2002 Dodge Truck Starting Problem

Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE TRUCK
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 103,000 MILES
Hello, when I turn the key, sometimes the engine starts and sometimes the starter will just "click". The click will occur each time I turn the key (just one click) or for several turns of the key ( one click each time) and the next time I turn it, it will start. Very random problem. Sometimes the truck will start on the first try for days and then the problem comes back. I have replaced the starter, had the battery checked twice, and changed the battery with one from another vehicle. Problem has not changed. Any suggestions?
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 3:15 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi icedak02. Welcome to the forum. Did you install a used or a rebuilt starter? This is a real common problem with the little silver Nippensenso starter. The solenoid contacts wear down from the normal arcing. They can be replaced for 20 bucks but most people just replace the entire starter. Since the problem persists after you did so, I'm hoping you installed a used starter that most likely has the same problem.

If you used a rebuilt starter, you might consider connecting a test light's ground wire / clip to the large battery cable terminal right on the starter, running the light inside the truck, and grounding it there with a clip lead when you hop in to start it. If the light goes out when you try to crank the engine, you have a cable problem that we can narrow down. If the light stays on when the starter just clicks, the problem is in the starter.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 4:02 PM
Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
I will try the light test, but will use a volt meter instead. I do not have a test light. Starter is remanufactured from a auto parts store.
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 5:08 PM
Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
Voltages are as follows, 12.34 when the truck is off, 12.01 when the starter is engaged, 13.55 when the truck is running and 11.89 when the starter clicks but does not engage. I never loose voltage from the battery cable conection on the starter.
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 6:14 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The 11.89 volts indicates the starter is not drawing any current, and since the voltage is still there at the cable on the starter, that proves the cable isn't the problem. That leaves the new starter as the problem. Just to be safe, move the voltmeter's ground wire to the engine block. That will include the negative battery cable in the test, but if it were the problem. I would expect you to hear a rapid clicking of the starter solenoid, not the single clunk you're getting.

Do you in fact have the little silver Nippendenso starter? They're common on the front-wheel-drive cars and minivans but I have seen them on trucks too. Because of their gear reduction, they are plenty strong enough to spin a small V-8 engine. If you have this starter, you might be able to lift the rubber cover to access the other large terminal after the solenoid. That one should get battery voltage when the solenoid engages. If you only find a volt or two there when you turn the ignition switch to "crank", (or 0 volts), you'll know for sure the solenoid is the problem.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 7:30 PM
Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
I will check with the auto parts store about a replacement. The original starter (well the one that was on it) says DENSO on it. Not sure about the new one as it is installed on the block. Might be able to check the other terminal when the starter is removed but not when it is on the block. Will let you know.

Thanks
David
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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup, you gots a Nippendenso starter. They're a very nice piece except for those contacts. There are repair kits available that include the plunger with the contact disc but I don't replace the plungers anymore. It has proven to be an unnecessary expense MOST of the time. For that reason, the rebuilder might have just replaced the contacts too but you might have gotten the one out of a hundred that needed the plunger.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, October 17th, 2010 AT 1:27 AM
Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
Replaced the starter, so far so good. We'll see how the week goes. I will let you know.

Thanks again
David
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Monday, October 18th, 2010 AT 1:09 PM
Tiny
ICEDAK02
  • MEMBER
Well my son says he has not had the starting problem at all this week. Looks like changing the starter again has fixed the problem. Just my luck that I would purchase a bad remanufactured one the first time.
Thanks for the guidence on this problem.
David
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Sunday, October 24th, 2010 AT 1:56 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy! It's nice to read once in a while that someone is NOT having a problem.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, October 24th, 2010 AT 2:44 PM

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