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As you"re already aware, the engine is no gonna" crank and also start if the starter motor has actually failed on your 1996-1997 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder.

You are watching: 1997 nissan pathfinder starter relay location

In this accuse I"m gonna" show you exactly how to check the starter motor and also the inhibitor relay (starter motor relay).

This is an on-car starter motor check so girlfriend don"t need to remove that to check it.

APPLIES TO: This accuse only uses to the 1996-1997 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder and 3.3L QX-4 through an automatically transmission and without the factory built-in anti-theft system.


Contents the this tutorial at a glance:


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friend can find this accuse in Spanish here: Cómo Probar El motor De Arranque (1996-1997 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

WIRING DIAGRAM: friend can find the starter engine circuit wiring diagram here: Starter engine Circuit diagram (1996-1997 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder).

Starter Motor test Basics


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When the starter engine fails, the engine will certainly not crank as soon as you rotate the an essential to begin it.

What will help to diagnose a starter motor problem is knowing exactly how it activates come crank the engine.

The 4 main components affiliated in getting the engine to crank are:

The ignition switch.The inhibitor switch (park/neutral security switch on the automatic transmission).The inhibitor relay. Located in the Relay crate #2.The starter motor.

In a signature this is just how the starter motor cranks the engine:

When you turn the vital to begin the engine the ignition switch sends out 12 Volts to:The inhibitor switch.Inhibitor relay terminal #3.If the transmission is in Park or Neutral, the inhibitor switch currently routes the 12 Volts it acquired from the ignition move to terminal #1 of the inhibitor relay.Once the inhibitor relay gets these 12 Volts from the inhibitor switch, it currently activates and also lets 12 Volts pass from the ignition switch to the starter motor.To it is in a bit an ext specific: power passes native terminal #3 come terminal #5 of the inhibitor relay.Terminal #5 connects to the S terminal top top the starter motor"s solenoid.Once the starter motor it s okay these 12 Volts, it now activates and cranks the engine.

You"ll be able to far better visualize this through consulting the following starter motor circuit wiring diagram: Starter engine Circuit diagram (1996-1997 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder).

For the starter motor to crank the engine, you should see the complying with at the inhibitor relay"s socket (in the Relay box #2):

12 Volts at female terminal #3 once you turn the key to begin the engine.This is the begin Signal native the ignition switch.12 Volts at female terminal #1 once you turn the key to begin the engine.This is the Inhibitor move Signal from the inhibitor switch (park/neutral security switch) ~ above the automatically transmission.Ground existing at terminal #2 at all times because this is a chassis Ground.Female terminal #5 is the one that transmits the 12 Volts from female terminal #3 come the starter motor.

In this indict I"m gonna" display you just how to check for the start Signal, the Inhibitor switch Signal, and also the Ground that the inhibitor relay demands to activate the starter motor.

I"m additionally gonna" display you just how to bypass the inhibitor relay to watch if the starter motor cranks the engine.

With your test outcomes you"ll be able to find the end if the starter engine or the inhibitor relay is resulting in the "does no crank" problem of her 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder.

Tools necessary To check The Starter Motor

Testing the starter engine does need some simple tools. The cool thing is that they aren"t expensive. Here"s a simple list of what you"ll need:

Remote starter switch.You have the right to either to buy this tool online or you can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, O"Reilly, Pepboys, etc.).Multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light.A jumper wire.A helper.

TEST 1: Bypassing The Inhibitor Relay


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The first thing we"re gonna" do is to activate the starter motor by bypassing the inhibitor relay. Picture 1 that 3 above shows the location of the inhibitor relay in Relay box #2.

To bypass the inhibitor relay we"re gonna" remove it native Relay crate #2 and also then jumper woman terminals #3 and also #5 of its socket (see photo 2 that 3 above).

If jumpering terminal #3 and also #5 renders the starter crank the engine climate you have the right to conclude the it"s an excellent and no behind the "engine does no crank" problem you"re trying come diagnose.

NOTE: Be careful not to damage the inhibitor relay connector"s female terminals. The jumper cable terminals must be of the exact same thickness together the masculine spade terminals that the inhibitor relay to protect against damaging the mrs terminals of the socket.

IMPORTANT: remove the fuel pump relay as a security precaution before starting this test. The fuel pump relay is situated in Relay crate #2 (see picture 3 of 3).

These room the check steps:


Remove the jumper wire as soon as done with the test.

Let"s examine your check results:

CASE 1: The starter engine cranked the engine. This is the correct and expected test an outcome and lets you know that the starter engine is good.

Now, if the starter motor does not crank the engine with the inhibitor relay in ar then there"s a good chance that the inhibitor relay is:

Not obtaining a begin Signal native the ignition switch.Not getting an Inhibitor switch Signal.Not gaining Ground.

Don"t worry, I"m gonna" display you exactly how to find out. The following step is check for the presence of the begin Signal. For this check to go to: check 5: Making sure The Inhibitor Relay Is gaining A begin Signal.

CASE 2: The starter motor DID no crank the engine. This test result usually method that the starter engine is bad.

To be absolutely sure we must do 3 things:

Apply battery strength to the starter solenoid"s S terminal (TEST 2).Confirm the the starter motor is obtaining a begin Signal (TEST 3).Perform a voltage drop test on the starter motor"s battery cable (TEST 5).

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For the very first test walk to: test 2: applying 12 Volts to The Starter Solenoid"s S Terminal.