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Dodgerench
Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3385
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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My 2005 dodge stratus keeps blowing the #8 fuse (fuel/start).

Customer Question

My 2005 dodge stratus keeps blowing the #8 fuse (fuel/start).
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Dodgerench replied 7 years ago.
HiCustomer welcome to Just Answer!.

Fuse 8 of your 4-door Stratus feeds the output circuits of both starter and fuel pump relays as well as providing a feed to the ignition switch, which then splits it even more. If your fuse is blowing consistently, let's try this to weed things out a bit..

Locate and remove the starter and fuel pump relays from the underhood fuse block, the power distribution center (PDC). With both relays and the circuits Fuse 8 feeds disabled, the only remaining path to ground for this feed would be basic wiring outside the PDC or near the switch. Do everything you normally would when the fuse blows, including turning the ignition switch to the start position if that applies to see if the fuse holds.

Here's the wiring diagram for under the hood. Not shown is what happens at the far right of the diagram with the A1 feed to the ignition switch (the B continuation icon), but it's not really important that we follow this circuit yet. We'll burn that bridge if we need to...

graphic

If the fuse holds OK (won't pop), replace the fuel pump relay only. Perform the same test. If it blows now, you know it's the fuel pump relay or the fuel pump output circuit that's pulling too much power. If it doesn't blow, pull the relay and install the starter relay.

Crank the engine at least 3-4 times with the starter relay IN and the fuel pump relay OUT. The engine won't run very long, but that's OK... we're testing the starter circuit for excessive draw without the complication of adding fuel pump to the mix. If it blows now with the starter relay installed, you've got a high draw on the starter solenoid circuit, the output from this relay.

Being a new starter, it may simply be a shorted wire leading to the starter solenoid. Disconnect the starter solenoid connector and repeat the test to see if the fuse holds.

It gets complicated if you find the fuse to hold OK unless all circuits are running. I'd be inclined to think the fuel pump is drawing a lot more power than it should at that point, but it can be measured with an ammeter if you have one around the house. Most digital multimeters also have an amps function, but it's often only about 10 amps... which is marginal for the meter's own fuse for this test.

Check it out and let me know what you find.

Talk in a bit,
Ed
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Okay, we did all that and this is what we found: after checking the relays, one at a time, the only time the #8 fuse blows is when the #27 (starter relay) is installed. When we removed the bottom cover of the fuse box to check the wires, there was no corrosion at all inside the box.

We took note of the starter relay wiring with the relay out: the red wire has power all the time (with the key off, on & at start), the dark brown wire never has power, the yellow wire has power at start only, and the tan wire never has power. The starter motor solenoid trigger wire is also dark brown, and with that wire removed from the starter solenoid, the fuse still pops.

Two other things, the starter relay is new, and when we turn the key to the on position, we can hear the fuel pump running.

Expert:  Dodgerench replied 7 years ago.
Good work!
You've shown there to be a short in the starter relay output circuit and that it isn't the starter that's responsible. Now things get tricky.

You'll need to either locate and repair the short between the starter relay and the solenoid on that brown wire. My information shows an intermediate connector between the two points, something you can use to narrow the focus a bit.

graphic

Connector C111 shown here will split your wiring path in half. If you happen to have a multimeter handy, set it to 200 ohms and check the output circuit from the starter relay to ground with the starter relay disconnected. If the circuit is still shorted, it should show very little resistance... perhaps zero ohms.

Now separate C111 and retest. If it shows an open circuit now, you'll know that the short is on the right (engine) side of the connector, not on the relay side. The opposite holds true if continuity to ground isn't lost at that point.

You can use a test light as easily as a meter if you have one handy. Connect the alligator clip to battery positive, then touch the test tip to your circuit. Lighting the lamp indicates a complete circuit... your short.

I'd expect the short to be near an engine mount or similar sharp-edged metal object. It takes a very long time for a flat surface to wear through wiring insulation, but sharp objects get the job done much quicker.

If you choose to replace the wire, there's really no downside to that other than the possibility of other wires eventually being involved in this shorting spot. Just use the same or larger gauge wire and tie it securely away from danger after soldering the jumper splice in place.

Unless your fuel pump runs continuously with the key turned on (engine not running), there's nothing wrong. You'll get a roughly 1-second power-up of the fuel pump and ASD relays at each key on cycle.

I'd be most appreciative if you'd let me know what you find.

Good luck,
Ed

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