Fix it instead of replacing it
By the staff of Trucks & Guns Magazine
The 5.9L Cummins engine used the same starter from 1989 until 2006. It is a reliable and proven gear reduction design that Cummins never needed to update. The best part about this starter is that they are rebuildable. So when it does “start” to have trouble you can buy a simple rebuild kit for far less than buying a whole new starter. If you have any mechanical experience this will be an easy repair for you. The hardest part is getting the starter in and out of the truck. For our rebuild we called up LarryB (www.fostertruck.com) and ordered their solenoid kit that includes the solenoid and contacts. The kit cost us $29.99 compared to $250 for a new starter.
The first thing you need to do is disconnect the battery on the truck. We are not going to go through step by step to getting the starter out, but that first crucial step is something we know many people forget. Everyone should have a Haynes, Chilton or factory manual for his or her truck to help with the removal of the starter. Once you have the starter out of the truck, you can inspect for any damage and get ready to replace the contacts. Basically, the contacts inside the starter will wear out over time causing the starter to fail. This kit will replace those worn out contacts giving you hundreds of more uses.
If you are going to do this repair you should use parts that are not only going to fix the problem but also give you an upgrade at the same time. The LarryB starter solenoid kit includes larger contacts that are designed to carry twice the voltage load. This will not only allow these contacts to last longer but also allows for easier starting. The parts fit just as they came out of the original factory and you cannot go wrong at their price point. If you are feeling ambitious and want to have some extra insurance that you will not need to remove your starter again, LarryB sells two other rebuild kits to completely overhaul the starter. You can get the “easy starter rebuild kit” that will include the solenoid kit and new starter brushes with the holder plate. Or you can go for the “complete” rebuild kit that will include all of that plus clutch/pinion drive and bearings. Check out http://www.fostertruck.com/ for a full list of products. Lets take a look at what is involved in replacing the contacts.
Then simply install the new contact in the starter.