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Old 08-17-2004, 07:56 AM   #1
DodgeChik
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Unhappy Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

My truck started having problems starting two weeks ago. When I would turn the key to start, it would just click once. I would do this aprox. 4 times and finally turn over. I read a couple of things that mentioned the solenoid and the contacts, and possibly the entire starter was bad. Last night, I took it to a small town repair shop and the guy said that I have 2 diodes burnt up in my alternator, not a bad starter. They are compairable in price, so I am at a loss of what to do next, does anyone have any input?
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:34 PM   #2
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Bad diodes in the alaternator may produce a leakage path which will drain your battery. I have had it happen twice.

If it is allowed to go on too long, it will drain the battery too far and ruin the battery.

A simple test is to put a charger on the battery, and charge it overnight. Disconnect the charger and verify that the vehicle starts properly. Then, Disconnect the battery for 24 hrs. Reconnect the battery and see if it starts. If so, you are draining the battery, and probably it is the diodes.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Sorry, I am a little slow today, but when you say, reconnect the battery and see if it starts, and if it does the battery is being drained. How would that be an indicator?
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:53 PM   #4
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Another thing, it doesn't do it all the time. I have driven it numerous times today and it has started like a normal truck.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:53 PM   #5
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

By disconnecting the battery and letting it set, you are helping to eliminate an internal fault in the battery.

If you reconnect the battery after disconnecting it for 24 hrs, and the engine starts normally, then there is nothing wrong with the battery or starter.

The fault is indeed shorted diodes in the alternator which are draining the battery when it is connected and the engine is not running.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:57 PM   #6
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Would you suggest changing out the diodes or the entire alternator?
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Old 08-17-2004, 02:46 PM   #7
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I quit rebuilding alternators years ago. It is easier and almost as cheap to just go to Advance Auto, Auto Zone, or whatever and pick up a Lifetime warranty rebuild. Never have to rebuild one after that.

Then again, I keep vehicles for 15 years or more so it really pays for getting the lifetime warranty.
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:54 AM   #8
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

For sure. Warranty is good sometimes.
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Old 10-19-2004, 08:51 PM   #9
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My truck has started doing the exact same thing. What did you ever do to fix it? I was starting to think the starter was going bad. It only does it when the truck has been sitting for four or more hours. Pretty much when it has cooled all the way down.
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Old 10-19-2004, 10:08 PM   #10
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

I should also add that I took it to Autozone. They checked the battery and said it was good, but it had low charge. He said the charging system looked good. Maybe it is the alternator diode things leaking by.
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Old 10-20-2004, 05:01 PM   #11
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Talking alternator/starter

Whats up.... SOrry it took so long for me to get back to you. Anyways, my truck was fixed by changing the starter contacts. Yes, that is all. THey are very easy to just look at and see if that is your prob. Bout $85 and its back to new. I know better now, but I listened to the people that were saying the diode thing and all, the tests that they ran came out just like you have described with the low charge and all. Anyways I ended up getting a new alternator because the guy that looked at the diode charge said he was sure that was the prob, three days later my truck wouldn't start. Blah blah blah, took it somewhere else, and it was fixed in a couple hours. Hope this helps you out.
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Old 10-20-2004, 07:16 PM   #12
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Starter contacts...and they were 85 bucks? I thought a starter was around 50-60. So, I'm guessing these contacts are on the starter and easy to get to? I haven't looked at it before. Did you see the old ones? I'm just wondering if they could be cleaned instead of replaced.
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Old 10-20-2004, 07:26 PM   #13
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Yeah, I checked autozone and the starter is 115 - 65 for core....so 60 bucks for the whole thing.
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Old 10-20-2004, 07:42 PM   #14
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

One more thing...Where did he get a rebuild kit for the starter? I can't find one on the net anywhere. I will probably just get the whole starter if I cant locate a kit.
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:04 PM   #15
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Re: Starter vs. Alternator problems, 96 Ram 1500 4x4

Well, I put a new starter in tonight. It was $130 with core from Autozone. If anyone has to do this, make sure you have extensions for your sockets. The top bolt is a pain to get to. The stuck sounds smoother when I start it now. I'll find out in the morning if my problems are solved. I looked at the contacts on my old one, and they looked chewed up a bit.
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