Author Topic: Oh Crap My 1992-2000 Montero Doesn't Turn Over When I Turn The Key! (Fixed)  (Read 972 times)


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This comes up a lot so I'll put it here so I don't have to type the answer so often.

Second generation Monteros have a pretty simple electrical system that enables the starter to engage and it can be troubleshot by basic principles.    As always you can download the factory service manual for free from (and if you find it helpful, maybe paypal them a buck or two as a thanks.)

The starter itself has three electrical connections.   One is its own body which is negative/ground.    It connects to the engine block which then should connect via several paths back to the battery.     Another electrical connection is the high current battery cable which goes over the transmission bellhousing behind the engine and then up to the battery positive terminal.   This circuit does not have a fuse and as long as your battery is good there should be the same voltage down at your starter as there is at the battery itself.    Use a volt meter to confirm 12V is available at the starter.     

The third connection is the one you're most likely to need to troubleshoot, this is the trigger which supplies ~12V to the starter solenoid and tells it to do its business.     Your first troubleshooting step after checking that there's power available to the starter motor itself is to check that this trigger wire is supplying voltage when you turn the key.    You do this by probing the trigger wire at the starter (connected or not, whichever is easier for you) with a volt meter and having an assistant turn the key.     If you get 12V there but your starter still won't budge  it's likely your problem is a failed starter assembly.     You can now test the starter by (carefully) applying 12v via jumper to the trigger terminal. 

If you did not get 12v at the starter trigger when you turn the key to start,  then you need to work backwards up the circuit back to the battery.   That circuit is pretty simple although it does make several stops.  The first (last?) stop upstream from the starter is the transmission range position switch, which is located on the passenger side of the transmission  housing.   This electrical switch is what lets your vehicle ECU know what position  you have put the transmission lever in and it also completes an electrical circuit when it's in "P" or "N" position, which is what stops you from starting the vehicle in Drive.       Once properly installed this rarely fails but it still is part of the circuit and must be considered.       Upstream from that is your ignition key switch in the steering column,  upstream from that is the dealer-installed (or aftermarket, who knows what's been done to your vehicle in the last 20+ years?) alarm starter interrupt, upstream from that is a fuse,  and then the battery.     

Failure could occur anywhere along that circuit so it's a good idea to check it all but anecdotally the most common point of failure is the dealer installed alarm so that's the first place I'd be checking.     It's located directly forward of your left knee,  mounted to a metal bracket behind the speaker there.    The wire harness for it is pretty simple and there's even a wiring glossary printed on a sticker under the dealer installed unit - or, you can find that in the FSM.   

If you do determine the dealer installed alarm is being a butt-face,  my suggestion is to just replace it with an Avital 3100LX .    Why that specific unit?   It's very affordable, it's easy for anyone with even a tiny bit of wiring aptitude to figure out and install,  and it just plain works.     You get two remote entry fobs for your key ring and you get similar-to-factory starter interrupt and you get back behind the wheel for the price of dinner without any sweat.       If you let feature creep lure you in for fancy stuff like starting the vehicle from the internet and such.. you can buy a super fancy unit that cooks you breakfast but programming it becomes exponentially more difficult so that's all on you. 

If you don't care about having any of those features or remote locks and just want your vehicle to start, you can simply jumper the starter interrupt loop on the alarm harness and that problem is solved for nearly free.   

Hopefully this helps alleviate a little frustration. 


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Also the interface from the Ignition Lock Housing "driver" to the Ignition switch wears out.  This is common on Gen 1 & Gen 2.  I've replaced the ignition switch on my '88, '92 & '93 because of this issue.  The switch interface is plastic and is the wear component.
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