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KOG
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9V is adequate to crank. Not great, but sufficient.
 

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Sorry, Bob, didn't mean to insult you in any way. You never know people's expertise level here, so I just break things down to layman's terms. (I'm a Mechanical Engineer myself.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
No problem, I just wanted to clarify it for others.

Will post when I figure out what the root cause is.
 

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Bob why not just raise the hood and put a jumper from the neg to the engine. You could do that faster than removing the battery terminals. That would eliminate the question of ground cable issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Because there is no ground cable issue.
 

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I'd bet 20 bucks on the problem being the contacts in the solenoid. Common failure, I've replaced many.
I agree (although not a betting man :) ). Once a tiny bit of corrosion or burning (translate to bad connection) gets on the copper contacts of the starter drive, the starter becomes intermittant and it may take more and more attempts to make the connection and spin the starter.

It was common to replace the contacts in the starter drive several years ago for this problem, but now it seems that people just replace the entire starter with a reman unit just because it is fast and gets you going quickly.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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With so many different starters out there, I can see how it'd be more difficult to properly sell a part like the contacts for a starter, and it's more profitable to sell the whole starter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I was told by my brother that it is a replacement starter in there; but it's probably a Denso. Rockauto has a reman for $111 with core charge; $120 new. I can buy a set of contacts and plunger for between $10 and $27 online, so that's likely the way I'll go once I've finished diagnosing it. Hope I can get the starter out without going through contortions. This is a 4WD club cab truck, some things are near impossible to get at under there.

it does fit the symptoms of worn contacts not quite touching until thermal expansion brings them within reach of the plunger contact ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Well, I looked underhood tonight and in the FSM to see how to gain access.

It's even worse than I thought.

WIth 4WD, you have the block on the right side of the starter, the Y-pipe behind it (as well as transmission cooling lines), the frame rail with metering block and brake lines to the left of it, below it is the transfer case and front driveshaft. It's a NIGHTMARE to get at, and it's done from below and from in front of the suspension.

The FSM says to drop the splash shield, remove the nut from the bottom stud, undo a steering coupler bolt and separate the steering shaft, in order to get the top starter bolt. It requires a LONG extension from the front, and it's blind access. Can't even get at the starter connections to test voltage or resistance with the starter installed.

This will be a springtime project.
 

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KOG
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Ouch.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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You know, sometimes I like having the knockoff books like Chiltons and Haynes, because sometimes they outline things to make the processes less onerous. The factory books are obviously a lot more detailed and will touch on things that the maintenance-on-steroids aftermarket books miss, but I'd think that a starter would definitely fall into the realm of the lesser books...

Come to think of it, because of Dad's '89 Dakota, I *might* have a Chiltons or Haynes for the Dakota on my bookshelf. If I do I'll look up the procedure for the 4x4 in it, to see if they have any shortcuts...
 

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9V should be enough but I expect the problem to be at the starter. The click tells me that the relay is activating but the final contact is not completed as you stil have 12V. When the starter solenoid is activated, it pulls the drive into place but sometimes the following happens:
1) The drive hits direct on the top of the ring gear tooth and must compress the spring to complete the closing of the contact. If the coil is weak, relay contacts poor, or drive is sticky on the starter, it will not pull the plunger far enough to make the main contact connection.
2) The main contacts in the solenoid are worn out and do not always make connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
That, and the fact that it started about 8 months ago, and the battery is still functioning fine otherwise, never fails on hot starts, tells me that it's almost certainly not the battery.  It would have died by now.

Chilton's is actually based on the FSM (look at the pictures and compare text, they're identical), and Haynes has been riddled with so  many errors in the past that I won't use them.  I will try reaching from below first, but there is only room to get one hand in the space between frame and starter, so it's going to be problematic.
 

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Check your battery cable going to ground for corrosion by unbolting it and give the contact a cleaning. A 20 year old truck can build up lots of resistance between the negative battery cable and ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Already cleaned, no change. Resistance is virtually zero between block and negative post. And again, again, there are NO issues with a warm or hot start.
 

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KOG
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Ah ha! Use the old Russian airplane starting in winter trick. Build a fire under it and then it'll start---
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
:lol:
 

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Some day I'll have to post pictures of my dad's Dakota.

I told him, when I borrowed it months earlier, that there was a pronounced fuel smell...
 

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I have a Haynes manual that came in one of the Dakota when I bought it years ago. The starter removal for the 4wd is a deceptive 5 steps long. But it's basically the same as Bob already mentioned.
 
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