1997 Dodge Grand Caravan starter problem?


#1

This question concerns starting our 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan with 170K. The problem started about a week ago. When turning the key to start the engine, nothing would happen. No click, no noise, no engine turnover. By turning the key to off and then back on several times, the starter would kick in normally.
The starter has never been replaced and I don’t recall any electrical work ever being done on the car. I take it to our mechanic about every 2 years for a tune up and replacement of belts and hoses as needed.
I have a friend that is a good shade tree mechanic and he is willing to replace the starter.
My question is: Is the problem most likely a bad starter and if so, is replacement by my friend a reasonably easy task.
Thanks to all, you guys have been so very helpful on this site in the past.
Dan


#2

This does sound like a starter going bad, especially since the starter is 15 years old, but I would try to pinpoint the problem a little better before throwing a starter on it. This can be tricky, though, with an intermittent problem like this. If your shadetree mechanic friend knows how to bypass the starter relay, he can try that, and if the cranking issue shows up there, you know it’s the starter. As for replacing the starter, it is an easy job any mechanically inclined person can have done in less than an hour with basic hand tools. Just make sure he disconnects the battery first to avoid an exciting show, but he should know this already.


#3

Thanks Mark, will take your advice.
Dan