How to Replace the Starter on a Dodge Dakotaby Jody L. Campbell
If you've had to knock on the starter with a hammer on your Dodge Dakota 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 Dakota 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?
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.