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No crank, no start... SOLVED/Thanks!

Post number 27 has been selected as best answered.

Mr. Alligator

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
 



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Mike65

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Me being a "old fart" I do not know if you could try the hammer smack test on a starter that does no crank. Back in the day (1980's) I had a 1968 Mustang GT Coupe & one day without any warning the car did not start, no crank no click nothing. An older mechanic then me suggested while someone holds the key in the crank position (making sure the truck is in park with the parking brake engaged) slide under the truck & smack the starter a few times & see if the truck will start. It worked for me that time & I replaced the starter & the problem was fixed.
 






NigonKouk

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Ok, I have read the posts on this issue, but have not resolved this issue. I am out of State, and do not have access to a multimeter (yet). I am stuck.

EDIT: This may have started about a week ago, when turning the ignition key caused a complete loss of power in the cabin. Turning the key a few more times resolved the issue at the time and truck started and had full power. This sort of thing happened a few times. I thought this was a loose battery terminal, so I tightened the battery terminals.

Now, the truck will not crank at all. No apparent engagement of starter. No noise from starter area. When I turn the ignition to start, I do hear the fender starter relay click once, every time.

Battery has lots of power. Battery terminals are sound and tight. Battery cables have been replaced.

Truck has good headlight power, which is not reduced at all when I turn the ignition to try to engage the starter.

My first suspect was the starter. I removed it, took it to auto parts store, and test said it was good. So I put starter back in truck. Nothing changed.

I have tried to jump the fender relay with a screw driver, then by removing power cable and touching the single cable from one post directly to other post... result is minor electric sparks, but no crank and no noise or crank from starter.

I have also swapped the relays in the underhood power distribution box, and checked all of the fuses in the this box. Fuses looked good, and nothing changed.

Both the fender relay and the ignition switch are original parts.

Question: would favorable “test” at discount auto parts store rule out problems with starter?

Question: shouldn’t jumping the fender relay posts engage the starter, bypassing any potential issues with fender relay or ignition switch?

Question: any other thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you!

@imp
try new starter, don't hurt 2hava spare, then try key on, manually engage starter .
 






eaglet3

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
re no multi meter , a circuit tester that has a clip one one end of a 4' wire lead and a pointed tip on a handle with a lamp in handle beats a multi tester You probe for voltage and follow the circuit. the lamp can be seen easily and if you drop the tester it will never break, no dial settings either, Cost under $10 maybe $5. A proximity ammeter will read alternator charge current and starter current is also invaluable. also durable and inexpensive. these do not require any talent or training to use.
 






C420sailor

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Yeah a good 12V test light is clutch for sure
 






imp

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Me being a "old fart" I do not know if you could try the hammer smack test on a starter that does no crank. Back in the day (1980's) I had a 1968 Mustang GT Coupe & one day without any warning the car did not start, no crank no click nothing. An older mechanic then me suggested while someone holds the key in the crank position (making sure the truck is in park with the parking brake engaged) slide under the truck & smack the starter a few times & see if the truck will start. It worked for me that time & I replaced the starter & the problem was fixed.
Saw this condition once, in all these years. Decided it was caused by intermittent non-contact between starter motor brushes and burnt commutator. Confirmed on disassembly, turned commutator in my lathe, good again. Hitting the starter "jiggles" the brushes, re-establish contact.
 






Steven Forzano

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Ok, I have read the posts on this issue, but have not resolved this issue. I am out of State, and do not have access to a multimeter (yet). I am stuck.

EDIT: This may have started about a week ago, when turning the ignition key caused a complete loss of power in the cabin. Turning the key a few more times resolved the issue at the time and truck started and had full power. This sort of thing happened a few times. I thought this was a loose battery terminal, so I tightened the battery terminals.

Now, the truck will not crank at all. No apparent engagement of starter. No noise from starter area. When I turn the ignition to start, I do hear the fender starter relay click once, every time.

Battery has lots of power. Battery terminals are sound and tight. Battery cables have been replaced.

Truck has good headlight power, which is not reduced at all when I turn the ignition to try to engage the starter.

My first suspect was the starter. I removed it, took it to auto parts store, and test said it was good. So I put starter back in truck. Nothing changed.

I have tried to jump the fender relay with a screw driver, then by removing power cable and touching the single cable from one post directly to other post... result is minor electric sparks, but no crank and no noise or crank from starter.

I have also swapped the relays in the underhood power distribution box, and checked all of the fuses in the this box. Fuses looked good, and nothing changed.

Both the fender relay and the ignition switch are original parts.

Question: would favorable “test” at discount auto parts store rule out problems with starter?

Question: shouldn’t jumping the fender relay posts engage the starter, bypassing any potential issues with fender relay or ignition switch?

Question: any other thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you!

@imp
You mentioned you replaced the battery cables. Is this including the the cable from the battery to the starter. I went through two starters and it was the cables fault.
 






CDW6212R

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.

I am glad you got that fixed. I didn't have anything else to add when I saw the thread on Christmas.

My last 98 302 Explorer(black) quit working one day on the job, with light rain. I was at a house with good people, and one was helpful enough to lend me a hammer and their time. I reached under the truck and had them turn the key to start. I smacked the starter about four times, and at some point the starter engaged. I finshed the day(another four hours) without shutting off the engine.

My recent 302 Explorer(white) also had a starter issue, at a customer's house it would "spin" but not engage. Found out that one start bolt was gone, and the other about half way out. With help we got the one bolt in snug, and I drove like that for another three hours or so, and home. Both times I put in a rebuilt OEM starter, and had the old one rebuilt.

These use great starters(Fords), but age and bad mechanics cause problems.
 






Mr. Alligator

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You mentioned you replaced the battery cables. Is this including the the cable from the battery to the starter. I went through two starters and it was the cables fault.
I had replaced the positive cables to the starter a few years ago. That was a real adventure and a bizarre project...

After about twenty years and 450,000 miles, the positive starter cable(s) insulation wore away where the cable turns near the frame. This resulted in a dead short circuit. It arced all over the frame, and destroyed my previous starter. This dead short circuit also fried the starter cable wiring for a few feet - the fried starter cable section acted like a wet noodle, wrapped in burnt plastic. The starter power cable and starter trigger cables were welded togethper and both were destroyed..

Really was lucky it did not do worse damage. When I replaced the positive starter cables, I made sure to protect them in conduit In the tight areas near the frame. I thought about posting the issue as a warning, but it seemed too odd and unique. It was a bizarre project, but a funny story now.

Anyone else ever get one of those fried starter cable arc welding short circuits?
 






Therpwz

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Ok, I have read the posts on this issue, but have not resolved this issue. I am out of State, and do not have access to a multimeter (yet). I am stuck.

EDIT: This may have started about a week ago, when turning the ignition key caused a complete loss of power in the cabin. Turning the key a few more times resolved the issue at the time and truck started and had full power. This sort of thing happened a few times. I thought this was a loose battery terminal, so I tightened the battery terminals.

Now, the truck will not crank at all. No apparent engagement of starter. No noise from starter area. When I turn the ignition to start, I do hear the fender starter relay click once, every time.

Battery has lots of power. Battery terminals are sound and tight. Battery cables have been replaced.

Truck has good headlight power, which is not reduced at all when I turn the ignition to try to engage the starter.

My first suspect was the starter. I removed it, took it to auto parts store, and test said it was good. So I put starter back in truck. Nothing changed.

I have tried to jump the fender relay with a screw driver, then by removing power cable and touching the single cable from one post directly to other post... result is minor electric sparks, but no crank and no noise or crank from starter.

I have also swapped the relays in the underhood power distribution box, and checked all of the fuses in the this box. Fuses looked good, and nothing changed.

Both the fender relay and the ignition switch are original parts.

Question: would favorable “test” at discount auto parts store rule out problems with starter?

Question: shouldn’t jumping the fender relay posts engage the starter, bypassing any potential issues with fender relay or ignition switch?

Question: any other thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you!

@imp
Do you have anti theft ? Look at the blinking red light...when you turn ignition on does it blink fast or regular slow? If fast ...you gonna need a new chip key....
 






mike fowler 2

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
Mr.Alligator
Thank you for the final reults and posting
 






mike fowler 2

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
Mr.Alligator
Thank you for the final reults and posting
 






laker82

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
Glad to hear. Ground contact can be refreshed by changing a good starter for another good starter. Ford multi strand positive cable can look good, test good with voltmeter and not carry enough juice.
When you are stuck just loosening a starter shaking it and retightening it can get another start even when you are laying in the mud.
 






aMiranda

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FINALLY SOLVED!

Out of State repairs are tough, but this certainly could have been worse... Truck starter was 3 1/2 years old. Auto Zone tested the starter as “good”. A kind mobile mechanic (contacted through Auto Zone) tested the system and also concluded the starter was good, while the ignition switch was faulty. This threw my troubleshooting into hyperspace. Searching and reading and researching and reviewing and inspecting and testing. I kept coming back to bad starter.

Today, I took starter to NAPA to buy a new starter, hoping they had the better quality unit. Well, they also had a tester, and once again, my starter tested “good”. But the starter bearings were making a little noise, and I had to do something, so I bought a new NAPA starter....

Installed the new starter from NAPA, and truck fired right up!!! Started immediately. ISSUE RESOLVED.

Moral of the story: do not trust auto parts starter testing! it might be right most of the time. Maybe. But if you have a multimeter, you can test the starting system components. Without a multimeter, you can jump the starter and the starter fender relay from the positive battery terminal, and get the same result ... maybe in a slightly more redneck approach.

Thanks to everyone on this Forum for thoughtful assistance. This Forum has helped me keep my truck running for hundreds of thousands of miles. The members here have so much wisdom, and there are so many helpful and compassionate contributions.

Stay safe and stay kind. Thank you all.
This could've been easily diagnosed with a test light or meter. Have someone crank while you test for voltage at the small terminal. If there's power and ground there then 1000% it's a bad component. Then again I didn't read the entire post so sorry if I sound like a d***.
 






vanman9

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Yeah a good 12V test light is clutch for sure
I've been using a 6 V bulb for a long time. Lites up bright for good, dim or notso bright for lower voltages. I had a motorcycle a long time age that was 6 V and got those bulbs from the speedo and tach :) .
 






martin_95037

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I just had a issue with a starter on an old Chevy dump truck. Starter would turn the engine but not at its normal rate. Tried jumpstarting it, would return to its normal rate briefly but would then slow down. Took it down to the alternator starter repair place and the guy it did not sound right. Something was rubbing inside. Have not had time to install it yet.
 






Sam@OR

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Me being a "old fart" I do not know if you could try the hammer smack test on a starter that does no crank. Back in the day (1980's) I had a 1968 Mustang GT Coupe & one day without any warning the car did not start, no crank no click nothing. An older mechanic then me suggested while someone holds the key in the crank position (making sure the truck is in park with the parking brake engaged) slide under the truck & smack the starter a few times & see if the truck will start. It worked for me that time & I replaced the starter & the problem was fixed.
I, too, think the initial "hammer" or "broom handle" test is a great way to find out if the starter is "sitting on a bad spot in the windings." It's worked for me more than once, and in any case the fix - as the OP already stated - is to replace the starter. The hammer / broom handle approach most frequently gets the vehicle running one last time, just to get it to the auto parts store. Again, all IMHO...
 






Mr. Alligator

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Glad to hear. Ground contact can be refreshed by changing a good starter for another good starter.

Thanks. In my case, I removed, then reinstalled the starter. Even though it tested ”good” at Auto Zone and NAPA, I am confident it was the issue.

I, too, think the initial "hammer" or "broom handle" test is a great way to find out if the starter is "sitting on a bad spot in the windings."

I tried the “hammer” method, but this did not work this time. I have had this work in the past, for a final start before replacement of the starter.

This could've been easily diagnosed with a test light or meter. Have someone crank while you test for voltage at the small terminal. If there's power and ground there then 1000% it's a bad component.

Yes, in hindsight this is very correct. In fact, I was pretty sure it was the starter when it first occurred. Even though I was on the road without testing equipment and without a full shop of tools, I was so sure it was the starter that I removed the starter and got a ride to Auto Zone for a replacement. This was just based on my 23 years of experience and hundreds of thousands of miles with this truck, and four or five previous starter replacements, and some quick testing.

THEN the reality of this repair was substantially more complicated because two auto parts stores tested my starter as “good”, and a mobile mechanic with testing equipment indicated it was the ignition switch. And most everything was closed for Christmas. I felt very fortunate to have support from this Forum!

I will include some simple electric testing equipment in my vehicle tool box.

PROBLEM: Even after trying to obtain top of the line starters from auto parts stores and an auto electric store, I only get about four or five years of service from an aftermarket starter. Motorcraft might do better, but these seem hard to obtain quickly when I have a starter fail. And I am not patient enough to order a Motorcraft starter now, just waiting for the next faiilure. And not really willing to replace my new working NAPA starter with a Motorcraft starter. Maybe I should rethink something here.

QUESTION: What experience is everyone else having with aftermarket starters?
 






97Sandbox

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Glad to see this all worked out!

For posterity, I just thought I should add that I had very similar no crank no start symptoms a couple of years ago with my '97 SOHC. I suspected various parts and tried to rule things out in much the way you did, but in my case, the culprit was contaminated terminals at the crankshaft position sensor (believe me, it took a lot of trial and error to narrow it down to that). Years of slowly dripping oil had gunked up the whole front of my timing cover and many of the parts attached to it. After removing the sensor, cleaning off the gunk with isopropyl and q-tips, and finishing it off with deoxidizing contact cleaner, I reconnected everything and the truck fired right up!

I know this isn't entirely relevant here, but it may help someone for whom a new starter doesn't do the trick.
 



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rasouth

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Weird as it may seem I'm still on the original starter. My parents bought the car new and I got it at 112000 miles. It now has over 200000 miles and I have not had a problem with it, knock on wood.
 






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