Starting system


An electrically operated engine starting system is standard factory-installed equipment on this model.

The starting system is designed to provide the vehicle operator with a convenient, efficient and reliable means of cranking and starting the internal combustion engine used to power the vehicle and all of its accessory systems from within the safe and secure confines of the passenger compartment. See the owner's manual in the vehicle glove box for more information and instructions on the recommended use and operation of the factory-installed starting system.

The starting system consists of the following components:

  • Battery
  • Starter relay
  • Starter motor (including an integral starter solenoid)
  • Ignition switch
  • Park/neutral position switch
  • Wire harnesses and connections (including the battery cables).

This group provides complete service information for the starter motor and the starter relay. Complete service information for the other starting system components can be located as follows:

  • Refer to Battery in the proper section of Group 8A - Battery for complete service information for the battery.
  • Refer to Ignition Switch and Key Lock Cylinder in the proper section of Group 8D - Ignition System for complete service information for the ignition switch.
  • Refer to Park/Neutral Position Switch in the proper section of Group 21 - Transmission for complete service information for the park/neutral position switch.
  • Refer to the proper section of Group 8W - Wiring Diagrams for complete service information and circuit diagrams for the starting system wiring components.

Group 8A covers the Battery, Group 8B covers the Starting Systems, and Group 8C covers the Charging System. We have separated these systems to make it easier to locate the information you are seeking within this Service Manual. However, when attempting to diagnose any of these systems, it is important that you keep their interdependency in mind.

The battery, starting, and charging systems in the vehicle operate with one another, and must be tested as a complete system. In order for the vehicle to start and charge properly, all of the components that are used in these systems must perform within specifications.

The diagnostic procedures used in each of these groups include the most basic conventional diagnostic methods, to the more sophisticated On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) built into the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Use of an induction-type milliampere ammeter, volt/ohmmeter, battery charger, carbon pile rheostat (load tester), and 12-volt test lamp may be required.

All OBD-sensed systems are monitored by the PCM. Each monitored circuit is assigned a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). The PCM will store a DTC in electronic memory for any failure it detects. Refer to On-Board Diagnostic Test For Charging System in the Diagnosis and Testing section of Group 8C - Charging System for more information.


The starting system components form two separate circuits. A high-amperage feed circuit that feeds the starter motor between 150 and 350 amperes, and a low-amperage control circuit that operates on less than 20 amperes. The high-amperage feed circuit components include the battery, the battery cables, the contact disc portion of the starter solenoid, and the starter motor. The low-amperage control circuit components include the ignition switch, the park/ neutral position switch, the starter relay, the electromagnetic windings of the starter solenoid, and the connecting wire harness components.

Battery voltage is supplied through the low-amperage control circuit to the coil battery terminal of the starter relay when the ignition switch is turned to the momentary Start position. The park/neutral position switch is installed in series between the starter relay coil ground terminal and ground. This normally open switch prevents starter motor operation unless the automatic transmission gear selector is in the Neutral or Park positions.

When the starter relay coil is energized, the normally open relay contacts close. The relay contacts connect the relay common feed terminal to the relay normally open terminal. The closed relay contacts energize the starter solenoid coil windings.

The energized solenoid pull-in coil pulls in the solenoid plunger. The solenoid plunger pulls the shift lever in the starter motor. This engages the starter overrunning clutch and pinion gear with the starter ring gear on the automatic transmission torque converter or torque converter drive plate.

As the solenoid plunger reaches the end of its travel, the solenoid contact disc completes the highamperage starter feed circuit and energizes the solenoid plunger hold-in coil. Current now flows between the solenoid battery terminal and the starter motor, energizing the starter.

Once the engine starts, the overrunning clutch protects the starter motor from damage by allowing the starter pinion gear to spin faster than the pinion shaft. When the driver releases the ignition switch to the On position, the starter relay coil is de-energized.

This causes the relay contacts to open. When the relay contacts open, the starter solenoid plunger hold-in coil is de-energized.

When the solenoid plunger hold-in coil is de-energized, the solenoid plunger return spring returns the plunger to its relaxed position. This causes the contact disc to open the starter feed circuit, and the shift lever to disengage the overrunning clutch and pinion gear from the starter ring gear.

Following are general descriptions of the major components in the starting system.

    Dodge Durango (DN) 1998-2003 Service Manual


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