97 engine occasionaly wont crank over

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Jun 14, 2009
Ottawa, Ontario
Hello, my GF has a 1997 USA 80 sereis and occasionaly she turns the key and it wont crank over, not even a relay/solenoid click. I suspected the neutral safety switch, but even when she plays with the shifter, it wont crank, she generally pattiently retrys the ignition switch a few more times and then all at once it cranks over and al lis OK for a few days or weeks. I am concerned she will be stranded somewhere when what ever the issue is finally settels in for good !:crybaby:

Any one had a similar problem, ignition switch faulty ? My own truck is HDJ 81 and it never has a cranking issue, unless batteries are dead !
three things have to happen for the starter to spin.

1. battery above 12v
2. ignition switch and neutral-safety switch
3. starter must actually work

I've seen lots of #1 failing, but usually the starter will rapidly click-click-click-click when that happens. A jump-start from another car is the easy way to diagnose this.

I've also repaired plenty of #3. Starter contacts are easy to do, and are a maintenance item on vehicles over 60k miles.

Diagnosis of #2 requires a little bit of test equipment. A test-light is the easiest way to pinpoint what's failed. It can happen, but not as often as #1 and #3
Starter contacts

Denso makes the oe starter. I just had the same problem and thought neutral safety switch. Starter contacts were dust upon inspection (183k miles for the original). Buy the Denso either in the cold weather variety or the standard edition, depending on your local.
Yeah definitely sounds like start solenoids. Same thing happened to me a couple years back. If getting a new one isnt in your budget, i'm pretty sure you can just change out the solenoids. Someone of more knowledge im sure will chime in!
First thing clean the battery posts and terminals as well as all your electrical connections. Be sure to use dielectric grease on the connections once they are cleaned as this will help the continuity in the wires.
The small wire to the starter is often a problem as well as the contacts in the starter. I would start with this first.

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