No crank no start. Solenoid single click. Good battery, starter, relays. Turns when shorting the relay.

Tiny
JIMABSLER01
  • MEMBER
  • 2009 CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY
  • 4.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 58,000 MILES
Symptom: With the key fob in start a single click can be heard from the starter solenoid and no cranking.

New engine has been put in (the old one was hydro locked). Did some troubleshooting and excluded the battery, starter, relay and ignition module as culprits. The starter solenoid relay has been pulled out and when shorting the load side (30 & 87) of the solenoid relay the engine cranks. The voltage on all 4 starter solenoid relay terminals look good: the PCM grounds the control side 86 while the starter control provides 12V on 85. Also there is +12V at all times on pin 30. I also did test this further by pulling the starter solenoid wire out from the starter and did put a test light on it. The light stays lit with the key in start and goes off when key is in off. That tells me the ignition circuit must be working properly.

I connected an Autel MD-802 and I can only pull codes for a door module (known not to be working) and the TPMS (front wheels are removed).

I am slowly running out of ideas. Could there be something else that inhibits the starter and prevents it to crank at high load? If it can properly energize a test light this must be load related.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Sunday, December 13th, 2015 AT 10:00 AM

10 Replies

Tiny
JIMABSLER01
  • MEMBER
Just to clarify: the voltage tests at the starter solenoid relay terminals were done with the relay out.
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Sunday, December 13th, 2015 AT 10:08 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Try resetting security system if no manual look online.
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Monday, December 14th, 2015 AT 6:57 AM
Tiny
JIMABSLER01
  • MEMBER
No luck resetting the security system. What else could it be!
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Thursday, February 4th, 2016 AT 8:30 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Chec battery for load test if it already has not been then if you are getting power to starter hit the body of starter if it starts you need a new one. Normally you will hear a heavy clunk sound if starter is bad also try another relay with a like relay in fuse box.
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Friday, February 5th, 2016 AT 6:57 AM
Tiny
JIMABSLER01
  • MEMBER
Thanks again for all suggestions. Managed to get it working by adding another ground connection.
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Friday, June 24th, 2016 AT 6:45 PM
Tiny
FRANK6
  • MEMBER
Hi JIMABSLER01, my symptoms are exactly as yours were. May I ask where exactly you added the extra ground connection?

Thanks.
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 AT 4:38 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You need to start a new question specific to your vehicle, and please be sure to list the engine size. This was a private conversation between two people. As such, none of the other experts are going to look at it or know you made an addition. They won't have the chance to reply. That won't get you the help you need.

Adding a ground wire might make the starter work, but that is not a solution. It is only covering up the original defect that should have been easy to find with a few voltage tests. There's many better suspects for a failure to crank. If you're hearing that famous single, loud clunk each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank", that used to be caused by worn contacts inside the starter solenoid. That was REAL common with the little silver Nippendenso starters on Chryslers and Toyotas. You have a version of an older starter with a bolted-on solenoid. I haven't heard of them causing problems, but depending on your mileage, it is possible for this solenoid to cause the same symptom. This loud clunk is real easy to hear from 50 feet away. That is quite different from the light click of a relay. That often can't be heard inside the vehicle if the windows are rolled up.

A good clue is to watch the brightness of the head lights or interior lights. If they get dim or go out when you try to crank the engine, you don't have a starter problem. A bad battery or corroded or loose cable connections are the best suspects. If the lights stay bright, the starter is not drawing any current. Voltage tests will identify the cause of that. Do you have a voltmeter or test light and know how to use it?
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 AT 11:28 PM
Tiny
JACK SMITH4
  • MEMBER
It's your starter relay. You need to replace the starter relay with a new one. How do you know your relay is good? Is it a new relay or the old one? Replace the starter relay that is in your fuse distribution block in the engine compartment. Make it is the one that says Starter Relay. The click you hear is the relay clicking or trying to work but it is defective so it clicks instead of sending the signal to open the path to the starter. I bet if you replace your starter relay it will start. Relay is like under $10 bucks auto part store.
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Thursday, November 16th, 2017 AT 10:58 PM
Tiny
JACK SMITH4
  • MEMBER
The single click sound you hear from the relay is saying that relay is defective and needs to be replaced.

A good relay won't click.
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Thursday, November 16th, 2017 AT 11:00 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Huh? Relays are electro-mechanical switches, and they had better click. The click is the movable contact popping over to make the connection that turns the switch part on. That "closes" the circuit that allows current to flow. An open circuit is a turned-off circuit or a break in a wire.

It is very rare for the coil in a relay to fail. When you don't hear the relay click, it is usually because water has been getting in, and corrosion formed that is blocking the movable contact. Hearing it click doesn't necessarily mean it's working. The most common failure is the contacts have become pitted from the arcing that occurs each time the contacts open.

A common mistake a lot of people make when working with a relay with arced contacts is they take voltage readings with a voltmeter. Voltmeters are like the pressure gauge on a compressed air line. No air passes through the gauge for it to work. Very little current flows through the meter to make it work. All the arced relay contacts need to do is be able to pass a tiny trickle of current for the voltmeter to incorrectly say it's working. A test light is more accurate in this case. It works thanks to the current flowing through it. Arced relay contacts will usually show up as working with a voltmeter, but they will correctly show up as not working with a test light. If the contacts are too pitted to pass the 50 to 100 milliamps needed to turn on a test light, they for sure won't be able to pass the 10 - 15 amps it takes to run a starter solenoid.
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Friday, November 17th, 2017 AT 3:31 PM

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