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Starter or Ignition switch?

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by thelawnguy, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Trying to figure if the problem with my Dodge is the starter or switch...first start of the day, turn the key, either you get nothing until the 2nd or 3rd try or sometimes just a click, like the battery's dead or something, then it cranks over and starts right up. All lights and dash indicators light normally. New battery in the fall.

    Help me isolate the starter or the ignition switch under the column, or just change out both? Not looking forward to being stuck when the "big one" hits lol.
  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Bill,Dodge had a lot of problems with overloading the ignition switch,the blower motor circuit runs thru the switch,even on high,no relay,Over time this melts the switch.Usually this doesnt affect starting though.It affects all power options,only,like power windows,and blower motor,radio,etc.It is easy to drop the lower column cover,i think its 3 T20 torx bits,you will be able to look at the connector,and switch,and see if its melted.I did one that was so bad the column cover was melted right thru,cant believe the owner didnt smell plastic melting.In your case if its melted,Id change it irreguardless,its only going to fail eventually if it is.If you get it from Dodge ,they should give you an updated switch,with a relay/pigtail.You use the relay to take the high speed blower motor load off the switch.If you switch isnt melted,probe the crank wire while the lower cover is off,with a test light ,watch it while you crank,my guess is the starter motor is bad,but this is a good time to check the switch.My good friends 94 V10 melted the switch in 95 degree august heat,the power windows were up,they dont work,neither does the A/c,no blower or A/C clutch,He drove it for 2 weeks in the heat like that,before i fixed it.If you need the wire color ,E-mail me,I can get the color ofr you ,or just probe the thin wires til you find it.
  3. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    I had the recall done last year, where they bypass the switch and install a relay for the heater fan. Checked things out a couple months ago when I had to drop the knee bolster to change the door hinge, everything looked ok then.

    My hunch is that the starter is heading out, based on the fact it has 73,000 miles and during the mowing season the truck is started and stopped easily 20 times a day-a lot of wear and tear on a starter.
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133


    I responded to your post on Lawnsite before I saw this one. Let me know what you think and do.

  5. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    The solenoid is integral to the starter. All connections seem fine.

    If I'm going to go through the hassle of dropping the starter to check things out (about the only way to do it) a new one is going in...then I'll monkey with the old one in my spare time and keep it on hand.

    Thanks for all your help. I asked the same question on the Dodge truck mailing list and it came down to solenoid starter or connections, nobody seems to think the switch would be the culprit unless upon inspection it shows signs of frying.
  6. guff72

    guff72 Junior Member
    from kansas
    Messages: 8

    i had the same things happen to my 97 dodge v-10, i took the starter off and took some emery cloth to the rotor and it worked fine, been working for about 1 year like that now hope this helps.
  7. DaveO

    DaveO PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Ma.
    Messages: 299


    Based on your description I would go with the starter/solenoid. Sometimes the starters develop a "dead" spot, where it does not conduct current. Usually a tap with a small hammer will get it to turn over.

  8. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    IF you have tilt wheel, and use it often, the ignition connections tend to break there. I forget to mention it in my other thread. My brother lifts the wheel to get in and out of the truck, so the contacts have worn out, and the wires have broken ( a total of 3 times so far). When the ignition acted up, he would have to raise the wheel all the way to get the truck started. Funny, once started he could move the wheel to any position he wanted.