1. WANT TO BE FEATURED IN OUR 2019 CALENDAR???
    For details, click here: Be Part of our 2019 Mopar Calendar
    Dismiss Notice

Will Not Start after Rat Returned

Interior and Electrical

  1. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    I just finished the rehab for Darth Car's antenna (fingers crossed).

    I go to my 1987 Fifth Avenue to alligator clip his antenna to my car for testing.
    Not enough room at front passenger wheel well, so I get in the car to start it and rotate the tires.

    Silence.

    Open the hood and find this:
    IMG_6264.jpg

    Chewed through this
    IMG_6265.jpg
    The red and white line which was chewed this spring, was chewed again.
    The pink line going into the firewall box has some plastic chewed off and I see copper wire.

    There was this:
    IMG_6266.jpg IMG_6266.jpg
    About 100 acorns on top of the engine under the air handler.

    And you can see some of the wires are chewed at:
    IMG_6272.jpg
    This is under the air handler looking from the passenger side towards the middle of the engine bay.

    I spliced the broken wire again.
    I have not fixed any other wires. I removed all the acorns.

    I did charge the battery but it was at 95% and didn't take but a few minutes to charge completely.

    I tried starting the car and there was no click although all the dash displays did move correctly. I did get some funky partial letters/numbers on the radio display.

    Silence when I turned the key. Put it in neutral. Silence when I turned the key.

    I've got my service manual open and am looking through the electrical chapter. Any recommendations on what I should check next?

    I'll go check the fuses in a minute but I wanted to know if there are some simple tests I could do to narrow down the problem. Thus this post.
     
  2. MiradaMegacab

    MiradaMegacab Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    359
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Turn the key to the 'On' position.
    Take wire #3 and put it to the + side of the battery.
    Post your results.

    The car should crank while your holding the wire to battery +.
    It should start.
    Remove wire from battery.
    It should stay running.

    14305-1846673c36f186ea8435b8deae0bc26c.jpg
     
  3. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    I removed the brown (sol) wire from the starter relay.
    Starter relay small box with black funky shaped plugs in it on driver side firewall close to fender.

    Unthreaded the wire to get access to it.

    Put a probe wire in it.
    Had brother sit in the car and turn the key to on (courtesy lights on, bell dinging cause door is open).
    Placed the other end of the wire on the positive terminal of the battery.
    A couple of small sparks.
    Lights dimmed inside the car.

    I heard a very faint click when I'd touch the battery (did it 3 times).
    Did not start.

    Brown wire has not been chewed by rats nor spliced.
     
  4. MiradaMegacab

    MiradaMegacab Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    359
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    The starter should engage and crank the engine over.
    Check battery voltage......
    I know you charged the battery, perhaps jump the battery with another car.
     
  5. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    I'll have to wait to try that til tomorrow.
    Its sitting between trees at the end of the drive which means I'll have to use a tow rope to pull it back far enough to get the engine bay lined up to another vehicle.

    I might be able to get the tractor all the way around the pond and come up the other side, but I'd have to do that during the day... its kinda dicey out on the backside of the pond and more so when its dark.

    I can't block the drive at night in case I have to make a run to the ER.
    Heavy Sigh of disgust ...
     
  6. rcmaniac791

    rcmaniac791 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    I feel your pain with the rodents. They've gotten into plenty of my stuff...

    Wish I knew more; best of luck though
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  7. lowbudget

    lowbudget Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    84
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Vernal Utah
    You need to set up a trap line or get a big bad cat. You might try tossing moth balls/bounce dryer sheets around/in it. I do this to all my rides not in use in the winter and it seems to work.
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  8. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    So far this fall the cats have brought me 4 large rats.
    I've glue trapped two young ones and this older one in the Chrysler.
    Something about the wiring in this car they really love.
     
  9. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    Car does not start even if jumped by another vehicle.
    I believe this is not a battery issue nor is it a starter relay issue.

    Does this mean starter issue?
     
  10. lowbudget

    lowbudget Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    84
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Vernal Utah
    I check the wires running to the starter especially the solenoid. If they are ok I'd give the starter a loving tap with a dead blow hammer. Sorry about the grammar but I'm at the airport on my phone
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  11. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    836
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    It sounds like starter, to me.

    Get under car and give starter a few taps with a hammer then try again. Be sure to use jack stands!

    If it is the starter, then I think the rat was a decoy and car should crank like normal.

    Generally the brown wire will spark a bit but starter generally will crank away.
    When you get a medium loud snap (electrical arc) and no starter, makes me think starter is dangling a carrot for you (to go to the parts store).

    Tapping on it should fix the car a few times - but you will have to get a replacement sooner rather than later.
    If tapping on it and still nothing, then you may have other problems.


    Sounds like time to start work on your garage, put a moat around your vehicles, and/or find a way to hook 220 volts to your car (and deep fry some dinner).
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  12. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    I will have to rewire this car before this is over with, I can just see that coming straight at me.
     
  13. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    Checking online, I see there are many different types of starters.
    Power,
    Mini,
    Original

    How do I decide what to get?

    I think this is frequently the problem I have when trying to fix something on the car. I'm not as concerned about 'how' to do something. However, I am always second guessing myself on
    'which replacement unit' to purchase.
     
  14. Master M

    Master M Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    103
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2014
    I would look into getting some NO CHEW spray to coat your exposed wires with. Just One Bite Bars work very well also. Everywhere you look there seems to be a rat. Must be an election year thing.
     
  15. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    I sprayed the perimeter of the engine bay with 'critter rid' late this afternoon.
    I can't use rat poison cause if the cats get the rat before I do, then I have to doctor them to keep them from bleeding out.

    I think the real problem is wild pigs.
    They are building a new lake about 2 miles from my property line and its disturbing the local animals. The pigs are starting to move. They are meaner than coyotes, so the run the coyotes off the property. Coyotes eat the rats. Pigs just tear things up and create wallers... they don't eat rats.

    But that's the big picture. My small little world picture is chewed wires in the engine bay.
     
  16. MiradaMegacab

    MiradaMegacab Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    359
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Jump the two electrical studs together on the starter using a screwdriver. Starter should spin. As said before, a couple whacks with a hammer will hopefully dislodge the solenoid.
     
  17. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    836
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    If you do need to replace the starter, get a ’88 up one – which is what we call the “mini” starter (which is made by Nipendenso, or Denso for short). I think ’88 is first year for them.
    The mini starter is smaller, lighter, lasts longer and spins/cranks engine over at a faster speed.

    You can tell which one you currently have from underneath car looking up at area just rear of the steering gear area.
    The older style looks like
    Old Starter.jpg

    The mini starter looks like
    Mini starter.jpg

    Sense the starter has a core charge, I recommend getting one local – for shipping the core back is a pain.

    In your case, I would ask for a ’88 5th Ave starter and don’t bring your old one in, just yet.
    After the starter was changed, then bring your heavyweight one back as a core.
    If you bring your core in at time of purchase – then they will switch out the mini starter with the same ole heavy weight one.

    Those heavy ones are hard for me to install, on my back – so it would be doable for you – but difficult (unless you like picking up heavy items over your head).
    The mini starter is SO much easier to install.

    It also will not need the bulky heat shield the older starter uses.
    There is a small chance you already have the mini starter – but I doubt it


    Removal:
    - The important part is to disconnect the battery first!
    - Jack car up and place on jack stands, where car is high enough you can get more than your body underneath it. Your arms will need a bit of wiggle room.
    - Remove the two nuts holding both starter wires on. A magnetic bin/dish to hold the nuts can be a lifesaver.
    - The last item off is the 5/8” head nut/stud and washer and 5/8” head bolt. The stud will support the weight of starter for removal/install while you are getting fasteners into position. I recommend loosening both first – an end wrench works best. Support the weight of starter on front end a bit and with other hand use fingers to unscrew the top bolt. Use your supporting hand to slightly raise and lower starter to help jiggle out the top bolt while unscrewing. Fingers work by far the fastest for me – and I have replaced hundreds of these starters.
    - Once bolt is out then remove nut/washer. You can use an end wrench for this or fingers.
    - There may be a clip to either top or lower fastener that holds transmission cooler lines in place. I recommend pushing the clip forward a couple of inches so starter will clear, and just leave that part alone for now. There are other ways of working the clip, but this is simplest and easiest.
    - With both hands supporting starter, gently push starter forward, then out. Don’t be afraid to drop it the last little bit – just as long as you have no body parts under it.

    Install:
    - If possible, make sure the cables will connect to starter without modification. Most cases they will – but every once in a while, a replacement starter needs to have a cable hole filed or drilled slightly larger. Easier find out now – than later. Also, take a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand all four sides of the cable ends – for a good connection.
    - The hardest part for me is while laying on my back is to get new starter on top of my hands, or chest, or belly or whatever. Once you have that done, you are mostly done.
    - Snake the new starter into place, then slide it back so it slides into the hole. Some rotation of starter is needed at this point as well as using both hands. You will know when it is stabbed correctly – for it will hold itself up by itself at that time.
    - Push the transmission cooler line clip, back into position.
    - Install the locker washer and 5/8” head nut loosely onto lower stud.
    - Install 5/8” head bolt into top hole using fingers, while jiggling the starter slightly with support hand, until snug.
    - Tighten both 5/8” head bolts with end wrench.
    - Reattach both cables using the supplied nuts. For some reason the old cable nuts are almost always way different from the replacement nuts – including the socket size needed to tighten them.
    - Reconnect the battery and enjoy.

    BudW
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  18. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,451
    Likes Received:
    567
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    North Texas
    Would have pulled the car out to the flat area on the drive but it was supposed to rain today..
    Apparently it stayed out west and up north.
    Doctor appointment tomorrow morning so I'm hoping to get it pulled out so I can try the
    1. gentle tap with the hammer
    2. screw driver across the solenoid

    and see how all that goes.

    It's been really hard to start this past month all 4 times and I attributed it to ethanol gas, dried out fuel bowl, driver error, etc.

    I'm wondering now if I just wasn't paying attention and it was more the starter/solenoid failing.

    I'll check it out after the possibility of rain has passed.
     
  19. brotherGood

    brotherGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    75
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Location:
    Urbana OH
    I just went through a no start issue..it ended up being the starter. I can't imagine ever swapping a full size starter back in after putting the mini starter in. I used to think the claims of ease of install, and how quick it'd crank were an exaggeration ...not anymore. and at less than 40 bucks delivered to the door..it's hard to beat
     
    Justwondering likes this.
  20. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    836
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    If you are going to use a screwdriver – Don't do it AT the starter in car. Too high a chance that screwdriver will touch chassis, exhaust or something else and something WILL MELT!

    If engine is out of car OR using screwdriver to relay on firewall – then go for it.
     
    Justwondering likes this.