Engine starting fuses/relay

Tiny
HMONK
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 3.3L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 94,000 MILES
I had not driven for about two months. Turned the ignition switch to on: all of the dash lights, warnings came on as one would expect; turned the switch to start - all went dark, no cranking. Turned switch to on, now no lights/warnings.

I removed and visually inspected all of the under-dash fuse block fuses: all good. Opened the hood and Yikes! Squirrels had taken up residence. After hosing down the engine compartment to remove nest/droppings, I found one minor wire chewed through but no obvious major wiring compromise. I removed and checked all of the distribution center fuses with an ohm meter: all were good. I removed the starter relay which has four pins: 30, 85, 86, 87; there is no 87A pin. There is continuity between pins 85 and 86; there is no continuity between any of the other pins.

My dual approach is this: first, identify and replace the fuse that governs all of the dash lights which worked before I turned the ignition switch to start from the on position (all lit up before I turned the switch to start). Once this fuse is replaced and the dashboard lights are working, then go through the electrical system to see if non-ignition-dependent systems are working (lights, radio, directionals, fan, etc.) And track down and repair broken wires.

Finally, go through the ignition circuitry and attempt to locate what appears to be a short.

Questions:
1. What fuse activates the instrument panel lights/idiot lights?
2. Does the starter relay contain an internal fuse (that could have blown when I switched from on to start)?
3. Do my starter relay continuity readings indicate a good or bad relay?

Any suggestions as to TSing the electronics would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Monk
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 AT 7:12 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
First thing is to clean battery terminal ends to make sure no corrosion, then get battery checked for condition including load test. Repair the wire that is chewed through then put relay back in and see if it will start. If you tried to ohm and did not disconnect other end to PCM and switch it will read nothing. You ohm to see if wire is good. See if one has power after getting battery checked.
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 AT 7:23 AM
Tiny
HMONK
  • MEMBER
Thanks Hmac.

My initial attempt to start the van was made with jumper cables from my truck (engine running) connected directly to the van's battery cables - which were disconnected from the battery. I know this connection was good because, initially, when I switched the van's ignition switch to the ON position, all of the lights, etc lit. When I switched the ignition switch from ON to START, all went black. Thus my assumption that a fuse blew.

Monk
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 AT 10:03 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
You never try to jump start an engine with battery disconnected due to not enough power that is why it happened again.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 AT 1:10 PM
Tiny
HMONK
  • MEMBER
Hmac I'm not sure what you are saying. How many times have we jumped-started a car with a dead battery? I have often jumped-started cars by connecting my battery to the jumped-car battery or to its cables without the battery in place. Seems to me no different than if I were to remove my battery and place it in the car to be jumped? I had an old car I was restoring (a multi-year project) that I used to run about once a month which I started by jumping it from my car directly to cables since I did not want to purchase a battery until the job was finished. Again, I think I am not understanding your statement.

Regardless, I placed my truck battery in the Voyager and achieved the same result: no power to anything. Yielding to Occam's razor, I'm going to replace the battery cables since I have to "fight" to get to the solenoid terminal (might as well replace the cables while I am there). If there is still no power I can start tracing power from the battery confident that, at least the battery-to-solenoid and battery-to-PDC are in tact. I'll post back with my results.

Thanks for your input.

Monk
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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 AT 9:14 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Older cars you could do that but it doesn't supply enough juice to run everything with battery disconnected and just hooking up to battery cables. The fuse that is in pic is one for starting. Then to ign switch then to neutral switchso check these you can ohm out the cable if it's got 5 ohms or less it's ok seepic you might have a bad ign switch however.
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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 AT 9:34 AM

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