328 cold start problem
I have a '96 328i that is having trouble starting. Sometimes the car will start fine, other times when I turn the key, you can hear the starter spinning, but it does not engage the flywheel. If I keep trying, sooner or later, the starter will catch the flywheel and the car starts up perfectly; however, this can take up to 20 times. Once its started, it runs and shifts fine, and will normally start on the first try if I kill the engine and try again. I had this problem last winter, then it started fine all summer, and now that it is getting cold again, the problem is coming back. It is always much worse on cold starts and after sitting overnight on a cold night.
I took it to my mechanic and he said that whoever replaced the clutch last (before I got the car) put the starter back in with the wrong bolts so it isn't sitting correctly. He is recommending I pull the transmission and replace the starter and flywheel, as he thinks the starter could have damaged the flywheel.
I know that my starter isn't engaging the flywheel correctly. My question is, is this likely just a starter problem, or could my flywheel be damaged too? Is there any way to tell if the flywheel is damaged without pulling the starter first? Does the fact it happens in cold weather indicate one way or another?