2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Intermittent Cranking Problem

Asked by Oct 01, 2015 at 12:48 PM about the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 with 103,000. miles.  All dash lights, buzzers and gauges work as normal.  Battery is strong, cables are clean.  When the key is turned to start, sometimes it cranks right up sometimes you only hear the starter click once.  

You can keep turning the key from Run to Start and after about 8-10 tries it may start.

Also, you can turn the key very carefully between Run and Start to find the "sweet spot" where it will start every time.

Same thing happens in Park or Neutral.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Dave

5 Answers

790

Seems to be an ongoing issue with the same defective ignition switch in these vehicles as the Ford, Honda, Acura, Lexus, Toyota, and Infinity that all use the same bad parts. Change the ignition switch and consider yourself lucky you didn't get cheated by crooked dealerships and dishonest manufacturers. The other problem could be the steering column ignition switch linkage is bent, damaged, loose, or misaligned.

Well thanks Guilio. Following your advise I did a little exploratory surgery. I pulled the key switch and it looked intact, no significant wear and functioning properly. On the other side of the steering column I pulled the Ignition Module. At this point, both ends of the Ignition Switch Actuator Pin (ignition switch linkage) were visible and showing no signs of wear, breakage or improper function. I put the ignition switch back in and inserted the key. Then stuck a screwdriver into the module where the Actuator Pin goes and twisted to replicate what turning the key would do. Same intermittent crank problem showed up using the screw driver. So the problem is somewhere between the ignition module and the starter. Took the ignition module apart and the contacts were easy to clean with an emery board. That did not solve the problem though. Any other suggestions would be welcome. Thanks DMG

790

If you're hearing a starter click then the problem lies with the starter solenoid or the starter itself. If there's no click, then the problem lies with the ignition switch. Connect a dummy light at the starter main battery feed and then casing. If it lights up then there's power to the solenoid. Now move the solenoid main power wire to the output of the starter solenoid where it feeds the starter itself. The light should be off. Now turn the ignition switch and if there's no light then the starter solenoid is shot. If there's light but still no cranking attempt then the starter itself is shot.

Well the problem turned out to be the starter cable that was corroded up inside the sheath and not visible when cleaning the terminals. Took the starter to AutoZone and it checked out OK. One revelation, after reading all the horror stories from people under the car trying to remove the top starter bolt with a socket fitted with multiple extensions and u-joints. Then trying to hold the starter up while disconnecting the cables. I haven't seen this explaination in any other description of this process: The easy way to remove the starter from a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.9 liter engine. Take the front wheel off and remove the plastic wheel well. There will be plenty of room to get the socket in there and a pipe for extra leverage if needed. The photo shows the view through the wheel well and you can see the socket wrench hanging on the top starter bolt.

Once the starter is loose you can lift it out and set it right on top of the disc brake to disconnect the cables. Very easy,

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Ram 1500

Looking for a Used Ram 1500 in your area?

CarGurus has 13,027 nationwide Ram 1500 listings starting at $1,800.

ZIP:

Search Dodge Ram 1500 Questions

UK Questions

Are you a UK consumer? CarGurus now has a discussion forum in the UK.

Dodge Ram 1500 Experts

#1 Dan Connell
Dan Connell
Reputation 5,680
#2 pudgybear
pudgybear
Reputation 5,300
#3 dandyoun
dandyoun
Reputation 4,940
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Ford F-150
3,031 Great Deals out of 207,234 listings starting at $1,990
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2,577 Great Deals out of 151,148 listings starting at $1,500
Used Dodge Ram 2500
161 Great Deals out of 5,626 listings starting at $2,995
Used GMC Sierra 1500
1,020 Great Deals out of 59,988 listings starting at $1,299
Used Toyota Tundra
672 Great Deals out of 27,897 listings starting at $2,500
Used Toyota Tacoma
709 Great Deals out of 31,641 listings starting at $2,750
Used Ford F-250 Super Duty
438 Great Deals out of 42,882 listings starting at $2,750
Used Dodge Dakota
133 Great Deals out of 4,328 listings starting at $995
Used Dodge Ram 3500
86 Great Deals out of 2,328 listings starting at $5,000
Used Chevrolet Tahoe
859 Great Deals out of 27,932 listings starting at $1,700
Used Ford Mustang
549 Great Deals out of 42,544 listings starting at $1,699

Used Cars For Sale

2010 Dodge Ram 1500 For Sale
87 Great Deals out of 1,500 listings starting at $5,995
2009 Dodge Ram 1500 For Sale
49 Great Deals out of 1,229 listings starting at $5,495
2008 Dodge Ram 1500 For Sale
84 Great Deals out of 1,710 listings starting at $2,995
2007 Dodge Ram 1500 For Sale
71 Great Deals out of 1,623 listings starting at $4,476
2006 Dodge Ram 1500 For Sale
88 Great Deals out of 1,524 listings starting at $2,899