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Dodge Repair/No starter motor actuation:'98 Stratus/Cirrus


When I turn the ignition to the start position the starter does not engage. I have good battery and full power to everything on the vehicle. Also at the same time the the steering wheel does not lock any more, but did before this occurrence. I am referring to a 1998 dodge Stratus ES.  Thank you for your help.


Hi Brett,
There is no relationship that I can see between the steering wheel lock-up loss and the starter motor not actuating. The first thing to check would be whether or not the starter motor relay clicks when you try the key in the 'start' position. That relay is in the long power box in the engine compartment, in the rear section of that box which is hidden under the air intake tube. So take the lid off and you will find the relay is the front/outboard of the 4 relays there. Have a helper try the key and listen/feel the relay for action or none.
If you have relay 'action' (a click sound) then either the relay is not making internal contact (try switching it with one of the two rearmost relays which are for the radiatior fan), or the wire from the relay socket to the starter is 'open', or the starter itself is not responding (do you hear a loud click from the motor itself?, if not you would want a voltmeter to verify the wire connection, were that a possiblity) or even the fat red wire that goes from the + post of the battery to the starter motor is not connected tightly.
If you don't have relay 'action' then have the helper move the gear shift lever slightly off the center detent position of both P and N and then try the key, in all those 4 possible locations. If the P N safety switch were 'open' instead of 'closed' due to mal-adjustment then that would cause "no action" at the starter relay. If you have a volt-ohm meter I can tell you how to check out the safety switch that is in the transmission.
Those are the ways to diagnose why no starter actuation.
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Roland Finston


Get a 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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