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Old 12-16-2009, 11:23 AM
bigoltruck bigoltruck is offline
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Starter/Solenoid question

So yesterday clifford the big red truck ('93 350 7.3L 2wd automatic) decided not to start on me. Think I have a starter/solenoid problem from doing some searching of older posts. However, I know very little about things electrical and need some help with the troubleshooting. I can identify the starter and solenoid, but when it comes to using a volt/ammeter I get a little lost.

History (in case it is pertinent):

~6 mos ago got new batteries, along with new positive? cable (red one...) (old one was corroded inside and swollen).

~2 mos ago wouldn't start. No indications of any power to anything when key was turned. Found corrosion on the solenoid connections, cleaned em up really good, problem solved (at least that problem...).

~1 mo ago started getting no dashboard lights (no wait to start, no abs, etc...) on when key was turned (only every fourth or fifth start, otherwise worked fine), radio still comes on when it does this, still can here the solenoid clicking. I would wait the requisite 10 seconds or so and it seemed to start like normal, then when I would take it out of neutral all the lights would come on and the chimes would ding like they should have prior to starting (not sure if this is related or not...)

~yesterday, I go to start and all lights come on like they should when key is turned, hear a click, but then nothing, so I am thinking the solenoid is not sending power to the starter, or the starter just died, my suspicion is the solenoid/wiring though because it has been starting just fine til now, no slower and slower starts like it did the last time I witnessed the death of a starter.

Now I read in a post about bypassing the solenoid somehow by using a screwdriver, or pair of pliers to make a connection between the two posts... or connecting some wires between the starter and battery but before I go playing around with electrical stuff and fry something I figured I'd better get some more detailed step by step instructions if someone can...

Thanks!

Julia
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:06 PM
Lazy K Lazy K is offline
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I think what you are talking about is the fender mounted starter relay. These can fail. The relay is energised by current from the ign switch down the light gauge wire plugged on to the relay. You might want to check that, with the ign switch "on", you have 12v at that wire.
To bypass the relay you can just jump the two big terminals on it with a screwdriver or similar. If the starter then runs you will know either you have no current from the ign switch or you have a bad relay.
If you replace the relay make sure that you note where each wire goes on the old one so that you know where to fit them on the new one.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:28 PM
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Goin by how it has been avting I'm the switch on the column have you tried wiggling the shifter while trying to start it.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:00 PM
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Had the exact same problem twice with two different issues at hand. First was the shifter coming loose and it wouldnt go all the way into park hence it not starting, it would just click. Up under the dash i found the place it was missing a bolt and luckliy i had kept the bolt that hit my foot one day while driving down the road. hahaha.

Second was the large wire connecting the starter solenoid to the starter motor and that SOB left me stranded one day, thank god for roadside assistance. 257 dollars is what they charged my insurance company. hahaha. Those are two off the wall issues but very likely. The wire in this Picture shows how it had corroded through. That poor old engine was such a mess, see hands!

If you attempt the jump with a screw driver make sure to get heavy duty rubber gloves, preferably yellow ones, a traffic cone on your head to channel energy, and a 20'X60' tarp to contain the mess when you explode! haha sorry i couldnt help it. a guy did that to me but used realistic "things i would need" and had me going for a second. Damn old ford techs with a sense of humor. It will work just fine to start it if you have the key on but just to test, key off, slightly touch the two posts with a screwdriver and you will know if it is working. Problem with the whole mess on that is when i did that test, it didnt work so i thought it was the fender solenoid for sure. So i had my spare out and replaced it just to find out that with the new one it didnt do **** either. Check the starter connections. trust me
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:19 PM
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Your two months ago and one month ago troubles tell me you have to find the yellow wire in this picture.

Click the image to open in full size.

That is an 86 truck, so it may be a little diferent, but the yellow wire is power to the cab fuse box.

If the connector looks melted, you have to splice the wires around the connector.
Caution, unhook batteries first, power at all times.

Other possibility, the neutral safety switch on the side of the transmission.
The power from the key switch goes through either the clutch interlock or neutral safety switch before it goes to the starter relay on the fender,
So even if the key switch is working, the start command may not be making it to the starter relay.

Lt. Blue wire/ red stripe is the start wire.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:44 PM
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fender starter solenoid

Just to jump onto this post for a moment. I have an 85 F250, 6.9 IDI but the fender started solenoid has 4 (FOUR) posts, and I see that the one pictured below has the 3 (THREE). I am fixing my truck, and I have never even heard it run so I'm guessing someone bought the wrong replacement one? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:59 AM
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That solenoid is actually not what you would find on an 86.

The 85 solenoid has 4 terminals, but only has wires on three of them.

The red/lt. blue wire needs to be on the small terminal labeled S.

Usually the front big terminal is used as a power distribution point and has battery voltage at all times, and several wires on it.

Normally the rear big terminal has a single wire on it that runs down to the starter mounted solenoid trigger terminal.

Down beside the voltage regulator you should have another relay that looks the same as your starter relay, that one is the glow plug relay.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:16 AM
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Looking at your picture...mine seems to be wired backwards?! The stacked up wires are towards the rear and the single black wire in towards the front. That is how they were on the old one that I just replaced, but I have not reconnected my batteries and fired it up yet.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:58 PM
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It don't really make any difference which terminal is which, several power wires on one big terminal and a single black wire going down to the starter on the other big terminal.

It almost seems like each assembly plant or maybe each shift at the same plant had slightly different ways of wiring them.

Some use the glow plug relay as the distribution point, some use the starter relay, some use both.
Some use the rear terminal, some use the front.

You would think they would all be the same, but in reality that is far from true.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:05 PM
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Awesome, that's what I wanted to hear. Time to put the juice to her and see how she goes!
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:08 PM
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just to really confirm...before i do something wrong...so long as my small signal wire goes to the small post labeled 's' then the large posts are inter-changeable? in the prior posts when it says:

"the front big terminal is used as a power distribution point and has battery voltage at all times, and several wires on it.

Normally the rear big terminal has a single wire on it that runs down to the starter mounted solenoid trigger terminal"

i don't actually know which terminal is considered 'front' and which is considered 'rear'.

but if i'm understanding correctly, so long as one large terminal has one wire to starter and all the others are on the opposite terminal then i'm good to go?

p.s. i ahve an 85 and am switching out a 3-terminal solenoid with a 4-terminal one...

thanks
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:01 PM
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Yes, the 2 large terminal are interchangeable.
When power is applied to the small terminal, the relay internally connects the 2 large terminals together. The relay is just an electrically operated switch.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:03 PM
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thanks. just put new starter in too, and i've never heard it spin that fast. wow
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:03 PM
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