The van is fixed. I tried starting it and it wouldn’t even click. I tested the battery voltage and it had dropped to 11.68 volts, so evidently it has a bad or weak cells.
I purchased a everstart battery from Walmart with 1000 cranking amps above 32 degrees, 810 cold cranking amps. Installed it and the starter solenoid clicked but wouldn’t crank. The negative battery wire has been replaced in the past with a #6 wire, instead of the stock #4. It has got hot enough in the past trying to crank that it had melted a little of the lead from the terminal on the wire.
Still, it should have cranked if the starter/solenoid were both good. I suspect that from sitting corrosion had got on the contacts internally inside the solenoid. Also, the teeth on the starter gear we getting worn so it was best to replace it before it causes damage to the flywheel which is a much harder repair. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the old starter and I turned it in for a core charge. Not sure why the teeth were worn, it had a Napa starter that probably has not been in the van for a long time. Here is a picture of the flywheel in the van which looks okay.
The negative battery cable had been replaced in the past with one that had the wrong size eye on the end that bolts to engine block. You can see the new one with the smaller appropriate size hole for the bolt.
I prefer running #2 or #1 cables, but all that was available was #4. I upgraded the negative to the #4 and the positive I only replaced the terminal end. If there is a place that makes up cables it would be a good upgrade to go to #2 or #1 in the future. For the time being it will be fine. Winter time cold starts is where you really need the extra capacity. Just for future reference: positive cable is 60” long on wire going to starter and should be #2 or #1 with a 3/8” connection at end opposite terminal, second wire coming from terminal is 10” long with either 1/4” or 5/16” that goes to fuse box. A third wire coming out of the same terminal would need a 10 gauge crimp connectors to tie into existing wiring, or that wiring could go to the fuse box. Here’s the starter end of the positive cable after I sanded it:
The negative cable is 38” long on the wire going to engine block with a 3/8” hole, and a second 10 gauge wire with a crimp connection that goes on the wire that is attached to the body. I sanded both the block and the body so we have good clean connections. The one weak link right now is the replacement battery terminal on the positive cable. If there’s any problems in the future, look there first. It’s an easy point to either get corrosion or a loose connection. I think there are 4 wires that are stripped back and squished into that replacement terminal.