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1989 XLT 5.0 - Auto Trans, Manual Hubs
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Team,

I have an interesting problem with my 89 with the 302. I just picked it up a couple of weeks ago and am just now tearing in to it. It has a very hard time cranking over to start. Ok no worries, replaced the battery (the old was a China made no namer) and figured that would be it. It still struggles to start with all the symptoms of a dead battery. To the point where its left me stranded at the donut shop.

-New battery reads 12.8V (Duralast Gold Battery 65-DLG Group Size 65 850 CCA)
-I did a quick test of the alternator just by removing the red battery cable while its running. Stays running just fine.
-Voltage regulator seems ok. The multimeter stays around 13.4 while revving up the RPM's and doesn't move

Could this poor poor voltage to the starter? Or even a bad/wrong starter? The previous owner did stay he just replaced the starter but just wondering from the experts where I should start looking. I just replaced the starter solenoid and did notice some strange wiring that I need to look in to as well.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thanks team....

Mike
 

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1,315 Posts
Many starters ground to the battery via the engine block and a cable. Ensure the cable is in good shape and it never hurts to clean it and the block at their connection.

I think you have another thread on hard starts. An engine well out of time, especially too advanced, can be hard to start. But that’s not to say these two are related.

There’s plenty of no-start troubleshooting guides so I’d start there. A cranking voltage drop test across both cables supporting the starter may be a tool to help eliminate cabling/connection issues.
 

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Premium Member
1989 XLT 5.0 - Auto Trans, Manual Hubs
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks packagerjr, I think I found the problem (or at least a problem). The knucklehead before me has the ground from the battery to the bolt for the air intake (LOL). First things first, I will ground to the chassis and engine block. I believe the ground is in 3 different spots? One small aux cable directly off the terminal to the fender, one down to the chassis and then it continues to the engine block. I'll have to look up where exactly.
 

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Also, Ford starters often tend to get 'tight' with age and they crank slower, even with a great battery (tight, more resistance. It just sounds 'tight'). After checking your grounds (make sure GOOD metal to bare metal contact and tight) if it still cranks slow a starter might be a good idea. It worked for me.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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1989 XLT 5.0 - Auto Trans, Manual Hubs
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey Crunk, the Bronco does NOT jump from another vehicle which rules out the battery. I grounded the battery directly to bare metal on the chassis so I don't think thats the issue. I also recrimped a new connector to the starter. It still sounds as if the starter isn't getting enough power to turn the engine so I need to check the voltage at the starter when I have someone turn the key. The only thing I can think of now is that its a bound up starter, bound up motor or the cable from the starter solenoid to the starter is shot. Hoping it's the latter.
 

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Premium Member
1989 XLT 5.0 - Auto Trans, Manual Hubs
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So definitely a grounding issue...

So I'm learning that the starter is actually grounded via the engine block so even if you have a ground from the neg battery terminal to the just the chassis, no joy. You have to have a ground to the engine block. I grounded the battery to the air intake where the 2 hoses go and it fired right up. Obviously this isn't optimum so I will look to where it supposed to go go on the engine block. Does anyone happen to know where this is on an 89 5.0?
 

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I think most are on the passenger side front or side of the block.
 

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Yo mleydekkers,
Inspect ground cable to metal strap to intake manifold, then cable to frame for corrosion etc.
172510

172509
 

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1989 XLT 5.0 - Auto Trans, Manual Hubs
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you miesk5....your absolutely right in that is was the ground. I have now have 2 ground wires. One going from the manifold and another to the chassis. Fires up beautifully now. Thanks to all for your help! I had the battery ground going directly to the chassis but I guess the starter needs the ground to the block. Once I put that back, worked great.
 
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