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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 89 Bronco had the original starter in it, and it started to seize on me. I would try to start the truck and it would lock up and kill all of my power. After a while I would get the power back, try to start it again, and it would do the same exact thing.
I changed out the starter to a rebuilt one, and I got the truck running... once. It stalled out on me and I didn't do anything after that. 6 hours later, I replaced the ignition coil hoping to solve the stalling problem, then I tried to start it again. It siezed on me. I've banged on the starter with a hammer, but it hasn't done anything to free up the starter.
I'm to the point where I'm going to start replacing grounds in hopes that it might help me out. So my question is where do I start? What grounds should I replace that would directly effect my starter? And where can I get them, I have an Autozone and a Pep Boys near by where I can buy parts.
 

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Sounds like your starter is bad the grounds go from your battery to your engine case good luck.:thumbup Are you sure your battery is good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The starter is new, so I am assuming that it is not bad. The battery was sitting dead for about a month, but I had it jumped to another battery at the time I was running it and when I was trying to start it afterwards. It was also siezing with the old starter when there was a brand new battery in there. So I am also ruling out the battery for now.
 

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I installed a rebuilt starter in my bronco it melted the positive cable that went to the starter crank it over then see how hot that cable is.:thumbup
 

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Did you check your starter relay?
 

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Why do you say its seizing. seizing means its jamming up and will not turn by any force. If it is an electric problem it is NOT seizing. check both battery cables, + AND -. Cheap cables can have bad connections under the insulation at the batt clams sometimes. Those two cables are the only two that will affect the starter.

If its the relay/solenoid than your not getting power to the inside of your cab, or not getting power back to the relay terminal.

You state that it will "kill all of your power" and that your engine will stall. That leads me to believe that your losing power to your cab. The starter is likely more a symtom than a cause.

You could have a fusible link in your supply wire thats melting and re-connecting as it cools. If thats the case you need to find whats causing the over-current- a short or to manny accessories that should have a direct lik to the batt with a dedicated fuse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aaron Sandberg said:
Why do you say its seizing. seizing means its jamming up and will not turn by any force. If it is an electric problem it is NOT seizing. check both battery cables, + AND -. Cheap cables can have bad connections under the insulation at the batt clams sometimes. Those two cables are the only two that will affect the starter.

If its the relay/solenoid than your not getting power to the inside of your cab, or not getting power back to the relay terminal.

You state that it will "kill all of your power" and that your engine will stall. That leads me to believe that your losing power to your cab. The starter is likely more a symtom than a cause.

You could have a fusible link in your supply wire thats melting and re-connecting as it cools. If thats the case you need to find whats causing the over-current- a short or to manny accessories that should have a direct lik to the batt with a dedicated fuse.
Ok, good advice, I was just throwing terms out into the wind and hoping one would catch I guess. The starter is not seizing, but it seems to be the cause of my problems. When I turned the key over to the Run position with the starter disconnected, I had no problems - with the starter connected, I get the problems mentioned before.

I made a discovery tonight

I hooked up the truck to a battery charger up to the battery and got the same results as usual when I tried to start it. I decided to try something different afterwards - I hooked up the positive on the charger to the positive on the battery, and then hooked up the ground of the charger to the frame. When I turned the key to the Accesorry position, the tach showed 1000rpm even though the engine wasn't running. I listened underneath the truck, and the starter was running. I don't know what to make of this, but I feel that this can lead into why I am losing all my power when I try to start the truck. What is happening here?
 

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Maybe a bad ign switch or sol/relay. disconnect the small lead on the solinoid/relay and redo the charger. If it spins its the relay, if not probably the ign switch. check the same small wire to the relay to see if it has juice without hitting the start position. dont buy nothin till you find the problem.

pics of your batt, starter realy and possibly starter would be nice. Dont know exactly how an 89 is put together. Is the relay on the fender still?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry, I can't get pics up until tomorrow, my digicam is at work. I can give some locations if it helps.

The battery is in the very front passenger side corner, and the starter is underneath the engine on the passenger side, attached to the bell housing, and the starter relay is located on the fender. My Haynes manual is listed as 1980-1986, and all of the parts look similar to the pictures in the book. Maybe that can help you get a better visual.

I unfortunately don't have the battery charger here anymore, I was borrowing it from a friend. I will see if there is another way I can test the system. Thanks for the advice so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here are tonight's experiments and the results, there is a summary at the bottom for those who do not want to read.

Note: I currently am using the bolt down/clamp on battery terminals for my wires, which allows me to test the voltage both on the battery and on the cables themselves. (this is important)

When I put the battery charger on the cables, it was on there for only a minute and then read full charge. I had no interior lights, headlights, or anything else... In other words, the cables read full charge, but the truck wasn't getting anything.

I then put the charger directly onto the battery (with the cables still attached), it charged it up for quite some time but never let it completed the charge. While it was connected in this setup, the truck was getting power, unlike the above mentioned. When I turned the key to Run, the fuel pumps pressurized the system, and that is all. When I turned the key to Start, the truck immediately lost power everywhere.

When I got power back, I repeated this proccess again and had the same results..

When I got power back again, I attached a jumper from the negative terminal of the battery to the frame. I then turned the key to Run, and the starter turned on. Note that I did not turn the key to Start.

I repeated this proccess again and had the same results.

I pulled off the wire that sends the signal from the solenoid to the starter, and this time when I turned the key to Run the starter did not turn. I then turned the key to Start, heard a click from the solenoid and nothing else - I did not lose any power.

I attached the starter wire back to the solenoid, turned the key to Run, the starter did not turn. When I turned the key to Start, I immediately lost all power once again.

Because I was thinking I may have a grounding issue, I took off my ground cables from the battery and hooked up a jumper from the battery to the frame. When I turned the key to Start, I immediately lost power.

When the power returned, I went through the process again, when the key was turned to run, this time the starter did not start turning. I turned the key to Start, and immediately lost all power.

I repeated this process again after the power returned, and had the same results.

Summary:
From these tests I have found when the battery cables are connected and I try to start the truck, it locks the starter solenoid in the closed position. This is why the starter would turn in the Run position each time after that when I tried to start the truck (with the jumper connected from the battery to the frame). When taking off the starter cable off of the solenoid and then turning the key to Start, it unlocks the solenoid out of the closed position and opens the ciruit again.

I am clueless as to why trying the same steps with the ground wires taken off of the battery did not cause the solenoid to stay in the closed posistion when I lost power. Possibility the ground coming off of my battery needs to be replaced. I also have no idea where to take this next, other than to run the jumper to the engine block and see if that does anything.

Any other ideas are welcome.
 

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Id say your two most likely culprits are the ign switch and the starter relay, in that order. pull the small wire off the small post on the relay and test there. See if your starter spins in the run position with this wire off. check for 12v at this wire in the start position. also check the small wires on the big post on the battery side, they should have black rubber things molde onto the insulation. these are fusible links and can be intermitantly opening (braking the circuit).

This really doesnt sound like a ground issue but i could be wrong.
 

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i just replaced my starter. Tried replacing the gear on the old starter but it created an arch inside the starter. I took it to Auto Zone where they do free testing too see if anything is wrong. My starter had too many warn parts to get the job done. They hooked the new starter up and it passed all tests. I am not sure if this would help any with your situation, unless there is something from the starter draining
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay... so on to tonight's testing...

I replaced the starter solenoid/relay and the wire that runs from the solenoid to the starter. After doing this, I came up with the same results - when I turned they key to Start, I lost all power as usual. From the advice given, I have been suspecting a grounding problem, but I wanted to change those parts out anyhow, so I did that first. After changing those out, I followed my ground to where it connects to the engine to figure out how to replace it. After a bit of feeling around for a connection and not coming up with anything, I decided to go a different route. I stripped back the ground wire from the terminal, and tested it with the battery and volt meter. I was not getting any voltage when I tried to use that cable as a ground - I was reading voltage at other ground points. Since I couldn't find where the gound wire ended, I decided to chop it off at a safe point, and then hooked up a pre-made negative terminal to another bolt on the engine. I tested it out, and it started right up. It tried to stall out on me again, but I kept giving it gas, and had it running for about 5 minutes, then shut it off.

I did my little happy happy joy joy dance, but I came to realize that I had celebrated too soon. When I went out to try it again about 20 minutes later, the starter was grinding when I turned the key to Start. I have never had a starter grind on me before, so I don't know what could be wrong. Any ideas?
 

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You should get your battery and alternator tested. I think autozone can do that and it shouldn't cost much if anything at all. Bad alternators can cause the stalling that you mentioned, and drained batteries can cause all kinds of funky stuff to happen when you turn the key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The battery is good, but I will get the altenator checked out once I get it starting again.


I switched out the battery to my Ranger's battery. No luck, the starter is still grinding. I removed the new negative terminal off of my battery and used a jumper to ground it to the engine... incase somehow that was messed up. That did not work either. Unless anybody can think of something better, the next step is to take off the starter and have it tested.
 

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Adding to Eljosho,

When my alternator went bad, it drained all my power too, even when running. I too thought it was a bad ground or something making it loose its power because the alt. didnt seem to be acting differently. A few times the truck would all of a sudden shut off when going down the street. It drained my battery to the point where it was too low to keep its charge. When i tested the new battery, it was at 13, but the old alt. and battery was at 5 running.

I use to have a 3-4 page article on how and why this happens, I will try to find it again and post it up.

autozone does free testing. Our local autozone has the computer right by the checkout. they plug in a few wires, push a few buttons and its done, less then 2 minutes. it will tell you if anything is wrong with the part, what exactly what part it is..

good luck whatever it is,
Josh
 

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Dude, you havent heard a word i said. Stop buying parts and start diagnosing.

Pull the small wire off the solenoid and try the run position again. Are their any small wires on the starter cable side or the relay? If so WRONG. If you put an alternator on this hoping it will work your an idiot.

A bad alternator will not cause this symptom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Aaron, I read what you said and I understood it. I only bought the solenoid and the wire because they were cheap, and the parts that were on there looked like crap, so I figured I might as well do it anyway. As for the altenator, I said I will get it tested in I need to once the engine is running. I know this has nothing to do with my problems.

Now, back on track... on my relay I have 3 terminals. There is the small one which I believe triggers the relay from the ignition. The terminal on the left has the 4 gage wire that goes to the starter, and the terminal on the right has a 4 gage wire that goes to the battery, allong with 3 yellow wires, and 1 green wire. I don't know what the others do, is it possible that they may cause a problem?

I pulled off the starter today, and the teeth have been ground down in some points, this I assume is from the grinding. I had to drill out a stripped bolt on the starter, I am wondering if it is possible that it didn't mount in the right position. But then why would it have started the first time?
 

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pull the wire off the small terminal and check it (the wire) in the RUN position. If you get any power in the RUN position replace your ign switch. If not leave the wire off and jump the small terminal and the battery side terminal wit a small screwdriver. MAKE SURE YOUR IN PARK OR NEUTRAL. This totally sound like a VERY bad ign switch. If you have a similar year ford just swap the swich in.
 

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I'm sure I am not the only one who has had to do this on here, and I think a couple of others will no what I am talking about. Mine had similar problems so I went to the ignition switch first. There is arod that runs down the top of the steering column that will help you fix this, I hope.

Take off the steering column covers, turn the key all the way forward, and with other hand, push that rod forward. I will bet money that it starts.

Might got so bad, I know have to turn the key all the way forward, push the rod forward, and the hit the switch under the dash for the starter selinoid. My own anti theft device. Also had to show 2 other people this problem. Can't find a new column anywhere around here. This problem uccors in 1980-1992.
 
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