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87-98 for 99-01 starter conversion/starter replacement write up

87-98 for 99-01 starter conversion/starter replacement write up

Old 05-07-2011, 04:35 PM
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storm101's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northfield MN
Posts: 1,242
Year: 1995
Model: Grand Cherokee
Engine: 5.2 v8
Thumbs up 87-98 for 99-01 starter conversion/starter replacement write up

Tools and materials needed

14 and 15mm sockets (my bolts had a ton of crud build up)
slipjoint pliers (or a set of really small sockets or wrenches)
wire snips/stripper
blue o-ring crimp terminal (1)
smaller diameter heatshrink tubing
1 old starter
1 new starter
and a few beers *of course only if your 21 or older and not planning on driving!*

This write up will cover how to change a starter, and also how to swap a starter from an 87-98 onto a 99-01 or vice versa, the swap is more or less the reason I am doing this up as the price for a starter for a 99-01 is approximatly 160$ vs 60$ for an 87-98 (based on the worldwide brand remanufactered starters from advance auto parts). Big difference there.

-Removal of starter-

Start the process by popping your hood and unhooking your negative battery cable, then your positive, place them in a secure area where they wont slip and make contact with the battery terminal until you want it to. (good chance to clean the contact points or change the terminals if needed)

Slide underneath your rig (yes jack it up if you need to, and DO USE JACK STANDS IF YOU JACK IT UP) and locate your starter (pretty much right under your oil filter) and find the two wires that go to it. The large one is a postive cable from your battery, unhook it and set it aside, the small wire is a signal wire thats connected to an o-ring terminal on pre 99 xjs, or is a silly looking spade connector on a 99+, either way disconnect it and set it aside.

Locate the two bolts on the starter (thats whats holding it on) and remove them, theres one on top, and one on bottom, theyre pretty easy to find.

Wiggle the starter around until you can pull it down and out.

-The year swap tricks, skip if just changing correct year starters-

Now comes the cool money saving part if you need to convert either starter to work for other years (lets say you want to use a 99 starter on a 98, or a 98 on a 99 like i did, as the price difference is ridiculous)

Heres a few pictures to help explain the "major" differences between the two starters (the dirty one is 99+ and the new one is for 87-98) the pics of the installed starter is the new one with the converted wire connected.

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Here are the connectors, the new ones and the old one I cut off

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The difference is the black plastic connector on the 99 vs the stud type connector on the 98, to convert the 99 to be used in previous years, remove the black plastic piece, its held on with a small screw, then you should be able to use youre stock signal wire o-ring terminal wire on the jeep just fine by screwing it in place of the black unit, no big deal.

To make a 98 work on a 99+ is a little more work, nothing terrible though. Get back under your rig, and clip off the black connector on the signal wire you took off, discard it. Now strip the wire back, slide your heat shrink on the wire, install and crimp your new o-ring terminal on, shrink the tubing, and there you have it, a stock 87-98 connection for your new 87-98 starter.


Now comes the fun part, slide the starter up into place, and reinstall the two bolts, connect your positive battery cable back onto the starter, then bolt on your new little o-ring terminal signal wire, collect all of your tools, go back under your hood, reinstall your battery cables onto their proper spots, remember black is negative, and red is positive, just in case you had a few too many during this process lol.

Get into the rig, put your key in place, and give it a turn, if all was done correctly it should fire up great, again if you did need the negative and positive reminder, DONT DRIVE it!

Congratulations, if you have a 99+ you just saved approximatly 100$ and still fixed your rig properly!
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