I was having problems with my starter (click but no start) occasionally and
read on a website that the contact problem can also cause the starter to be
stuck running and something about keeping the fuel pump running. I had the
problem a couple times of the starter staying on, but after putting the
ignition key back to ON and running the engine again, it would let go after
a couple more tries.
I was about to install a contact kit, but this morning the starter got stuck
bigtime and wouldn't let go. I didn't have any tools so I made a run for
home (about 10 minutes) with the starter running. Just after I get there I
hear the starter let go and the truck will then shut off. Outside the truck
there's the electrical smell and I'm thinking the starter is fried. I was
correct and the starter even catches on fire.
Ran for a fire extinguisher, but the fire went out on it's own.
Having an electrical contact failure potentially cause a fire that could
destroy your vehicle, garage, house, etc makes me think that the design of
the system is freaking insane. Needing a toolbox with you to shut off the
I would have thought something like this would be on a safety recall or
something. I would like to at least vent about their engineering.
Anyway, does anyone know of a contact number at Chrysler for complaints?.
(going back to my garage to make sure it's not on fire)
Unfortunately, no. The starter relay only engages the solenoid, which makes
the contacts which bring the big amps to the starter. Once the contacts
more or less weld themselves together, or the solenoid sticks, the only
thing you can do is either whack the starter with a big hammer (if the
solenoid is just stuck, this will work - if the contacts are fused, this
won't to much of anything), or disconnect the negative battery cables.
Turning the key off would shut off the engine. It's not a run-away engine,
but a run-away starter.
I'd say it's better to leave the engine running while dealing with the
batteries, because at least that way, there's less strain on the starter,
meaning less amp draw (as compared to asking it to crank over the engine all
on it's own).
Of course, that presents it's own set of problems, because we know that it's
a bad idea to remove the batteries from an engine's electrical system while
it's operating, because the batteries tend to smooth out any voltage spikes
generated from the alternator, which could otherwise damage electrical
It's a bad scene no matter how you look at it.... best to replace the
contacts before they get this bad :)
I didn't have too much warning on this, only a few occurrences of problems
that were scattered
pretty much timewise.
It was odd that with the ignition off, the starter seemed to be turning the
engine over much
faster than normal. Any theory on that?
Safety reasons, Chris. If you drop the neg connector onto metal, it is neg
to neg, not a big deal. If you drop the pos onto that metal, it is pos to
neg. Might not be a big a deal when you have one battery, but when you have
two as in the CTD, it puts on an impressive show.
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