No Crank Diag Tips... | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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No Crank Diag Tips...

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Intuit, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Southwest Ohio
    Is it the:
    A) Starter/Solenoid
    B) Ignition
    C) Interrupt Switch (Clutch or Park/Neutral)
    D) Bad connection.
    E) Engine.

    Tools & Supplies:
    Circuit tester, Alligator Clips, Male & Female blade connectors, 14 gauge or better wire.

    About the Starter/Solenoid:!188&v=3
    The Starter/Solenoid is all part of the same assembly. There are two posts on the assembly.
    1) The thick gauge bolt-on wire is hot-at-all-times from the battery. (do not short!)
    2) Thinner gauge clip-on wire receives 12v via the Ignition.

    The interrupt switch lies between the ignition and starter/solenoid assembly.

    Testing the Starter: (nutshell: short the two contacts on the starter/solenoid assembly)
    0) Get a small jumper wire or alligator clips.
    1) Set the parking brake and block off the wheels.
    2) Place the vehicle in neutral or get run over.
    3) At the starter/solenoid assembly, squeeze the black clip from top/bottom and pull it off the blade contact.
    4) Attach one end of the alligator clip to the blade contact.
    5) Touch the other end to any 12v source. (like the other post next to it)

    If the starter doesn't engage, then the problem is either 'A' or 'E'.
    If the starter consistently engages, the issue is 'D' 'C' or 'B'.

    To test for 'E' simply use a torque bar on the crankshaft damper (harmonic balancer) bolt to rotate the engine clockwise. If you can't turn the engine in neutral then it is locked-up.

    Testing the Ignition + Interrupt Switch:
    1) Insert male blade connector into the clip that was detached from the starter.
    2) Attach the alligator clip to the inserted blade connector, the other end to the circuit tester.
    3) The negative lead for the circuit tester can then attach to any ground.
    (due to corrosion and painted surfaces, it is often hard to get a solid ground connection in a car)

    With the ignition turned to the crank/start position, your interrupt switch activated (or bypassed,) the circuit tester should begin to read battery voltage.

    If NOT reading battery voltage, then the problem is 'D' 'C' or 'B'.
    If you are reading battery voltage, reconnect the wire back to the starter/solenoid assembly. If it again fails to crank, yet the starter assembly tested okay prior, either there is an intermittent connection or there is a bad connection ('D'). Sometimes bad or intermittent connections develop between contacts in one of the switches (interrupt or ignition) or across a wiring harness. "Voltage Drop Testing" can help isolate the bad or intermittent connection. Straight-pin can be used to pierce wiring insulation to get a reading.

    The interrupt switch, at least for manual shifts is attached via wiring harness. It can be removed from the circuit and independently tested. Don't be surprised if it starts working once removed from the vehicle though. Mine only liked to act up during frigid weather so once brought into the warm garage/house, worked fine.


    What prompted this:
    Hopped in to get back home a few nights ago, turned the key, nothing but a few relays clicking and a "fuel cut-out" light staring at me. (maybe a few other idiot lights too) Lights wouldn't dim or anything. Battery voltage was a lower than usual but probably merely weather related. Pumped the clutch pedal several times repeating the process with the same result.

    Slightly longer story short, I bypassed the clutch pedal switch with a couple of blade terminals connected by some jumper wire; inserted into the wiring harness for the disconnected interrupt switch.

    I've read many posts basically exclaiming, "I replaced the starter and it still won't crank."

    This is aimed at confirming the problem before jumping the gun.

    The wiring diagram shows me that the ignition (hot at all times) simply passes 12v to the clutch pedal switch, then the starter assembly. (starter assembly has everything including solenoid)

    You can get to the starter terminals from the top or bottom. It is easier to see the terminals from the bottom; strong light shining down from the top. But it is not impossible to test it from the top.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
    Pizzaman5000, Mr.Pav, zzyzzx and 3 others like this.
  2. Bullethead104

    Bullethead104 FEOA Member

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    Awesome, Alot of knowledge there and very helpful... Keep bringing it...
  3. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Southwest Ohio
    Thanks. :)

    One other tip.

    If you're tool-less or supply-less but want to get a crank-start with a failed interrupt switch or ignition (start pin only)...
    (nutshell: use your key to short between the two contacts on the starter/solenoid assembly.)
    1) Parking Brake Set, Vehicle in Neutral. (a wheel blocked off)
    2) Parking Brake Set, Vehicle in Neutral. (rock vehicle; make sure it won't move)
    3) Parking Brake Set, Vehicle in Neutral. (yep, check one more time)
    4) Turn the ignition key to 'RUN' position.
    5) On the Starter/Solenoid assembly, squeeze the top/bottom of the clip-on wire to disconnect.
    6) Use another key to short the the blade contact, to the bolted contact next to it. (do NOT touch ground/casing/other metal)

    NOTE: This is hazardous because
    1) The engine moves a lot during crank/start/run.
    2) The movement may cause accidental shorting to ground.
    3) The movement may pinch your arm between the intake manifold and firewall. (OUCH!)

    If at all possible, use a wire that will allow you to make the short to 12v while all extremities (fingers, arms, head, etc) are removed from the engine bay. Simply securely wrap one end of the wire around the blade terminal, bring it up to the battery positive and briefly short. MUCH safer method.

    WARNING: I ASS-U-ME the PCM will run the engine when doing this, but that may not be the case at all.

    EDIT 15y06m12d:

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
    zzyzzx and denisond3 like this.
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    south TX or northern VA
    A a great explanation.
    Yes the PCM will run the engine, if there is not anything else wrong; i.e. fuel, spark, compression.
  5. Diane

    Diane FEOA Member

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    Great post! In early January, on the first really cold day we had, I went out to start the car at 2 degrees. Not because I needed to be anywhere right then, but because I thought it would be cool to see if my 6.5 yr old battery would start the car at that temp. And it did! I went skipping back into the house because I have The. Greatest. Car. In. The. World! Leaving it running of course, because I didn't want to shut it off right away with it being so cold. Plan had been to shut it down in 15 mins or so.

    I'm in the house for about 5 mins when I hear the idle jumping around. It's dropping down to near stalling and then revving back up again. It had been running steady when I left it, so I bolted back outside. It stalled by the time I hit the kitchen though, and when I got in it, it was stone dead. Not even an idiot light.

    I pull out the battery charger and it's telling me that it doesn't have a good connection with the battery. Nothing I do gets me a connection, but I leave it there for awhile thinking maybe something will magically happen. I didn't even know my charger had error messages till then. When it warms up to 20 degrees, I go out and remove the battery and put it and the charger in full sun. This time I get a good connection, leave it and check it 90 minutes later. Only to find a big red light on the charger and a message that says repair or replace battery. That can't be good.

    I call work to have them put one aside for me and my SO brings it home that night. I hear him come inside and go down to see him. He starts telling me that I've got something else wrong because he put the battery in and the car started. It's not even registering what he's saying, because I see my keys INSIDE my wallet. I'm just looking at him and I said, you tried the new battery? He says yes and the car started. I'm looking at the counter and I pick up my wallet. I'm still looking at him blankly and said, how on earth did you do that if my keys are in here??? (which I never do, and he even hadn't come inside before trying it). So he tries again - yes, that's your problem, the car started as soon as I hooked the battery up. Your solenoid is probably shot. Which I had just replaced the end of November so this is really not registering with me - car started and ran, then died and battery is now dead, but the new battery made it run with the keys in the house. Say what?

    Turns out my new solenoid had gotten stuck and engaged the starter continually until the battery ran out of juice. Lucky the starter seems ok. And it started this morning at MINUS 2.2 degrees, so I once again have The. Greatest. Car. In. The. World. (with a new battery and a second new solenoid)

    The End :cool:

    (oops, and apologies - I didn't see this was in 2G, I figured it was in engine. I'm going to go back to my painful work project)
    denisond3 likes this.
  6. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Southwest Ohio
  7. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Baltimore, MD USA

    How to test the ignition switch:
  8. Mr.Pav

    Mr.Pav FEOA Member

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    very very interesting)

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