I have a 2002 Toyota Camry. I replaced the battery about 4 months ago and things were going fine but now the car won't start. After some troubleshooting I identified the starter as a possible source of the issue. Following this video on youtube I removed the starter and brought it to autozone where they tested it and verified it was faulty. Loosing the 14mm bolts holding the starter in place was the hardest part but after the bolts were removed the starter slid out with minimal to no effort.

I bought a Duralast Starter 17825 as the replacement part. However, I'm having trouble fitting the starter back into the vehicle. I could use a mallet to tap it in but I'm worried I would never be able to get it out again. Is this normal, should I try sanding the part, should I replace it for another part? I don't have a pair calipers and don't have the old core to measure the difference. One of the reviewers on autozone for the part says it fit there 2002 camry and they even included a picture showing it fully installed.

Here are a few pictures of what I'm working with https://i.stack.imgur.com/wNrig.jpg

  • If it were me I would take it back to AutoZone and get your old starter back again. I would then look at other retailers like Napa (not a sponsor) and bring your old starter with you to make sure the dimensions are the same. If you still run into fit issues go to Toyota and get an OEM replacement. May cost a bit more but likely it will fit perfectly.
    – MJH
    Apr 10, 2022 at 18:37
  • You could try putting a bit of grease on the contact surfaces to see if that helps.
    – HandyHowie
    Apr 10, 2022 at 19:46
  • 1
    How does it not fit? Do the bolt holes not line up? You need to describe this better for it to be answerable.
    – GdD
    Apr 11, 2022 at 7:52
  • I'd check the engine side of this for any dirt, corrosion, or other contaminants in the hole that the starter is going into.
    – jwh20
    Apr 11, 2022 at 12:10
  • By the way, calipers are a nearly indispensable tool for many auto repair tasks. You should get yourself a set.
    – jwh20
    Apr 11, 2022 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


Take a rag soaked with rubbing alcohol and wipe the mating surface on the engine side. Also ensure there are no scratches, gouges, etc. It's possible the starter and the adapter plate had some matching damage that would make it hard to get a new starter back in. I know there's not a lot of room in there, but as you are installing it (use mirrors if you have to), try to find out exactly what is stopping the starter from sliding in.

It's very possible it's a couple thousands off and some very light sanding is needed, but you will need to be 100% sure you know what is causing the interference before you go sanding a brand new starter. Before you sand if you are having a hard time finding what's causing this issue, color the mating surface on the starter with a sharpie and try installing it. The sharpie will show where it's rubbing, but remember the bottom will show a rub as it drags while you are installing it. Look for an abrupt start/stop that will indicate the starter stopping dead in it's tracks.

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