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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 97, 4.6 bird with 87k on the clock and it's having intermittent starting issues. It starts fine probably 75% of the time but on the instances that it doesn't, I turn the key over, all the dash lights come on, I believe i can hear the fuel pump and I can clearly hear the solenoid "click" but I get nothing! No crank at all. I turn it off and back on a dozen times and still, nothing. Yanking the steering wheel lock, shifting it in and out of park etc does nothing! It usually takes a few minutes of trying and then it fires right up. The cables are good and the battery is brand new. I've also had Autozone check and it's not throwing any codes. I'm stumped! Any input is appreciated! Thanks!
 

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How old is the ignition switch?

The SWITCH ( not the LOCK CYLINDER ) is known to fail and cause weird strange problems in the electrical system.

I'd replace with a new Motorcraft and work from there.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How old is the ignition switch?

The SWITCH ( not the LOCK CYLINDER ) is known to fail and cause weird strange problems in the electrical system.

I'd replace with a new Motorcraft and work from there.

RwP
Thanks for your reply! The ignition switch is the original I believe. Literally every time I turn the key over, I can hear the solenoid click. With that in mind, wouldn't that exclude the ignition switch? Seems like the signal is getting to the solenoid.
 

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It is at the bottom of the column, yes.

I had the same thing; it was one of the A/C solenoids dropping OUT, not the starter dropping IN.

I'd still replace it because of your cousin and mine, Justin Case.

Before you work too hard - grab a copy of the factory service manual (off Ebay usually; also from Helm Inc. when they are taking orders for them). Also the EVTM - Electrical Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual - because without both of those, you might as well be blind, deaf, mute, and a quadraplegic when it comes to working on your car yourself.

A substitute would be a subscription to AllDataDIY or Mitchell's DIY (eautorepair.net) .

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is at the bottom of the column, yes.

I had the same thing; it was one of the A/C solenoids dropping OUT, not the starter dropping IN.

I'd still replace it because of your cousin and mine, Justin Case.

Before you work too hard - grab a copy of the factory service manual (off Ebay usually; also from Helm Inc. when they are taking orders for them). Also the EVTM - Electrical Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual - because without both of those, you might as well be blind, deaf, mute, and a quadraplegic when it comes to working on your car yourself.

A substitute would be a subscription to AllDataDIY or Mitchell's DIY (eautorepair.net) .

RwP
Thanks!

To confirm, this is the one? I know it's not OE Ford but it's something to get me going while I get one on order with Ford.

 

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Looks right.

Buy a Ford one soonest; the Ford ones are crap and don't last, but they're a LOT better than SMP and Airtex.

(I bought an Airtex because the local dealer was out, and ... it had come apart in the box!!!)

Do be careful; the linkage has a plastic piece that breaks between the two halfs (right at where the tilt column bends). There's posts here on how to work around it.

RwP
 

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Sounds like a starter going bad (at least the solenoid part of it). The ignition switch is fairly cheap and a lot easier to swap, so it surely wouldn't hurt to try that. I put in a BWD brand ignition switch a year ago with no issues yet.
 

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Check the wire from the battery to the starter for corrosion. I had a similar issue on mine. I ran a new wire to the starter and she started every time. Sometimes the corrosion is only on the end and you can cut off a section and have enough slack to make the connection.
 

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You might want to check to see if your crankshaft position sensor is starting to fail. Your symptoms are similar to what I experienced when mine failed.
 

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Next to the battery is the connection that runs the started solenoid trigger. If you have a volt meter, check for a voltage drop when try to crank it over. If you don't have a meter just try disconnecting it there and running 12 volts directly to the solenoid.

I had a no start issue just like you said, with my Tbird. Even though I could hear the starter solenoid click, it wasn't getting enough current to trigger the solenoid.

I ended up putting in a relay in the circuit to send power to the solenoid. Never have found the reason for the problem, but it's been working fine since with the relay.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the suggestions folks! I replaced the Ignition Switch and after 20 or so starts, I haven't encountered the problem again. In the event that I've just been lucky, I will refer back to the other suggestions. Thanks again!
 
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