A starter cranks the engine, drawing air and fuel into the cylinders of your Dodge Intrepid and compressing them so they will ignite. It also gets the ignition and crankshaft into place so the spark plugs will fire and the fuel injectors will operate. Therefore, a failing starter will prevent the engine from starting. Follow these steps to replace the starter in a 1998-2004 Dodge Intrepid with a 3.2-3.5 liter engine.
Things You'll Need
- Car jacks
- Battery terminal puller
- Baby food jar
- Torque wrench
Remove the Malfunctioning Starter
Park the Dodge Intrepid on a flat surface and, using a jack, raise the front of the vehicle. Be sure that the engine is cool and the ignition key is in the OFF position. Disconnect the negative battery cable by loosening the bolt and removing the cable with a terminal puller. Then remove the starter-to-engine/transaxle nuts and bolts and put them in the jar for safe keeping.
Disconnect the positive battery feed wire from the starter. Put an additional jack or other support, such as a sturdy piece of wood, under the engine to slightly relieve some of the pressure from the left engine mount. Remove the three left engine mount-to-engine bolts and place them in the jar or other safe location to avoid losing them.
Raise the engine slightly to provide yourself with more room to work. Slide the starter backward between the catalyst and the engine mount. Remove the starter. Also, remove the posi-lock connector.
Take your malfunctioning starter to the parts store with you. Aftermarket distributors remanufacture most of the starters they sell, so you can likely obtain a partial credit toward your new starter by exchanging your old one. Be sure that you take care not to damage the starter in transit, because the better condition it is in, the more you can get for it.
Purchase a replacement starter that has the same or higher cranking capacity (power rating) as the original starter in your Dodge Intrepid. Also, match the bolt patterns, drive gears and electrical connections. This information may be in the owner's manual for the vehicle. Also, the technician at the auto parts store can help you determine the correct specifications.
Install the New Starter
Connect the new posi-lock connector. Slide the new starter into place by pushing it forward between the catalyst and the engine mount.
Lower the engine a bit and replace the three left engine mount-to-engine bolts. Reconnect the positive battery feed wire to the starter and torque the nut to 89 inch pounds (10 Nm).
Torque the starter-to-engine/transaxle bolts to 40 foot pounds (54 Nm). Then, reconnect the negative battery cable to the remote ground post. Lower the jack to put the front of the vehicle back on the ground. Start your engine.
Tips & Warnings
- Always inspect the battery, solenoid and alternator to be certain they are working properly before replacing a starter. When an engine fails to start, many do-it-yourselfers misdiagnose the problem as the starter and replace it unnecessarily, only to find that the vehicle still won't start.
- If you believe your starter is in the problem, use a bench test to see if the starter motor spins and how well the starter is performing. A bench test will check the amp load, voltage and RPMs. If the starter is good, it will draw 60 to 150 amps with no load and up to 250 amps under load.
- If your Dodge Intrepid is older and/or has high mileage, you should also replace the solenoid.
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