Intermittent Starting Problems

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Feb 7, 2009
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I removed my alarm first thing, there was plugs and splices that had to be removed. First pic is what was under the hood. Then the brain rest was under the seat, in the kick panel and under the dash. Pulled the seat, and lower dash and kick panel out.

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The very first thing you should do when the starter doesn't work is to smack it on the end with a hammer or wrench. You don't have to hit it hard.

I believe that the contacts weren't seated properly in my rebuilt Denso starter. I had *very* intermittent no-starts. Replacing the contacts (and properly seating them as per the FSM) fixed the issue.
 

StaticTorque

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Not all of the dealer/port installed (what some call “factory”) alarms are completely plug and play. Be prepared to fix some splices.
Lovely... lol
I immediately thought ground wires. Double check your grounds. One on the trans too. Might look good on the ends but bad further in the wire. Some one here on mud sells a good kit.
I Posted pics go the grounds I could find inside the engine bay. They weren't loose or anything. But im stilll going to take them off and then clean them up a bit to be safe. Any idea where the one by the trans is?
Have you done any recent electrical work were you pulled the terminals off the battery?
I went through this earlier this summer after installing my winch. Turned out the main power cable for the winch was rotated just right (wrong) and was preventing the positive post from seating all the way. It was tight when wiggled, but wasn't right. My son noticed it after we were cleaning the battery. I tried to start the rig and the water in the gap around the terminal steamed off. Felt like a total DOOFUSS, but everything is good now.
Not in the time span that the problem had started. I had found out that my negative battery terminal connector was VERY loose even when tightened all the. So I replaced it with a military style one. Then just the other day I went ahead and got a new battery because mine was swelling on both sides. Battery test said it was still working, but don't want to take any chances. Also, new battery didn't fix the problem. :(
When you turn the key, does it go click click click? If so, search for "dreaded starter click" thread and study up on the solution.
Yes, you can hear the start "clicking" you could say. But not the sound as if the battery was dead.
Perfect! Thank you! I have not heard of that so I will do my Mud Google searches for that.
The very first thing you should do when the starter doesn't work is to smack it on the end with a hammer or wrench. You don't have to hit it hard.

I believe that the contacts weren't seated properly in my rebuilt Denso starter. I had *very* intermittent no-starts. Replacing the contacts (and properly seating them as per the FSM) fixed the issue.
I did this MULTIPLE times lol. But whenever that was done, never changed the outcome. Didn't help it start. I've tried it on the old 1.4kw that was installed, and my new 2.0kw I installed.
 

StaticTorque

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I also have some new information on this, not sure if it will help but some things I had noticed.

The first being I wake up at 3am to be at work by 5am. The day after my lc wouldn't initially start I had to go to work. Went out, hoping it was going to start and it did! Cold started just fine. Let it warm up for a few mins and then drove 15-20min to work. Parked the Pig and thought to myself, "Will it start after all this driving right after I turned it off?" Well... It didn't start lol.

The 2nd thing is where I'm starting to think my problem might lie. When it wouldn't start there has been 2, maybe 3 times where if it didn't start, I'd turn the key to ACC and then on probably 6-10 times one right after another, and then it has started. Not sure if that might be lead, or just a coincidence.

So I started to think that maybe my ignition switch is going out? But would something like that just stop all together? Or could it slowly be going out?
 
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When you turn the key to start, do you get a solid "thunk" sound from the starter?
If no sound at all, then there is an interruption of the starter logic path.
If you get a solid "thunk" then the starter solenoid is pulling in and you have an issue with the starter contacts or the +12 to the starter from the battery.
 

StaticTorque

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When you turn the key to start, do you get a solid "thunk" sound from the starter?
If no sound at all, then there is an interruption of the starter logic path.
If you get a solid "thunk" then the starter solenoid is pulling in and you have an issue with the starter contacts or the +12 to the starter from the battery.
This is quite hilarious, I was JUST reading a thread from 2009 that you were talking about this. This is the thread. Im a nooby to working on my own vehicle and don't know much. I wouldn't say its a "thunk," its more like a quite "ticking" sound. Im going to go test power at the starter here in the next couple hours.
 
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I also have some new information on this, not sure if it will help but some things I had noticed.

The first being I wake up at 3am to be at work by 5am. The day after my lc wouldn't initially start I had to go to work. Went out, hoping it was going to start and it did! Cold started just fine. Let it warm up for a few mins and then drove 15-20min to work. Parked the Pig and thought to myself, "Will it start after all this driving right after I turned it off?" Well... It didn't start lol.

The 2nd thing is where I'm starting to think my problem might lie. When it wouldn't start there has been 2, maybe 3 times where if it didn't start, I'd turn the key to ACC and then on probably 6-10 times one right after another, and then it has started. Not sure if that might be lead, or just a coincidence.

So I started to think that maybe my ignition switch is going out? But would something like that just stop all together? Or could it slowly be going out?
I have experienced the exact same thing on mine! Replaced starter with Denso rebuilt(twice), new battery, and it still very occasionally will do this. I'm able to get it to turn over after messing with the key as you describe.
 
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I did this MULTIPLE times lol. But whenever that was done, never changed the outcome. Didn't help it start. I've tried it on the old 1.4kw that was installed, and my new 2.0kw I installed.
Then I would say it's most likely related to the alarm and its ignition-kill relay and/or corrosion on the path between the switch and the starter. The latter is related to what @jonheld said. I *think* that varying degrees of resistance due to corrosion could cause results that range from no starter sound whatsoever to a thunk without cranking.

If your search for Ford (I think) starter solenoid, that will give you information relating to the corrosion/resistance issue. I'm not advocating that you add a solenoid, but it should give you more information on the problem. Once you understand the issue, you can test the theory by running a jumper wire from the battery to the starter solenoid input.

Personally, I would look for the alarm's kill-relay first. Check for voltage on the input side from the ignition (verifies whether the ignition switch works), and listen/feel for the click of the relay.

If it's like the alarm on my rig was setup, the relay is tucked to behind the middle dash panel, just left of the climate control area, and it taps into a thick wire on the underside of the steering column. Also, if it's like my original alarm, it was installed by buffoons using those awful Scotch-Lock connectors, which resulted in several broken circuits behind the driver's side kick panel.

Apologies if I'm repeating stuff already said. With so many answers, it's hard to keep track of what you've already done.
 
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As of lately my LC has been temperamental when it comes to starting. Id turn the key, get all my lights would turn on, radio worked, everything would work. But it wouldn't try to turnover. So everyone had thought my starter was bad. And it did seem like the starter was going out. So I pulled the old one out, which ended up being a 1.4kw starter... So I put in a new reman Denso 2.0kw from RockAuto. Seemed to have fixed my problem... Well a week later today I just filled up with gas, and I went to go start it, and it did the exact same thing.

Right now I'm kind of lost on what it could be. I know that the factory alarm system tends to cause major problems after the years its been in my LX. But during the time it wouldn't start, I went under the driver seat and unplugged all 3 connectors to the alarm brain. Went to go try again, and same results. The only other lead I have is checking all the grounds in the engine bay. The motor was replaced before I bought it, but had a few K's on it after I bought it.

Any leads or ideas I should read up on or try, please let me know down below.

Is there a wiring diagram I can look at to try and chase down all the ground wires? Would it be in the FSM here on Mud? Or do I need to go to like Partsouq and look around on their site?

Thank you Mud users for all your continued help and support. :cheers:
I had similar sounding starting problems with my 97 FZJ80. Did some research on this site and found out the 80's don't have starter relays. Based on others experiences, I purchased a "Painless Performance 30202 Hot Shot Relay" for $30. I had my mechanic install and have had zero issues for the past 4 months. My son had the very same issue with his 94. After installing the same starter relay, he also has had no further issue. There are several old threads on Mud regarding this issue and fix. Good luck.
 
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The ignition module on these suck. Mine would just click and nothing would happen. I replaced mine as it would be flaky, especially when it was hot. The new OEM module lasted a couple of years and then same dog and pony show. The starter in these vehicles will not work with anything less than 12v. I tested mine on a multi meter and the ignition module would kick out all kinds of different voltages until it would bang on a 12v hit. I wired the starter ignition wire to a Cole Hersey heavy duty solenoid and a fused 10g wire to feed from the battery, through the solenoid, and to the starter. I’ve never had another starting issues since.
 

alia176

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The ignition module on these suck. Mine would just click and nothing would happen. I replaced mine as it would be flaky, especially when it was hot. The new OEM module lasted a couple of years and then same dog and pony show. The starter in these vehicles will not work with anything less than 12v. I tested mine on a multi meter and the ignition module would kick out all kinds of different voltages until it would bang on a 12v hit. I wired the starter ignition wire to a Cole Hersey heavy duty solenoid and a fused 10g wire to feed from the battery, through the solenoid, and to the starter. I’ve never had another starting issues since.

Sounds like you might've had the dreaded click click click syndrome, as did I. Your repair is the perfect way to fix this issue as the starter circuit wiring going through the IGN switch is dilapidating due to age. There are not starter relay in our 80s so all of the current goes through the NSS, ign switch, etc.

Here's one of the fixes for the click click click no start condition: Starter ignition circuit thought - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/starter-ignition-circuit-thought.211786/
 

bpenn1980

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I immediately thought ground wires. Double check your grounds. One on the trans too. Might look good on the ends but bad further in the wire. Some one here on mud sells a good kit.
@Fourrunner

I used the kit from Mark and it was easy. I havent replaced trans and xsfer grounds yet, but did the others.

I've had the intermittent no start no click for years. Tough to diagnose because it is always temporary. Havent had it in a while. Going to Death Valley tomorrow. It'll show up again of course.
 

StaticTorque

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I have experienced the exact same thing on mine! Replaced starter with Denso rebuilt(twice), new battery, and it still very occasionally will do this. I'm able to get it to turn over after messing with the key as you describe.
There’s been a couple times I’ve tried when it wouldn’t start and it didn’t seem to “help.” But it eventually started.
Then I would say it's most likely related to the alarm and its ignition-kill relay and/or corrosion on the path between the switch and the starter. The latter is related to what @jonheld said. I *think* that varying degrees of resistance due to corrosion could cause results that range from no starter sound whatsoever to a thunk without cranking.

If your search for Ford (I think) starter solenoid, that will give you information relating to the corrosion/resistance issue. I'm not advocating that you add a solenoid, but it should give you more information on the problem. Once you understand the issue, you can test the theory by running a jumper wire from the battery to the starter solenoid input.

Personally, I would look for the alarm's kill-relay first. Check for voltage on the input side from the ignition (verifies whether the ignition switch works), and listen/feel for the click of the relay.

If it's like the alarm on my rig was setup, the relay is tucked to behind the middle dash panel, just left of the climate control area, and it taps into a thick wire on the underside of the steering column. Also, if it's like my original alarm, it was installed by buffoons using those awful Scotch-Lock connectors, which resulted in several broken circuits behind the driver's side kick panel.

Apologies if I'm repeating stuff already said. With so many answers, it's hard to keep track of what you've already done.
Yeah one of my next steps it’s to tear out that damn RS3000. I have read a thread of people adding the solenoid, but I’m not interested in doing that. But I am reading about it to get other leads on what the problem could be. Like I didn’t even think to check the Power cable going from the battery to the starter. Didn’t know those could go bad.
The relay for the kill-relay, would that be under the dash by your left knee? That little panel.
As I can tell it’s the RS3000 and doesn’t seem to be touched… I think. Won’t know till I go to pull it out.
The ignition module on these suck. Mine would just click and nothing would happen. I replaced mine as it would be flaky, especially when it was hot. The new OEM module lasted a couple of years and then same dog and pony show. The starter in these vehicles will not work with anything less than 12v. I tested mine on a multi meter and the ignition module would kick out all kinds of different voltages until it would bang on a 12v hit. I wired the starter ignition wire to a Cole Hersey heavy duty solenoid and a fused 10g wire to feed from the battery, through the solenoid, and to the starter. I’ve never had another starting issues since.
Is adding a solenoid more common than I think it is?
Sounds like you might've had the dreaded click click click syndrome, as did I. Your repair is the perfect way to fix this issue as the starter circuit wiring going through the IGN switch is dilapidating due to age. There are not starter relay in our 80s so all of the current goes through the NSS, ign switch, etc.

Here's one of the fixes for the click click click no start condition: Starter ignition circuit thought - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/starter-ignition-circuit-thought.211786/
thank you! That’s a great thread!
@Fourrunner

I used the kit from Mark and it was easy. I havent replaced trans and xsfer grounds yet, but did the others.

I've had the intermittent no start no click for years. Tough to diagnose because it is always temporary. Havent had it in a while. Going to Death Valley tomorrow. It'll show up again of course.
Usually how it goes lol
 

alia176

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Is adding a solenoid more common than I think it is?

Let's get our nomenclature correct here, we're not really adding a "solenoid" but just a simple "relay". I mean, you can add a solenoid which is basically a relay from hell in oil bath which isn't needed in this application. We're simply adding a relay which is energized by the ign switch (small wires), which in turn brings high amount of current to the starting solenoid (big wires), thus eliminating the famous click click click.

Our wires are tired and not able to handle the typical starting current that the aging starter solenoid requires. This is probably something all 80 owners should be doing as these things are getting long in the tooth, so to speak.
 

StaticTorque

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Let's get our nomenclature correct here, we're not really adding a "solenoid" but just a simple "relay". I mean, you can add a solenoid which is basically a relay from hell in oil bath which isn't needed in this application. We're simply adding a relay which is energized by the ign switch (small wires), which in turn brings high amount of current to the starting solenoid (big wires), thus eliminating the famous click click click.

Our wires are tired and not able to handle the typical starting current that the aging starter solenoid requires. This is probably something all 80 owners should be doing as these things are getting long in the tooth, so to speak.
Ah! My apologies, I’m not electrically inclined, so to speak. I see now. So testing the wires at the starter should be able to tell me that, right?
 

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