Caravan no-start (91)

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Old 01-28-08, 12:46 PM
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Caravan no-start (91)

Alright. Since we now have trouble with the new 94 caravan we got (tranny, heater core), we're thinking we can fix the old one to hold us out until we find something better. She burns oil, windshield is cracked, etc., but she runs great, moves good, and doesn't leak nothing (And has heat!).

So here is the problem with the 91 we want to get working. One day, it just wouldn't start at all. Oil is fine, battery is fine (we tried a brand new one). We do have full power inside the vehicle.. lights and whatnot. You can hear a buzz noise quickly after you try to start it, I guess that is the fuel injectors spraying fuel or something. Also, under the hood, you can hear a possible clicking once or twice we believe, on the right beside the battery.

So since we have 2 other vans (Count it, 2 that don't work!) for parts, what can we change to get this thing running for a bit? (Please include locations if it's the starter/starter solenoid, etc., so I can perform the work fast - Thanks!)
 

Last edited by Codyy; 01-28-08 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 01-28-08, 03:09 PM
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91 Caravan Starter Relay (See my other thread - no start)

(Had to make this thread because couldn't edit the other again)

So the vehicle won't start as you know from the other thread. I did a little investigating and found something click when the key was held on, and click when it went off. It looks like a starter relay. There is three on a little clip beside the battery, it is the first one I think is the starter relay. Now, how do I fix it/is it the same in the 94 caravan so I can use it's parts? THANKS!
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:25 PM
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I dont know if your starter selenoid is located on your starter or elsewhere but what you need to do is locate where the selonoid is and check to see if the selenoid gets power when the key is in the crank position. If it does and your main starter cable from battery has power it most likely needs a selenoid or if its attached to starter a whole starter assembley.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:28 PM
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Isn't it possible it is JUST this relay?
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:33 PM
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Absolutely. If the starter selenoid is not connected to the starter we just replace the selenoid. If its connected to the starter we replace the whole starter.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:38 PM
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So it isn't just the relay thing that i found on that clip beside the battery that clicks on and clicks when the ignition is released? That is just indicating a starter/solenoid problem? I'm a little confused! lol
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:47 PM
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Im not sure were on the same page here. Most likely the relay you here clicking is for the fuel pump or possibly some other electrical item. A starter does not use relays. Starters use selenoids. You need to see if your starter selenoid is getting power on crank. Check your starter and see if the selenoid is attached.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:50 PM
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Ok, I think you're lol. What I was wondering, if it was possible that the clicking relay was the reason the vehicle wasn't starting, but I guess that is impossible? It isn't starting because of either the starter or solenoid then... Also, someone will have to help me via information to locate those pieces in that case.
Also thanks for the quick reponses.. it's great when I can interact right away with someone.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:54 PM
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Does the motor turn when you try to start or do you get nothing when you turn the key to start.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 03:56 PM
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There is full power, since we even tried a brand new battery, firstly.

Secondly, when you try to start the thing, all you hear is a little "bzzzz" for a second (I guess fuel pump/injector?), and a click when you push the key to start it, and another click when you let go of the key. The engine does not try to turn over.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 04:03 PM
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Ok sounds like either bad connection to battery or the starter or a weak battery.( Ive had new batteries that were no good.) Your battery cables could be no good also which would cause high resistance. Its hard to judge without seeing it but i would say there is a bad connection somewhere if you determine the battery is fully charged.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 04:07 PM
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Ok. I can look over the connections and stuff. I'll need someone to let me know where the starter is for sure on this vehicle.

I thought it was the relay, but want I wanted to know about it is if the relay that clicks could BE the problem, or simply a SYMPTOM of a bad starter, solenoid, connection, etc.

Thanks a great deal for your help.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 04:13 PM
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Im sorry I cant be of more assistance. But i can almost be 99% sure its not the relay you speak of. You need to get a chilton or haynes manual which can show you where the starter and or selenoid is and well go from there.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 04:17 PM
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Thanks for the help. I've got a Haynes manual at a friends.. I'll get it and see what I can do, and keep everyone posted.

If anyone else has input, please add as well.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Codyy View Post
I thought it was the relay, but want I wanted to know about it is if the relay that clicks could BE the problem, or simply a SYMPTOM of a bad starter, solenoid, connection, etc.

Thanks a great deal for your help.
Does that relay up under the hood have 2 big wires and two skinny ones? You want to test with voltmeter to 12 volts that when the key is turned to start, and it clicks there, that you indeed have 12 volts LEAVING that relay out the big wire towards the starter. Then take things from there, depending on what you find.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:45 PM
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I'll have to check what wires it has tomorrow, when it's brighter. But also, I don't have a voltmeter and they seems pretty pricey since I don't know how often I'd use it. Is there some other way to test it? Are the relays cheap enough to test a new one/how can I remove the old one to test one from one of our other caravans?
 
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Old 01-29-08, 09:37 AM
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Any more input on this?
 
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Old 01-30-08, 09:28 AM
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Anybody else got some input? This is a hard situation for me lol, and we need to get back on the road.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 09:45 AM
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voltmeter

Codyy

A cheap voltmeter would do fine for checking this stuff. Yes they can get expensive, but you can prob get one at Radio Shack or maybe even Walmart for about $10. Would save you a lot of parts swapping and guessing. Once you have one, you'd be using it a lot I'd bet.

Sorry, no hints on the van itself.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 09:56 AM
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Two thoughts.

1 - Even if a solenoid is making a good contact noise - CLICK - it is still possible that it is not making proper contact internally. Happens all the time. You can get a cheap voltmeter that will serve your purpose for about $15 or less. Doesn't need to be a fancy digital with bells and whistles; a simply analog one (has a needle to indicate) will suffice.

2. You could have an accessory that has locked up or, going for worst-case scenario, the motor itself could be locked up. Can check this by temporarily removing the serpentine belt to see if it will then turn over. If it doesn't, checking to see if the engine will rotate will require a socket and breaker bar so that you can rotate the crank using the large bolt head for the crank pulley.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 11:23 AM
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this ain't gonna be easy...

ok...your van uses BOTH a starter relay AND a starter solenoid, which is somewhat redundant, but that's the way it is. thw wiring varies a bit depending on what trans is in it. locate the starter under the van bolted onto the engine, big round thing with a small wire going to it and a big battery cable going to it. with that volt meter you need to buy, put the red meter lead on the little brown wire on the starter and the black meter on a good clean metal place...or the black battery terminal would be even better. have someone try to crank it and see what you get.

battery voltage = a starter or mechanical engine problem

no voltage = something wrong in the starter control circuit (relay, ign switch, wiring)

use your haynes manual to back track that brown wire and find out where you lose voltage.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 11:55 AM
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With out reading ALL, the details thus far, I am getting the feeling someone might be steering you away from confirming that the relay is not at fault here. If I'm not mistaken, you have 2 or 3 relays in the same area, and probably have one other as well as the start relay that have the same part #. What I always did when I suspected a faulty relay, was exchange it with one of the others that had the same part #.
I had a similar episode with my 92' Caravan, which had 4 relays on the inner fender area, and 2 or 3 of them were the same part #. I simply moved the start harness/connector to one of the others, temporarily to try it. I think there is a rad fan relay, a/c relay, etc there. What have you got to lose?
 
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Old 01-30-08, 12:04 PM
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could we get a new avatar for tongue biting?
 
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Old 01-30-08, 12:13 PM
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A link for you Cody http://www.autozone.com/N,4294897505...locsSelect.htm )

Having checked there for prices, $15.00 for relay vs $100-$150 US for starter, I'd be tempted to gamble $15.00 on the relay, if I still wasn't 100% sure of good relay, and having double checked and cleaned my connections, before I went and bought a starter. Those relays have been known to cause problems over time.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 12:30 PM
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there's always more than one way to skin a cat...i prefer diagnostics and purchasing parts once, but to each his own
 
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Old 01-30-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by carguyinva View Post
could we get a new avatar for tongue biting?
Ya' I hear you carguy, I just can't get the thought/picture out of my head of a guy going & buying a meter, and then staring at it & the instructions for hours before they call a friend over who actually knows how to use one. I'm certainly not calling anyone incompetent here, but I've worked with s-o-o-o-o, many techs over the years, that have an expensive meter, but haven't a clue how to use it, that I naturally expect the same from the average Joe. Figured quick switch of relay, would be easier, but I guess they won't learn the proper way to do it right? (Hee-hee) sorry! I'll bite it next time !! Ha-ha. Mike
 
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Old 01-31-08, 06:11 PM
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Codyy,

If you want to DIY anything, you need a multimeter (sometimes called a voltmeter that also tests ohms and continuity and some other functions).

I bought my brother in law multi-fucnction digital one at one of those national tool stores for only $3 on sale for Christmas as a stocking stuffer. He is a professional person where he never gets his hands dirty and is not a mechanical person at all.

Yesterday just after I fixed my car out in the cold, he calls me up from over by the Twin Cities to ask me if I can walk him thru on how to diagnose his refrigerator. I told him how to use the voltmeter and he made tests while I waited on the phone. He found the bad part, made some calls, got the part, installed it himself. He called me up last night to thank me, as he fixed the problem.

Then I went on to tell him things he can use that multimeter on, so he can diagnose stuff himself and save, like: bad household batteries, car battery, relays/starter, alternator output on car, bulbs for cars and in house, switches, stovetop/oven elements, water heater elements, dryer parts, furnace parts, etc., etc.

This electrical tool is perhaps the most important tool you could ever own if you want to save yourself some big money over the years.
 
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