Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to replace the starter on a 3.0L Caravan, Voyager or Town and Country

    This post covers removing and installing the starter from a 2000 3.0L Dodge Caravan. Also included is a section on basic starter troubleshooting and re-installation. This is not a difficult repair. Although when a starter fails it is often necessary to tow the vehicle or perform the repair on the spot, jacking it up and working safely under it makes the job easier. 

                                                           The Repair Basics                                     
  • Safety: Safety glasses, gloves. 
  • Tools: Hydraulic or other jack, Jack stands or substantial wood supports, 10mm wrench, 15mm 3/8 drive socket and ratchet, 15mm box end wrench, small flat blade screwdriver, 12mm wrench, wood block.   
  •  Parts and materials: Replacement starter. See below the post for parts.
  •  Cost of materials: Starter $70-140   
  •  Shop labor cost for the job: $60-100.
  •  Home mechanic estimated time: 1 hour 

1) Set parking brake, chock back wheel and jack up and support front end.

2) Disconnect the battery with a 10mm wrench

3) Unbolt the starter (located right near the oil filter) with a 15mm wrench or socket. Use a 3/8 ratchet to break them free and then go to a wrench or even better a ratcheting wrench. **Do Not remove the starter B+ nut. This is not the actual mounting point of the B+ to the starter. It is only the end of a lug that mounts further in.

unbolt the starter before unwiring

4)  Hold the starter with one hand and turn out the last, upper bolt with the other. Then set it down on a block of wood still connected to the wiring.

5) Remove a black cap to reveal a 12mm nut holding the red B+ wire to the starter. Tap the wrench with a hammer to break it loose.Turn off the nut.

Remove the battery +12 wire with a 12mm wrench

4) Remove the spade connector holding the solenoid start wire. A small straight blade screwdriver will get the job done.                                                               


1) Set the new motor on the wood block and hook up the B+ with a 12mm wrench. Snap the plastic cap back over the connection.

2) Plug in the solenoid wire.

3) Remount the starter, jostling a bit till the pinion gear meshes with the flywheel. Start the easier lower 15mm bolt and work back and forth till all three are seated. Torque up. I could find no specs for this but it isn't a critical torquing operation. Good and snug will do.

4) Reconnect the battery.

5) Test it.

5) Remove the stands and set the van back down.



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for using the post and I really appreciate the comment.

  2. Your starter went out and you want to replace it: Here's what to do. First you need to get the old starter out. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes not. The only reason it might be difficult is if it's located in a weird place.

  3. Replacing the starter of a car is not at all difficult. However, it must be done with utmost care. Otherwise, we might do further damage to the automotive. My Blog