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Old 07-10-2004, 09:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
bunskippy
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Default Engine doesn't start, only clicks...

I have a (recently acquired) '68 Coupe Mustang w 2v 289. Hadn't started it in a week or so, and now it just clicks when I turn the key. Strangely, the aftermarket radio (which is not tied to the ignition) turns itself on. Electricals seem to work ok (lights, etc.) but it just clicks, nothing more.
It used to start just fine, after a few seconds cranking, pumping the gas a bit, etc.

what could have happened -- what can I do?

thanks.
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Old 07-10-2004, 09:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like the battery doesn't have enough power to finish cranking the engine over. If you are stranded, just get a set of jumper cables and jump the car from another. Or charge the battery enough to start it. Then as soon as you can replace the battery and have the electrical system checked to varify that there is nothing else wrong. Hopefully the battery just went bad, due to the age.

Another problem can be the starter is going bad. When it does,.... alot of times it starts to require alot more power then the battery can put out. But at this point we are getting ahead of our selfs. Put in a new battery and have the electrical system checked first.
Good Luck
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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if the battery were dead, why would the radio work and even turn itself on? or would it be too weak to start the engine but just power on the radio...
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Exactley. The radio requires about 12 volts and 1 amp or so to operate. The starter needs about 150-200+ amps to crank the motor over. When they test a battery, they will genarally put a load on the battery. "Load test" The battery can hold 12+ volts with no load and still be bad. Then when you put a load on it,...it needs to still hold approx 10.3+ volts with the load on. Genererally they put a load of 1/2 of what the battery is rated at. Examle:
500 cca would require a 250 amp draw "load" to test correctley. Now you can put a load on the battery of lets say 80% or more of its rated status and fail any battery. So what ever battery you have make sure they don't load the battery with no more then half the c.c.as it's rated at.


Another cheap test you can do at home is :....

1) Turn the head lights on.
2) Crank the engine over or try to.

Have someone look at the headlights and see if they dim or gou out completely. They should only dim ever so sightly if the battery is fine. If the lights go out...then your battery needs to be replaced if not charged over night to see if it would hold a charge. Odds are the previous owner knew about this ans simply didn't care. So just replace it.
Good Luck
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Old 07-11-2004, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Battery connections?

It could be just the battery connections. The first thing I do in that situation is clean the battery posts and the cable connections. If that doesn't help just take the battery to AutoZone and they will charge it and test it for free. If the battery is OK, then it could be the starter relay or the starter itself. All these are easy to replace if need be.

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Old 07-11-2004, 06:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Just now

Just now went out to put my truck in the driveway from the street and guess what? It only clicked. Checked the terminals and they looked OK. Checked the battery cells for acid and one was dry. Filled it up and topped off the others slightly and five minutes later it fired right up.

The battery probably is on it's last legs for one cell to be completely dry, so I will replace the battery tomorrow when the auto supply is open.

This does point out one more reason that the ignition only clicks, LOL.

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Old 07-11-2004, 09:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Update: Took the battery to Kragen, they tested it and recharged it. Came back, scrubbed off the white fuzzy stuff with some baking powder and water. as I was trying to screw the bolt back to clamp the pos terminal, the bolt just came apart in the middle. I guess the combination of battery acid and rust was too much. I'm traveling for a week, so won't get to pick up a bolt and try again until then.
I tried it with the clamp just sitting around the terminal (looks like it was making contact, but not as snug as if it were screwed in). Starting just clicked as beforel. I'm hoping that screwing the clamp in will make the difference. Otherwise I'll need to look at the starter...
thx
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Old 07-31-2004, 02:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My '65 is doing the same thing. The battery is fully charged, the solenoid is new and has all new cables throughout. When you turn the ignition, it just clicks. The starting system is not that complicated, so what could it be?
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Old 07-31-2004, 05:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Either a bad starter or locked up motor.
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Old 07-31-2004, 09:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nope. The motor is brand new, and I can turn it by hand. The starter is also new, and works fine off the car.

Sometimes you can get into the car and it starts just fine, other times, it just clicks.
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Old 07-31-2004, 10:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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replace the starter solinoid and then the starter, and make sure your wires are all going to where they are supposed to. Mine did that, and it was the starter solinoid for me.
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Old 08-01-2004, 12:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 95Convert
Nope. The motor is brand new, and I can turn it by hand. The starter is also new, and works fine off the car.

Sometimes you can get into the car and it starts just fine, other times, it just clicks.
Ok....so it starts or cranks everytime when the car is cold and gives you a hard time when the engine has been warmed over?....
If so then most likely you have an issue with a loose or insuffient ground.

If it gives you the same problem no matter if it is cold or hot then you have an issue with one of your new parts...most likely your soliniod or starter.

What size guage wires do you have from the battery to the solniod and then to the starter? How about what size wire for your grounds? Battery to chassis and engine to chassis?

P.S
Just because the starter works off the car, doesn't mean it's good. Must check to see how much the amp draw is. I have seen starters needing 250-300+ amps to work on bad Ford starters when all they supposed use is 150-200. If the starter draws more then suppose to then it's ..bad!
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Old 08-01-2004, 12:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Every single time

Every single time when my starter cranks fine when its cold but cranks slow when its hot it means that the strarter is going bad. I get my starters at AutoZone with a lifetime warranty. They usually last about two years or so of weekend driving. I just wait till it will barely start when hot and take it back for a new one. I've been through about 4 or 5 so far, but they always give me a new one. Same deal with aternators - good for about 2 years of weekend driving and then a new one. I paid about $29.95 originally back in 1995. They saiid "lifetime" and I'm going to hold them to it, LOL.

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Last edited by Rev; 08-01-2004 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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haha, that is sweet
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Old 08-06-2004, 12:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 420nitro
Ok....so it starts or cranks everytime when the car is cold and gives you a hard time when the engine has been warmed over?....
If so then most likely you have an issue with a loose or insuffient ground.

If it gives you the same problem no matter if it is cold or hot then you have an issue with one of your new parts...most likely your soliniod or starter.
No, it does it when cold. Heat has nothing to do with when it will turn over or just "click".

Quote:
What size guage wires do you have from the battery to the solniod and then to the starter? How about what size wire for your grounds? Battery to chassis and engine to chassis?
I am using 2AWG for the battery-to-solenoid, solenoid-to-starter and chassis ground. I do not have an engine to chassis ground.

Quote:
P.S
Just because the starter works off the car, doesn't mean it's good. Must check to see how much the amp draw is. I have seen starters needing 250-300+ amps to work on bad Ford starters when all they supposed use is 150-200. If the starter draws more then suppose to then it's ..bad!
It isn't a Ford or even an AutoZone starter. It is a PowerMaster racing starter designed to turn 12.1 compression motors. It only draws about 120 amps.

Keep it up, I appreciate the assistance.
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Old 08-06-2004, 12:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Let me start out by apologizing for the long post, but it is necessary.

I have a problem with Leslie’s ’65 fastback that we cannot figure out. Periodically, the car will not turn over, just click when you turn the ignition. First, the setup:

This car has a rear mounted battery. We used 4AWG wire for the ground to the chassis, and the same for the 4 ft length from the battery to the solenoid. The battery is a brand new Optima red-top with a full charge, even under load. It has 910 CCA, so this should not be an issue. The solenoid is new, and the starter is a PowerMaster hi-torque unit intended for cars with 12:1 or greater compression ratios. (The ’65 is 9.3:1)

When the car was first assembled, it seemed like everything seemed fine. The car would started with the AutoZone starter with no problem. Then, one day I went out to start the car and when I turned the ignition switch, all I got was a “clicking” sound. I know what you are thinking, and I did too, low battery or bad connection. I checked all of the connections, which were good, and had the battery checked. It was fully charged. My next guess was the solenoid, but after checking it out, it seemed fine as well. Just in case, I replaced it. Same thing. By now I am frustrated, because I cannot figure out what the problem could be. I finally gave up for the day and pushed the car into the garage.

The next day, I pulled the starter off the car to get it checked, and lo and behold, it was bad. AutoZone switched it out for a good one at no cost, and I thought my problem was solved. Wrong. I put the new starter on an the same thing happened. Knowing that the battery, starter and solenoid were good, I was dumbfounded. At this point, I decided to do some things under the car and take some time to think about the problem. I pushed the car around in the garage a little before putting it up on jack stands and worked under the car for awhile, checking all of my bolts and hardwre to see if any had worked loose. While I was under the car, I re-checked the cable running from the battery to the solenoid to ensure that it had not worn through and was grounding out anywhere. It was good, as so was the ground cable.

After getting the car back on the ground, I pushed it back over to its resting place. On a whim, I decided to try to start the car again. To my surprise, it turned over and started up with no problem. Okay, now I am thoroughly confused. I had done nothing at all under the car but check for leaks and check for loose hardware. No drilling, hammering, etc. I think to myself, great, one less problem, and proceed to do a little tuning on the car. I finish of the session by driving the car around the block and park it back in the garage. Just to be sure, I try to start the car again and it turns right over. Looks like the problem has solved itself. Wrong.

The next afternoon Leslie goes out to start the car and again, “click-click-click”. Okay, I think, it must be that AutoZone starter. It just can’t handle turning over the stroker, even though you can turn the engine at the crank by hand with only minimal effort. I decide to go ahead and order a nice PowerMaster racing starter with plenty of torque and put it on. I do so and, you guessed it. The same exact result.

Can anybody help me figure this out. Its not like there are that many parts to a starting system, and I have checked and re-checked all of mine. What is going on?
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Old 08-06-2004, 02:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default ignition switch?

Check the ignition switch and wiring. Try turning the switch to the "on" position and then "jumping" the connections at the solenoid (starter relay). Make a connection from the hot pole where the + cable connects to the forward connection on the solenoid where the ignition switch "start" wire connects. It should turn over and start. Be sure to unjump it as the car starts to disengage the starter motor. If it starts that way but not when you use the ignition switch then its either the switch or the wiring between the switch and the solenoid (starter relay). This is just a way to check those items.

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Old 08-06-2004, 10:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Found the problem. I did not have an engine-to-chassis ground. I installed one this afternoon and everything is working great now. Thanks for everyone's input.
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Old 08-07-2004, 09:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yea that ground will get ya every time!

We all have done it. It's one of the things I check first now.
As goes for your starter..... it's way over kill but nice to have. I am using a stock replacement starter to turn over my 420 cubic inch 10.5 to 1 motor. No problems all year.
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Old 08-08-2004, 02:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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hmm, newbie question here: how do I know if I have a engine-chassis ground or not? Obviously this all used to work, but hasn't recently.
I got the battery charged and replaced the negative cable (screw was rusted through and broken in there). There are some deposits on the positive cable, but the battery is connecting (interior lights come on, headlamps as well.) Am I right to think that b/c there is a connection, it's not the cable's fault, or could there be a connection but of limited strength to allow the full amps necessary through?

<edit> just went out and tried to jump the battery using my 2002 CR-V. After the Pos terminals were connected I connected the cable from the Neg on the good battery to a cross-beam in my Pony's engine compartment. It sparked so I disconnected. Re-read the directions which said attach it to the engine block. Did that, it sparked. Now turning the ignition key does nothing -- no more clicking even. Any advice? Did I toast something inadvertently?

Last edited by bunskippy; 08-08-2004 at 06:35 PM..
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