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5G, 1996 XL, 351W, Made in the USA
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did a few searches --found lots of good posts (many missing pictures sadly). Nothing really the same as the issue my Bronco has starting/cranking is intermittent.

A week ago my Bronco had an issue starting up early in the morning. It just 'clicked' once per the key turn (like a solenoid engaging but with no cranking). It was dark so I just tapped the battery terminals --and it then fired right up with a normal fast crank. I thought I'd better check them asap but was running late --so off I went.. It cranked/started right up on the return trip and I honestly forgot to check it.

Next morning, it also fired right up and I took it to work. Problem was that it then only 'clicked' once per key turn at the end of the day. Bummer.. Tapping the battery terminals again didn't get anything this time. I eventually got a jump start but it didn't help, after several minutes it still only gave the one click. So I crawled under and tapped the starter --and voila --it cranked right up as normal and drove it home. I was then thinking that the problem was the starter and not the battery.

Next day I checked the battery with a load meter. It passed --had around 12.4 volts.. I removed and cleaned the battery terminals, they were dirty --I've seen worse.. After cleaning it still only 'clicked' once so I pulled the starter expecting to find worn out brushes --but they were in good shape. It was reasonably clean, some surface grease/dirty but not bad. Put it back together and reinstalled it. It then cranked right up --not as with a slow crank of a weak battery.

Is it possible this is a starter relay problem? Going to have a look a that today..

Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
12,676 Posts
If tapping the starter worked, you need a new starter. Install and test with the old relay, then put a new relay in and keep the old as a spare.

I helped a mildly handicapped man once, by whacking the starter on his minivan. He decided to quit fishing for the day so he could get home, and gave me all his bait!

Super Moderator
25,306 Posts
Yo g00se,
Check both battery posts, cables, connectors again & GROUNDS for and corrosion. If you see corrosion on a cables' wires strands between connectors or lugs and leading into the insulation, peel back the insulation to see how far back it reaches.

by El Kabong @
"Cheesy clamp on end. Do not use for a long term repair. Only to get you home when nothing else is available. If you have one of these, suspect it before anything else" El Kabong @ Common Replies to FAQs

Check starter relay for looseness or rust to the inner fender. It's ground is through its body to the inner fender.
Check that starter is mounted securely and connectors are clean and tight.

Engine Block pic in a 94 5.8; "...The black battery wire goes from the front bolt of the engine mount (on the block) to this tab & up to the battery post, where a smaller black wire goes to the core support, providing a continuous ground path between the engine, frame, battery, & body..."

Source: by CodysBigBlueBronco (how much $???)

Intake Manifold to Block Strap Location pic in a 96 5.0
Source: by boss (bossind, Steve) at

it is between 2nd & 3rd plugs on passenger side

Next up to bat is:

  • Inspect all battery cable connections for looseness and corrosion.
Are battery connections clean and tight?
GO to A2.CLEAN and TIGHTEN connections at batteries.
  • Perform starter load test. Refer to Component Tests in the Diagnosis and Testing portion of this section.
  • miesk5 Note, pull starter with solenoid attached atop it and have the tests performed at local NAPA, etc.
Did starter pass load test?
GO to A3.TEST batteries. REFER to Section 14-00.
  • miesk5 Note, have the test performed at local NAPA, etc.
f batteries are OK, GO to A4.
  • Perform voltage drop tests. Refer to Component Tests in the Diagnosis and Testing portion of this section.
  • NAPA, etc.
Did starter circuit pass voltage drop test?
GO to A4.CLEAN circuit connection as necessary.
  • Perform starter no-load test. Refer to Component Tests in the Diagnosis and Testing portion of this section. NAPA etc
Did starter pass no-load test?
Slow cranking is caused by excessive engine drag.REPAIR or REPLACE starter.

Justin case;
Ignition Switch Mechanical Test

NOTE: Accessories that fail to operate with the key in RUN, or that remain on when the key is turned off, may be the result of a misadjusted ignition switch rather than a malfunctioning ignition switch. Refer to Ignition Switch in the Adjustments portion of this section.

NOTE: Do not apply lubricant to the inside of the ignition switch.

Test the steering column ignition system mechanical operation by rotating the ignition switch lock cylinder (11582) through all positions of the ignition switch. The movement should feel smooth with no sticking or binding. The ignition system should return from the START position back to the ON position without assistance (spring return). If sticking or binding is encountered, check for the following:

  • burrs on the ignition switch lock cylinder
  • binding ignition switch lock cylinder
  • shroud rubbing against ignition switch lock cylinder
  • burrs or foreign material around the rack-and-pinion actuator in the housing of the ignition switch lock cylinder
  • insufficient lube on actuator
  • binding ignition switch

1980; 347 stroker; Holley Sniper EFI
230 Posts
I recently had my starter solenoid go bad, but it still clicked. So dont rule out the starter solenoid just because you hear a click! Pretty easy to test that by shorting it with a screw driver, with the ignition on it should turn the starter over
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