How to Change the Starter in Dodge Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

If you've had to knock on the starter with a hammer on your Dodge car to get it to turn the engine over, then it's been telling you to replace it. In some cases, the starter will hit a flat spot and remain there no matter what you try to do. Replacing it can be done at a repair shop if you want to spend the money on parts and labor, or you can do it in your own yard. The starter will dictate when it needs to be replaced, but you need to figure out where you want to replace it because sooner or later, the starter is going to die. If you have a tow service, you can have the Dodge car sent home or to the repair shop. If you want to save some serious money on labor charges and have some tools at home, why not consider tackling the project yourself?

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Starter in a 1998 Dodge Caravan

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.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • New starter

 How to Change the Starter in a Dodge Grand Caravan

Unfasten the negative battery cable from the battery with an open end wrench, and move the cable away from any metal parts. Place a wood block behind the rear tire to prevent the vehicle from rolling back.

Lift the front end of the vehicle on the passenger side with a floor jack, and place a jack stand under the front axle. Lower the floor jack until the vehicle sits on the jack stand.

Locate the starter underneath the engine in front of the transmission housing. Unfasten the electrical wire connectors, removing the nuts on the metal terminals of the starter with a socket wrench.

Remove the starter from the transmission housing using a socket wrench to unfasten the bolts. Take the starter out from underneath the engine.

Attach the new starter to the transmission housing, securing the bolts with a socket wrench. Reattach the electrical wiring connectors to the starter, securing the wires with the nuts on the metal terminals.

Lift the vehicle up with the floor jack, and remove the jack stand from underneath the vehicle. Lower the Dodge Grand Caravan down so it sits on the ground.

Attach the negative battery cable to the battery with an open end wrench. Remove the wood block from behind the tire.

Items you will need

  • Open end wrench

  • 4-by-4 wood block

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand

  • Socket wrench

 How to Replace the Starter in a Dodge Intrepid

Remove the Malfunctioning Starter

Park the Dodge Intrepid on a flat surface and, using a jack, raise the front of the vehicle. Be sure that the engine is cool and the ignition key is in the OFF position. Disconnect the negative battery cable by loosening the bolt and removing the cable with a terminal puller. Then remove the starter-to-engine/transaxle nuts and bolts and put them in the jar for safe keeping.

Disconnect the positive battery feed wire from the starter. Put an additional jack or other support, such as a sturdy piece of wood, under the engine to slightly relieve some of the pressure from the left engine mount. Remove the three left engine mount-to-engine bolts and place them in the jar or other safe location to avoid losing them.

Raise the engine slightly to provide yourself with more room to work. Slide the starter backward between the catalyst and the engine mount. Remove the starter. Also, remove the posi-lock connector.

Take your malfunctioning starter to the parts store with you. Aftermarket distributors remanufacture most of the starters they sell, so you can likely obtain a partial credit toward your new starter by exchanging your old one. Be sure that you take care not to damage the starter in transit, because the better condition it is in, the more you can get for it.

Purchase a replacement starter that has the same or higher cranking capacity (power rating) as the original starter in your Dodge Intrepid. Also, match the bolt patterns, drive gears and electrical connections. This information may be in the owner's manual for the vehicle. Also, the technician at the auto parts store can help you determine the correct specifications.

Install the New Starter

Connect the new posi-lock connector. Slide the new starter into place by pushing it forward between the catalyst and the engine mount.

Lower the engine a bit and replace the three left engine mount-to-engine bolts. Reconnect the positive battery feed wire to the starter and torque the nut to 89 inch pounds (10 Nm).

Torque the starter-to-engine/transaxle bolts to 40 foot pounds (54 Nm). Then, reconnect the negative battery cable to the remote ground post. Lower the jack to put the front of the vehicle back on the ground. Start your engine.

Items you will need

  • Car jacks

  • Battery terminal puller

  • Baby food jar

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Starter on a 2000 Dodge Intrepid

Disconnect the negative battery cable and lay it aside, making sure that it does not ground itself on metal on the car. Remove the battery feed and the posi-lock connectors from the starter. Remove the nuts on the wire posts located on the starter, then slide the wires off the posts. Put the nuts back on the starter so you don't lose them.

Remove the nuts from the catalyst support bracket and the mount using the appropriate socket. Remove the starter heat shield using the appropriate socket. Using the appropriate socket, remove the three starter bolts holding the starter on the transaxle and engine. Slide the starter out of the Intrepid by rotating it toward the engine, then sliding it rearward between the catalyst and the engine mount.

Slide the starter into position by sliding it between the catalyst and the engine mount and rotating it away from the engine. Insert the three starter bolts and tighten them to 40 ft.-lbs. of torque.

Reinstall the heat shield, the nuts for the catalyst support bracket and mount, and the starter wiring. Reinstall the posi-lock connectors and the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Set of wrenches

  • Set of sockets

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Starter in a 1998 Dodge Dakota

Starter Removal

Drive the Dakota onto a set of front-end ramps and secure the parking break. Place a wheel chuck behind the rear tire to prevent the Dodge from rolling off of the ramps while you work on it.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal with an adjustable wrench. Wrap the negative battery cable with a cotton towel to prevent it from touching any grounding source.

Disconnect the positive battery cable from the starter with an adjustable wrench. Remove the two lead wires that connect the starter and the solenoid.

Unbolt the starter while holding it with your other hand. Remove the mounting bolts and pull the starter out of the housing. Take note of any shims between the starter and the mounting flange. Pull the shims off the mounting flange with the starter.

Installing the Starter

Place any shims that were previously in place onto the mating surface of the starter. Push the starter onto the mounting flange. Turn the starter until the teeth on the starter gear mesh with the teeth on the flywheel.

Align the bolt holes on the starter, shim and flange and push all of the bolts through the holes in the starter and shim. With all bolts properly seated, secure the starter by tightening the bolts.

Reconnect the positive battery cable and the two lead wires that connect to the solenoid. Reconnect the negative battery terminal to the battery.

Items you will need

  • Ramps

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Cotton towel

 How to Replace a Starter in a 2000 Dodge Durango 4.7L

Apply the emergency brake and pull the hood's release lever in the interior of your truck. Lift and properly support the Durango's hood. Locate the truck's battery within the engine compartment.

Loosen and remove the black (negative) battery cable with a socket wrench. Lay the cable down within the engine compartment, away from the battery.

Raise the front end of the Durango with your hydraulic jack. Place a jack stand under the frame rail on the left and right side, behind the front tires. Lower the hydraulic jack slowly until your Durango rests fully on the support arms of the jack stands. Do not completely lower or remove the hydraulic jack; leave it in place for additional support.

Gather all of the tools needed for the repair and set them on the passenger's side of the truck near the front tire. Slide under the Durango at the passenger's side door jam and locate the starter. It looks like a large metal tube and is 10 to 12 inches long.

Attach a flexible extension to your socket wrench. Reach up and feel the starter's top mounting bolt at the base of the starter. Remove the top mounting bolt with your socket wrench. The starter's lower mounting bolt is actually a nut. The stud that you see does not come out; it is affixed to the engine.

Set the milk crate, bottom up, directly under the starter. Remove the lower mounting nut on the starter with your socket wrench. Pull the starter off the stud 2 inches toward the gas tank. Lower the starter out of the engine compartment and set it on the milk crate.

Label each of the wires connected to the solenoid with white painter's tape to help you remember where they mount. Remove each of the nuts holding the wires in place with your socket wrench. Take each of the wires off their terminal studs to completely free the starter.

Set your new starter down on the milk crate. Place each of the wires back onto their corresponding studs on the solenoid. Install each of the wire's retaining nuts by hand and secure them in place with your socket wrench. Remove the white painter's tape that you used to label the wires.

Raise the new starter up into the engine compartment for mounting. Slide the starter back down onto the lower mounting stud. Return the nut to the stud by hand but don't completely tighten it yet. Reach up into the engine compartment and install the starter's top mounting bolt by hand. Tighten it as much as you can by hand.

Attach your flexible socket wrench extension to a 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench. Set the torque wrench to 35 foot-lbs. and secure the top mounting bolt in place. Remove the flexible extension from the torque wrench and then secure the lower mounting stud's nut in place. Gather and move all of your tools from beneath the Durango.

Raise the hydraulic jack and remove both of the jack stands. Lower the Durango and remove the hydraulic jack as well. Connect and secure the black (negative) battery cable back on its post on the battery. Shut your Durango's hood. Release the emergency brake and start the engine to check the repair.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Hydraulic jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Flexible socket wrench extension

  • Milk crate

  • White painter's tape

  • 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench

 How to Replace a Starter on the 2006 Dodge Caravan XLT

Open the hood and disconnect the negative (black) battery wire from the negative battery terminal.

Disconnect the wiring harnesses on the starter. The starter has two wiring harnesses; press in on the tabs while pulling out on the wires to remove them.

Unscrew the four bolts on the starter using a socket wrench and a 10mm socket.

Replace the old starter with the new one and bolt it into place using the screws you removed in the previous step, a socket wrench and a socket.

Plug the wiring harnesses into the two ports on the new starter.

Reconnect the negative (black) wiring harness to the negative battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • 10mm socket

  • Socket wrench

 How to Replace a Starter in a 2001 Dodge Ram

Removing the Starter

Open the hood to access the engine compartment. Disconnect the battery by removing the negative and positive cable clamps from the battery posts.

Slide under the Ram and locate the starter. The starter is on the passenger side of the truck between the engine and the transmission, just behind the oil pan. The starter is mounted to the frame by two bolts. Depending on the ground clearance of your Ram, you might be able to reach the starter without raising the truck; if not, you'll need to raise the front end with a jack and place the Ram on jack stands under the frame rails on either side.

Disconnect the wires on the back of the starter by unscrewing the bolts on the studs. Slide the wire off the studs. There will be a stud for the positive wire and one for the negative wire.

Unbolt the two bolts holding the starter to the frame with the socket wrench. There will be a bolt to the top and one to the bottom. Support the starter with one hand as you reach the point of removing the bolts. The starter is heavy.

Pull the old starter down and remove it from your work area.

Installing the New Starter

Push the starter up to the frame rail. Thread and hand-tighten the bolts to secure the starter in place. Then tighten the bolts securely with your socket wrench.

Push the negative and positive wire on the studs of the new starter. Tighten the bolts on the studs to secure the wires.

Connect the negative and positive cables to the battery. Tighten the clamps by securing the retaining bolts with the 7/16-inch wrench.

Start the Ram to ensure it starts without hesitation.

Items you will need

  • 7/16-inch wrench

  • Socket set

  • Socket wrench

 How to Replace the Starter on a Dodge Dakota

How to Replace the Starter on a Dodge Dakota

Put on safety glasses.

Raise the front of the Dodge Dakota. It is recommended to drive it up on car ramps, but lifting the truck with a floor jack and placing jack stands on the front left and right frame rails would work as well.

Apply the parking brake and place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires.

Open the hood and remove the negative terminal from the battery. A hand wrench or ratchet and socket will work.

Crawl under the Dakota (on a creeper if you have one) with all your tools and locate the starter on the low end of the engine where it meets the transmission flywheel.

Remove the bottom bolt and washer that secure the starter to the transmission housing. On manual transmission models, there will be a stud on the transmission housing with a nut securing the starter that will have to be removed first.

Support the starter in one hand and remove the second bolt supporting the starter to the transmission housing. You may have to slide the transmission cooler tube bracket forward on automatic models to make room to extract the starter.

Lower the starter enough in your hand to expose the wires attached to it. Remove the nut holding the positive battery cable. Remove the battery cable solenoid terminal wire. Remove the B+ cable from the starter. Remove the starter when the wires are disconnected.

Attach the wires in the same manner to the new starter that you removed them from the old one. It may be tricky trying to support the starter and affix and tighten the wires.

Position the starter to the transmission housing and insert it into the starter cavity. Hold the starter in place and thread in the washer and bolts. Tighten securely.

Remove all the tools and equipment from under the Dakota.

Reattach the negative battery terminal to the battery. Test start the Dakota.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses Car ramps (recommended) or floor jack and two jack stands Wheel chock Ratchet and socket set Open and box end combination hand wrench set Creeper (optional) Bungee cord

 How to Replace the Starter in 2005 Dodge Neon

Raise the hood of the car. Remove the negative cable from the battery with a wrench.

Raise the car with a jack, holding it stable with jack stands. Locate the starter at the base of the engine compartment, near the driver-side wheel well. Remove the retaining nuts holding the cables on the starter and pull the cables from the posts.

Remove the mounting bolts from the top of the starter body with a wrench. Support the starter while you remove the lower mounting bolts with a wrench. Pull the starter out of the engine compartment. Insert the new starter, positioning it the same orientation as the one you removed.

Install the lower mounting bolts and tighten them with the wrench. Support the starter body while you repeat the process with the upper mounting bolts. Attach the cables to the posts and tighten the retaining nuts with a wrench.

Raise the car using the jack, then remove the stands. Connect the negative cable to the battery post. Lower the hood and test the new starter.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.