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I have a 1991 Econoline Van, E350 460 engine. My battery was dead(I hadn’t driven it for awhile) so I went to jump it. Accidently, I left the key in the “on” position while I hooked up the jumper cables to my 1997 Econoline Diesel van and the 1991 van. I went to turn the 1991 van over(discovered the key position, turned to off first) and nothing happened.(Usually it would either start right up or at least try to turn over a little). I turned the key to off, then tried to reposition the jumper cables on the battery. As I did this(key in “off” position), the engine would try to turn over a little(as I touched the pos. jumper cable to the 1991 battery). After a few attempts with the same results, I decided to trickle charge the battery and start the van that way.
Once charged, after connecting negative van cable to battery, when attempting to connect positive van cable to battery, the + cable starts to spark (not a big spark or pop like when you put a jumper cable on the wrong terminal)and the battery terminal starts to melt on the edges. I’ve never had this happen before.
Does anybody out there know what might be happening?
I’d sure appreciate your help re this matter. Thank you so much for your help in advance.
(P.S. Some background info re my van’s ignition switch. A few years ago an attempt was made to steal my van. The ignition switch was messed with(I forget now what exactly happened). What I remember now is that(at least once) when I would reconnect(after charging) the battery, it would try to turn over(like what was happening above when trying to jump it). I believe I jiggled the ignition switch and eventually I could reconnect the battery and start the van up normally. But NOW, when attempting to reconnect the van cables to the battery, the + cable starts to spark and the terminal melts on the edges as ment. above. Before, when problematic(at least once), it would just try to turn over.)
Sounds like you have a short in the positive cable somewhere. Also check that the negative cable is grounded. If it's trying to start when you connect the cables the starter solenoid might be stuck or the ignition switch is bad.
considering the history of your ignition switch, replace it.
from there, disconnect the small wire from the "S" terminal of the starter relay, then try connecting the battery. does it still spark? if not, the starter relay (aka solenoid) is getting a signal to start when it shouldn't, if yes, disconnect the starter wire from the relay, does it still spark? if yes, go through the other wires on the battery side of the relay, disconnecting one at a time until you find the trouble circuit. then you'll at least have a place to start from.
as a side note, your tests may be easier if you put a test light between the battery and its cable. Doing so will light the bulb anytime any wire tries to draw power. This becomes easier and more accurate than a spark test, and can't cook any wires that aren't already cooked, even if you screw something up
Last edited by joshofalltrades; 04-15-2012 at 02:32 AM.
Reason: Correcting wrong info and adding an extra note
Hey guys, thanks a lot for your help. I got my van fixed a week or so ago but wanted to let you know, and to thank you. Basically, from what I remember, I first turned the cam pully with a socket, wrench. That didn't do it. Then, while detaching my positive cable from the "S" terminal on my solenoid, I repaired my positive cable, where it attaches to the battery(it came apart, I put on the new part that attaches to the battery). When I did my tests, no spark. Rehooked it up, still no sparks. Then thought, maybe it was a bad battery connection? (Why when jumping it, it started to turn over without the key even on?) Oh well, with fixing my positive cable, and unhooking and rehooking up a couple of different wires, it now works great. Thanks again.
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