Why won't my Dakota start?

salinac99salinac99 Member Posts: 4
edited January 2017 in Dodge
My 2003 dodge dakota wont start. Occasionally it decides to fire right up but usually the only way to start it is to push start it and pop the clutch. We replaced the fuse and starter and tried hooking up a push button start. The push button wouldn't start it either. What else can causes this? When I get it started I am afraid to turn it off of I'm in town because unless I'm on a hill I won't be able to get it started again. Please help


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Sounds like you are saying "it won't crank", is that right? The starter motor won't turn over sometimes?

    Since it starts with a push, your ignition system is okay. This leaves us with a few possibilities:

    1. Corroded, loose battery cables
    2. Faulty starter solenoid
    3. Faulty starter motor
    4. faulty wiring from ignition switch to solenoid
    5. faulty ignition switch contacts in the "start" position (OK in the "run" position)
    6. Ornery clutch safety switch??--probably not since I think you by-passed that with your start button.
  • salinac99salinac99 Member Posts: 4
    Not the battery or the clutch .  I will check the others ideas and let you know what I find. thank you!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Have you tried one of those hand-held "remote starts"? You know, where you hook up one end to the battery, the other to the "S" terminal on the solenoid, and then press a button?

    That's about as direct a wiring as you can get to test the starter and solenoid. If it cranks with remote start, then you have a problem in the circuit from the "S" terminal to the ignition switch (somewhere). If it won't start even being wired directly like that, then you might tap on the starter or solenoid and see if that jogs something loose. If not, I'd pull the starter and solenoid and bench test them.

    If you know how, it's probably also a good idea to do a "voltage drop" test on the battery cable going to the starter motor.
  • salinac99salinac99 Member Posts: 4
    I did try the push button but may have done it wrong so I'll try again. 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    And you might go to YouTube and look up how to do a voltage drop test for that + battery cable, too.
  • salinac99salinac99 Member Posts: 4
    So I wanted to let you know I got it figured out. we took the starter back in to make  sure it wasn't bad and it was fine. So I found out the person helping me hooked up the push button wrong. I can start it with the push button now. the problem is the plug that connects to the starter or the wires connected to the plug . when we bi-pass the plug and use the push button it, the truck starts. thank you go your help
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