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Starter Doesn't Respond


Explorer Addict
March 16, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Pleasant Hill, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 4 dr. EB
I've had the Explorer ('92) in storage for over a year. I put a new battery and went to start it. It turned over fine. Rrrrr, rrrrrr, rrrrr. But wouldn't start. Then I remembered that I had the fuel pump kill switch engaged. So I flip the fuel pump on and then when I turn the key the starter doesn't respond.
Now, assuming it isn't my wiring for the fuel pump that's the problem. (I flipped the switch the other way and the problem still exists.) I tried hitting the starter a few times with a hammer. That didn't help.
What stuff is inline that could be causing me the problem?
1. Starter/solenoid
2. Neutral safely switch?
What would you do first?
BTW it's in a lot an hour from my house so I'm trying to gather everything I'd need to solve the problem.

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if you have a volt meter that would be the easiest way to test it if your getting power at the positive bolt on the solenoid. worse comes to worse you could buy a new starter/solenoid and take it with you a switch it out and if thats not the problem return it.

Seems like a good way to tackle the problem if it is the Starter/solenoid. What do I do next if it's not that?

well like i said a volt meter is probably gonna be your best bet you could check voltage at the ignition and neutral switch. im assuming its an automatic so there's no clutch switch to check.

Is there any switch that knows if the tranny is in park?

Yes, it's attached to the transmission. But, for it to be the problem, I think you would have had to move the shift after it cranked, but before it stopped cranking. If you didn't touch the trans, I would probably look elsewhere, at least at first. Then again, I might just move the shift lever through the gears a few times, just to see if it did anything.

I might have touched the shift lever. I don't remember. Is this sensor screwed into the side of the tranny like a temp sensor? Cheap to replace? Could it be bypassed by connecting the wires running to it? It sucks that it's not just out in my driveway. Thanks for your help.

If it's the neutral safety switch you can often just jiggle the selector lever and the starter will then crank.

Try starting the truck in neutral, reverse, drive ect. then you'll know if its something with the safety switch. maybe you got a bad battery, try jumping it. Sorry cant be more help, not in the right state of mind at the moment:chug:

OK, you need to be prepared to troubleshoot. You turn the ign. switch and it sends power to a starter relay mounted on the pass. side wall of the engine compartment (ONLY in neutral or park, won't do it in D or R cuz of the P/N position switch [which dont go bad often but shifter could be messed up so wiggle it]). The relay sends power down to the starter solenoid (which is mounted on the starter). The solenoid directs battery power to the starter motor, turning the flywheel. So, the starter has two hot wires: a small one from the relay and a big one from the battery. No ground wire cuz the mount is the ground. Check for hot at the relay wire with the ign. turned to start, if good: check for hot at the small solenoid wire with the ign. turned to start. If good: check for constant hot at the large wire at the solenoid. Possible issues: bad ground, bad wires, bad relay, bad starter solenoid, bad starter motor, bad ign. switch, bad shifter, bad P/N switch.

So it turned out to be a combo of problems. First the starter solenoid was bad. A new starter unit fixed that. The other problem is with the auto shift cable. It doesn't always push the tranny into park. I have to climb under the truck and manually pull the lever into park. I'm going to try and tighten down the mounting bracket under the dash. If that doesn't work I'll try to adjust it.