OK, the contact on the battery side was worn almost paper thin! The only scary part was taking off the 14mm nut from the motor side. None of the sockets could go in enough to get a bite. Fortunately, my mechanic had a new fangled zillion point "fits all types of fasteners" socket and it did the trick! It was a Matco but he told me that Craftsman also carries those universal sockets. You really need a thin profile 14mm. Also the plunger is indeed 125mm. I had taken the car in for hoses and belts and while my mechanic was doing that, I did the starter repair myself on the bench. The shop wanted to just put a new/rebuilt but I told them I wanted to try this first. If I can do it, anybody should be able to do it! I even take my car in for an oil change (because I don't want to get my hands dirty
I used multi-meter to make sure I had not shorted anything and used the insulators correctly. We bench tested it before putting it back in. The starter got lots and lots of usage when the time came to put the coolant back in after the hoses replacement. It was real painful process to get all the air out of the system.
He also replace the fuel filter which was real pain too. The clamp on the filter was rusted badly. He took the old filter with the clamp on it in the sink and filled it with water and then torched it to get the clamp loosened. I supposed I could have used Kroil the night before but you only access it after the rest of the stuff is removed and as I said before, I don't get my hands dirty
Seriously, I have found great mechanic and the shop and they work with me. I want them to stay in the business, so I have them do all the work on all my cars if there is even a remote chance of me screwing up. I used my fancy cordless Dewalt impact wrench to take off few items while there.
We did this without taking off the battery tray or the cruise control cable. We took off the air intake and the air box. Even then the access to the starter is still a pain.
If you shop wisely on ebay, you should be able to pick up the contacts and the plunger shipped for about $15. With 20 minutes to swap the contacts, it is a no-brainer as long as you get that 14mm off without chewing it up.