Engine won't crank need ideas what to look at | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Engine won't crank need ideas what to look at


Well-Known Member
November 25, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Prattville, Alabama
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XLT; 325,000 miles
I got a ex with a standard trans. For some reason the starter will not crank. If I jump the solenoid the starter will work just fine. So far I have checked the following:
- Battery is charged and is good
- Neutral safety switch is working properly (We even bypassed it, no change0
- Ignition starter relay is good
- Replaced the starter as it sounds like it had a bunch of marbles in it
- Cleaned the battery terminals and cables
- I have continuity from the battery to the starter solenoid
- Checked and starter is getting 12 volts

This one has me stumped. The only other thing I can think of is the ECU but I am trying to avoid the "just start replacing parts" scenario to fix it. Any idea's would be appreciated. Once this one gets figured out I will definitely post the solution.

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Does the '97 have the starter solenoid mounted near the battery and another on the starter or does it have the starter relay and then only the starter mounted solenoid?

Think at this point, I'd be checking to see if that first relay or solenoid is getting it's trigger signal and a ground or not.

Check the fuses in the fuse panel at the end of the dash. On my '01 Sport Trac, #19 is for the starter. Don't know if it's the same for your Explorer. Wouldn't you know, that page is missing from the owner's manual for my son's '97 Mountaineer!

The starter solenoid is on the starter. Right now I have a wire from the solenoid terminal to the battery and put a jumper in so the clutch safety switch is bypassed. This way he touches the wire to the battery and he can start it without having to push start it.

We have checked all the fuzes in the engine bay and they are all good. The ones inside I will need to check as far as I know he has not checked those. We do the starter relay is getting a signal as you can hear it clicking when he tries to start it.

sounds like even though the starter relay is clicking (energized) it's not passing power (12v) to the starter solenoid "S" terminal. have you checked for voltage at the "S" terminal on the starter solenoid when the key is turned to START? if you're not getting voltage, pull the starter relay and check for corrosion on it's terminals. you can also jump/bypass the relay and swap it. if you find your getting low voltage you might have a bad connection.

Well I said I would post the solution but it is not the way I would have done it. My buddy decided to just put in push switch to start it instead of finding the issue.