1998 Dodge Durango startup problem


For the past few weeks my husband’s truck has had this problem:

(1998 Dodge Durango. 5.2 V-8, 110,000 miles. Brand new battery. From cold start.)

1. Turn key to pre-ignition.

2. Can see gauge cluster power up.

3. Can hear fuel pump & vacuum system power up.

4. Turn key to ignition.

5. Dead silence.

6. Turn ignition off, wait 10 seconds, repeat process.

7. Starts right up as normal.

8. Mechanic can’t find anything wrong.

The vehicle was bought brand new and has been meticulously maintained all the years he’s owned it. It’s at the shop now and they’re keeping it all week to see if they can replicate the problem. If they can’t replicate it or find out what’s wrong, we feel we have no choice but to ask them to replace the starter, because my husband works out of state, living near work during the week and living at home only on weekends. So if this problem happens again while he’s at work, say on a Friday, and he can’t get back home for the weekend… we’re willing to risk replacing the starter rather than have that happen.

The shop hasn’t called yet (they’ve had the truck since Sunday night) so I assume they haven’t replicated the problem yet. Any advice would be appreciated.



This sounds like the battery cables are not clean and tight. I would start there because you say the battery is new. Clean and tighten BOTH ends of each battery cable. It could be a bad starter but it sounds like a classic case of dirty/loose battery cables.

My husband put in the battery himself and he’s very much a detail guy, so that’s been taken care of – but thank you for your input! :slight_smile:

He had brought it to a shop in the state where he works and the guy tested everything he could think of: starter, loose wires or cables, etc., etc., and could find nothing wrong. I stopped by the local shop yesterday where they have the truck and they confirmed haven’t been able to replicate the problem yet.

There’s not really much reason to guess about a starter - their function is easily checked, and if the starter itself works then there is only the problem of getting the power to it.

Take some electronics cleaner and blow it into the ignition switch - then blow some air through there and make sure it dries out fully. See if that helps at all.

Is this an automatic or manual transmission?

It’s an automatic.

It could be just the neutral safety switch, they are cheap and easy to replace.

For the next bunch of starts, put it in neutral first and then try to start it. If this problem goes away then replace the neutral safety switch (noted by oldtimer_11 below).

I spoke to the guys at the shop and they’ve been testing everything, running diagnostics on it, trying to replicate the problem. Still cannot replicate it, all else is checking out fine so far. They’ll have it until Saturday so if they can find nothing wrong and/or can’t replicate the problem by then, we’ll have a new starter put in.

I really don’t think it is the starter. I’ve never heard of a starter working this way. Teh either die a slow death (drawing more and more current) or up and quit.

I agree that the starter is very unlikely. The silence when the key is turned is a classic sign of no power at all flowing to the starter.

Did you ever figure out what was the reason for your Durango not starting up, My daughter is having the same problems.

Yes! I’m sorry I didn’t come back to say.

It was the starter. Replaced it and all was well.