View Full Version : Automotive Ignition Question

06-08-2012, 10:20 AM
'94 Ford Ranger

A month or so ago, it wouldn't start... When I turned the ignition to aux, the battery indicator would "jump" in small increments up for a while, until I had a good charge, then I could start. I took the truck to the battery store, and they checked the bat and said it was fine as well as the alternator. The guy told me it was probably a problem with my starter. He said I should pull the starter, and take it in for testing. I cleaned the battery terminals and cable hoping this would fix the problem. It did! (For a month or so). Last night it rained... Not sure if that is related or not... But this morning... Same problem reasserted itself. (There was also a good deal of moisture in the air when this problem was occurring last month....)

Wut do?

06-08-2012, 10:24 AM
Did you check the cables again? Are the 'solid' connectors or ends that have been put on stripped battery cables?

I don't know about newer rangers, but older fords had a firewall mounted starter solenoid. On those cars, the starter/bat/alt could be just fine but if the solenoid was thrashed you're not doing anything at all.

06-08-2012, 11:17 AM
Check your grounding, battery to block, and inspect the cable closely between those two points, make sure all screws/blocks are clean and tight.

Is this a fender mounted or rear engine mounted starter solenoid?

" When I turned the ignition to aux, the battery indicator would "jump" in small increments up for a while, until I had a good charge, "

This is very suspicious. There are no big capacitors that should be charging! The low hanging fruit on problems like this is the quality of your cabling and ground, followed by power to/from solenoid (if not built into the starter).

06-08-2012, 11:27 AM
The solonoid may be shorting out too thus making your starter inoperable......
Me has an 04' Ranger w/ a 4" lift. Love that truck but it eats gas...( V6 SOHC ).

06-08-2012, 12:37 PM
If it employs one, it could well be a started relay switch (a $20 switch). They can "fail" AND "work" properly for quite a while before total failure occurs.

06-08-2012, 03:47 PM
Are you saying it wont turn over, or will not 'run'?
IF it is 'turn over'
and the battery tested good,
and the alternator tested good ,
Then it must be wire(s),solenoid or combo of both.
If it is the separate relay-type solenoid you snould be able to 'jump' it when it is being finicky and confirm.

You did not say difinitively if the starter was removed/tested. It is possible that there is a 'dead spot' that shows up when it is wet/colder... It should be tested if it hasnt been already, unless the external solenoid proves faulty.

If it wont 'run', particularly when it rains,
Id check the distributor cap/rotor for cracks/condensation/obvious arcing.
If it is one of the coil-pack types, check for water intrusion in the main connector as well as the individual plug wires at that end.

The fluctuation of voltage in 'ACC' position suggests a faulty wire condition... the positive side, neg side or both... particularly if you have noticed green corrosion ANYWHERE on the wires.
It CAN kill the wires from the inside.

My 2cts. :D

06-08-2012, 03:55 PM
Most fords have that remote starter solenoid that powers everything up.. I think it's on the passenger side fender in a Ranger if my memory serves correct. I would try changing that first. If you can get it to do it again then check for power at that solenoid when you turn the key. If you get power to the small wire but not the big one, or it gradually ramps up then that solenoid is bad.

06-08-2012, 05:00 PM
Are you saying it wont turn over, or will not 'run'?

This is needed to know in order to attempt a diagnosis. I had an early 90's Ford Aerostar and it begand doing some weird stuff like not starting after it had rained. Turned out some iginition module was bad and wet weather was causing it to short out.

06-09-2012, 05:10 AM
Being it happens in wet weather, you probably have a bad connection somewhere. Look at all the grounds again, wire brush them all clean. Take a close look at the battery cable ends, sometimes they turn green behind the battery terminals and you can't see it. Cheap insurance and just to rule it out, change the battery cables.


06-09-2012, 07:51 AM
Are you saying it wont turn over, or will not 'run'?

Won't turn over.

You guys rock. I KNEW I'd get great advice with this question... Thanks guys. :)