Is there a "no crank" checklist?

Bill Cool

Previously 87MustangGT
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Nov 18, 1999
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My Mustang was stored essentially outdoors for five years with a blown tranny. I finally pulled her out of the garage two weeks ago, and she would barely start. Siphoned out the half tank of gas, refilled with a few gallons of good gas, and replaced the fuel filter. I was then able to jump start the car, but had a wandering idle. No big deal, that's to be expected, I'd take care of that later.

Installed a new battery and had the tranny replaced, and when driving it home, noticed tons of hesitation and misfiring under load (almost anything above 2k rpms). Fine, it just needs a tune-up right?

Car stalls a couple times on the way home due to the wandering idle. Park it at home, go to fire her up a couple days later - it would crank and crank, but no start. Fine, go through the crank-no-start checklist right?

First step - saw there was no spark when jumping the starter solenoid terminals and holding the coil wire next to the block. I had an MSD coil, so I went and got a junkyard stock coil and installed that. Now I have NO cranking.

Whether I'm turning the key to crank, or jumping the starter solenoid, I get no cranking at all. I get one click (not a clickclickclickclick, just one), dimming of the dash lights, and that's it. Thoughts?

I installed a new start solenoid in 2000 (that was probably 5k miles ago), and a reman'd starter in 2005 (1k miles ago). I have new cap/rotor/plugs/wires, but haven't installed them yet.
 
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Bill Cool

Previously 87MustangGT
Founding Member
Nov 18, 1999
1,263
1
39
37
Seymour, CT
Also, there was some type of draw on the battery while parked over the past week, b/c it was dead when I got in the car yesterday. I charged it overnight, and even with 11.5v across the terminals, I still just get one click.
 

jrichker

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Ask and you shall recieve...

No Crank checklist for 5.0 Mustangs

Revised 09-July-2009 to reorder stuck solenoid help.

No crank and stuck starter solenoid problems have the same root causes – low battery voltage and poor connections. For that reason, they are grouped together.
Use the same initial group of tests to find the root cause of both no crank and stuck solenoid problems.

Since some of the tests will bypass the safety interlocks, make sure that the car is in neutral and the parking brake is set. Becoming a pancake isn’t part of the repair process…


1.) Will the car start if it is jumped? Then clean battery terminals and check battery for low charge and dead cells. A good battery will measure 12-13 volts at full charge with the ignition switch in the Run position but without the engine running.
A voltmeter placed across the battery terminals should show a minimum of 9.5-10 volts when the ignition switch is turned to the Start position and the starter engages or tries to engage. Less than this will result in a clicking solenoid, or slow cranking (if it cranks at all) or a starter solenoid that sticks and welds the contacts together.

Most auto parts stores will check your battery for free. It does not have to be installed in the car to have it checked; you can carry it with you to the auto parts store.

The battery posts and inside of the battery post terminals should be scraped clean with a knife or battery post cleaner tool. This little trick will fix a surprising number of no start problems.

The clamp on with 2 bolts battery terminal ends are a know problem causer. Any place you see green on a copper wire is corrosion. Corrosion gets in the clamped joint and works its way up the wire under the insulation. Corroded connections do not conduct electricity well. Avoid them like the plague...

If the starter solenoid welds the contacts, then the starter will attempt to run anytime there is power in the battery. The cables and solenoid will get very hot, and may even start smoking. The temporary fix for a welded starter solenoid is to disconnect the battery and smack the back of the solenoid housing a sharp blow with a hammer. This may cause the contacts to unstuck and work normally for a while.

A voltmeter is handy if you are familiar with how to use it to find bad connections. Measure the voltage drop across a connection while trying to start the car: more than .5 volts across a connection indicates a problem.

See Automotive Test Tools for help for help troubleshooting voltage drops across connections and components. .

fig-7.gif


2.) Check the battery to engine block ground down near the oil filter, and the ground behind the engine to the firewall. All grounds should be clean and shiny. Use some sandpaper to clean them up.

3.) Jump the big terminals on the starter solenoid next to the battery with a screwdriver - watch out for the sparks! If the engine cranks, the starter and power wiring is good. The starter relay is also known as a starter solenoid.

The rest of the tech note only concerns no crank problems. If your problem was a stuck solenoid, go back to step 1.

4.) Then pull the small push on connector (small red/blue wire) off the starter solenoid (Looks like it is stuck on a screw). Then jump between the screw and the terminal that is connected to the battery. If it cranks, the relay is good and your problem is in the rest of the circuit.

5.) Remember to check the ignition switch, neutral safety switch on auto trans and the clutch safety switch on manual trans cars. If they are good, then you have wiring problems.

Typical start circuit...
Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds
attachment.php



6.) Pull the starter and take it to AutoZone or Pep Boys and have them test it. Starter fails test, then replace it. If you got this far, the starter is probably bad.


Starter solenoid wiring for 86-91 Mustang
attachment.php



Starter solenoid wiring 92-93 Mustang or earlier Mustang with upgraded high torque mini starter.
attachment.php


Electrical checks for the switches and starter solenoid

Remove the small red/blue wire from the starter solenoid. Use a screwdriver to bridge the connection from the battery positive connection on the starter solenoid to the small screw where the red/blue wire was connected. The starter should crank the engine. If it does not, the starter solenoid is defective.

If the starter does crank the engine, the problem is in the clutch safety circuit (5 speed) or Neutral Sense Switch (auto trans) or ignition switch.


Typical start circuit...
Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds
attachment.php


You will need a voltmeter or test lamp for the rest of the checks. Connect one lead of the voltmeter or test lamp to ground. The other lead will connect to the item under test.
Look for 12 volts on the white/pink wire when the ignition switch is turned to the Start position. Check the ignition switch first.
No 12 volts, replace the ignition switch.

The next step will require you to push the clutch pedal to the floor (5 speed) or put the transmission in neutral (auto trans) while the ignition switch is turned to the Start position.
Good 12 volts, check the clutch safety switch (5 speed) or Neutral Sense Switch (auto trans) for good 12 volts on both sides of the switches. No 12 volts on both sides of the switch and the switches are defective or out of adjustment. Check the wiring for bad connections while you are at it.
 

Bill Cool

Previously 87MustangGT
Founding Member
Nov 18, 1999
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Seymour, CT
Thanks JR. I tried searching, but couldn't find that post.

While I wait for my battery to recharge (I let it drop below 11.5v this AM when trying to start the car), would it be a good idea to go ahead with the tune-up stuff now? Or should I leave the old stuff on the car, so I can focus on changing just one thing at a time? The plugs/wires/cap/rotor are just AutoZone stuff, not FoMoCo or FRPP...
 

2000xp8

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I have no idea why that post and the surging idle checklist are not stickied.
 

jrichker

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