How to Replace the Starter in a 1998 Dodge Dakota

by Zyon Silket
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garage image by Gerd Reiber from

The telltale sign of a failing starter is when you get into your Dakota and instead of hearing the engine come to life, you simply hear clicking from the solenoid. Tapping on the starter with a crow bar or hammer might do the trick for a while but, eventually, the starter must be replaced. Fortunately, Dodge starters are easily accessible from under the vehicle and take very few tools to complete the job.

Starter Removal

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

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