Wednesday , December 13 2017
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S15 Starter motor

DIY: Nissan 200SX S15 Silvia Starter Motor Replacement

Replaced the battery? Cleaned the battery terminals? Checked the grounding? Made sure it wasn’t the alarm or immobiliser?

If your car still isn’t turning over still then the starter motor is most likely to blame.

I recently went through this process of elimination with my Nissan 200SX S15 Silvia and it all came down to a dead starter motor. Technically, it didn’t look like there was much to swapping it out but since there wasn’t much detailed information out there it made it just that bit longer and harder (ahem).

So to help you guys out, here’s a guide on how to change it on JDM 200SX S15 Silvia, I’m pretty sure it’s similar for most other Nissans within the family as well.

Tools:

  • 14mm socket/spanner
  • Jack Stands
  • Jack
  • Pliers (optional, to assist removing cables)

Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Low
Profanity level: High

Note:  Buy the correct replacement starter motor. S13 and S14 starter motors (part #23300 65F01) will bolt up and work in a S15 but from my experience (and wasted efforts) it will not physically fit through the gap between the bellhousing and the steering shaft. There is about a 1cm difference in diameter which will make all the difference when trying to squeeze it through. JDM/ADM/5spd/6spd/Auto S15 starter motors are all the same so get an S15 one to preserve your sanity (part #23300 80F00).

S13 S14 S15 Starter motor

Step 1.
Disconnect your negative battery terminal.

Step 2.
Jack the front of your car and put it on jack stands.

Step 3.
Unbolt the bracket holding up the cable.
Starter-motor---bolt

Step 4.
There will be two cables attached to the end of the starter motor, remove the nut on the one that goes to the battery terminal (it has a rubber boot on it) and detach the cable, repeat for the other one which is the ground.
S15 Starter motor plug
Step 5.
There are 2 x 14mm bolts that hold the starter motor in place to the bellhousing. They are located on the bellhousing itself behind the starter motor instead funnily enough (hopefully this saves you time because I was scratching my head wondering how I take the bolts out from the front). The top bolt is in a tight spot to get to, but with a small ratchet it is possible.

S15 Starter motor bolts
Step 6.
Time for the most time consuming part which is wiggling the starter motor out between the steering shaft and bellhousing. It will take some patience and bumping around but ideally you want it in the position below where you can just angle it on the edges and it will slide out. Take care not to damage any hard lines or hoses.

S15 Starter motor
Step 7.
Before you attempt to put the replacement in, look at the dead starter’s gear position and try and adjust the gear of the replacement one to be the same. Not the end of the world if it’s not identical as you can adjust it later, just nice to get it all in one go.

Step 8.
Slide the replacement starter motor up arse first and angled just the way it was taken out and proceed to line it up back into position to bolt it back together.

Step 9.
If you’re having trouble getting it to sit flush, chances are the starter gear and the flywheel gear are not lined up properly. Rotate the starter gear slightly clockwise and try fitting again, trial and error will get you there.

Step 10.
Tighten the bolts up again and attach the two cables to the top of the starter motor again. Remember to attach the correct cable to the right plug!

Step 11.
Reattach the cable holder which was removed in #4 and carefully reattach battery terminal.

Step 12.
Start her up and smile as she comes back to life.

So there you have it, hopefully it didn’t you too much grief and you saved a lot more time than I did figuring it all out! Save that money that would have went to a mechanic for more useful mods!

Did this guide help you out? Did we miss anything? Would love to hear your feedback.

About Flop

Flop

Open minded car enthusiast who appreciates most things on four wheels although JDM is where his heart lies. Wannabe racecar driver but having trouble fitting into his bucket seat since he’s also a dedicated gym goer.

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14 comments

  1. Fantastic, thanks. Really good to know the S14 starter is different; I’ve got one of those sitting around that I was going to use – now I’ll look for an S15 item instead.

  2. Hi
    For starters thank you SO much for providing this tutorial, helped me greatly.
    Just one thing that happened to me that I think you need to amend in step 4.
    If you look at the photo the lower nut is obscured by the plug , and I can clearly see the arrow is pointing to the top nut, but on my car that top nut had a rubber boot over it so I undid the lower nut ( wrong one ) because it was the only one I could see, So might be worthwhile pointing out that there might be a rubber boot that you need to remove to give access to the nut. Failure to undo this when the starter motor is attached results in an absolute b1tch of a time getting it off later.

    I don’t know if I am just weak , or if my starter motor was bolted on my the incredible hulk. The bolts were INCREDIBLY hard to crack , I had to get a long spanner and leverage it with a bit of wood to get the bolts off , was mental !

    I have still not wiggled it out of the car yet, gave up in frustration , will continue tomorrow.

    Thanks again for the great write up!

    • Flop

      Good pick up about the rubber boot, useful for others so I’ve added that in now 🙂

      I was pretty lucky with my bolts, they came off with relative ease.
      My biggest grief was not realising I had the wrong model replacement starter motor and attempting to wiggle it up… don’t think I’ve ever been on my back for so long.
      Let’s hope you have the right model for your SR20!

      Good luck mate and thanks for your feedback. Feel free to comment again if you have any other questions.

  3. I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FINALLY!!!

    Got the bugger out ! Once you jiggle it around and get the flange pointing upwards ( the fattest bit ) and I must note that you really have to give it a good pull to get it past, it is finally free!

    Now I just need to work out who is going to rip me off the least with reconditioning it!

    Thanks for your instruction , will get back to you once it’s back in.

    • Flop

      Wow that took you a while haha 😀
      Yup it was hard to explain and to show in the picture but that’s exactly what I meant about maneuvering flange.
      You after a S13/S14 or an S15 starter motor?

  4. Yeah , took me a while but winter is not my season at all , so lucky it got done at ALL.
    Having a spare car definitely helps!

    I ended up getting it Reconditioned by Delta Auto Electrics in Redcliffe , top bunch they looked after me and the starter motor came out great. Starts every time !
    Putting it back in was a bit of a pain but SO much easier now that I knew the approach to take and the orientation of it.

    Thanks once again, if you are ever in WA I owe you a beer!!

  5. Flop

    Awesome, glad you got it all sorted mate and that we could help you out with the guide… that’s what we’re here for after all 🙂

  6. makes it a lot easier if you pull undo the 2 bolts on steering column, lever it up so it comes off the rack, make sure you mark it so it goes back in the same spot, makes it so much easier getting the starter out and back in

    • Flop

      I started doing that actually then felt a bit iffy about it so left it as is. If I ever do it next time though I’ll definitely do this though, will save me cursing for extended periods of time lol! Thanks for the tip!

  7. I have an S15 and I see that you mentioned the part number for the specific starter for the S15’s. However, I type that into google and I don’t find a legit actual part number. I actually found a link off ebay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nissan-200SX-SR20DET-180SX-S13-Alternator-/331583648746) but it says that it’s an S13 starter and in the description, it has the part # that you provided for the S15’s.

    The only one that I found that looks trustworthy are these:

    1. http://www.enjukuracing.com/products/isis-performance-oe-replacement-starter-nissan-sr20det-s13-s14-s15.html

    2. https://www.amazon.com/Mishimoto-MMSTART-SR20-New-Replacement-Starter/dp/B00368SDFM

    Which one would you suggest I should buy?

    • Flop

      That’s a tough one but it appears the first one (eBay) is the right one for a S15 as the part number matches. Good luck!

      • But that one is used, and I don’t wanna buy a used one 🙁 I may go with the enjuku one as they say it’s an OEM part.

        You mentioned that all models fit, they’re just harder to squeeze in right ?

      • Flop

        Correct all models fit, it’s gonna be a struggle with the other model but give it a go and let us know! 🙂

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