How to Change the Starter in a 1998 Dodge Caravanby Gregory Crews
The starter in a 1998 Dodge Caravan transfers electrical energy to mechanical energy when the ignition is turned to the crank position. The starter solenoid sends an electric charge to the starter motor and this releases a gear that engages the flywheel. The flywheel engages the crankshaft and starts the van. A faulty starter will prevent the vehicle from starting adequately. The starter should be a last resort in troubleshooting ignition problems.
Park the van on a flat and level surface. Ensure the back wheel is chocked.
Open the hood for access to the engine compartment. Disconnect the battery to isolate the electricity. Wait five to minutes before disconnecting any wires to avoid accidental engagement of the air bags.
Raise the van up by the front cross member with a jack. Place jack stands under the "pinch" points under the front doors. The "pinch" points are designed to hold the weight of the vehicle on a jack or jack stands. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.
Locate the starter under the van. The starter will be located by the engine mount directly below the engine oil dipstick. The starter is connected between the engine and the transmission.
Unbolt the wiring that is leading to the starter solenoid. There will be two sets of wires. Unbolt them with a socket wrench and pull the wires off the studs.
Remove the two bolts holding the starter in place with a socket wrench. Pull the starter away from the van.
Bolt the new starter to the frame. Ensure both bolts are started before tightening them with the socket wrench.
Tighten the positive wires onto the solenoid at the top of the starter by unscrewing the lead and tightening the wires onto the stud. Install the remaining cable to the ground post.
Raise the vehicle up to remove the jack stands. Lower the van to the ground.
Connect the battery by connecting the positive cable to the positive terminal. The positive terminal is designated by the "+" symbol. The positive cable will be red. Connect the negative cable to the remaining terminal.
Start the van to ensure the starter is working correctly. The van should start with no hesitation.
- Take the old starter to the automotive-parts store. The store charges a "core" deposit which can be returned when the old starter is delivered to the store at which the new starter was purchased.
- Use caution when working around electrical components. Ensure the battery is disconnected to isolate the electricity.
Items you will need
- Jack stands
- Socket wrench
- Socket set
- New starter
- dead battery image by Katrina Miller from Fotolia.com