OK, so the following will thoroughly discribe this "Job from Hell" and what I learned from it:
PART 1: The Removal. 9 AM; truck up on jack stands-get that front up as high as possible!! There is no real room to get conventional tools to the required nuts and bolts of this beeotch. Ratchet wrenches are a profound help-both solid and flex head versions. Remove batt leads at batt. Now this is imperative:the heat shield mounted to the exhaust/cat MUST be removed: PB these 3 stupid little bolts 1st-top one snapped right off, sigh.
Moving on: there is a 1/2 inch flex covered wire that comes from above/forward of the starter. It has 4 mounting points(10 mm head size bolts)and eventually winds its way down and around the back of the oil pan and over to the drivers side bell housing to a "device"(a magnet), under an little metal protection shroud, which pulls any metal filings out of the flywheel gear teeth(why it needs 3 freakin wires attached to it, God & the Japanese only know).
At the center back side of the block, just above the edge of the oil pan, there is a STUPID mounting point for the wire that is, a hole, in the block, a plastic zap strap gets pushed into-just pry it out (and it WILL break) as it seems to be "service NON removable". I understand its point for being but the execution of it is truly dumb-should be easy to tap the hole and mount a proper attachment point to keep the wire from flapping in the wind.
Wire, although flexible will eventually break if wiggled enough times.
The one nice thing about this wire & device, is that there is MAGNET at the end and you can place it anywhere on the frame/body to get it out of your way. BTW, it was easier to remove the magnet device's bolt & assy, than try to get the snap clip terminal apart. Twist/turn it as you pull it out-it's mounting is a rubber hole. Up and forward of he starter, I gently wedged the other end of the cable between a protrusion of the block casting and the motor mount, just below the wire's mounting flange, for now-you need ALL the room you can get when trying to remove the actual starter.
The 2, 17 mm H/S bolts holding the starter on are easily accessible from the trans side of the bell housing, w/extensions and a universal and if you have removed that magnet wire, you have already removed one of the bolts.
All we have left now is 2 nuts and a snap clip...easy, right? NOPE!!
Well the clip is fairly straight forward but the "starter to solonoid" cable nut is in the way of the "battery to solonoid" cable nut. The nuts are either 12mm or 13 mm-the AC Delco replacement nuts were 12mm but I like the 13mm flange nuts the original came with-thread size being the same. With the starer mounting bolts out, it's possible to turn the starter counterclockwise a bit to more readily expose these nuts. One is bare (starter to solonoid) & the other has a rubber cap. Try to slide this cap back up the cable a bit and turn the "nut" end of it, inside out for better access. A STUBBY 1/4" drive ratchet really helps here. This nut is a beeotch to put back on and tighten later as getting the starter back in req's ALL available space you have.
There is thin metal spacer/shim thing between the bell housing & the starter itself. This "shim" thing has partial flange that faces up and towards the rad- it bends very easily, be careful! At this point you should be able to slide the starter out and slightly up (the solonoid is pointing towards the right tire at this point). A LOT of wiggling, giggling and turning of the starter is req'd to the starter drive gear past the bell housing edge and to a position to allow the removal of the starter down and out of the only hole you have available to you.
See, that was easy, right!?
At THIS point, I suggest you have a smoke, a beer, a shot, some food, a nap, etc to bring your stress level down.
PART 2: Installation. Just do everything outlined above in reverse.
MIDNIGHT: truck starts and is on ground again, all tool/lights, etc away, hands not completely black anymore and I'm driving my "$100" friend home. Best guess: 20 total man hours(2 of us worked on it together for 7 hrs & friend for 7 by him self.
Now the Q before you is: Do YOU have a "$100" friend & a day to spare?? Or $500+ & some one else do it?
I tried to be detailed as possible here for y'all. And I did use my phones camera to take pix of things my eyeballs couldn't see- that helped. It IS doable providing you have the tools and PATIENTS!!
The Chilton's manual has 5 sentences on this subject....watta buncha dicks!
FTW and Victor's signing off.