2002 Grand Caravan not starting

My neighbor’s 2002 Grand Caravan won’t start. Ignition clicks when you try to crank it but theres no crank. Battery is good, Starter relay is good, I hit the starter a few whacks 6 or 7 times and it still wont start. That’s where my knowledge ends. He wants me to replace the starter for him, but I told him I didnt want to do that unless I was sure that’s what it is. Any suggestions?

Clean all the battery contacts including the one to the starter. How do you know the starter is good. Put a charger on the battery it just in case it is going bad. Then after that you are done because no good dead goes unpunished.

I tried jumping it at the battery with my truck with no change. They have a new alt and battery and terminals and all that checked out. How do I put a charger to the starter?

That is something I will not do anymore . It is too easy to fry the electronics on both vehicles at the same time. Charger to the starter , not a good idea. I think you should just say you have reached your limit and let them get professional help.

Why would you try to charge a starter?


Thanks Tester . I forgot to put battery charging in my post. I have edited it .

Thanks, I hope I can dodge my way out of an unnecessary repair…

The starting system works by switching 12 volts to the starter solenoid. You say you heard a click when trying to start the engine but you need to confirm that ‘CLICK’ is coming from the solenoid and not some other relay. The main battery cable ties to the solenoid to supply power to the starter motor via the solenoid contacts. When the solenoid activates it closes the two contacts between the battery and the motor and the starter turns. If those contacts become worn out then power to the motor is interrupted due to high resistance between the contact connection. It takes a lot of power (current) to drive the starter motor. Bad battery connections can cause a similar problem and just cleaning the battery connections clears that problem up usually. Another problem can be due to internal wire corrosion due to battery acid leaching into the wires at the battery post connections. Due to the age of the vehicle it is possible that the solenoid contacts are worn out and if so it would most likely be best to replace the starter with a remanufactured unit. If the click you are hearing is from the solenoid then worn contacts are really suspect. You can manually apply voltage to the starter solenoid to makes sure it is getting power to it. It is best to do it with a remote switch.

Problem solved, turns out one of the terminal clamps came out and the rubber sheath disguised it. I even tugged on it and it felt solid yesterday.

I put a rebuilt starter on my 1997 Plymouth minivan because I wanted it done quickly. But my preferred route is to remove the starter and clean up or replace the contacts on the solenoid. Or take it to a local auto electric shop and have them look it over and fix it up. That means a couple days or more without the vehicle working, though.

Good for you for solving the problem without an unnecessary starter replacement. Fails to crank problems are probably the most common problem posted here. If all else of the visual inspection and common sense guess-work fails to resolve it, measuring the voltages at the two starter terminals during attempted cranking is the best diagnostic imo. Both should measure 10.5 v minimum, measuring from terminal to starter case. If they both do, then replace the starter. If one or both are less than 10.5 volts, work your way through the circuitry towards the battery to find out why.