1991 Ford Escort cranks but doesn't start

Tiny
KOOL_RIDER
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 FORD ESCORT
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 249,300 MILES
I have a 1991 Ford Escort, 1.9 L, automatic trans, with 249,300 miles on it. I stopped the car last week, and an hour later went to start it and it would not crank over. I tried boosting the battery with another running vehicle, still no go. I put a test light on the starter positive terminal, and it lit up ok. I thought it might be the solenoid, so I had the ignition key in the CRANK position and put a test light on the small solenoid wire, and it lit up ok. I then removed the starter and replaced it with a new one. I bench tested the new one and it ran fine. After installing it I tried to start again, and nothing happened. I went back to the ignition, removed the wire connectors from the key cyclinder, they looked ok, so I reinstalled them. The key is somewhat worn, but it does turn the ignition all the way to the CRANK position. I tried moved the gear selector from PARK to NEUTRAL and tried, still no luck. Thinking it was the Neutral Switch on the automatic transmission, I placed the gear selector in REVERSE and the backup lights came on. I did not test the Neutral Switch yet. With a fully charged battery, new starter and power to the starter solenoid, could it be this switch? When I first try to crank it over I hear 1 click from the starter solenoid engaging, but the motor does not turn over. I put a socket on the crankshaft pulley, and the motor turned over easily, so its not a mechanical problem. I am completely out of ideas what do you suggest?

thanks,
Clint
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 AT 2:37 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Disconnect the starter solenoid wire and attache a remote wire to it. Apply battery voltage directly from the battery and if starter cranks, you have a fault with the ignition switch or its wiring circuit.

If starter does not crank, check the battery cable connections.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 AT 3:07 PM
Tiny
KOOL_RIDER
  • MEMBER
Hi again,
I tried what you suggested, I ran a wire from the solenoid and touched it against the positive battery post, and I didn't even get so much as a little click of the solenoid. I then checked the positive cable running to the starter solenoid for continuity, and it was good. I removed both battery cables, wire cleaned them and reinstalled, still no cranking. I then removed the starter, ran jumper cables from the car battery to it, and tapped a screwdriver across the positive post to the solenoid and the bendix kicked in fine and starter ran easily. I reinstalled it in the car, and tried the same trick in the car, with no clicking of the solenoid. What is causing the starter to lack battery power to turn it while its installed in the car?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, February 11th, 2011 AT 2:43 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Use a jumper cable from battery negative terminal to the starter body and retry using a wire to apply battery voltage to the starter. If it works, check the battery negative cable installation and/or condition to the transmission.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, February 11th, 2011 AT 1:29 PM
Tiny
KOOL_RIDER
  • MEMBER
I took a jumper cable and connected it to the starter body and the frame, and voila! The car cranked and started! So I started looking for the ground wire to the transmission, had to remove the battery and battery box to spot it. I had the automatic transmission worked on last year, and apparently when they reinstalled it they used a small screw to hold the ground wire in place, and over time the contact just wasn't enough to make a good ground. Thanks again for a SPOT ON DIAGNOSIS KHLow2008, I really appreciate your help.

Clint in Calgary, Alberta
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 14th, 2011 AT 3:01 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You're welcome.

Glad to know you have fixed the problem.

Have a nice day.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 14th, 2011 AT 5:52 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides