what type of starter do i need, post or spade?

Jimmy Johnson

Asked by Sep 22, 2013 at 01:23 PM about the 1997 Ford Explorer 2 Dr XL 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I went to autozone to get a new starter for my 97 explorer sport trac, and they gave me a 96 starter, not to mention, no questions were asked so i had thought everything was taken care of. I did not know and since i tried to put it on they said i cannot return it only trade. Also, when i brought it back i was asked countless questions that i was not asked before to get a starter. Now that my old starter is gone i cannot tell what it is that i need. HELP I was not given any info about my truck and have no owners manual because i have parents that do not know better.

3 Answers

Tom Demyan

The owners manual won't help you in this instance. The explorer Sport trac was introduced in 2001, not 1997. I'm assuming you have a sport? I looked for starters for year model vehicle and it does mention a "Post or Spade connection. I don't know what engine you have, there are 3 options, and what transmission? But no matter, you will have to compare the old one, to the new. Since you don't have the old starter, look at the connection on the wiring harness. I assume the starter you purchased didn't match? You will have to fight with Autozone to swap you the correct one. As to speak to a manager.


If memory serves there were two different V6 engines available and one V8, And two trannys. Talk to the manager. You may have to purchase the starters available with the understanding you can bring back the one's you cannot use, since your original starter seems to have already been shipped off for rebuilding. But here is a good rule of thumb. Never turn in the old starter for the core credit before installing the new one. Always compare. The same happened to me while changing a cracked plastic thermostat housing on a 2003 V6. The clerk looked up the part and placed the new one on the counter. When I compared it to the old one it was different. Comparing 2002 with 2004 housings it was learned the housing I had in the 2003 was for a 2004 V6. The clerk stated this happens with some frequency. Usually when looking up the part the catalog will list different parts for engines bearing vin code E and vin code F, for an example.


Being curious I went to Autozone's web site. If your explorer is a 4 wheel drive there appears to be to V6 engines available Code E and Code X. Compare the starter you have with the vin number on your vehicle. The all wheel drive explorer appears to only have come in the V8 configuration. The site does not request tranny info.

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