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Dodge Repair/96 dodge ram 1500


QUESTION: So , the other day after work, I decided to replace a flasher relay in fuse box, and took the dash face off, to repair volume switch on my stereo, Now my truck will not start.

Battery seems to be charged, and lights on dash, come on when i go to start, but will not begin to turnover. The only thing that I can think of, was when I took dash face off, I had to pull auto shifter down, to slide it out from behind steering wheel, when i did that, truck went into neutral with the key on, and rolled forward a few feet before I applied the brake....

Read about, neutral safety switches, starter relays, etc... just not sure... Has never had any problems starting, charging etc....

Any suggestions on where to go from here, would be greatly appreciated. Need to get back to work on monday.


ANSWER: Hi Clint,
I don't have the manual for that truck, but the first thing to try would be whether the starter relay is clicking or not when you try the key. If not, then the issue could well be that the shifter detent is not centered on the P or N position so try moving the shifter slightly off center on either of those positions so as to send the OK to the ecm that you are in a position where it is safe to crank over the starter.
If the starter wiring is accessible you could also try to jump 12v to the starter solenoid switch (usually a brown wire) and thus test the starter and battery. It is the case that the battery can put out voltage for lights but not enough to crank over the starter.
Please 'rate' my answer (see below),

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks for your quick response, so tried shifter position, did not seem to have any effect. but that is what it seems like, like when you try to start in a gear other than park. so went down to hook jumper cable to starter, and when i clipped it to post, on top of starter, it was hard to get to, the starter engaged momentarily, but i got a little nervous seeing that i was under the vehicle. If i could safely start it, would that reset the problem? thanks again for your help.

Hi Clint,
The fact that the starter responded to a jump to its solenoid switch thus removes the starter and battery from the list of causes. So did you listen/touch the starter relay itself while a friend tried the key? If the relay doesn't 'close/click' then I would still suspect the park/neutral safety switch is not closing, but without a circuit diagram I really can't be helpful. Have you checked all the fuses in the engine compartment and in the cabin? You could try switching out the starter relay with another relay showing the same part number.
I don't know what you mean by 'reset the problem' but if you were wondering whether getting it to start by a jump to the solemoid switch might 'correct' the no starter problem...I suspect not.
PS The earlier ram manual I have is for '04 and of course there are a variety of manual and automatic transmissions and whether any of those were the same in '96 I don't know. What do you mean by the 'autoshifter' and what was it that you "pulled down".  Which transmission do you have?  

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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