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Discussion Starter #1
I've owned my 97 cougar for a few years now. There has always been a delay between turning the key and the engine actually turning, then starting. This morning was a little different. I turned the key and nothing. Turned it off and then again to start, a very long pause then it started. Ran fine and started fine after work. The car was not driven for only a day. It sits in heated garage, I keep it between 35 & 40 degrees, just above freezing. Any input into how the starter circuitry works on these cars would be greatly appreciated. Any idea if there is a problem?
 

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The Parts Guy
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Time to check the connections at the battery, starter, and engine block for corrosion, as well as the cables themselves (under the insulation). I'd also break out the multimeter and check battery voltage after sitting overnight, as well as the voltage drop at the starter. If the battery is losing voltage overnight, then it's time to test for a parasitic drain.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's what I figured, but was hoping the delay was somthing to do with the ECU circuitry. Will be checking it out and see what I find.
 

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I had a similar issue in the summer of 2011. I would turn the key to the on position, everything worked fine. I would turn the key to start, and you would hear the starter solenoid click, see the electrical lights on the dash dim from the load on the electrical system, but the starter wouldn't turn. I swapped the starter, same thing happened. I was getting frustrated because all of the voltage testing showed good connections, so it was difficult to diagnose. All of the voltages were good at the battery, start of the power wire that feeds the starter, end of the same wire, and at the starter's terminal.

Then, the breakthrough moment. Although all of the connections looked clean, corrosion had formed about half an inch behind the end of the insulation. I would never have found it if I didn't swap out the battery terminal on the end of the wire out of desperation. When I cut the the old, clean looking terminal off, there was green corrosion inside of the wire. I kept cutting it back until I found clean, unobstructed strands of wire. After removing about 1" of contaminated wire, it all made sense. The voltages checked good because most of the cable still gave a good connection. But, the power wire couldn't move enough amperage down the wire to turn the starter in all cases because the corrosion resisted the flow of current. Put the new terminal on, and it has started instantly every time now for over 2 years since this repair.

I have a video of the intermittent no-start condition... turned the key like 3 times with nothing turning, even though all the electronics were working, and then on the 4th time it started fine. I can e-mail it to you if you'd like.

-Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That would be great. My daily dirver blew a head gasket so now my Cougar is my daily and when I got out of work today it took 3 or 4 times to start. I haven't had a chance to look into this yet, but need to. Did you have enough slack in the wire or did you need to replace it? Thanks.
 

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I did have enough slack to replace it, didn't have to remove much. But, if there isn't enough slack, a copper 2/4 AWG butt connector and some heat shrink tubing will do the trick. If you do go that route, go to Harbor Freight and pick up their hydraulic cable crimper for like $35 bucks. It's not the best too out there, but it will do the trick. When the cable corroded, it looked good at the connector and where the cable met the terminator. However, about 1/2 an inch behind the insulation, the trouble started and continued for almost another inch, maybe an inch and a half, with corrosion that formed under the insulation.

I decided to post the video on YouTube in case others are having the same issue. Here's the link. Click here. It's a pretty crappy video, was originally recorded and sent via a text message, but you will get the idea. You'll hear the solenoid click twice you'll see the lights on the instrument cluster do their thing as power was applied to the starter. But, on the third time I hit the key, the car starts with no issue. After replacing that corroded segment of cable in 2011, the car has not pulled this stunt again.


-Pete
 

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I'll say that the possibility of internal corrosion was one reason why I replaced both battery cables on Ruby with 2ga units I bought at Auto Zone (or one there, one Advance, I'm not sure ... )

That, and 2ga should spin everything over a bit better than 4 ga *grins*

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have not dug into this yet as this cougar has been forced into my daily driver. I plan on looking at it this weekend though. Does the positve cable go straight from the battery to the starter? Then is there a ground wire on the started or is it grounded through the bock? RwP, since you replaced your cables, how long of a wire does it take to run a new one in? Also, anyone have pics of the terminal on the starter side?
Thanks.
 

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Not sure my cable lengths would help you any, since mine was a 1993 with the 5.0HO.

If it's not a DD, I'd pull the cables, measure them, and pick the replacements out that way. You can even get 2ga or even 1/0 cables made that way, and bang! You're partway into a Big 3 upgrade!

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just as a point of information: I've been paying more attention to this happening. I installed a head unit, amp & sub when I first bought her. The factory cassette deck wasn't working for me... Anyway I've noticed that if I turn the head unit is off before shutting down the car, it starts easier. I'm thinking that the amp is drawing some current away from the starter.
Obviously, there is still probably some corrosion and those wires need to be replace, but just found this to be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got under there today and changed the oil, which by the way is a huge pain. That filter is so hard to get to. At any rate, I have 12.4v at the starter. That of course dosen't mean the current is getting there. I did a rough measurement, it about 6 ft. I'm hoping to score some wire from work and replace it. I can see the wire is corroded some at the connection. There is no heat sring over the crime, which I will make sure and do when I replace it. Thanks for all the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have the wire and started this project. The positive terminal on the solenoid broke off, I have both ground wires removed from the solenoid and am looking for some direction on removing that solenoid so I can either tap a new screw in there or just replace it. The solenoid turns but I can't get it to pull out at all. I would just pull the whole starter, but the top bolts seem impossible to reach. Any help?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Starter solenoid remvoal

97 Cougar; 4.6L
Any input here? I broke the stud off of the positive terminal and need to replace the solenoid or the whole starter. I pulled the 2 screws to release the solenoid, but it is still connected in the starter. I don't want to just yank it out and break something. Also, can anyone tell me how many screws hold the starter in, I can only find 2, but can't get my hands around the starter. Thanks..
 

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3 Bolts to remove the starter and 2 torx-bit bolts holding the solenoid to the starter. You need to angle the solenoid then pull out to work the gear loose.

To get the top bolt on the starter you have to go by feel. Here is the combo to reach it:



Lots of people leave the top bolt off but I think they are slackers.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Can you elaborate on angle the solenoid. I have the 2 type to ex out and have moved it around work no luck. Thanks
 

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Sorry, been 4 or 5 months so no.:( I just remember having to play with it to get it to go back together correctly.

If the solenoid is stuck with its 2 bolt removed you could just try smacking it with a hammer. Should break loose and can pull it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
http://ubuntuone.com/3jN3Ws616LF3yxXrw7z719

Here is the break down of the starter from the Chilton manual. It looks to me that the solenoid connects to the the fork shapped lever in the starter. Looks like its a ball joint type connection and that it what is still holding the solenoid in.
I called NAPA and they can't get the solenoid in till tomorrow.
Does that connection just pop in and out?
Thanks.
 

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The Parts Guy
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The solenoid should only be retained to the starter via those two small bolts. It sounds like your's is just stuck in place.
 
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