Have someone turn the ignition switch to "Crank" while you listen under the opened hood for a light click from the starter relay. If you don't hear it, suspect a possible neutral safety switch or shifter cable out of adjustment. Try starting it in neutral.
If you hear the relay click, there should be a loud clunk from the starter solenoid as it engages. If you get a single loud clunk but it doesn't crank, there's worn contacts in the solenoid. A rebuilt starter will solve this problem, but the contacts can be replaced for just a few bucks.
Try tapping on the starter while someone holds the ignition switch in Crank. If it eventually cranks, suspect rust buildup or hardened grease on the shaft the drive unit slides on. This is more common in cold weather. Clean the rust with a wire brush and re-lubricate it with a heavy oil or light grease.
You might try bypassing the starter relay by either removing its cover and squeezing the contact, or by removing the relay and using a paper clip or piece of wire to jump between the two terminals that for the letter "T". If it cranks consistently, you know the starter motor, solenoid, battery, and battery cables are good, and the problem is in the ignition switch / neutral safety switch circuit.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 AT 2:11 PM