Shut off while driving and will not start

Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD PROBE
  • 2.5L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 150,000 MILES
Hi,

Bit of a lengthy post, but I just want to provide all the details I can in case anyone here is able to help.

My son recently bought the car listed above (GT model) as his first car. When he was driving it for the first time, after about ninety minutes, the engine shut off and it would not restart. When you turn the key absolutely nothing happens, no sound, nothing. The dash lights do not come one, radio does not work and neither does the heater. The headlights and interior lights work though.

To rule out it being a faulty starter I ran power directly from the battery to the S terminal on the solenoid and the engine turned over. But when I check for power at the S terminal on the solenoid when the key is turned to the start position I got nothing so I thought maybe it was the ignition switch causing the problem, but after doing continuity testing as per the Haynes manual, the ignition switch checked out fine.

Next I checked for incoming power to the ignition switch thinking there might be a problem with no power getting to the ignition switch. So I disconnected the connector that plugs into the ignition switch. As per the Haynes manual, 2 of the 6 terminals (terminals 2 and 5) in the connector have power coming into them. Both registered having ~10 volts of power.

I started to think that maybe I messed up testing the ignition switch and that maybe it was faulty, so I took a small piece of wire and jumped the incoming power terminal #5 directly to the terminal that goes to the solenoid (bypassing the ignition switch), which as per the Haynes manual is terminal #3, but nothing happened. Still no power at the S terminal on the solenoid.

So I started thinking the problem was between the ignition switch and the solenoid. To test it, I ran 12 volts power directly from the battery to terminal #3 on the connector that plugs into the ignition switch, which goes to the solenoid. When I pushed in the clutch the starter kicked over. Which rules out the problem being between the ignition switch and the solenoid.

Now, I am wondering if the problem is in fact between the battery and the ignition switch and that it has something to do with the fact that I am only getting ~10 volts of power at the ignition switch, but I am starting to feel like I am grasping at straws now.

Does anyone here have any ideas what I should be looking at now? Any and all help is appreciated.

Thanks
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Monday, November 12th, 2018 AT 4:09 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi and thanks for using 2CarPros. Com

First, you indicate little knowledge, but it sounds like you have already done more than most techs can do. LOL

Anyway, since you are getting only 10 volts to the switch, I suspect there may be an issue with wire splice 202. If there is corrosion or it is loose, you may see 10 volts but when a load is placed on it, it may drop off to nothing.

I have attached a section of a wiring schematic for you to review. You will see how the power, from the battery, passes through the fuse box under hood. Make sure the fuses are good, not corroded, and they are making good connection in the box. Next, you will see S202. That indicates power to the switch is spliced with other wires. Picture 2 indicates where you will find the splice. Often times, a splice will corrode or come loose.

Check those things first and let me know what you find. Electricity is funny. A circuit may indicate good (or in this case weak) until a load is placed on it, and then it will fail.

Take care and I am interested in what you find.

Joe
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Monday, November 12th, 2018 AT 6:51 PM
Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe,

Thanks for the quick response, and thanks for the vote of confidence! I do really feel like I am in over my head here. I am just taking things step by step, with lots of head scratching and thinking in between the steps.

In regards to S202 and its location "Front Harness, near T/O to ignition switch", I found this definition of T/O in another thread:

T/O = Take Out - It is where a wire or a group of wires leaves the wiring harness.

Does this mean I should be looking for some sort of "harness/connector" in line with the connector that attaches to the ignition switch, or am I looking for wires that are spliced together?

And I am assuming that because it says "near to ignition switch" I should be looking in the passenger compartment, correct?

Thanks again!
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 AT 8:52 AM
Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe,

So, with the information that you provided me in your first response I discovered that (due to my inexperience) I was looking at the wrong fuse in the engine compartment fuse box, and had incorrectly came to the conclusion that all was well in the engine compartment fuse box. It turned out that the 40 Amp IG Key fuse (Maxi Fuse 5 in your diagram) was defective. When I replaced the fuse with a functional one and turned the key to the "on" position all of the lights in the dash came on momentarily, and then the new fuse that I put in blew.

So I replaced the 40A fuse again and disconnected the connector to the ignition switch so that I could test the circuit to the solenoid while bypassing the ignition switch. I took a small piece of wire and jumped the incoming power terminal #5 directly to the terminal that goes to the solenoid (bypassing the ignition switch), which as per the Haynes manual is terminal #3. When I depressed the clutch the engine started to turn over. So that circuit is fine.

My question now is, does this mean that the problem is with the ignition switch, or could it be something else?

Thanks!
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 AT 9:09 AM
Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe,

So in an effort to further isolate the problem being with the ignition switch, I dug deeper into the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manual, specifically the engine control system wiring diagram, and found that when then ignition switch is turned to the "on" position there are two circuits that open. Circuit #1 goes to the fuse box in the passenger compartment, putting power through the 15A engine fuse and the 15A meter fuse. Circuit #2 goes to the distributor.

What I did next is pull the two fuses in the passenger compartment, disconnected the power to the distributor (at the distributor) and I then replaced the 40Amp IG key fuse, again. :( When I turned the key to the"on" position the 40Amp fuse blew again.

So with, as far as I can tell, with all other circuits ruled out, it really appears to be that the problem is with the ignition switch, do you agree? Or is there something else I should be looking at?

Thanks again for your help!
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 AT 9:57 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi and welcome back.

It sounds like it could be the switch. However, remember it could be a short between the fuse and the switch. Reconfirm that nothing has melted in the fuse box, wiring, nothing is skinned or pinched and so on. Based on what you have done, if all wiring is good, like you, I suspect the switch.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 AT 5:34 PM
Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply Joe!

I thought I ruled out there being a short between the fuse box and the ignition switch when I replaced the 40A fuse and disconnected the connector to the ignition switch to test the entire circuit from the fuse box to the solenoid, while bypassing the ignition switch. I did it by taking a small piece of wire and jumping the incoming power terminal #5 directly to the terminal that goes to the solenoid (bypassing the ignition switch). When I did that and then depressed the clutch the engine started to turn over. So that circuit should be fine, shouldn't it?

Thanks again for your help.
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 AT 8:54 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi Kevin:
It sounds like you are correct. Not being there with you to actually what is being done can be confusing. I hope you understand. Regardless, I agree with your last post. The circuit does sound fine. Thus, it really points to the switch.

Let me know if that takes care of the problem.

Joe
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Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 AT 6:16 PM
Tiny
KEVIN DEBELLEFEUILLE
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe,

Just replaced the ignition switch and tried starting the car, failure. The 40A fuse blew again. I a'm completely at a loss now. Unless you can point me in another direction that I am not looking I think we are going to have to take the car to a mechanic.

Thanks
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Thursday, November 15th, 2018 AT 3:00 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi Kevin:

The problem is after the switch or the connector at the switch. Confirm that none of the pins or connectors are damaged where the switch plugs in. I am looking at the schematic. I need to know something. Does the fuse blow regardless if the key is on or off? Does it blow when the key is turned to the run position? Or, does it only blow when you turn to the start position?

Look at the schematic below. If it only blows in the start position or run position, what I need you to do is disconnect the battery and then the ignition switch. Locate the pin that leads to the clutch, starter, and various other things. According to the schematic, it should be a green wire to the clutch switch and then turns black/red after the clutch. Next, with all power disconnected, check that wire to see if there is continuity to ground. If there is, we have to trace that wire to see where it shorted. If you notice, there are splices, a low speed fan relay, and other things. Just for the heck of it, remove the low speed relay. There could be a short there, but do not do that until you check for continuity to ground. The relay is located in the left rear or the engine compartment. Use the relay as your first test if you find continuity. If you remove it and continuity is lost, that is the short.

At this point, it is time to trace wiring. This is what a mechanic would do. It becomes time consuming and expensive if they cannot find it quickly. Yes, it would be much easier if I was there, but I have traced a lot of shorts and will try my best from here to help.

Let me know if this makes sense to you or if you have other questions. Use the attached schematic to help guide you.

Take care,

Joe
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Thursday, November 15th, 2018 AT 6:55 PM

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