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Discussion Starter #1
The old starter has been failing and finally layed down. Car has 110,000 miles.

The part - A local guy that works self employed full time in alternator/starter repair sold me the starter. When I called him, he said all he had was a new one. The price was $139. I know he would not mislead or lie, but I was surprised to hear his part was less than an Auto Zone rebuilt part. Made me wonder if he was mistaken about it being "new".

The job took me around 4 hours and I worked slow and careful.

Rough description of the major work:
Free up small manifold bracket fron underneath and leave hanging by wires.
Drain 1/2 gallon of coolant.
Remove battery.
Unhook upper radiator hose from engine and tie back.
Unhook hoses/wires to free up front section of intake.
Remove front section of intake by moving it toward battery area and up.
Replace starter
Replace intake gasket
Put everything else back.

Not too bad of a job. Don't know how much I saved.
 

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I did the same thing not too long ago, I don't think I removed the upper radiator hose but the intake manifold had to be wrestled out and moved around a fair bit. Something tells me it's a $400 repair at the dealer.
 

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the starter could be changed from under. all that needs to be removed is the splash shield and knock sensor
Yup. The Service Manual procedure for removing/replacing the starter indicates to remove the splash shield and intake manifold bracket from the bottom. While it does not mention removing the knock sensor, I understand it is recommended to do so because it is in the path and easily damaged if the starter bangs into it while being handled.

That being said, I have noted several people saying they worked from the top and removed the intake manifold as the OP mentioned...

Here is a link to download pdfs of the Gen 3 Service Manual - the starter system is on page 4-9 of the first file.

edit - I guess that it's hard to get a dead vehicle on ramps at home, so I'll have to keep the top down method in mind ;-)
 
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