Starter solenoid

Tiny
SABRAGG28
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD EXPLORER
  • 4.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 200,000 MILES
My truck won't start unless I bypass the starter solenoid. I've replaced it twice thinking I bought a bad one the first time. But still isn't starting.
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 11:06 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What are the symptoms? Do you hear the relay click loudly once when you turn the ignition switch to "crank"? Did this start out as an intermittent problem?
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 11:12 AM
Tiny
SABRAGG28
  • MEMBER
The truck doesn't crank at all when I just turn the key, but you can hear everything else, just doesn't start, when I bypass the solenoid it starts right up. And it happened over night, nothing leading up to it.
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 11:18 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The steps in diagnosing this start with observing what the starter relay is doing, and you still didn't list that. Ford uses a few different circuit configurations. Some have the solenoid on the starter itself with a separate starter relay under the hood. Some use their old fender-mounted solenoid as a starter relay on the fender. Some older versions use the fender-mounted relay as the solenoid itself with nothing else on the starter. I think by '96 they finally gave up on that miserable design.

If you have the large solenoid on the inner fender and it is clicking, check for loose or dirty connections on it, the battery, and the starter itself. If the solenoid is not clicking, the neutral safety switch is the main suspect. Here again the engineers couldn't make up their mind which circuit to use so there's three possibilities. You should have a smaller red or red / blue wire plugged onto the relay. Unplug that, then use a test light or voltmeter to see if you get 12 volts on it when the ignition switch is in the "crank" position.
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
SABRAGG28
  • MEMBER
Thats kinda what I was thinking, that the solenoid isn't getting enough power, unfortunately I don't own a volt meter, let's say I do get a12v reading with the red wire unplugged, where do I go from there?
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 11:47 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Still depends on the symptom. If you have 12 volts on the red wire and you have the large fender-mounted relay that is not clicking, you have a defective relay, it isn't bolted to a good ground, or it's the wrong part number. Ford used three different designs that all looked the same but where not interchangeable.
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Monday, February 8th, 2016 AT 12:20 PM

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