85 ford ranger won't start

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Ok, so here's the situation. I've got a 1985 ford ranger, v6, manual transmission. My mechanical skill level is on a scale of 1-10, maybe 3. One day, in a town far far away, I went to start my car after getting gas. I got a wonderful grinding sound and no starting. I guessed the starter, and ended getting some great old farmer guy with a huge truck to push me down the road to get rolling and pop-start it. that worked and I got home and parked it.

I thought it was the starter, took it off, had it tested, it was good, no problem there. So went and got a new solenoid. I thought maybe that was the problem. well, when I put the new one on, and tried starting it, the battery was totally dead. after charging it up, I try starting it, and get a very quiet hum when the key at start, but it wouldn't start.

I haven't had time to mess with it for about a week, and now the battery is dead again. Does it sound like the solenoid I got is bad? or... what? why would the battery die again? Any guesses as to what the problem is?

Thanks in advance.

posted by  manumit

Have the battery load tested and make sure it is good. If not replace it.

Next, take a volt meter and check charging system voltage (14 - 15V with engine running no lights, ac, etc) Turn on lights and AC and voltage should drop for a second then pick back up to the first voltage. If voltage is low in either car, alternator or voltage regulatior needs replaced

Next, turn key OFF, lift neg cable and install a 12v touch light between neg battery terminal and cable. If it glows, there is a short which will have to be located and fixed.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

13.4 should be the lowest. :thumbs:

posted by  DodgeRida67

It's an 85, when was the last time the battery was replaced? You say your skill level is 3 ? Than you can remove the battery and have it tested at one of many parts stores for no charge. This Part of your post I didn't understand "I got a wonderful grinding sound and no starting"?????

posted by  lectroid

the grinding noise it used to make was before I replaced the solenoid. I thought the starter went, but it was good, because I took it and had it tested. It no longer makes the grinding sound, after I replaced the solenoid. Now it just doesn't start.

I'm going to take the battery to get tested tomorrow. And then, with a volt meter start testing stuff like tbaxleyjr said.

It's an 85, but I've only had it for about 8 months. I'm not really sure when the last time it was replaced. There is no date on it. That is definately the first thing I'll try. I'll post the outcome tomorrow after I get it tested.

thanks.

posted by  manumit

I'm not really sure, but I think you initial problem may have been the battery. You opted to replace the solenoid, which you may have wired wrong on replacement(can't see how). Remove the positive/red lead going to the starter that is connected to the solenoid, before you try to start the engine, turn the key to start and listen for a loud click, if you hear one, that's a good sign, if not you may have miss-wired or have a bad solenoid out of the box(not likley). Just check the solenoid before you try a bunch of other stuff.

posted by  lectroid

Ok, I went and had the battery tested, it was bad. However, after putting a new battery in, I still can't get it to start.

I turn the key, and get a click from the solenoid, then another one when I release the key.

I used the multimeter to test the wire from the solenoid to the starter, and that's ok.

thoughts?

posted by  manumit

A battery, ground, starter cable has many strands of wire in that finger size wire your'e testing with a VOM. If only one of the strands/wire is connected to each end of the pressed connectors it will give you a false reading, it may read 0 to 12 OHM, but if its bad it won't carry the amps to turn the starter. Even a corroded ground contact will do thesame thing :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

I am getting a very, very, very strong feeling that the cables are loose on the starter.

posted by  DodgeRida67

well, I got it solved. Just thought I'd let any interested know.

the initial problem was the battery. but in the process of finding that out I replaced the starter solenoid.

After eventually replacing the battery and tightening the cable on the starter (dogdeRida was absolutely right it was loose) I got it to start once. then it wouldn't start again! after measuring the voltages in various places, I found that I had voltage on the negative side of the solenoid all the time.

They (advance autoparts) had given me a bad solenoid. So I replaced that, and it ran. for one day. Then the starter went out. So I replaced that too! and now it runs splendidly. Thank you very much for the advice and such.

posted by  manumit

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