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Anyone familiar with Foxbody cars?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Longroof79, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Geezer

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    The reason I ask is, I'm having a starting issue with my alternate daily driver which is an '81 Mercury Capri 2.3 automatic.
    Used the car one day, I made a few errands around town...the car started fine. I got home parked on the driveway. I later wanted to move the car. Got in, turned the key...it clicked once and the panel lights went out...no power.
    I replaced the starter relay (solenoid) again....no difference. As soon as i connect the heavy lead to the starter or the ignition switch lead...the same problem. I've checked the battery and had it load tested...fine. I can jump the starter connecting the lead directly to the battery positive and it will spin the engine.
    So, I ruled out the battery, starter and relay. The cables were replaced last year...they're all new. I went over the ground cable to the engine block...made sure the area was clean, tight and getting a good connection.
    It seems as though I've been chasing my tail. Oh, and i even tried a new ignition switch...no difference.

    To me it acts like there's a high resistance short somewhere in the system. The other thing I didn't try yet is the neutral safety switch. I know if the neutral switch is bad it won't allow the engine to turn over, but it won't disable the panel light, dome light, etc. It acts like a circuit breaker. I guess there could be a short in the electrical system.

    I'd appreciate any input you guys could offer. Thanks!
     
  2. oldsmobile joe

    oldsmobile joe G-Body Guru

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    have you verified power to the small wire on the solenoid with the key in the cranking position? if no power or not enough power (12volts) then i would check your ign switch inside the car on the column. ford had wiring issues and this could be the case.
    joe
     
  3. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Geezer

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    Thanks Joe.
    I am receiving voltage at the small wire. In fact, when the (heavy) lead to the starter is disconnected from the relay, and the small ignition switch lead is connected. I turn the key to the start position and the relay clicks and the panel lights stay on. When I jump the small S pole to the + battery terminal, I do get 12.6 volts coming out of the relay. As soon as I reconnect the starter, that's when the problem rears it's ugly head.
    I have swapped the ignition switch out with a new one...same symptom.
    Cables are all good. I have checked them for continuity. It seems to be getting a good ground to the engine block.

    I have a question, though. When I switch the meter to continuity and touch the starter lug with one probe and the other on ground, shouldn't I get zero? Wouldn't the starter lug be isolated and not grounding?. The starter had been bench tested and tested on the ground with jumper cables.

    I have heard that Ford ignition switches have been known to be problematic, but it's not the issue here. I've already swapped out two starter relays...same deal.
     
  4. oldsmobile joe

    oldsmobile joe G-Body Guru

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    yes, you should have continuity because you need to complete the circuit for it to operate.
    you said the cables are new. do the cables have factory applies terminals or were the ends attached afterwards.
    having continuity does not guaranty the circuit will operate properly. battery cables are sized to flow a lot of amps, but continuity relies on only one strand functioning. but one strand will not flow enough amps for the circuit to operate.

    have you tried hooking up a jumper cable on the neg side as a redundant ground? this would bypass the current battery ground cable. thats one method.

    next step would be to perform a voltage drop on the starting circuit. in theory, your starter should use up 11.5 volts on a 12volt system when its cranking. the other .5volts is used up through the cables, connections and switches. starting with the positive side, with your meter on the voltage setting, place your positive lead on the positive battery post, place the neg lead on the other end of the positive cable, battery side of the solenoid. while cranking, you meter should read no more than .1-.2 volts. next would be to perform this on the starter relay, then the cable between the relay and the starter lug, then starter lug and starter body, then between the starter body and neg battery post. all these readings combined should add up to 12volts.

    there is some leeway in these numbers. if your getting 11volts to the starter, i would think it would at least turn over, maybe slow, but should turn over.
    since i don't know you and am unfamiliar with your automotive education level, i hope i explained this in a way that is easily understood and not condescending. I've been working on cars so long that sometimes i forget how to explain things.
    joe
     
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  5. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Geezer

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    Joe,
    I appreciate you taking your time out and sharing your thoughts and input. I have read somewhere about doing a load test. It makes a lot of sense to me and should be the next diagnostic step in line.
    I have tried adding an additional ground using a jumper cable, but to no avail.
    As for the cable ends. I have replaced them last year. The terminal ends have become cracked and compromised. Perhaps the ones I used to replace them was not the best choice.
    I used the ones that clamp over the stripped cable end with two bolts on each terminal.
    I realize the crimped on terminals are preferred, but these have worked flawlessly until the other day.
    I understand what you're saying. Despite the cables indicating continuity all strands may not be delivering full amperage.
    As far as a load test is concerned. As soon as I hit the key to start, it shuts everything off. I guess what I'll have to do is connect a mete as you indicated and have someone hit the key and hope to get a quick reading before it dies again.

    You've explained it quite well. I don't feel you're being condescending at all. Like you said, you don't know me, nor do you know what my capabilities are.
     
  6. fleming442

    fleming442 Royal Smart Person

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    Make sure the relay bracket is mounted on a clean ground. You can try running a jumper from the mount screw to the battery negative to test... The mount is the ground for the relay coil.
     
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  7. pontiacgp

    pontiacgp Canadian Prime Minister

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    try putting the car in run and jump the solenoid to see if it starts, if it doesn't start then with a booster pack put the negative on the engine block and the positive on the battery side of the solenoid and try starting it with the key.
     
  8. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Geezer

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    Thanks, I've made sure that the bracket was mounted on clean metal and that it's securely fastened down.
    I will play with grounds again tomorrow. It seems like I'm overlooking something.
     
  9. Longroof79

    Longroof79 Geezer

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    Thanks for your suggestions, Steve. I will play with it again tomorrow and report back.
    I keep scratching my head and thinking, "what the heck am I overlooking?".
    I don't own a booster pack, but I have hooked up the battery charger to the battery.
    Unfortunately, it's not the type of charger that you can increase the juice.
     
  10. pontiacgp

    pontiacgp Canadian Prime Minister

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    if you jump the s wire to the battery side of the solenoid and the engine turns over that versifies the battery and engine ground are good. If the engine does not turn over try it with you battery charger attached to the battery side of the solenoid and the ground on the engine. If the engine turns over with that set up try the positive from the battery charger to the positive side of the battery and the ground from the charger to the same place on the engine. If the engine turns over the positive battery cable is good and it's the engine ground that is the problem. If it doesn't turn over either the battery cable is bad or the connection from the battery to the cable is bad.
     
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