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'92 XLT starts and runs great UNTIL YOU RELEASE THE KEY

mrbarnard

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Los Angeles, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Ford Explorer XLT
My 1992 Ford Explorer XLT (4.0L V6, automatic, tilt wheel) starts and runs, but when the key is released and springs back to "run" position, the engine dies.

While holding the key between "start" and "run", the engine runs but the electrics (blower motor, wipers) don't work.

I replaced the IGNITION SWITCH, but that changed nothing.

Could it be the IGNITION ACTUATOR ROD? I tried several times to adjust the switch position before tightening it down, but nothing made a difference. Once the key is released, the engine dies...but the electrics come on.

What might cause this, what might fix it?
 
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awood

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Kaysville, utah
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
If you're confident the switch is ok, then this will sound weird, but I'd check your battery cables (which are hard to see). My 92 had a cable that had rubbed through the insulation on the frame, and it did all sorts of weird things. Mostly, I could crank the starter ok, but it would never release (continued cranking) until I pulled the battery cable off the battery. You should have seen me running for the toolbox for a half inch wrench the first time that happened! If I put the cable back on the battery, everything would reset, and there was no indication of a problem. Somehow, during cranking, I think I was backfeeding voltage through the ground, which held the starter solenoid and the starter relay engaged.

I know what I had was different from you, but it might be worth a look.
 
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Turdle

Lowrider
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2000 Mounty
It could be the ignition lock is doing it? On our Mountaineer the lock tab was broken off, I can see how it could possibly be bent "backwards" and do this--
 
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mrbarnard

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1992 Ford Explorer XLT
I've checked cables, no obvious problem. IS IT POSSIBLE THIS PROBLEM IS CAUSED BY THE ECM (ECU)?
 
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FR-425

Used to be a road here.
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1994 Explorer Limited
Did you replace this?
ign2_zps1f47efd4.jpg

Or just the lock tumbler?
 
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mrbarnard

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1992 Ford Explorer XLT
Yes, replaced the SWITCH as well as the LOCK TUMBLER, and even the FUEL PUMP RELAY. It seems the ECU may be to blame, so am going to switch that as soon as the rebuilt one arrives.
 
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malohnes

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SE Alaska
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'91 xl m5 4x4
My first thought was the solenoid too.
 
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FR-425

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Faulty neutral safety switch?
 
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JDraper

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'18 XLT
Saw this in a F-150 a few years back. Same symptoms and it turned out to be a faulty ignition box.
 
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FR-425

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KOEO codes?
 
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Bruces expo

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91 Mazda Navajo
I bet 99.9% Positive its the Wiring on your Column , Mine did this same thing and Come to find out , The Rod that pushes down the column that makes the connections to the wiring on the column broke 2 tabs off , What I did was use big zip ties to hold the connector to the connection point , Check under your dash on the steering column for a plug in connector that is on top of the column , it should have a good amount of wires on it , and it should snap into place , push it down onto the connector and zip tie it into place , I'm almost willing to bet that is your problem as I have dealt with it first hand . You will not be able to see it very well unless you take apart the bottom of the dash where the hood release is , then you can possibly see it better , I felt around for it and found it .
 
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mrbarnard

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1992 Ford Explorer XLT
HERE'S THE SOLUTION:

I took it to a highly-recommended electrical mechanic in Fresno. He went through the wiring and discovered that a cheap BUTT CONNECTOR (electrical connector) used when someone installed an after-market alarm system had come apart. $250 to find a 5¢ piece! Disconnected the aftermarket alarm, corrected the wire, and now the car starts and runs fine.
 
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FR-425

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OOooops!

Nobody asked about aftermarket alarm.
 
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