Ram B1500, B2500, B3500, 1999-2003

Description & Operation


Operation of the starting system is basically similar on all models, although starter motor specifications may differ for each engine family.

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 that pulls the plunger into the coil, and the plunger closes a set of contacts, which allow high current to reach the starter motor. 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 that the ignition switch must carry.