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97 Explorer Sport - difficulty starting

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Cal1, April 29, 2015.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Cal1

    Cal1 New Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Explorer Sport
    My 97 explorer sport is having issues starting and I just replaced the battery. First couple times, jumper cables started it. Last week, had to call AAA - they said the battery was fine, most likely an issue with the starter. I could hear the clicking sound when turning the key. The AAA guy rocked the car back and forth and it started! (Not sure why that worked) Happened again today, again, rocked the car, and it started.
    I took it to the mechanic a few weeks ago and they couldn't find anything wrong with it and couldn't replicate the issue. They said the battery and alternator were fine. I assume they checked the starter, but can't recall. They offered to do a full computer diagnostic for like $175 but I declined.

    Anyone have any ideas on what the issue could be? Should I take it back to the mechanic?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. JusTheUsual

    JusTheUsual Active Member

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    Sounds like the starter. Not 100percent sure but 90 percent sure its the starter. Wait and see what others say. If it wont start go under truck and mess with wire by moving them around then try starting it again to see
     
  4. fast_dave

    fast_dave Active Member

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    '98 Spt 4.0 OHV 5 spd 4x4
    Here's a simple test to see if your electrical connections are sound.

    When it's dark out, (YOU) stand in front of your Explorer, and have a partner FIRST turn on the headlights, and then have your partner turn the ignition so as to turn over the engine. When the starter motor was cranking, did your headlights go dim OR did they stay on at a constant rate?

    OR, if you don't have a helper, pull your EX up close to a wall, and turn on your headlights, watch the intensity of your headlights shining on the wall, and crank over your engine.

    When cranking over the engine, if your headlights dimmed, all is well.

    If your headlights didn't dim, you have electrical connection issues.

    Where are the issues? I dunno - BUT start with the EASY stuff (i.e. direct connections at the starter solenoid and starter motor, ground strapping) and then work you way towards the harder/more complicated stuff.

    Good luck and report back!

    PS: I'm assuming you have a 4.0 Liter OHV engine and a 5 Speed Manual Transmission since you're writing about "rocking" the vehicle, and the "rocking" having some positive effect.

    I can't see "rocking" have any effect on an automatic transmission. To help us help you, can you clarify this (Engine Type & Transmission Type) ;)

    If your EX has a Manual Transmission, add to the simple stuff the possibility that it could be a "hot spot" on the starter motor's stator (which is the part that comes in contact with the carbon brushes) OR a bad starter solenoid.
     
    Last edited: April 29, 2015
  5. Cal1

    Cal1 New Member

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    Thanks for the tip. I'll try that out. It is actually a 4.0L automatic. The AAA guy said it was a trick he learned but I'm still not really sure why/how it worked. If there's a starter issue, how would that help? Just faulty wiring or something?
     
  6. fast_dave

    fast_dave Active Member

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    Seriously - that's the 1st time I've heard of that trick on an Automatic Transmission equipped vehicle, and as a young gearhead I worked three summers in an automatic transmission shop :)

    I'll have store it away in my logic bank for the off chance I ever buy a vehicle with an automatic ;)

    Start simple (and cost free) and try the light test first.

    Report back, as that test will be your baseline for other suggestions as forum members jump on and offer advice.

    Good luck!

    PS - just figured I'd ought to throw this out there, just in case

    Next time it doesn't start when in "PARK" - try switching the gearshift lever to "NEUTRAL" and turning over the ignition cylinder.
     
  7. Flash

    Flash Well-Known Member

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    Check the battery cables and clamps for resistance and the ground for a good connection.
     
  8. Cal1

    Cal1 New Member

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    Car wouldn't start again and towed it to the mechanic. Turns out it was the gear shifter cable. The gear and needle hadn't aligned on the dashboard for several years but I guess it got bad enough that the car was going in between gears and thus wouldn't start.

    Thanks all for the help!
     

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