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Upon trying to crank, it'll either crank fine with no issues, or it will just CLICK once and do nothing else. Everything power wise works when key is switched on - lights, radio, etc., but it might click or it might crank right up. Replaced battery, so that's new, but not the problem. All wires are good and tight. There's never a drag on the starter like there would be if it was a low voltage or power issue. Almost seems like some sort of connnection issue but I can't figure it. Did some feeling around and the top of solenoid that's mounted on the starter is a little loose, in that it will turn a couple of degrees back and forth on the solenoid itself. Not sure if that's normal or not.
Is there any way to check any of these things to narrow it down more?
Intermittent problems just suck.
FWIW, usually even if it clicks several times, it will eventually crank. It's like rolling the dice every time. No indication, nothing common, no rhyme or reason. And jumper cables attached to another vehicle doesn't make a difference either.
I think it's either starter related or a matter of adequate power making it to the starter.
I had a 93 that did that sometimes and it was a weak corroded battery cable connecting to the starter. It seemed like engine roll put a strain on the cable and over time, the terminal connecting to the starter just failed.
I like the above suggestions, if they don't pan out, it could be a dead spot on the starter motor commutator, as the sometimes doesn't crank scenario fits that failure mode, if the commutator stops on the dead spot.
Be danged careful doing this, make sure nothing is in front of you & you have plenty of clearance, as the vehicle could suddenly start & move/lunge. Seeing as how you have a manual tranny, when it's in one of it's no crank fits, shift into first gear & rock/move the truck so that the engine flywheel will move the starter motor a little & see if it'll suddenly crank. If so, suspect a starter commutator or brush problem.
A repair shop can remove & put the commutator on a "growler", or do a continuity test & find out if it's faulty. A visual inspection will tell if it's worn brushes.
Let us know what you find.
99 Ranger XLT 4dr 4x2 4.0L 5spd Auto 3.55L/S Payload Pkg2 Tow Pkg
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Since you have a manual transmission, you have a switch on the clutch pedal mechanism that tells the ECM that the clutch is disengaged (clutch pedal pushed down). If this switch is beginning to fail, it can produce the condition you describe. There is also a switch on the transmission that indicates when the transmission is in neutral. If it is acting up, the problem you have may be caused by a failing transmission switch.
Some other possibilities for you to consider.
2008 XLT, 2.3 DOHC, 5R44e Automatic, 7.5" axle, 4.10 gears, 50 K miles
Motorcraft Blend in Engine, PS, PB, A/C, 225/70 x 15 Continental ContiTrac RWL tires,
extended cab, 6' bed, Access tonneau cover.
Previous vehicle: 1991 XLT, 2.3 SOHC (Lima), M5OD, 7.5 axle 3.45 gears. Donated to a charity.
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