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The starter in my 03 Element went bad. I followed the directions from another post, (which were wonderful by the way) and replaced the starter which took me about an hour and a half. The problem is, that when I bolted everything back up, and tried to start the car, it sounded like it was going to fly apart. The noise was coming from the general area of the starter. I pulled the new starter back off, and compared it to the original, and noticed that the starter gear on the original starter was when engaged was very close to the starter housing. The new starter however, had about a 1/16 inch gap between the gear and the starter, so the starter gear was slipping and grinding on the flywheel.

I assumed this was a bad starter, so I went back to Advanced Auto and ordered another replacement. As soon as the new replacement came in, I noticed the same gap, but decided to try it just in case..... no luck, same result. I then went to Autozone at the recommendation of the manager at Advanced. They use a different reman company. They had one in stock, so I looked at it, and guess what.... same gap.

Has anyone else run into this issue, or have any suggestions? I am at a loss, and really don't want to pay twice the price ($500+) for a starter from the local dealership. :confused:
I have however become really good at removing and replacing the intake manifold ;-)
 

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I found 2 starters, a Mitsuba and a Mitsubishi. One bright lad at a parts store said that one was for 2WD the other for 4WD. I got the work done at a shop since I was away from mine and I didn't ask which was which.
 

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2008 Element EX AWD TRP
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Are the starters you're getting new or rebuilt units and the same brand as the original starter?
 

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Starter gone bad

My starter went out in my 2003 E. After searching for a replacement I could only find remanufactured starters. I took it off and took it to a local starter repair shop. They said the only thing wrong with it was the brushes. They replaced them for 50.00 and I put it back on and it works like new.
 

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I found 2 starters, a Mitsuba and a Mitsubishi. One bright lad at a parts store said that one was for 2WD the other for 4WD. I got the work done at a shop since I was away from mine and I didn't ask which was which.
Close. The distinction is whether for automatic or manual transmission. For the 2003, Honda specs the Mitsuba SM-61209 for the automatic and the Mitsubishi MHG016 for the manual.
 
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