. The brand they put in was ADVANTAGE and to this day I have not had a HEAT SOAK problem. On something as important as your starter, I would spend the extra money and get the best to reduce any chance of problems down the road, mainly the heat soak. I also have a set of Edelbrock TES headers that are coated.

Last edited by edpontiac91; 04-27-2010 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:33 PM   #12
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Re: Replacing starter on 91 Formula

I agree that buying brand new starter is probably the best...though it seems that many parts places don't stock brand new starter units. You are always kinda rolling the dice with a reman starter...as you never know the quality/standards of the rebuild process/quality of the core etc.

I have not heard of Advantage. Are they a good aftermarket parts manufacturer? Where are they based? Is 'Advantage' possibly a brand name used by Eaton (saw Eaton name when searching on google). What other companies make a good factory type (ie. other than mini starters) brand new starter for third gens?

I have to say that the reman'd Champion starter...spins the motor great. I can't believe the difference. I hope the quality is good. Well, at least it has a 3yr warranty...which seems to be longer than most other reman'd starters.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:33 PM
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