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94 ford ranger: wont start..ignition key..connector on relay, clicks

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94 ford ranger, automatic. won't start. 1 click when ignition key turned. jumper wire + bat to push on connector on relay, clicks. jumper wire on selenoid and it turns, not starter. Battery is charged.
good afternoon and thank you for inquiring with JustAnswer, i have read the description of your concern and what you have tried already and i am a bit confused with what you have tried, the description is a bit vague. Are you trying to say that when you apply 12v at the starter on the small wire that it cranks over but not with the key?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no, the engine does not crank. I heard a spinning noise.
does it sound to you like the starter is spinning but not touching the engine? in other words the starter operates but the engine isn't cranking over?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
when i turn the ignition, I hear 1 click. Can't really hear the starete. I did hear the "spinning" of the started while i was under the truck trying to use a wire to jump the selinoid ( big terminal-big terminal - it was not easy to do.

do you have access to a testlight or volt/multi meter? it would help greatly to aid in testing this.

one thing you can do jump the 2 main posts on the selenoid mounted on the drivers side in the engine bay just behind the battery. also test for 12V at each of the fat terminals, one should have 12V all the time and the other only in start position, when power is applied to the small wire on the selenoid and connects the 2 large terminals together. please test these 3 terminals and wires and let me know when each have voltage and you can also try to jump the 2 large terminals and tell me what happens

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, I'm on my way home from work (will be after i send this) I will do this when I get home.
ok, please let me know the results, and if you need further assistance
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

OK, I got help. the results:

12v all the time

11v only in start position

11v on small post in start position, 0 in off position

ok, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX to have someone who can perform the tasks and tests for me without physically seeing the vehicle. these results tell me that the powerflow from the ignition is ok all the way up to the starter selenoid. next i would like you to check:


1) power to the starter on the small feed wire, mounted to the smaller post on the starter

2) attempt to use jumper and jump the large terminal on the starter to the small terminal on the starter and see if it cranks over, please make sure vehicle is in nuetral if standard shift or park if an automatic

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

the starter spun but the engine did not crank

if the starter spun and did not engage the engine then the bendix inside the starter failed to engage the gear to the engine and that would mean replacement of the starter. though i suspect there might be an issue with the main cable to the starter since the starter doesn't even spin when turning the key. i suggest removing the starter from the vehicle and performing a benchtest, do this by using jumper cables and clamp the negative to the starter's body itself, best on one of the bolt hole loops, and apply the positive cable with clamp spread open on both the large and small terminals and see if the starter gear pops out AND spins when power applied, if the starter is strong and pops out and spins fast then you have a main battery feed cable issue, either the eyelet at the starter is corroded or broken/loose or the cable itself is corroded. If the starter doesn't pop out AND spin , then it is a bad starter
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

is there a way to test the cable rather than removing the starter?

there is it is called load testing but you need a substancial load to put on it, the other thing you can do is disconnecting the battery and do an ohm check on the wire to test resistance, it should be less than 1.0 ohm. also if you do not have an ohm/multi meter available you can do an extensive visual inspection along the wire from the starter to the battery + and inspect for green collored corrosion. bench testing the starter would be the preferred test though
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok, the wire we are talking about is the black heavy gauge wire that goes to the main terminal of the starter, not the small terminal.
correct, it is the main fat cable straight from battery to the starter
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you very much. I'll get a started tomorrow.
i see you have accepted my answer, but i will leave this report open for you if you have any further questions tomorrow after testing. I want you to be satisfied with the advice and i would like to earn a positive feedback score, it means alot to me. please let me know if you need further assistance
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I replaced the starter and the problem is solved. Thank you very much
im glad you have resolved your concern. i take pride in the ability to ( most of the time lol) diagnose vehicles without actually physically being able to see and hear the symptoms, and always try to exhaust all possible options attempting to have the owner perform the test with my guidance. if you ever have any further cocnerns just access my profile and let me know in the question field. Also make sure your starter eyelets on the cables are in good shape and are tight. have a great day and thank you for being patient

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