2002 Chrysler Van Starter replacement necessary?

Tiny
69CHEVELLESSL78
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 CHRYSLER VAN
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 82,000 MILES
Hi,

My wife's minivan has been having trouble starting lately. The problem started out as a "click" when she turned the key. On the second try, the car would start. It was an intermitent (SP?) Problem. This morning it wouldn't start at all. I gave the starter a couple gentle taps with a hammer and it started. I believe that the problem is a "dead spot" on the starter.

I tried it again a few times and it seems to start OK. I'd hate to spend a hundred plus bucks to replace the starter only to find out it was another problem.

Thanks!
Bob
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Saturday, April 25th, 2009 AT 7:55 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
REAL common problem with an inexpensive fix. Worn contacts in the starter solenoid. $20.00 for the pair. Otherwise just replace the entire starter motor.

It will get progressively worse over time. When it happened for the last time on my mother's '95 Caravan, she lost count after 700 attempts and a blister on her thumb!

To test before replacing, first you'll have to catch it when it's acting up. Have someone hold the ignition switch in the crank position. Touch a grounded test light to the two large terminals on the starter. The terminal with the heavy battery cable must have battery voltage all the time. The other large terminal, (under a gray rubber cap), should have battery voltage only when in "Crank" mode. If it's missing, the contacts are worn. Replacement isn't very difficult but the starter must be removed. Also, one contact is common to all Nippendenso starters on Chryslers and Toyotas. The other one has three versions. You must remove three bolts and the rear cover of the solenoid to see which style you have.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 AT 1:38 AM
Tiny
69CHEVELLESSL78
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply. I decided to replace the starter and it was a pretty easy job, except for the fact that it's pretty tight in there where the top starter bolt is located. Great design job Chrysler ... NOT!
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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 AT 8:36 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Happy it worked out for you. You wouldn't be complaining about a bolt if you worked on other brands of cars. You have to pull the intake manifold off some GM cars to get to the starter! It's buried inside the engine. The average GM and Ford starter takes up to an hour to replace; the average Chrysler starter takes 20 minutes without the need for a hoist.

I'm frustrated that Chrysler engineers have tended to copy GM and Ford bad ideas for the last decade rather than design cars with common sense like they used to do. That's why my 1988 Grand Caravan is still my daily driver.

Carry on;
caradiodoc
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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 AT 1:59 PM

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