1996 Dodge Caravan

Engine Mechanical problem
1996 Dodge Caravan 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 99777 miles

1996 Grand Caravan, 3.8L engine. Ran fine, then parked and weren't able to start again - starter spinning, but not engaging engine, giving " grating" sound.
Could this be a bad gear on the engine? I.E. Maybe a cog or two broken off? (Not sure of the proper term - is this maybe on the torque converter? I mean the BIG gear the starter would engage.)
If so, I thought to turn the engine manually a little, just to have a " good" cog where the starter would engage, and give it another try.
How would I best turn the engine manually? What tool would I need (wrench, screwdriver, pliers)?
I'm kind of broke now to have a mechanic take care of the repair.
Thanks for any help!
August 11, 2010.

If the starter is spinning and not engaging with the flywheel, chances are the solenoid is bad on the starter. The easiest thing to do is disconnect the neg terminal from the battery, remove the starter, and have it bench tested at a parts store. What the solenoid does is kicks the gear out from the starter to engage with the flywheel. If it doesn't kick out, the starter will spin but not turn the engine.

Let me know if you need help with anything when removing the starter. It is in the front of the engine near the top of the oil pan. &Quot; Two or three" I can't remember exactly, bolts hold it in place.


Thanks, Joe.
It turns out I have a bad ring gear - I turned the engine slightly with a pair of vise grips, and then I could start the car right up.
Which brings up the question: What does it take to fix a ring gear that has a cog or two missing?
Is it " major surgery" or is it something a " do it yourself-er" like myself can do?
Thanks again,
: ) Z

Aug 12, 2010.
It isn't a fun job. It is the flywheel and you need to remove the transmission to remove it.