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Truck will not start. I replaced the battery, starter solenoid,

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Truck will not start. I replaced the battery, starter solenoid, and had the stater tested. The stater is fine after 3 tests from different auto places. The battery is brand new with a good charge and brand new solenoid. You attempt to start and it just clicks very loudly at the firewall. Starter wire appears fine still insulated and good connects. Although I test the starter wire and it seems to be picking up a ground somewhere, it is not in contact with anything but the starter and solenoid.
Hooked up two good solenoids and still had same result. Everytime I test the wire that runs from the starter to the solenoid its showing a ground. So when you switch the solenoid its trying to push a positive through the wire thats grounded. I think that is why its clicking in the solenoid. I just can't figure out why the wire is grounded. It's bolted directly to the starter and there is no cuts or breaks in the wire. I just don't understand where its getting a ground. 88 Ford Ranger w/ 302

Does this side of the starter solenoid switch to positive 12 volts when the key is applied to the start position?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No, the starter side of the solenoid remains a ground with or without the switching of the ignition. The battery side of the solenoid remains a constant 12volts.
Do the battery cables heat up in any manner? Are you getting a good 12 volts supply at the red with light blue stripe wire at the solenoid?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I will check the voltage in the morning. In regards XXXXX XXXXX "heating up" the main battery wire that connects to the solenoid gets very hot, the other wires are normal to the touch. The starter wire on the other side of the solenoid seems to warm up a bit but not nearly as bad as the battery wire.
Ok I would appreciate that. Let me know how you make out. I am also interested in how this strter is being bench tested.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I can tell you that the three places I have taken it have tested it in the same manner. Clamp it down, hook up a alligator clamp (similar to jumper cable clamps), and push a button.
What is this 302 out of? Does this also have a starter mounted solenoid also?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Its a late model, 1985 Mustang or similar. I purchased the engine and had it rebuilt before putting it in the Ranger. That starter I crossed referenced for is for a 5.0L Mustang. I don't believe it had an internal solenoid, but I can't be 100% on that.


One other thing that may help. When I got in it today to test the ignition switch I noticed when I switch to the accessory all my gauges come on, but my radio did not. After pulling the radio I discovered the fuse on the back was blown. I replaced it, but the radio still doesn't function. The ignition switch seemed to be fine. It switches through all functions correctly, but I did not test it with the voltmeter.

Testing the red with light blue stripe wire out at the solenoid will tell you if the ignition switch is working as to power the solenoid. I would really like to see the outcome of that.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I will take care of that tomorrow then. The radio attempts to power on, but it acts like it doesn't have enough power. Is it possible these two problems are related?

Its very possible. I don't want to throw out a untested answer so bear with me. The fact that you have found a ground at this wire intrigued me enough to go check my own ford truck. I found the same. I actually had a ground at the starter cable from the fender mounted solenoid to the starter. I figure this shows to be a ground simply due to the fact that there is a ground on one side of the starter motor commutator. If this ground goes through the windings and to the positive brush of the starter you would certainly have a ground at the solenoid. Mine tested just as yours did. So my feeling at this point that possibly you are not getting the correct amount of voltage to fully kick the starter solenoid to the closed position to activate the starter. My second concern to this is that you have mentioned that the cable is getting hot. This would indicate a dead short, but you have done the testing to prove otherwise. I have emailed a few other experts to see what they can see that I may be missing and have not heard back from them at this point. If you would test that small wire at the solenoid, this would help to verify that the solenoid is getting what it needs to operate. Another item we have not touched on is the negative gorund to the engine block. It would be a real good idea to verify that this is connected clean, and tight to ensure a good ground on the engine block.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I appreicate the motivation to go test your own vehicle. I will test the solenoid wire tomorrow as well as the engine block ground as soon as I get up in the morning. I just went out and checked my wires at the solenoid and I have a yellow and what appears to be a black(low light levels), both with a sealed fusible link. I have a red wire that is a boot that slides over a post on the solenoid. The yellow goes directly into my stock Ranger harness and the black goes into a harness that travels with my radiator. Which do I test? And I am looking for 12v when the ignition is triggered to start, or is it a constant 12v?
The wire with the boot should plug onto the small threaded stud by itself on the solenoid. If this is the case, this is the wire we need to test with the key in the start position. There needs to be 12 volts at this point. I sure do appreciate your patience in this matter.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Believe me, I appreciate yours too. I've been scratching my head all week on this one. I hadn't started it in a month so I'm not surprised by this happening. Yes, that is exactly what that wire does. I will test it asap and get back to you with my results. Expect a response around noon. Thank you so much again for you time and patience. Glad I have help to figure it out.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Okay, I tested the wire you are referring to and I am getting a constant 12v when the switch is applied. I went ahead and replaced the engine ground strap. I grinded down the connecting and put a new bolt in. I still have no start and same symptoms.
This makes me wonder if this is as simple as a battery with little cranking amps. You did state that you tested the battery though. How does the cable from the battery to the solenoid look? Are the battery terminals in good shape? Does the starter solenoid have two small studs on the front of it like at the small wire you tested voltage at?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The battery is new, although I continuously have to recharge it because I keep killing it. Its an Optima red top. The cable from the battery to the solenoid is around a year old, it was replaced when I did the swap. Yes, the solenoid has two posts, one on each side of the solenoid. I'm terribly sorry taking your time like this. Its just really got me confused.
Ok lets do this. I normally don't recommend this, but in this case I think it will assist us in understanding what is truly happening. What I would like you to do is verify that this vehicle is secured in park with the ebrake on with the key in the off position. I would then like you to attach one side of the red jumper cable to the large stud that runs from the battery to the solenoid and then use the other jumper cable to simply touch the other large stud at the solenoid. At this point you may get some small spark and the engine should turn over as you are basically bypassing the starter solenoid.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I understand this is not recommended, but I did infact try that this morning. My result was the main battery wire trys to arch itself with the primary starter wire. It did not engage the starter. That leads me to believe it is infact the starter.

Ok well that rules out the chance of this being an issue with the solenoid, ignition switch, etc. This would only leave the battery, any faults with cables or cable ends which you have checked. I agree this does point towards the starter. One thing we have not looked at the slightest though is if the engine actually turns over. You may seriously want to put a socket on the crank pulley and see if you can turn this engine over by hand in a clock wise rotation. I really cannot see any more things that we have missed. A couple of the experts that I contacted last night have also agreed with the testing we have tried so far.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thats what I thought of first off because I let it reach 210 degrees last time it was ran. I did manage to get it to turn completely a few times. So you suggest the problem lies within the battery or starter?
Well I honestly would recommend trying to turn the engine over by hand just to verify that the engine does rotate. I would be interested in a load test on the battery just to see how the battery tests under a load. If no good then I would replace the battery. If the starter tests good and has been tested properly, I cannot see why the starter would be faulty.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It does turn by hand. I will pull a battery out of my other truck and see if that works. I thank you for your time and patience in resolving this matter.
No problem. I just hope that it all goes smooth from this point. A battery with a dead cell can cause for some strange issues for sure! Thanks for the accept. Let me know how you make out. I am very interested in the outcome of this problem.