Strange grindnig noise on start

Hi,
When I start my 95/1.1 punto, the it makes a noise similar to the noise when you leave the key turned to the start position for too long, kind of like a grinding, grating noise.
It lasts a abuot 2 seconds. My theory is that the starter motor is on the way out. If thats the case, how hard is it to replace. Ive checked the Haynes manual, its a 3-spanner job, but it doesnt seem to be that hard?
Thanks, Stephen.
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You probably have a starter with an attached solenoid to engage the gear, and the mechanism is stiff. Warning - the starter is straight off the battery so disconnect that first. Removing the starter is straightforward. Dismantling and re-lubricating somewhat more difficult but not impossible. With some versions you may need a heavy duty soldering iron to undo the solenoid wires. The solenoid has two windings, main and helper, so keep careful notes how it all comes apart. While it's apart it's worth lubricating the main rotor bearings, and a pain in the butt to get the carbon brushes back in place on the commutator, clean this with fine wet and dry. Make sure same brushes same way round, they wear to the comm. For a 95 starter rusted bolts and starter clevis pin are a possible problem when dismantling. Of course you can pay an arm and a leg for a new starter, get an exchange one, find a local auto electrician who does bearings, alternator repairs, commutator turning etc (a rare breed nowdays), or try a breakers yard. It might be worthwhile checking the ring gear before you get too deep, if that is knackered you have more than just a starter problem. Check it all the way around, as it stops in set positions (due to compression), and thus wears where it stops and disengages/engages. You can see the ring gear once you have the starter off, and there should be a timing/inspection plate on the clutch housing.
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