Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Start-up troubleshooting help needed for Dodge VAN RAM 2500 1996

I check the battery and recharged it full overnight using 1A charger. Next morning the battery showed 14.09V. Connection was checked & cleaned and a voltage drop test was done. on the first turn of the ignition key the coltage drop to 13.59 then I waited few seconds while the voltage meter showed a steady reading and the reading became stable at 13.64 volts I gave a second try on by turning the ignition key gain and I got another drop of 13.40 volt I did a third try and I got a 13.22 volt, Then I did a voltage load test by connecting the +ve and -ve terminal of the Multi-meter to the starter I got 13.26 and then it dropped to 13.13 volts when I turn the ignition key again. Then I did a voltage drop test on +ve terminal I got 0.13volts and negative terminal I got 0.01 volts
I have removed the starter took it to Advance auto parts they tested for me and it works great. Have not equipment to do a relay test. All the fuses look good. The engine will not crank When the key is turned it does a click sound then a small humming sound persist I do not believe the engine is frozen because the van was working fine before it was parked. It did have a similar startup trouble month ago and I charge the battery and it worked fine for a month. I am not sure what is wrong or what to do next ? Please help. as I need the Van next week
14.09 -13.59 = 0.5v
13.59 - 13.40 = 0.19v
13.43 - 13.22 = 0.22v
13.26 - 13.13 = 0.13v
I read on the Internet that the load needs to show be 2.5 voltage drop if not the battery may be bad and that does not make any sense because I read other blogs that say 0.2v to 0.5 volt is expected as long as it is less then 0.8v drop on the load test.

What does the voltage do when you turn the key to “start”? If the engine were locked up, the voltage would plummet, probably to 9-10 volts for a healthy battery. If this does not happen, I would suspect a solenoid, relay, or switch problem.

Don’t test the relay, jump across it and if the engine cranks, replace the relay. Or just replace the relay without attempting to destroy the ignition switch. Ignition switch; why fart around with a $20 part, change it too. Before you do any of that, connect a jumper cable from some metal on the engine to a bolt on the body and see if the added ground helps.

Since the starter clicks, definitely do the added ground trick. In fact, connect the other jumper cable from the block to the negative battery terminal. Yes, along with the other, same time. Did I mention to change the negative battery cable? If the insulation is cracked at all, it’s bad.

If the voltage drop were serious you would be down to 10.5 in a flash. You won’t get much of that unless the starter works anyway. OK, forget changing the ignition switch. If the starter clicks, the ignition switch is probably OK and the relay is probably good too. Probably.

If the voltage is only dropping a small fraction of a volt when you turn the key then no power is making it to the starter. You will normally get a voltage drop of at least 1.5 volts, possibly more if the starter is drawing any current. I’d suspect a bad connection or bad starter relay. If you’re getting a small voltage drop and a click from the starter, the solenoid is probably bad. If the click is coming from elsewhere, it could still be a bad starter relay–there are a lot of other things to make a click when you turn the key besides the starter.

Stupid question: Have you tried starting it in neutral?