If you are restoring a 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon, or just have one you want to start driving, chances are you will have to replace the starter motor. Even if your van is starting up and running every time, your old starter might be wearing out. Older starters do not have the same construction and longevity as modern day starters, so if you do not know if you have a recently remanufactured starter, you might want to take a look.
If your starter motor quits working, you will probably have to change it. First thing you should do before you get dirty and pull out the wrenches is check to see that it is in deed your starter. Check your battery to see if all wires are connected, then go back and turn your key. If you hear a click behind you, you probably have a bad starter, and you will have to repair or replace it.
The first thing you want to do is gather your tools. You will want a screw driver, a fifteen millimeter wrench, a seventeen millimeter wrench and a twelve millimeter socket and ratchet. These are the basic tools needed, but there is a chance that the nuts and bolts were replaced overtime, so you may want a full tool set handy just in case. Now disconnect the battery to keep yourself from getting a shock.
You may want to jack up your van in order to have more room, if you choose to do this make sure you use jack stands and make safety a priority. It is much better to be safe then sorry, especially when it comes to something as heavy as an automobile.
Open up the back hatch of your Vanagon, once you do you will find a hatch in the back. You will see two rings on the edge close to you. They are written in German, but mean Open off. Turn the rings the way the arrow on the hatch indicates and lift up the hatch. Remove it and up it to the side. Now take the seventeen millimeter wrench and remove the top passenger side nut that holds the engine up. That nut is connected to a bolt that holds both the starter and the engine to the transmission. You will need to remove the nut, then go underneath to work on the rest.
There is a nut on the underside of your starter, you will need to remove it, Take your fifteen millimeter wrench and carefully remove the nut. You might have had your nut replaced with another size, if so use the appropriate size for the nut.
Now remove the electric wires with the twelve millimeter pull the starter motor back. It should slide out of place and allow you to drop it down and take it out. Then all you have to do is take it in to a shop, have them check it out, and buy a new one giving the old one up for the core charge, then reverse the process of removing it to put it back in.