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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Has anyone atempted to change the flexplate in the auto trannys? For the last 7-9 years mine has had problems with the starter. I touched the flexplate with my fingers and they seem to be scratched up. The starter is normaly able to start the car but 1 out of 15 times the starter misses and makes a whirling sound.

I bought a rebuilt starter a couple times. The first one worked better then the one that came with the car but the second one would not turn the flexplate at all so I went back to the old one. The newer rebuilt starters seem to have differently groved teeth.
 

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A 1989 Camry
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I have experienced the same problem on my 1989 I-4.

According to my local electrical rebuilder, Toyota had a problem with starter engagement. My flex plate has a couple of areas where the teeth are worn down almost 50 %. The rebuilder says that Toyota came out with a redesigned gear for better engagement, and since the car was 15 years old at the time, the gear is used in the aftermarket on the denso starters for these cars. I'm not sure why your rebuilt starter would not have worked at least as well as the one you took out, but not every rebuilder may be using the improved gear.

I asked a service advisor at my local dealership if it was possible to move the engine and trans assembly far enough apart to replace the flex plate from below without removing either major assembly, and he said that one of them would have to come out to do it. So, I'll wait until I remove the engine and do it then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya I was thinking the same thing, that there might be enough room to unbolt it with out taking out the tranny. I guess I'll just wait as well for one of the two to be in need of replacement.
 

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Where's my boomstick?
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nope, definatly not enough room to remove the plate with the transmission in place. its gonna have to come out. there is an access plate on the bottom side of the engine where the tranny meets, couple of bolts and you can fully inspect it. if the teeth dont look worn down, try replacing the starter or the gear on the starter and see if that helps.
 

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The starter with gear that does not have a flange and have slightly "fatter" teeth should work better ( I pulled one from 90 celica w/3SFE)
 

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OK, year 2019 here. Google for 2007 rav4 flexplate removal on youtube and the guy is doing it without removing the tranny. Seems pretty "easy" comparing to removing the engine.
 

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It can be done. first, buy a really long 14mm or 17mm wrench (i forget which). Now remove everything on top of the tranny (including starter and distributor) and axle shafts. Support engine with crane and remove tranny mounts (the two in the front and back of motor, the one on the left side and the center mount. Remove cross member and center member. Remove torque converter bolts. Now for the trick, remove two tranny bolts and go to your local hardware store and buy to bolts with the same pitch but three inches longer. place those bolts and put a floor jack under your tranny and remove the remaining bolts. slide the tranny back and use your long wrench to reach the bolts. I learned this swapping a 1987 tranny on a 1991 motor, 1987 3s has a six bolt rear main and 1991 has a eight bolt and in my wisdom, i found a six bolt main flex plate from a 2s in the junkyard with the tranny missing so i grabbed it. installed it on motor, put tranny on motor, tied tranny to motor with torque converter bolts and installed assembly. When i went to install the starter, i discovered my error and that was how i got out of it without removing engine or tranny. good luck. ps, those long pittsburg wrenches i bought back in 2008 are still great, i mean, the ones i have left that were not stolen at the shops i have worked over the years, but i still use the long 14mm and 17mm on my camrys and other toyotas and lexuses to this day.
 

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I have no idea. But, on a 2wd Chevy w.RWD, it can be done. You remove the shaft, the lines, and the linkage and etc. You unbolt the Converter and slide it back in to the trans....THEN, you get bolts about 5" longer, put them in and slide it back on the bolts.

Then, take the FP out the bottom, put it.back in and put it back together.

You'll need a long wrench....I made.one. I welded pipe on the end of a wrench

My guess...if the trans has 5" of room behind it, then it is possible.
 

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I have no idea. But, on a 2wd Chevy w.RWD, it can be done. You remove the shaft, the lines, and the linkage and etc. You unbolt the Converter and slide it back in to the trans....THEN, you get bolts about 5" longer, put them in and slide it back on the bolts.

Then, take the FP out the bottom, put it.back in and put it back together.

You'll need a long wrench....I made.one. I welded pipe on the end of a wrench

My guess...if the trans has 5" of room behind it, then it is possible.
I like that your solution, it is a play on my solution. 1 john 4. Great minds rely on the Spirit.
 

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nope, definatly not enough room to remove the plate with the transmission in place. its gonna have to come out. there is an access plate on the bottom side of the engine where the tranny meets, couple of bolts and you can fully inspect it. if the teeth dont look worn down, try replacing the starter or the gear on the starter and see if that helps.
I havw done it myself without removing the engine. Please donr say, "definitely," if you dont know for sure.
 

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  1. I havw done it myself without removing the engine. Please donr say, "definitely," if you dont know for sure.
    I did it back in 2008, as an amateur mechanic in my driveway. It can be done, please read my instructions above, thanks. Remember to go to harbor freight for the long Pittsburgh wrenches or norther tool for the long ratchet wrenches that you could only get from usa tools back in '08. Enjoy.
 
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