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I was recently given a bronco that came with a missing solenoid. After replacing it I found that if any part of the solenoid, including the mounting bracket, touches any grounded part the solenoid will arch. It also wont start, I think that is obvious though. Any help would be great.

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26,990 Posts
What year?
Is this part mounted on the passenger side inner fender near the battery?
If so, Ford refers to it as the starter relay.
It's ground path is thru the body to the inner fender; so it should arc when trying to Start.

No Start Troubleshooting; "...First thing to check is wiring. Between the large posts of your starter relay; should be a smaller post with a wire attached. This is the wire from your ignition switch through the Park/Neutral Safety Switch (NSS)/Manual Lever Position Sensor (MLPS),
Or clutch safety switch on a manual trans,
or NSS/MLPS with an AOD/E4OD, to the starter relay and the on to the starter solenoid (if equipped) and starter. Check this wire for cracks, open insulation, or anything that could possibly cause an open circuit.

Next, check your upper ignition actuator. Find the ignition rod (on top of the column, running from the steering wheel down to the ignition switch at the base of the column) and make sure it's moving back and forth when you turn the key, through all positions. If it is, your upper actuator is probably not the problem.

Lastly, check your ignition switch (again, at the base of the column). Manually push the switch back and forth through the different positions. Push it all the way forward (or down) and see if it will engage the starter. If it does, then your ignition rod is probably bent, which can be remedied quite easily. & If it's an auto, try starting in neutral or while pulling up on the lever while it's in park. If that works, look to the Park/NSS/MLPS.

If it's a stick, check the clutch switch. You could try jumping from hot to the small terminal on the starter relay to test it's operation. Sometimes new ones are bad out of the box. If it won't turn over when jumped to the small terminal, you'll know that it's a starter relay issue (Bad part, bad ground or a bad starter.

Check to see if da relay is tight to inner fender with no corrosion because the relay's body is ground path via inner fender).

If it does turns over jumped to the small terminal, then you'll be looking for something in the small circuit that includes the ignition switch & the park/neutral safety switch (NSS/MLPS) Or clutch safety switch.

There should be 12v running from the ignition switch, thru the NSS/MLPS, to the small terminal on the starter relay. Disconnect the small wire to the starter relay (So it doesn't start by surprise, I'd pull the coil wire too). With someone holding the key in the start position, you should be able to read 12v between any point on that small circuit & ground. When you find where you lose 12v, then you'll know where the issue is...";

MIESK5 EDIT; changed a few terms; Also, see Starter (@) Relay Jumping Image in 92-96 @ - Sewiw shows a remote start switch's Jumpers; you can use a small jumper;

MSource: by BigUgly88EB and ElKabong (Ken, El Kabong) at FSB

For wiring diiagrams and more relay info, see my site @

such as;
Relay Types, Early & Late Model Year pics & Internal Wiring Diagrams; "...The top 2 (late style) use parallel bolts as terminals, so the copper washer inside always touches the flat bolt heads. The others (early style) use bolts perpendicular to the relay's axis, so the washer touches the sides of the bolt heads. But if the bolt is accidentally rotated (as during overtorquing), the washer will only touch a corner, causing high resistance, arcing, and welding. That's why the new style is far superior. The continuous-duty relay has a metal housing to dissipate the heat, and its S2 terminal allows its coil to be fully isolated (for reverse-polarity duty). Note that all Main terminals are electrically interchangeable. But on the newer relays, they are mechanically different in that the plastic housing restricts access to M2 slightly more, indicating that it should have only 1 wire attached. It's common for these to be MISidentified as "solenoids", but a solenoid operates a mechanism, and a starter solenoid is ON the starter; a relay is an electrical switch. Many '90-up Fords have both a starter solenoid & a starter relay, so it's important to differentiate them. If the details or text are too small, click the pic to view the original (super) size..."
by Steve83 (Steve, That dirty old truck) at
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