Starter relay keeps going bad

Electrical and Ignition

  1. Kolbjorn

    Kolbjorn Member

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    So I'm out of ideas.

    Go for a drive one morning and all is good- next day I go to start it and nothing. The only response I have from turning the key is the alternator meter dips a little. This is the third time this has happened. The rest of the times I replaced the starter relay and the car worked fine for a little and then it went bad again. Does anyone have any ideas on where to start? Its weird that overnight the relay went bad, if it even is that. Battery is charged and I have a brand new alternator.

    Thanks yall!
     
  2. el5dart

    el5dart Well-Known Member

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    neutral safety switch?

    is it column shift? jiggle the shifter?
     
  3. Dana67Dart

    Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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    Are you sure it is not the ignition switch?

    Have you tried using a remote starter switch on the relay to check?

    If you have points ignition the dip in charge guage would be normal. If electronic don't know.

    Are you sure you have the relay hooked up correctly?

    Is it possible that the starter is drawing excessive current and burning out the starter relay?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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    • Kolbjorn

      Kolbjorn Member

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      Hmm, never thought of that. I will try the shifter tomorrow!
       
    • Kolbjorn

      Kolbjorn Member

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      I have not tried a remote starter switch. I do have points so that's good that the alt meter is normal. Hmm, Ill have to check the starter tomorrow and see. That would make sense though. Gotta love electrical problems. Thanks for the help!
       
    • Dana67Dart

      Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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      The good thing is if the remote starter switch works than you know it is not the relay.

      I'm pretty sure my relay is the 53 year old 319,000 mile original. And still going strong.

      Another thing you could try is have someone else turn the key, and you wiggle the wires on the starter relay
       
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      • George Jets

        George Jets 1967 Dart 2 Door FABO Gold Member

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        Try upgrading to the Dodge Dakota Mini Starter, they take way less juice to crank and turn the engines over way faster than the old DDD Dodge starters. That will put less stress on your starter relay, your original starter may be going faulty and putting a strain on your relay.
         
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        • MoparMike1974

          MoparMike1974 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          I honestly dont think I have ever seen a mopar starter relay fail other than getting rusted out.
           
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          • dirty white boy

            dirty white boy 47 yr old Juvenal delinquent

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            clean batter cables good and make sure starter relay is gettin good ground threw mounting bolt!
             
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            • RustyRatRod

              RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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              Vixen just did this the other day. I pulled the plastic plug off the relay and the male terminal on the relay and the female terminal in the plastic were all green with corrosion. I cleaned the male terminal with a small wire brush and dipped the female terminal in some coke for a few minutes and cleaned it with a toothbrush. Hasn't done it since.
               
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              • Dana67Dart

                Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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                Depending on year (may be all) starter relay gets ground from NNS in trans
                 
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                • el5dart

                  el5dart Well-Known Member

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                  i dont have neutral safety switch on my clutch pedals so i just grounded the bottom right terminal on my relay to the inner fenderwell. works for me.
                   
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                  • my68barracuda

                    my68barracuda Well-Known Member

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                    When I use Coke for de rusting I always have some Jack Daniels Black handy, it just seems a waste to let that 1/2 can of Coke go flat.
                     
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                    • cudamark

                      cudamark FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      On the early models (ones without the clutch pedal switch), the correct starter relay for a manual transmission has that terminal already grounded.
                       
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                      • RustyRatRod

                        RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                        :rofl:
                         
                      • dirty white boy

                        dirty white boy 47 yr old Juvenal delinquent

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                        not straight gear vehicles! still good idea to have a good ground there!,..and dirty cables have sold a lot more starter relays than bad relays have im sure!
                         
                      • Kolbjorn

                        Kolbjorn Member

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                        Hmm, well I cleaned up all the grounds and still nothing. I ordered a new relay anyway, but I'm gonna have auto zone test my starter and see where that takes me. I decided to start my car with a little screwdriver action to the starter since it hadn't been driven in a while and found that now my coolant leaks. Good times! lol. I was worried that I messed up putting in my new exhaust manifold gasket but it was smoking from all the coolant leaking from the hose while driving I think. The hose looked pretty bad. Should be an easy fix to just replace it

                        Anyways, thanks yall for the help. I appreciate it!
                         
                      • famous bob

                        famous bob mopar misfit

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                        Same here almost . I had a ford relay on mine when I first built it ,''complete rewire with an E Z kit , which I had to change the connections to mopar from the chevy stuff that it came with, the ford junk died suddenly in the garage after about 6 months, installed the orig. relay that came with the 68 fastback in a box, working perfecty for about 10ish yrs now. It did refuse to start one morning when leaving the mens prayer breakfast, was a loose 52 yr old connector , replace it w/ another 52 yr old connector that fits titer , all good !
                         
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                        • 67Dart273

                          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          You need to learn to troubleshoot, or you are going to go through life throwing a lot of money at trying to repair a problem

                          You have a wiring diagram/ service manual? Download one over at MyMopar Some of those manuals there got there because of the guys right on here

                          Get a 12V test lamp, some alligator clip jumper wires, and a multimeter. That is minimum

                          Learn how it works. The "functional path" for the starting system is ignition switch.........(yellow start wire).......through the bulkhead connector..........to coil of start relay (one spade/ push on flag terminal).........and then
                          A.....Older stick cars the coil grounds through the relay mount
                          B.....Newer stick cars and all automatics..........out the second flag terminal, down the firewall and to the center pin on the neutral safety switch which grounds in P or N. On stick cars that wire goes through the firewall to the clutch switch

                          That is the path for the coil of the relay

                          The contacts..........the 'big stud' on the relay is a junction point, is battery power, and is one of the relay contacts

                          The load contact is the "square" terminal which feeds down to activate the starter relay
                          ==========================================

                          How to troubleshoot.

                          Start by turning on headlights. What happens when you twist key to start? They dim? go out? do nothing?

                          Each of those is a clue
                          ===============================================

                          Can you hear the relay "click?" Open hood, open window, listen. No click? Get a light or meter. "Rig" it or get a second person Back probe the yellow wire at the relay. Twist the key. Should have power there in "start"

                          Clip you meter to the relay case and to ground. Does it light in "start?" Relay is not grounded

                          ================================================

                          Or.......Pull the yellow wire off. Jumper that flag terminal over to the big stud battery terminal. Should engage the relay and crank. Does it click? No? Make sure it's grounded. Second flag terminal? Make sure that terminal is grounded and try again. Still no click? Replace relay
                          ===============================================

                          Relay clicks but no starter crank? Does it crank when jumpering the battery stud to the square relay terminal? Than relay contacts are bad. Replace relay

                          ================================================

                          Relay clicks, and relay "square" terminal shows power, but starter does not crank? Make sure solenoid wire from relay to starter is not broke. THIS HAPPENS because of engine vibration at the starter
                           
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                          • BillGrissom

                            BillGrissom Well-Known Member

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                            Since the starter turned over the engine when you applied 12 V to the contactor wire (thick brown? wire from starter relay output to smaller screw terminal on starter), that proves your starter is fine. If you don't have a multimeter, bring the free coupon to Harbor Freight. Youtube's show how to use one. If the NSS is grounded, you will measure 0 V from ground at its terminal, and also <10 ohm to ground on that wire when unplugged from the relay. If you apply 12 V to the key terminal (yellow wire), the starter relay should click on. Insure it is getting 12 V from the battery (thickest wire) and that the case is well-grounded (run a jumper to BAT-). Relying on rusty sheet-metal screws ground to the firewall was OK for Mopar to meet their 3 year warranty, but iffy after 60 years. BTW, the starter circuit in my 1996 Plymouth is identical, they just changed to a standard Bosch relay in the under-hood box.
                             
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