1996 Plymouth Voyager Starting problems

Tiny
USMCBLACK
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 116,500 MILES
I have just replaced my Battery about a month ago, and installed a new starter on Friday, Febuary 26th. Since the 26th, I have only been able to start my Van twice. Friday just after hooking up the starter, and today (Monday, March 1st), after double checking the wiring at the starter. Both times that it started, it was still up on jack stands. I have checked the starter relay, double checked the battery & fuses, checked the ignition switch & fuse. I don't know what else to look at.

Any thoughts or ideas would be helpfull as this is my only transpertation.
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Monday, March 1st, 2010 AT 7:23 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What does it do? One loud clunk but doesn't crank? No click from the relay? Do the dash lights turn on like normal? Any other observations?
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Monday, March 1st, 2010 AT 11:17 PM
Tiny
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"What does it do? One loud clunk but doesn't crank? No click from the relay? Do the dash lights turn on like normal? Any other observations?"

No clicks nor clunks, and all of the dash lights and open door chims are normal.

Could it be the ground wire at the starter not making a good connection?
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 9:50 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
No ground wire on the starter. Its bolted right to the engine / transmission.

Based on the "no click" observation, there are two things that come to mind.

Starting with the '96 models, the neutral safety switch no longer simply grounds the starter relay. Instead, the neutral safety switch feeds a pin of the engine computer which grounds the starter relay. I did have one '96 Caravan still under warranty that would not crank due to the engine computer.

A more common problem is a broken cam on the end of the ignition switch cylinder. The switch will turn not quite far enough to get to the "crank" position.

Both problems can be detected at the starter relay socket under the hood. How did you check the relay? I get the impression you know what to do with a voltmeter or test light. Is that correct?

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 10:43 AM
Tiny
USMCBLACK
  • MEMBER
I pulled the relay and checked for continuity between legs 87a & 30 as well as the lack of continuity between 87 & 30. I also just traded it out with some others in the panel that were the same.

The ignition seems to be rolling all the way, but I'll double check it to make sure.

It all seems so crazy. It all worked, until the Starter went out, and now that the Starter has been replaced, I just can't seem to find the reason as to why it's not all working againg.
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 11:08 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
To clarify, you won't notice the cracked cam on the ignition switch. It will feel normal. Rather than removing it for inspection, grab a voltmeter or test light and head to the starter relay socket.

First, I have to grab a service manual. While I'm napping, ... Ah, ... I mean searching, pop the cover off the starter relay, reinstall the relay, then squeeze the contact. If the starter cranks, that will eliminate it and the wiring to the starter including the heavy battery cable.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 11:20 AM
Tiny
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Thank you for your help. While following your advice I also started tracing the main wiring harness from the battery towards the Starter. Directly below the Air Filter a short pig-tail "T'ed" out of the harness with a 3 prong cap. Once I plugged it in, the Van started no problem. I have since randomly tested starting the Van with and with out this cap plugged in, and it starts every time the 1st time when plugged in, but remains silent when unplugged.

Cheers

Pat
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 12:32 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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All right. One in a row!

I can't find any reference to that part in my '97 service manual. If you would like to figure out which circuit that part is in, you can measure voltages and continuity at the terminals of the starter relay socket.

I'm headed out of town now. Will be back in a few hours.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 2:01 PM

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