2003 Stratus blowing starter fuses

My Stratus started blowing the starter fuses occasionally when I tried to crank the engine. It stopped for a while (about three months) but recently started doing it again and much more frequently now. I hate this car.

There is no fuse for the starter motor itself, that would be one huge fuse if there was one. If the fuse is just blowing in the START mode then the starter solenoid circuit needs to be checked for problem.

@Cougar, yes indeed, there is a fuse for the starter relay. This fuse blows when power from the battery is interrupted when trying to start the car. You need to clean the battery terminals and, in one case that drove me mad, the battery terminal connection at the fuse box. This connection is just as important as the connections at the battery and the starter. The battery power is first sent to this connection before going to the starter.

I would inspect the wiring to the starter solenoid for pinches, cracks, and damage of any kind. Since the problem comes and goes, I suspect that you have a wire with damaged insulation that is rubbing on metal that is shorting it to ground intermittently.

The starter relay is a cheap part too–might be worth replacing that. I suppose it could be shorted internally, though this is kind of rare.

If you are telling me that there is a fuse that is at least a couple of hundred amps in size going to the starter motor then that is a first for me and thanks for the notice. If this is the case then I suspect the trouble is within the starter. I have seen where the stud bolt that connects the main battery lead to the starter motor has been over torqued and caused the square head inside the case of the starter to contact the case body ground. This wasn’t an intermittent problem though. Something else in the starter could be at fault here. I suppose if the starter motor was somehow being restricted from turning by the engine that could blow the fuse also.

@cougar in defense of @bustedknuckles It was stated as a fuse for the relay, not the starter motor.

Power to the starter solenoid (and relay) is fused on the Stratus/Sebring sedans. The starter solenoid has been known to blow the fuse on these cars, I have replaced a few starters for this problem.

Okay guys, help me out here as I am still a little confused about this fuse issue. In my first post about this issue I stated there wasn’t a fuse directly in line with the main power lead to the starter motor. By this I mean the heavy gauge wire going to the starter solenoid CONTACTS and the starter motor windings. I then suggested looking for a problem within the starter solenoid circuit that should be powered by a normal sized fuse. I know there is a fuse for that circuit but it certainly won’t handle the current needed by the starter motor itself. From what has been said so far it appears there is possibly also a safety relay in the circuit going to the starter solenoid. So, am I correct in thinking that this fuse in question is just to supply power the relay and the starter solenoid coil, and not to the starter motor windings? I have never heard of fuse being used to handle the current needed by the starter motor itself.

@cougar yes you are correct in assuming the fuse is not inline as far as going to the starter motor.

The OP stated “starter” fuse because that is how it is labeled in the PDC. It is for the starter solenoid, not the starter motor.

Thanks very much for the clarification @Barkydog. That makes sense. So, as I originally thought, the starter solenoid circuit needs to be checked out for a intermittent short problem. The power to run the starter motor is on a separate circuit or current path and doesn’t have a fuse inline with it.

Thanks guys!

I’ve never heard of the main battery cable to the starter motor be fused in any cars, but most cars usually have some kind of fuse in the circuit that powers the starter solenoid when the key is in the “start” position. That’s the thinner of the two wires going to the starter motor. If the battery voltage is too low, or the pull in coil on the starter is shorted, or the solenoid contacts are on the fritz and don’t make a good contact, any of those can delay the starter from properly and promptly engaging, and cause the current to spike in that circuit, and possibly blow the fuse. There’s quite a bit of current involved in that wire. On my Corolla even when everything is working correctly the current in that wire peaks, albeit briefly, at somewhere between 10 and 15 amps.

OP should make sure the proper fuse technology is being used when doing a fuse replacement. It may call for a slow-blow type of fuse rather than the regular type.