Switching to a Gear Reduction Starter

A successful switch to a gear reduction starting motor requires three things:

  • The right design.
  • An OE spacer.
  • The integrated magnetic switch relay.

Gear reduction starters are smaller, faster, more powerful and energy efficient. So follow these steps to retrofit your old technology.

The right design

Gear reduction starters from Delco Remy, for example, use a noseless design lacking a cone around the starter drive – but they are still compatible with straight drive nose style starters.

That’s not to say all gear reduction starters are noseless. Some incorporate more traditional nose styles into gear reduction functionality.

The point is, the real right design is simply a gear reduction design.

An OE spacer

The OE spacer is designed to keep clearance between the starter pinion gear and engine ring gear. It’s actually part of the engine, not the starter.

Transfer your existing OE spacer with the new gear reduction starter so you ensure the starter pinion gear and engine ring gear teeth aren’t damaged.

The OE spacer may stick to the old starter. Pry it off carefully. Unless you can’t be careful and must be forceful. Then pry it off forcefully.

Integrated magnetic switch relay

The integrated magnetic switch relay reduces voltage drop and controls battery current to ensure the solenoid receives maximum voltage in any starting condition.

If your new gear reduction starter already includes an integrated magnetic switch relay, good! You should never remove or uninstall it.


The old unit may have an external switch mounted on the vehicle’s firewall.

Deal with this by bypassing the firewall magnetic switch entirely. Connect the ignition wire directly to the starter supplied integrated magnetic switch relay. That’s it.

Why not leave well enough alone?

OEMs have steadily moved away from direct drive starters for the last 30 years.

Yes, gear reduction starters are more complex and more expensive, but they’re also:

  • Lighter.
  • Smaller.
  • More efficient.

They draw less amperage than direct drive starters and, as a result, are particularly well suited for cold weather workloads, when the available cranking amperage from the battery drops.

Because gear reduction starters sport a 4:1 Gear reduction ratio they can produce more torque than a significantly larger and heavier direct drive starter.

So navigate over to our selection of starters and place your order today. The sooner you do it, the sooner you start saving.