Engine will not start

Tiny
DONNAK123
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 1,500,000 MILES
My ford e150 1996 van won't start. The battery has been checked (headlights work, the wipers work, inside lights fine) the engine continues to turn at a very good rate, just won't catch or fire to start. Van was towed to home, but cannot get it to a location that can hook it up and diagnosis without the charge. (I am unemployed with 3 kids)and need to get this car working.
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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 AT 4:13 PM

31 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Hello,

This sounds like your fuel pump has gone out or you blew the fuse. Can you hear the pump running in the tank with the key on? If not Here is a guide to help you get the fuses checked.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-a-car-fuse

Here is a guide that can help as well.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-cranks-but-wont-start

Here are the fuse locations.

Please run down this guide and report back

Cheers
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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 AT 4:15 PM
Tiny
DONNAK123
  • MEMBER
I used the guides you sent which worked great, after testing I figured out the fuel pump is not working and changed it out found the pump for $87.99 on Amazon, Thanks for you help I love this site.
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Monday, December 6th, 2010 AT 4:05 PM
Tiny
RAINMAN5150
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
1996 Ford Econoline E150 van's exhaust pipe broke right at block above starter and heat melted positive and negative wires to starter and each other. Peeled wires apart and off starter and removed all melted plastic from starter and hooked them back up to starter. Checked all fuses and they are good, but van will not start. I just hear one click when key is turned.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Is that a rather loud clunk from the starter solenoid or a light click from the starter relay?

Measure the voltage at the starter on the larger battery cable. You must find twelve volts there all the time. Measure right on the stud, not the terminal crimped to the end of the cable. If you do find twelve volts there, test it again while a helper turns the ignition switch to "crank". If that voltage disappears at that time there is a bad connection at the battery or the wires are frayed and corroded away at the starter under the wire's insulation where it is hard to see.

Also, turn on the head lights and see what happens to their brightness when you try to crank the engine. They will get dim or go out if there is a bad connection on a battery post/cable clamp. They will stay bright if there is a problem down at the starter.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
RAINMAN5150
  • MEMBER
A light click is all I hear, and I do get twelve volts there on the stud, but have not been able to test volts when I crank it do to no help. But will test in morning and update progress.

Thank you.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
RAINMAN5150
  • MEMBER
I bypassed the solenoid on the starter by using a screwdriver across both leads and heard the starter motor spin. Will that crank the engine over by doing that? I thought it would not kind of like doing a bench test but I have been told by the parts store that it should have.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sounds like you connected the two large terminals. That will make the starter motor spin, and it strongly suggests both large battery cables are okay. What that will not do is engage the drive gear with the ring gear on the flex plate so the starter will spin but it will not crank the engine. To engage the starter drive you have touch the large terminal with the battery cable to the smaller terminal on the solenoid. That will make the drive gear pop out and engage the ring gear, and it will turn on the high-current switch to cause the motor to spin. What you are doing is bypassing the little starter relay that I think you are hearing click.

One of two things is going to happen when you jump the big battery terminal to the smaller solenoid terminal. The starter will crank the engine or nothing at all will happen. If nothing happens, one of the two coils in the solenoid is open. You might get it to work by connecting a battery charger on "high" but I strongly do not recommend that as other computers could be damaged. It is also possible the engine will crank normally. In that case, since you already heard the relay clicking, either that relay has burned contacts or there is a break in the wire between it and the starter solenoid. We can do further testing to find that if necessary.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
RAINMAN5150
  • MEMBER
I am guessing you are talking about the solenoid that is located on the fender well near the battery. The solenoid that I jumped and heard the starter motor spin was the solenoid attached to the starter. I pulled the starter off the van last night and was going to buy a new starter solenoid to put on it today because I am under the impression from my own knowledge and research that I have done on this problem is that the solenoid on the starter is bad. Do you believe that to be correct? I am also planning on taking in the starter to the auto parts store to have them test it also just in case, since it is already off the van.
One thing I did notice also was that when the battery was hooked up with both negative and positive leads on correctly that there was no power at the ignition fuse but when the negative lead was off the battery it did read power at the fuse with my meter. Is that supposed to happen or could that be a symptom of another problem like the fender well solenoid was bad as well or something?
Thank you again very much for your help so far, I really appreciate it. Living on a military paycheck I do not have much money to be wasting on parts I do not need.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Nope. I am referring to the solenoid on the starter where you're working. The part on the fender is the starter relay but it is the same part that was used years earlier as the solenoid. It still has the two large copper studs and will work as the solenoid on older vehicles, but you will see that in your application it still has the large battery cable connected to one stud, but on the other stud there is just a small wire going down to the solenoid on the starter. I suspect Ford used these high-current switches in your medium-current circuit because they had a ton of them in stock to use up.

Going on your original description of the problem, it sounds like the relay, (the solenoid on the fender), is clicking so we know that low-current circuit from the ignition switch is good. For the time being we can assume the high-current circuit is okay because you got the starter motor to spin. That leaves the medium-current circuit as the one with the problem. That starts at the relay contacts, goes through the small red wire on the second large stud, to the small terminal on the starter solenoid, and includes the two coils of wire inside the solenoid.

I am not sure what kind of test you are doing but nothing can have any voltage anywhere if a battery cable is disconnected. If you are getting a reading you are probably using an auto-ranging meter and it is picking up some stray magnetic interference, and it is reading a few hundredths of a volt. There are two ways to test the medium-current circuit. The first is to activate the relay by having a helper turn the ignition switch to "crank", or by connecting a jumper wire from the battery positive post or large relay stud to the smaller stud. When it engages, measure the voltage at the other large stud, (with the small red wire), or use a test light on it. You must find twelve volts there when it is switched on. Next, measure that voltage at the small terminal on the starter solenoid. The wire has to be connected for the measurement to be accurate. If you have voltage there but the starter solenoid does not engage, the solenoid is bad.

You can also apply twelve volts to the small solenoid terminal like I mentioned earlier. That will make it engage and the starter motor should crank the engine. You can get that twelve volts from the large stud on top of the solenoid that has the battery cable bolted to it.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
ABUCKEYE8879
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 6 CYL
Ford Econoline 1996. Will not start one click when I turn key.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Have you checked the battery to make sure it isn't weak? Also, have you checked power at the starter solenoid to see if it is getting twelve volts when the key is in the start position?
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
MYOGURT
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 73,000 MILES
I have been having an intermittent failure in my engine. Sometimes, it will stall while driving, at any speed. Other times, it will not start. Here is what I have already done: New fuel pump, new ignition parts (coil, distributor cap and rotor, plugs and wires, Ignition control module). There are no associated codes with this, check engine never comes on. You can hear the fuel pump come on when the key is turned on, the engine will crank but not start. Sometimes when it shuts off while moving, it will restart, other times, you have to stop and wait. Please help, I have been battling this for about two months now. Thank you!
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DOODLEBUG*10
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 225,000 MILES
1996 Ford E 250 5.8 liter. Engine runs perfectly fine and randomly cuts out. No bogging, no sputtering, just shuts down. Then restarts when "it feels like it".
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
Sounds like heat sensitive electronic fault bein triggered. Cam and crank sensors are big suspects. Other ignition parts too. Check for spark to verify when it quits.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DOODLEBUG*10
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your answer. I will try that. I was also pointed at the mass air flow sensor.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
So what about codes from computer? Bad MAF should set a code.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DOODLEBUG*10
  • MEMBER
Yes I found out check engine light is not functioning. Code is saying two bad cells in MAF.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DOODLEBUG*10
  • MEMBER
Code does indicate MAF two bad cells I believe turns out check engine light is not functioning.
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
ERIKCOULTER
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 4.9L
  • 6 CYL
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
My van (1996 e250 inline 6 4.9l) shut off while I was driving on freeway, but did not affect my dash lights. It cranks over but will not start. I hear the fuel pump engaging, I checked for spark which I am getting. I do not know what it can be. Can you please help me out with this?
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
Could be old codes not erased?
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Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 AT 10:06 AM (Merged)

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