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Wont Start How to Replace Starter on 2004 Acura TL

Old 11-19-2011, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 1
Default Wont Start How to Replace Starter on 2004 Acura TL

2004 Acura TL, Automatic with navigation

Just thought I would share my experience. Im the original owner of a 2004 Acura TL now with 90k miles. The car has been nothing but great and I plan to keep it for a long time.

The only issue came up 2 days ago thus far (and hopefully the last one). The car would not start but the lights and radio would turn on. When turning on to start, I would only get one click from the starter but the fuel pump would run. I first assumed that the battery was bad and replaced it. With the new battery, the car started up and worked for 1 day (about more 4 trips). Later that day, the car would not start again but luckily it was at my house. So now I concluded that it was the starter and with the help of my buddy, we replaced it ourselves. (Interesting how the new battery was able to crank the starter for a day Im not sure why.)

Note: So before I assume that the battery is bad again, I will get it checked and Costco does not check batteries.

To replace the starter, its a relatively easy job and it took us about 2 hours, but most of it was figuring out how and removing the metal battery plate. Hopefully, this will save you a lot of time and it should only take you about 30-45 minutes with the right tools. This is what we did:

Tools: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm sockets, and socket extension (about 4 or 5 inches) and torque wrench
Equipment: 1 rebuilt starter from Pep Boys for $125.

Step 1: Remove the battery and the plastic battery housing.

Step 2: Remove the metal battery plate.
There are 6 total bolts, 2 (12mm) on top to hold some cables and another plastic box, and the 4 main bolts.

The 4 bolts (all 14mm) attach the metal plate to the car frame on the driver side. There are 2 on top, which are easy to see. Then there are 2 underneath the metal plate that go into the side. These were the difficult ones for us to find and get. Once you get these, the job is easy.

Step 3: Disconnect the 2 wires to the starter. One uses a nut and the other is a small clip that just pulls out.

Step 4: Remove the 2 bolts (both 17mm) to remove the starter from the engine. The bottom bolt required us to use a socket extension and quite a bit of muscle. It was on there probably too tight. Fortunately, we did not have to remove anything else like the dip stick, cables or hoses.

Just reverse the steps to install the starter. Our starter installation instruction said to use 66-76 lbs of torque to attach the starter.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
Old 11-20-2011, 12:11 PM
Regular Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 83

Sounds a ton easier than replacing the starter on my '96 TL. I had the same symptoms as you on that car, and also replaced the battery. On the '96, you have to disassemble the left front suspension to get at the starter. What a PIA!
Old 06-18-2013, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1
Default How to Replace Starter on 2004 Acura TL Pictures

I had the same problem as the OP. 2004 Acura TL, Automatic no navigation 97k miles. Love the car bought it used with 80k miles. Seems like it is in good shape.

Car would not start. All the lights and radio come on. Loud single click in the starter when trying to start. Checked the battery with voltmeter. The 12.5 volts seemed a little low but not too bad. I had significant corrosion on my + battery terminal and cord. I cleaned those with baking soda and water. No luck. From there I tried starting the engine after tapping the starter with a mallet. Still nothing. No I was thinking it had to be the starter or solenoid.

From there I decided to remove my starter and bring it in to O'Reilly Auto Parts for them to check it out. Turned out to be a bad starter. Got a refurbished OE starter for $110 when turning in my old starter. Feels great to have my baby back. Great guidelines in the OP mzmid. Thank you very much.

Probably a $400 job at the shop. After completing the switch out I am extremely glad I didn't pay a mechanic $300 to remove 7 bolts. Its all about patience and having the right tools. Thank you again for the guidelines.

I took some pictures of the process that may aid in removing each bolt. mzmid is 100% right on with removing the metal battery plate being the most difficult. The two bolts underneath are awkward to get to. Socket extensions for the win. Here are the pictures for each steps 1 through 3. I couldn't get step 4 on there because the picture was too big to upload. Hope this helps guys.
Attached Thumbnails -step-1.jpg   -step-2a.jpg   -step-2b.jpg   -step-3.jpg  

Last edited by CB77; 06-18-2013 at 01:57 PM.
Old 06-21-2013, 01:23 AM
WheelBrokerAng's Avatar
Administrator :
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Canton/Massillon Ohio 44646
Posts: 29,276

Good post and information..Thank You from us all.
Old 08-17-2013, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Cool Sooo easy

Just took my starter out thanks to these GREAT instructions.

BUT.... I had the same problems as above, I would turn my key to (III) but the only thing that happened was my lights would go on. My 06 TL (navigation) would not make a noise. So I took battery and starter out to get tested.. both came back as working well... So now I do not know what else it could be. Maybe relay? Wire short? Anyone have any ideas??
Old 08-18-2013, 05:49 AM
poorman212's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Youngsville, NC
Posts: 17

Check and clean the battery terminals, also be sure they are tight on the battery.

I'd also clean the "other end" of the ground should make contact to the body and to the trans/engine. Hit the cable and the contact point with some sandpaper and reinstall the bolt.
Old 08-18-2013, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Default Well...

Today I jump started the starter.. and it definitely works.. seems electrical.. The wire that runs from the ignition switch isn't (at times) getting enough juice. I put her back together and she works.. But now I am afraid that she will not crank up when I am not home.. I may just take her to the shop... I can not alone pin point the exact wire that is shorting or if it is even a wire....
Old 08-09-2014, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1
Default Addition to Instructions

Great instructions! i just followed this to replace my starter in 2005 Acura TL. I would like to add a tip:

To make getting to the bottom bolt (closest to the radiator) of the battery tray, remove the tubing between the battery and the very front of the car. you can then see the bolt in question.
Old 03-09-2015, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1
Old 04-28-2018, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 1
Default Starter Replacement: 04 TL, Manual Trans

Just replaced my starter myself this morning and due to all of your comments, instructions and pics it was a breeze! You guys werent lying about the two bolts under the battery tray, definitely the biggest pita in this project both taking it out AND putting it back together!

Anyways, thank you everybody for saving me a ton of dough.
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