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No Crank When Cold

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by RandomNerd2000, November 25, 2018.

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    1. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      So, I've got a problem. Literally what the title states. I'll go out when it's below 40 degrees, switch the truck on, go to crank it up, and it won't crank, aka, it won't turn over to start. Sometimes, if you wait a minute or two or three, it'll crank. Sometimes holding it to the start position will crank it, and sometimes it'll crank after the second attempt. It's only a colder weather problem though, it did it a time or two last winter, and then when it got warm, it quit it. It's been problem free all summer, through several thousand miles, until today. It did it today, I tried four or five times, nothing, then held it and boom after a few seconds it started cranking.

      Any clues? Other issues I've had that either disappeared were, I had the battery go dead for no reason a few weeks ago, I also have the radio occasionally not turn on for 15-20 minutes of driving, and then it'll come on all by itself. I don't think it's a starter but opinions are welcome.
       
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    3. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

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      Pry not the issue, but check your battery terminals, and the wire inside the terminal itself, for corrosion.
       
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    4. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I’d first suspect the ignition switch. I’d check if the starter control circuit (Coil) is energized when it doesn’t turn over.
       
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    5. donalds

      donalds Elite Explorer

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      I was gonna say pull the ignition switch and manually operate it

      Sticking starter relay wait until it is happening jumper the relay coils do funny things when hot or cold
       
    6. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      Sticking relay sounds like a fair chance of being my problem, considering I got this truck for $200 over a bad fuel pump relay. I did notice that this morning, you can hear two clicks when the issue is present and you turn the key to start, which rules out the ignition switch IMO. This morning simply holding it got it to crank, I didn't hear anything else engage, it simply started cranking after 5ish seconds, and then it'd start all day.
       
    7. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      Update, we got warm again, and it quit THE ISSUE of course. Then, we got cold again, so I cleaned the battery cables, and that's not it. I did narrow it down to either, it's the ignition switch, it something in the shifter, or it's the starter itself.

      I had a morning where it wouldn't work for ANYTHING, I bumped the shifter and it cranked, I don't think it's out of line since it goes in reverse and the lights come on fine, the indicator lines up too and nothing has ever been adjusted by me. Otherwise it's either starter or ignition switch. Might try switch first since the radio occasionally, also on temperature, decides to not power up immediately but wait 15-20 minutes.
       
    8. imp

      imp Elite Explorer

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      @RandomNerd2000
      Transmission Range Switch, operated by a long cable, maladjusted or slightly loose, cable contracts when very cold, changes switch position just enough to break neutral start circuit. (Wouldn't bet on it, but would check if it were my own headache). imp
       
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    9. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      Will do, I don't recall if this truck did this with the transmission that used to be in it, didn't drive it long enough to know really. I'll check that though for sure.
       
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    10. fast_dave

      fast_dave Active Member

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      RandomNerd2000,

      Here's an Old School diagnosis that will help "get you in the ballpark."

      With the battery fully charged, turn the headlights on.

      Get someone to crank over the key while you're standing in front of your Ex, looking at the headlights.

      If the headlights dim while the key is turned, you are getting juice all the way to the starter solenoid.

      If the headlights do not dim, you have a short/open circuit/bad relay somewhere.

      Hope that helps & Happy New Year!

      PS - If no one else is available to assist you - pull your Ex into a dimly lit area or garage, point it at a dark wall, then perform the test as described from inside the cab while watching your headlight strength emitted on the wall.
       
    11. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      If you don't know how old the starter is, I'd replace that if the battery cables are checked and good.

      I just had a starting issue a few days ago. One day it started hard two times, middle of the day and then to go home after work. The next day the 3rd time I tried to start it, nothing. I was at a customer's house, and they were home. I borrowed a hammer and tapped on the starter. Then it started, and I didn't shut if off for 4.5 hours. It started when I was leaving work, and I swapped the starter the next day. I think I wore out the solenoid, after about 20 months and maybe 10,000 starts.
       
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    12. BruceExploder

      BruceExploder New Member

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      I just had to pull my starter too. Froze up? IMG_20181229_140136.jpg
       
    13. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      Good news, so it did it again. Finally had absolutely no start, not even an attempt. Tried neutral, no dice. Rules that out. Then checked battery cables, also no dice. Ignition switch seems to be working too, when you attempt it, it does everything normally but that. That left relays, a wiring issue, and the starter. So, starting simple, I opened the relay box, wiggled every relay in there and it cranked right up. When I purchased this truck, I got it with a bad fuel pump relay, so I'm thinking I've got it. Which one of these is the starter relay?
       
    14. Turdle

      Turdle Has Pleasure Chamber Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ok, pull the relay and look down into the socket. look for discolored connections.

      I think your relay is good, however where it plugs in is not making good reliable contact.Metal shrinks when cold. the metal lug is shrinking inside the connector and loosing contact.



      Using a needle nose pliers, very slightly twist the relay lugs. Just a little will do. this makes them bite into the socket better. Costs nothing and I bet it fixes your problem.

      Unless there is severe heat damage in the power distribution box where the relay plugs in.

      Please try this and post back
       
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    15. donalds

      donalds Elite Explorer

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      Time for a rebuilding
       
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    16. RandomNerd2000

      RandomNerd2000 Well-Known Member

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      The box isn't damaged, it's nice and clean and perfect inside, the relays are good and snug but I'll try that. I did also remember I had to swap wiper relays a while ago because I got stuck with just high speed wipers, that too was a bad relay. Do these things just get bad at 250K or so? That's been my one recurring issue with this truck, a relay related issue.
       
    17. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      Relays are cheap. I’d just tighten the pin connectors and replace them.
       
    18. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I agree that corrosion or a terminal backing out etc, is most likely the cause. But the relays do wear out eventually, and I think 20 years is about the right time to replace them all if you can. They aren't as expensive as the OEM 80's Ford relays were, but around $12 each is quite a bit if you by ten of them. I think I got about that last year for my best truck. I might go with other brands for my other trucks.
       

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