My Honda 3813 was starting very hard, I've replaced the battery and solenoid. Still started hard, but now it will not start at all. Do I have to pull the engine to replace the starter? If I remove the two screws on the front end cap of the starter, will I be able to pull the inside of the starter out to the front and miss the engine mount bracket, and will I be able to get the starter back, into its' shell. If I have to pull the engine, can I leave the radiator and its hoses attached, and remove it all together? How does the engine detach from the drive shaft? Can I use the hole on the plate on the left side of the engine, directly below the air filter, that has the rectifier/regulator mounted to it, to hook to and pull the engine out? Any other sources for the purchase of a starter? The Honda Dealer wants $450. It's a Nipondenso DB5D6
It is possible to remove the starter without removing the engine if you remove the battery and battery tray as shown in the link below.
More than likely the battery tray is rusted and needs to be repainted, so might as well paint it too while the tray is out.
Whether it is any quicker time - wise? You can probably remove the engine in an hour or so. But it is heavy and requires a good back to lift it out of the engine frame. A plus if you remove the engine is that it can be cleaned and degreased while it is out. If you drop the engine while removing or installing you could break the oil pan if you drop it.
Another plus if you remove the radiator is that it's a good time to flush out the radiator and the fins. You won't believe the amout of mud and debris in the bottom 2-3 inches of the radiator fins.
Finally, since you have the remove the water pump and timing belt cover, it's a good time to examine the timing belt. It probably needs replacing if it is still the original belt.
The front rubber damper wears out first. See pic in first link above. If the nubs are worn down or if you see exposed metal replace the rubber damper.
The front rubber damper if worn severley will cause a terrrible rattle from the driveshaft while at idle.
If you don't want to replace the rubber damper, tough cowhide or rubber pieces forced into the driveshaft to take up slack is the 'I'm a cheapo' fix'.
Whether you remove the engine or remove the battery tray. Don't loose the plastic bushing inside of the driveshaft when you disconnect the driveshaft from the rear of the engine.
If it falls to the floor and you step on it - you will end up having to buy a new one.
There is a aluminum plate guard under the driveshaft. It's hard to remove the driveshaft if the plate is still intact. You can split the plate down the middle and not hurt a thing. I don't know it's purpose other than perhaps to keep an idiot from sticking their hand near the drive shaft when the engine is parked, and left running when removing the deck when it is used for towing,snowblowing, or when using a front blade.