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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time posting. I have an 89 Dakota 3.9 l. 6 cylinder. I have a no start situation. I have replaced starter relay, asd relay, fuel pump relay, cap, rotor, ignition module, plugs and wires. At first it was cranking when I was jumping the starter relay, I got new relay and put it in now no crank. I tried jumping it again and still no crank. I also have changed the ignition lock cylinder. I have lights n the dash when key is on and check engine light does not stay illuminated. The only codes it throws is battery disconnected since last start. If I arc the cellinoid it will crank. I am new to mechanics, but have learned a lot so far and basically know my way around this motor. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Oh I do have a Haynes manual but it is not very specific to my Dakota it seems. I have read many threads in this forum but I am unable to figure this out..my biggest question is why all of a sudden no crank after installing the new relays. Thank you.
 

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The '89 is way earlier than I have experience with, but there must be a fuse(s?) in the starter circuit. Your Haynes should have schematics in the back of it, so maybe find one for the starting system & work backwards from the solenoid (as you have verified that the starter, itself, is operational) and see if you are missing a fuse or circuit breaker or fusible link or something.
 

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. . . anyway, as I typed, I don't know anything about this vintage of Dak, but I just quickly buzzed through Rockauto's list of parts under electrical for it, and a neutral safety switch would give you a no-crank condition that would be bypassed by going hot to the solenoid.

As far as your no start when it was cranking, if you can get it to crank again, I think you need to verify whether you have a no-fuel or no-spark condition. Going back to Rock's parts list for the '89, I note there is a fuel pump cut off switch listed and a fuel injection relay, if it turned out that you had a no-fuel condition preventing it from starting.

Just a couple of things to consider. . . .
 

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. . . and one more thing quickly . . . when you were down there jumping across the solenoid, did you take a good look at the terminal of the wire to the starter and make sure that it was intact and patent? I do recall a Taurus I once had and that terminal was a known issue on them--no crank.

Once you get it cranking again, then you can start figuring out why it's not lighting off.
 

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. . . if you can get it to cranking again and you determine that the reason it isn't lighting off due to no spark, I note that you did not say that you had changed the distributor pickup coil which lives underneath the distributor cap. Not crazy expensive and I'd almost consider them to be a tune up replacement part.

I can't find them listed on Rock for that year, but I am still assuming there still should be a crankshaft position sensor for that year?

I would also ohm out the ignition coil and see if it is within specs. Your Haynes should list those specs and illustrate where to put your meter probes.

And, Rockauto is showing a ballast resistor as part of your ignition system. They show two types, a 2 blade and a 4 blade. I've never actually had any experience with this part, but Rock is selling them for about $5, so you might want to read up on them, and for $5, if it was me, that's a part I wouldn't have a problem throwing against the wall to see if it sticks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
. . . anyway, as I typed, I don't know anything about this vintage of Dak, but I just quickly buzzed through Rockauto's list of parts under electrical for it, and a neutral safety switch would give you a no-crank condition that would be bypassed by going hot to the solenoid.

As far as your no start when it was cranking, if you can get it to crank again, I think you need to verify whether you have a no-fuel or no-spark condition. Going back to Rock's parts list for the '89, I note there is a fuel pump cut off switch listed and a fuel injection relay, if it turned out that you had a no-fuel condition preventing it from starting.

Just a couple of things to consider. . . .
Nss is next on my list. I have an asd and a fuel pump relay. Still trying to figure which is which they take the same relay. But when I first started this project and it was cranking I was jumping starter relay and one of the two others was not in...i then I whet and got 3 new relays and put them in and then no crank. I put it back to jumping starter relay and took other out and still no crank.
. . . if you can get it to cranking again and you determine that the reason it isn't lighting off due to no spark, I note that you did not say that you had changed the distributor pickup coil which lives underneath the distributor cap. Not crazy expensive and I'd almost consider them to be a tune up replacement part.

I can't find them listed on Rock for that year, but I am still assuming there still should be a crankshaft position sensor for that year?

I would also ohm out the ignition coil and see if it is within specs. Your Haynes should list those specs and illustrate where to put your meter probes.

And, Rockauto is showing a ballast resistor as part of your ignition system. They show two types, a 2 blade and a 4 blade. I've never actually had any experience with this part, but Rock is selling them for about $5, so you might want to read up on them, and for $5, if it was me, that's a part I wouldn't have a problem throwing against the wall to see if it sticks.
No crank pos. Sens. It has an ignition pickup module? Basically Hall effect I think and I replaced that also. I will check into ballast resistor thank you for the info
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
. . . if you can get it to cranking again and you determine that the reason it isn't lighting off due to no spark, I note that you did not say that you had changed the distributor pickup coil which lives underneath the distributor cap. Not crazy expensive and I'd almost consider them to be a tune up replacement part.

I can't find them listed on Rock for that year, but I am still assuming there still should be a crankshaft position sensor for that year?

I would also ohm out the ignition coil and see if it is within specs. Your Haynes should list those specs and illustrate where to put your meter probes.

And, Rockauto is showing a ballast resistor as part of your ignition system. They show two types, a 2 blade and a 4 blade. I've never actually had any experience with this part, but Rock is selling them for about $5, so you might want to read up on them, and for $5, if it was me, that's a part I wouldn't have a problem throwing against the wall to see if it sticks.
Oh and I had napa test resitance on coil and it's good
 

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Well,I am not saying that it is the neutral switch, I was just pointing out that it is in the circuit and if it goes bad, you won't crank when you hit the key. (Reading schematics is not my forte, but it looks to me that on a '97 through '99, which is the oldest Dak schematics I have, the PCM signal to energize the starter relay goes through the neutral switch.)

Is it still cranking when you jump battery voltage straight across the solenoid?
And if so, did you verify that the wire for the starter is good, and in particular at the terminal ends where hooked to the starter?

If it isn't still cranking when you go straight to the solenoid, keep in mind that when the solenoids start going bad, it is often intermittently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh. Ok. I didn't know that about solenoid. Can I test it? Probably I will look it up. My mechanic friend just came over and everything is ok with nss. Now there is a rod going from my tranny to what looks like a throttle in the side of my carb. Do u by chance know what this is? I'll try and post pic. I do have a Haynes manual but I'm having a hard time locating it right now so I'm not able to reference it. My friends who checked the switch said he was confused as to what it was he'd never seen anything like it.... On another note, I guess I'm just hoping it's not a fusible link because that whole concept really scares me it kind of seems like they're kind of stupid, a premeditated bandaid I guess, but then again I'm not a mechanic and maybe they have a good purpose but it just seems kind of like a nightmare when you're trying to diagnose electrical. Thank you so much for your time I'm appreciating all the information you're giving me this is definitely a learning experience for me. One that is probably due! Lol View attachment 4090 View attachment 4090
Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive fuel system Automotive exterior Bumper
 

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As I've typed, I am not at all familiar with your vintage, and the oldest Dakota Haynes I have goes back to '97.
Could that rod be part of the kick down linkage that Dodge was using in '89 or what was used instead of a throttle valve cable back then?
Regardless, I don't think that is part of your no-crank or no-start issue.

So first: the starter solenoid. According to Rockauto, the starter solenoid on the '89 is separate from the starter?

You did say, in your OP, that you had jumped straight to the starter solenoid ("If I arc the cellinoid it will crank.") ; when you are doing that, are you going straight to the terminal on the starter

or are you jumping to what I showed you in the picture in the first link?
And when you do that, does it still crank?

(Once upon a time, Ford put their starter solenoids on the fender welll, and if they went bad, you could jump across them; I am wondering if your '89 is like that?)

As far as a fusible link, I just mentioned that as a possibility, and I am not saying that I know there is one in the system. Take your Haynes and go to the back of it where the schematics are and find the one for the starting system. Then trace it through from the starter backwards and see what all is in the system. If you need to look up any of the symbols that they use, you should be able to find them on line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It turns over if I arc it with a screwdriver. The solenoid is on top of the starter in my truck. I just read about my ignition switch and seeings how I just replaced the cylinder, I was thinking maybe I messed something up. An article I read said that if my dash lights turn on that when I go to start it they should turn off,at least in most cars, but it said if not test it with my headlights and that my headlights should greatly dim or turn off when I'm trying to start it. Well the lights didn't turn off on the dash but my headlights did not dim either I tried it both ways do you think this could be the issue? And yes to going to terminal on starter.
 

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Well, I suppose it is possible that you got something wrong when you changed the lock cylinder, but I was kind of thinking not.

Humor me a bit longer on the starter solenoid, this


is what you are jumping across with the screwdriver blade, correct? Because of the way you described it "arced it with a screwdriver" I am thinking you turned the key 'ON' and used the blade of the screwdriver to bridge across both of the big terminals and icranked it that way?

If that's what's going on, that is making me think that the solenoid has gone bad and what you are doing is effectively bypassing the internals of it. The screwdriver is a bridge from the hot battery terminal of the starter solenoid to the starter terminal of the solenoid--meaning you are using the screwdriver to do what the solenoid should do.

Here


is a nice little solenoid tutorial, and if you scroll about halfway or so down, there is a neat diagram that lays out the basic voltage path in the basic starting system.

As far as the lights not going dim, I am thinking that since the starter is not drawing current (because the starter solenoid is working), you aren't seeing the lights dim.

I know that you were talking about how you had been cheating the starter relay and it cranked and then you replaced the relay and it didn't crank. That MIGHT have been a coincidence, and the solenoid, at that point in its life, was failing intermittently, and now it has failed completely.
 

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. . . okay, so coming back to your OP, I had been ASSUMING that even when you could crank it, that it wasn't starting and running? Or did I read something in that wasn't there? (I ASSUMED that it wouldn't run because of all the other parts that you changed).

But if we are not on the same page on that, and you got it to crank AND start and run by cheating the starter relay, I believe if you left the relay cheated to the energized position for very long after the engine was actually started and running, that could cause damage in the circuit. With the relay installed, when you let go of the key after starting, the relay then de-energizes and voltage no longer flows through the starter solenoid to the starter; but if you have a cheater in the relay slots, that part of the starter circuit would stay energized.
 

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. . . okay, I was giving this some further thought, and just because using a screwdriver blade to bridge the hot battery terminal to the starter terminal of your solenoid gets the starter to crank, this does not necessarily mean that the solenoid HAS TO BE bad. It still might be bad, but. . .

If you get under there with a voltmeter and put the positive lead on the small terminal (the 3rd terminal) of the starter solenoid (and the negative lead to a good ground) and have someone turn the key to the cranking position, you should read voltage that is supposed to excite the coil within the solenoid. If you do get that reading but still no crank that would mean a bad solenoid. If you got no voltage, that would mean the problem was somewhere between that terminal and the key.

Since I didn't know how much you should actually read at that small terminal when trying to crank it, I found this:

"Bad voltage at starter (with clean tight connections), measure the voltage at the solenoid small terminal with the yellow/red wire with the key turned over to "start" you should read within a half-volt of battery voltage, otherwise you have a wiring fault between the keyswitch & solenoid".

So I'd suggest looking for battery voltage at that terminal while someone turns the key to 'START' & if you don't get it, buy a new starter solenoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok. I'll do that test on solenoid. Great info on the solenoid thank you. As for the original post, the truck has not fired and run. I'm hoping replacing all that I did fixed that problem if it even was one!? In my ignorance I just assumed it was a spark issue. I'm learning a lot though so It's worth it. Thank you again for your help and patience with me. It's been very helpful.
 

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Let us know whether you are reading any power at the small terminal of the solenoid with the key being held in 'start' by an assistant.
If not, I believe that there are readings that can be taken with a multimeter from the slots where the starter relay plugs in that will help find where in the circuit the problem is.
 

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. . . oh, and while you are down there, make sure that the wire going to the small terminal on the solenoid is tight. And you might want to actually remove the nut holding it on and make sure that the terminal end itself isn't loose from the wire. That would give you a no-crank with the key that would be bypassed by bridging the battery & starter terminals with a screwdriver blade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Let us know whether you are reading any power at the small terminal of the solenoid with the key being held in 'start' by an assistant.
If not, I believe that there are readings that can be taken with a multimeter from the slots where the starter relay plugs in that will help find where in the circuit the problem is.
Ok. No voltage at small wire on solenoid . I was just trying to take readings at my starter relay port but I am having a hard time finding a schematic with the pin numbers. I have read about the voltages you should have when keys on and also off but I'm not sure of placement of multimeter. I do know that when the key is turned on only the fuel pump and the asd relays click. The starter relay was purchased a week ago and is functional if I apply power to it. So it's kinda looking like the wiring to the starter relay is culprit? Oh and small wire s tight no movement
 

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I was really hoping you would have got a reading of some voltage at that terminal. That would have indicated that the solenoid was not operating.
And just to clarify, you were checking for voltage at that terminal at the same time some one was holding the key over to the cranking position, correct?

Here is something else you could do that should verify whether the solenoid is actually good or bad. You could take a length of wire, it wouldn't have to be a real heavy gauge, and clamp one end to your positive post on your battery, and then take the other end and contact the small terminal, that we have been discussing, on the starter solenoid. Applying voltage here should excite the coil withing the solenoid, and if it is good, the solenoid should operate and the starter should crank. By doing this you have bypassed everything else. If the solenoid does not operate and the starter does not crank, that should mean that it is a bad solenoid.

To the transmission neutral switch: you said that you had a friend check it and that it was good. How did he check it? Remember, it is in the circuit to prevent current to the starter relay when the tranny is not in N or P.

As far as checking relays from your starter relay slot:
first, when you were cheating the relay, what were you using to do it with? I ask because I am wondering if maybe you may have damaged the contacts in one or both receptacles and now it isn't making good contact with the relay blades? Just asking.

Okay, the starter relay should be a 4 blade relay and the identification # for the blades should be on the relay itself and at the blade receptacles.

Here
is a relay tutorial I really like, and before you start read through this, but I am cutting and pasting from it and it says to:

Check for constant ground to the relay.

"Identify the slot in the fuse box that terminal 85 plugs into. Set your multimeter to read voltage on the 20-volt scale. Plug the negative lead of your multimeter into the slot for terminal No. 85. Touch the positive lead to the positive battery terminal. You should see constant battery voltage. If the voltage flashes, repair the ground and ground wire that connects to terminal No. 85. If you get a constant voltage, continue to the next step."

"Check the quality of power to the switched side of the relay.
Plug the positive lead of your multimeter into the slot for terminal No. 86. Turn on the ignition key,"

In this case, you will need some one to hold the key over to the cranking position.

" then touch the positive lead of the multimeter to the negative battery terminal. If the voltage varies, the problem lies in whatever is supposed to activate the relay -- the computer or a switch, for example. Inspect, the wiring for terminal No. 86 and make any repairs as needed. If you do not discover any damage to the wiring for terminal No. 86, replace the component that controls the relay."
 
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