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I've been driving Tbirds for the last 10-12 yrs. Someone once told me drive what you know, so I been trying to learn all I can about Tbirds. The last two that I own
have a similiar quirk.First the colder it gets the more this happens, To start the car I have to hold the key in the start position for upward of ten seconds before the car will roll over and start. It starts fine just won't rollover. I hear a clicking under the hood like the starter solenoid. but it seem to come from the left side of the car and the starter is on the right. It's been doing this for as long as I've own the car, second quirk is the key. I can take the key out of the ingintion with the key on which I do like. also I can start both of them with either key. I once was looking at a use Tbird on a dealer lot on a whim I tried my key and started it. anyone else had dthis issues.
 

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Wow the clicking I don't know about.Maybe its an exhaust click/Tap?

The key,I can pull mine out of the ignition while driving.I don't like it too much because I have to make sure the steering column is locked before I get out of the car.Or you can start it without the key.

Also with starting another ford with your key,I was able to unlock my Moms 96 Mustang with my Thunderbird key.I would have to say it was a similiar Key code with worn tumblers in the Cylinders.
 

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My 96 3.8L would do the "click" thing when the key is turned. The problem was the ignition switch. Are you positively sure the clicking is from the driver's side? The only things that can click on that side are the relays in the power distribution box and the ABS stuff if you have that. Sounds can be tricky to locate.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not 100% sure but at 5:00 in the morning it sounds like the driver side. At first I thought maybe Ford had added a relay to the starting system but after a different project I foung that that wasn't the case. I'm not complaining I like tbirds It's just a quirk. The Tbirds that I have owned seem to have more quirks then most.
 

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As for the clicking/ no turn over problem I 'd say it's a bad starter solenoid. Mine did this about a year ago and it acted up more the colder it got.
 

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Try checking at the starter solenoid for the start signal from the ignition switch. If you have to hold the ignition in the start position for a few seconds before you get a signal there, then it's likely the switch is going bad. If it comes right away as soon as you turn the key, then I would think the starter is hanging up. My 4.6 did that too sometimes, replaced the starter, cleaned up some grounds, and all was well.
 

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about the keys, my family owns alot of 90s fords explorer, ranger, mustang, my bird, a tore-ass and an explorer sport. they ALL can be started with a screwdriver. and they were ALL like that when we go them. my bird in particular can be started without even anything jammed in the keyhole. kinda convenient when at the farm, kinda scary when leaving it anywhere besides the farm.
 
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