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Because of the Variety of mounting methods there are 2 to 4 bolts that should be visible as you look at the starter itself. Not counting the wiring connections. If this a sideways mounted motor with the Starter mounted on the front of the motor there will be 2 bolts holding it in place. If the motor is mounted regularly with the transmission extending under the vehicle the starter in on the rear of the motor near the firewall and will have up to 4 bolts holding it in place but most likely no more than 3. I would recommend getting a Haynes repair manual on the vehicle for more detailed instruction on removal and installation. This manual or a Chilton's manual are both available at the major Auto Parts stores and are fairly inexpensive.
Where the upper radiator hose attaches to the engine is the thermostat housing. Remove the hose from the housing. Remove the housing, the thermostat will come out with the housing. Be careful to orient the new thermostat exactly the same as the old. If the new thermostat is put in backwards the car will overheat.
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you have to take the door panels off. remove all screws you will have plastic pieces called christmas trees that hold the panel in place. there is a tool for this you can pick it up at Napa for cheap this will allow you access to the inner space of the door un plug plugs to power switchs and the rod to your door catch hardeware you then can remove panel completely to get access to mirror assembly. installation of door panel is in reverse
It almost sounds as if you have some broken teeth on the flywheel that the starter engages.
I would remove the starter, loosen or remove the spark plugs to relieve compression, then have someone turn the engine byhand while peering into the bellhousing with a flashlight where the starter mounts and inspect the flywheel for damage.
With a tooth (or more) worn or broken off, when the Bendix throws the starter gear forward, it may be landing on top of a broken tooth, slipping off, then turning your engine over.
There may be enough tooth even if broken, to stay engaged once the starter has meshed.