Chrysler Full-Size Vans 1989-1998 Repair Guide

General Information

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The starting system includes the battery, starter motor, solenoid, ignition switch and, in some cases, a starter relay. An inhibitor switch (neutral safety) is included in the starting system circuit to prevent the vehicle from being started while in gear.

When the ignition key is turned to the START position, current flows and energizes the starter's solenoid coil. The energized coil becomes a magnet which pulls the plunger into the coil, and the plunger closes a set of contacts which allow high current to reach the starter motor. On models where the solenoid is mounted on the starter, the plunger also serves to push the starter pinion into the teeth on the flywheel/flexplate.

To prevent damage to the starter motor when the engine starts, the pinion gear incorporates an over-running (one-way) clutch which is splined to the starter armature shaft. The rotation of the running engine may speed the rotation of the pinion, but not the starter motor itself.

Some starting systems employ a starter relay in addition to the solenoid. This relay may be located under the dashboard, in the kick panel, or in the fuse/relay center under the hood. This relay is used to reduce the amount of current which the ignition switch must carry.

Precautions

Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing the starter. Battery voltage is always present at the large (B) terminal on the solenoid. When removing the starter motor, be prepared to support its weight after the last bolt is removed, because the starter motor is a fairly heavy component.

Never operate the starter for more than 30 seconds at a time. Too much cranking will cause the starter motor to overheat, causing permanent damage. Allow the starter to cool for at least two minutes between starting attempts.

SYSTEM TESTING



A good quality digital multimeter with at least 10 megohms/volt impedance should be used when testing modern automotive circuits. These meters can accurately detect very small amounts of voltage, current and resistance. This type of meter also has a low internal resistance that will not load the circuit being tested. Loading the circuit gives inaccurate readings and may cause damage to sensitive computer circuits. Although we are not testing computer circuits in this section, accuracy is very important.

  1. Check the battery and clean the connections as follows:
    1. If the battery cells have removable caps, check the water level. Add distilled water if low. Load test the battery and charge if necessary. Refer to General Information & Maintenance for further information.
    2.  
    3. Remove the cables and clean them with a wire brush. Reconnect the cables.
    4.  

  2.  
  3. Check the starter motor ground circuit with a voltage drop test as follows:
    1. Set the meter to read DC voltage on the lowest possible scale.
    2.  
    3. Connect the negative lead of your multimeter to the negative terminal of the battery.
    4.  
    5. Connect the positive lead to the body of the starter. Make sure the starter mounting bolts are tight. The meter should read 0.2 volts or less. If the voltage reading is greater, remove and clean the negative battery connection on the engine block. The voltage reading should now be within specification; if not, replace the negative battery cable.
    6.  

  4.  
  5. Check the motor feed circuit with a voltage drop test as follows:
    1. Disconnect the coil wire or the fuel injector harness to prevent the engine from possible starting.
    2.  
    3. Using the same voltage scale as above, connect the positive lead of your meter to the positive terminal of the battery.
    4.  
    5. Connect the negative meter lead to the motor feed terminal. This is the terminal closest to the starter motor on the solenoid.
    6.  
    7. Turn the ignition key to the START position. The meter should read 0.2 volts or less. If the voltage reading is greater, remove and clean the positive battery connection on the starter solenoid. The voltage reading should now be within specification; if not, replace the positive battery cable.
    8.  
    9. Connect the coil wire or fuel injector harness.
    10.  

  6.  
  7. Check for battery voltage at the S terminal on the starter solenoid as follows:
    1. Disconnect the coil wire or the fuel injector harness to prevent the engine from possible starting.
    2.  
    3. Set the meter to read battery voltage. Move it to next higher range if set on the 2 volt scale.
    4.  
    5. Connect the positive lead to the S terminal on the starter solenoid and the negative lead to a good ground.
    6.  
    7. Turn the ignition key to the START position and crank the engine. The meter should read battery voltage. If battery voltage is not present, check the neutral safety switch, fuse(s) and wiring between the ignition switch and starter solenoid. If battery voltage is present at the S terminal on the solenoid and the starter does not operate, replace the starter and solenoid assembly.
    8.  
    9. Connect the coil wire or fuel injector harness.
    10.  

  8.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Remove all components necessary to gain access to the starter motor (such as exhaust pipes, air intake ducts, hoses, brackets and heat shields.)
  6.  
  7. Label and disconnect the electrical harness from the starter.
  8.  

In some cases, the wiring may be more accessible after removing the mounting bolts and moving the starter.

  1. Remove the starter mounting bolts.
  2.  
  3. Remove the starter assembly from the vehicle. In some cases, the starter will have to be turned to a different angle to clear obstructions.
  4.  

Retain any shims that may fall out from between the starter and the mounting boss; they will need to be returned to their original position when replacing the starter. The shims are used to adjust the clearance between the starter pinion and flywheel/flexplate teeth.

To install:
  1. Position the starter on the engine.
  2.  
  3. If necessary, measure and adjust the pinion-to-ring gear clearance.
  4.  
  5. Position the shim(s) and the starter motor on the mounting boss. Tighten the mounting bolts to 50 ft. lbs. (65 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Connect the electrical harness.
  8.  
  9. Install any components that were removed to gain access to the starter.
  10.  
  11. Connect the negative battery cable.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: There are two retaining bolts for the starter. Be sure to support the starter by hand before fully removing them



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Remove the starter by pulling straight back after the bolts are fully removed; the cable terminals are on top



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: It is not a good idea to let the starter dangle by its cables, so be sure to support it while unfastening terminal connections



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: When removed from the vehicle, inspect the starter drive gear for damage



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Inspect the teeth on the flywheel or flexplate for damage before reinstalling the starter

PINION DEPTH ADJUSTMENT



Generally, add shims if the starter whines after the engine starts, and remove shims if the starter whines only during cranking.

This procedure is used to diagnose starter noise caused by incorrect clearance between the starter pinion and flywheel while the starter is engaged.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the flywheel cover.
  4.  
  5. Inspect the flywheel teeth for chipped or missing teeth, abnormal wear, cracks and a possibly warped flywheel. Replace any damaged components and continue with the procedure.
  6.  
  7. Make sure the vehicle is in Park or Neutral. Apply the parking brake and start the engine.
  8.  


CAUTION
Keep your fingers out of the way and be extremely careful when performing the next step.

  1. Carefully touch the outside edge of the rotating flywheel with a marker to highlight the high spot of the ring gear.
  2.  
  3. Turn the engine OFF .
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  6.  
  7. Turn the high spot of the flywheel to the area of the starter drive pinion.
  8.  
  9. Using a wire gauge, measure the clearance between the tip of the ring gear tooth and bottom of the pinion gear teeth. Clearance should generally be 0.02-0.06 in. (0.5-1.5mm).
  10.  
  11. Add or remove shims to adjust the clearance if needed.
  12.  
  13. Install the flywheel cover.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle to the floor.
  16.  
  17. Connect the negative battery cable.
  18.  

 
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