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Discussion Starter #1
So any help is appreciated, my 96 5.0 manual won't start. I tested the battery its fine, I replaced the starter still not starting. When I turn the key I get a single loud click, is that the starter relay on the fender that's bad? Should I replace that next? I have been reading for hours and I can't find a straight answer if the single loud click means replace the relay or not because other sites said change the starter and check the battery.
 

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You can test it by jumping the posts with a screwdriver. If it turns over, then the relay is bad.
 

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:stupid
 

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hate to be the bearer of bad news but it sounds like you may have locked up the motor. Get a breaker bar and socket on the harmonic balancer bolt and try to turn the motor over by hand. It is difficult to turn but its possible. If you can't get it to move try going counter clockwise if it does move and come to a hard stop you broke a rod. If no movement is possible looks like it's motor time.
 

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Loud click "could" mean you have a bad battery connection also, along with the above suggestions. But you'd probably see a little smoke around the battery when that happens. Don't ask me how I know!
 

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Ya make sure everything is clean. Take off battery connections and clean posts well. make sure everything is clean and tight. My guess is stuck relay. Try screwdriver trick to bump it.
 

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I have had this happen numerous times. You have a bad connection between the battery terminal and battery cable clamp. Pull the battery cables and clean the terminals and clamps.
 

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A bad connection is very possible but after the click you would loose dash lights and everything would drop out as if the battery were dead. If that is what happens than check all battery connections. Best of luck.
 

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First thing you need to do is "pull codes" from the vehicle computer and see what elec./electronic "faults" are indicated for initial diagnosis, though you'll need a Ford Code Reader with diagnostic book available on Amazon for $24.99 where the code reader plugs into 2 self test connectors usually located near or behind the battery area, mine are Red and Tan in color.

If you get a click when you turn the key to Run it's usually the battery so turn the key to RUN and lay a screw driver on both relay posts and see what happens and if it won't start it could be the starer motor, check here on FSB for "drop voltage test" for stater motors which you can pereform yourself and it wouldn't hurt to test your alternator.

Double check you battery cables, I had the POS cbale which had a slight crack and every so offten it would seem like the battery was dead until I noticed the crack and balck discoloration from arcing, replaced the cable and it fired right up.

Good Luck ~ :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I hooked up my code reader, no codes. I have changed the starter out with a brand new one, I had the battery tested and I just tried the screwdriver jump on the relay and still just a click. If it's a bad wire connection someplace will it even start with the screwdriver? I really don't want to find out the engine is seized but if it is could a misfire code for the no. 5 cause it to seize? I got a No. 5 misfire like 3-4 weeks ago and it has had no issues since then until now.
 

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I hooked up my code reader, no codes. I have changed the starter out with a brand new one, I had the battery tested and I just tried the screwdriver jump on the relay and still just a click. If it's a bad wire connection someplace will it even start with the screwdriver? I really don't want to find out the engine is seized but if it is could a misfire code for the no. 5 cause it to seize? I got a No. 5 misfire like 3-4 weeks ago and it has had no issues since then until now.

sounds like a bad engine block ground...i would check the crimp where it conencts to the engine/frame area...mine did the same thing for a while till i replaced these cables....0 gauge welding cable works the best imho
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The engine is not seized thankfully, I just roll started it.
 

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Glad to hear it's not locked up.
Now it's easy, get a volt meter and a helper.
Hook black to battery negative, red to positive wire (not the battery post) the wire as close to the battery as possible and try to start you should have 12 volts. If it drops to 0 or close you have isolated the prob. If it does have 12V move down the red positive wire to the solinoid (both sides) then starter. At some point you will get close to 0 volts if you have 12 volts l the way to the starter, it's bad and needs to be replaced. I know you said it's new but I've replaced 3 starters same day before I got one that was good.
 

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You could have a bad cable or connection between the relay and starter. If you've already tried cleaning the connections, it may have internal issue.

If you want to test it, use a VOM and check the continuity. Absent that, you could use a jumper cable between the relay and starter post.
 

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What about the ignition switch, where is it located, mine is lower down on the steering column.....?

Good Luck ~ :thumbup
 

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Since you get that click from the solenoid, I think the ignition switch is probably ok. A failure at the ignition switch usually won't send the voltage to cause the click. Here's my 2 cents on it. Please excuse the cut & paste, but I am too lazy too type it again. :toothless
23 -My Bronco won't turn over (Won't crank, start, make the Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr sound), but makes a screeching, grinding, clicking, or buzzing noise when I try to start it. Why? (This section deals with the engine not turning over at all. When the starter won't turn the engine, not when the engine will turn but not start)

WARNING. Be careful throughout this process. Sometimes problems can be intermittent, & things will start moving unexpectedly. Some of this testing should cause the engine to turn over & possibly start. Be sure the vehicle can't get away or run over you. Keep it in the correct gear, set the brake, block the wheels, keep your hands & wires out of the fan. Disconnect the coil wire to keep the engine from starting at any point (Remember to reconnect once this has been repaired). If you aren't sure, get help or take it to a qualified mechanic.

Is it a grinding/screeching sound or a buzzing/clicking sound? A grinding sound (Almost screeching) is usually from where the starter engages the flywheel. See drawing "A" below. It can be caused by a loose starter, a starter that's going bad or a bad flywheel. More often than not it's just loose. Check the mounting bolts.

A buzzing sound, almost like a rapid clicking is usually made by the solenoid on the fender. It's the heavy duty switch that actually turns on the starter. See the pics "B" & "C" below. The key switch turns on the solenoid which turns on the starter. When it is making that noise, there's enough voltage to turn on the solenoid until power reaches the starter, then voltage drops which causes the solenoid to disengage, disconnecting the starter, which raises the voltage enough to turn on the solenoid again & so on & so on. It's the song that never ends. It happens so fast that it sounds like buzzing.

A single click? The solenoid turns on & stays on, but the starter doesn't/can't turn the engine. See the list below.

It can click or buzz from several causes:
  • A weak battery. Not enough juice to crank it once the solenoid closes. Click/Buzz. Measure the voltage at the battery. It should be around 12v. If not charge it & try again. Another possibility is a battery that shows a charge, but won't keep the voltage up under load. A lot of auto parts stores will test them for free with a tester that checks under load.
  • Bad cables. Look for swollen places in the insulation, white or green dust/corrosion, worn or burnt places, stiff sections, etc. See pic "E" below. Check all 3 cables (Battery to solenoid, battery to block & frame, solenoid to starter) If you replace them, try to get a larger diameter cable. Stock is typically 4 gauge, changing to a 2 or 0 gauge will pay off in the long run. The stock ground cable connects to both frame & block & it is hard to find a replacement. A good solution is to run a cable from battery to block & then another cable from the same bolt on the block to frame.
  • Loose cables. Negative from the battery where it attaches to the engine is a common location, but check them all.
  • Dirty cable connections. Don't just clean the outside, clean where the cable contacts the post & where the other end connects too. Especially the ground at the block.
  • Cheap clamp on ends. See pics "D" & "E" below. Only good for a trail fix to get you to the store to buy a real cable.
  • A bad solenoid (Yeah, I said solenoid. Call it a starter relay if you want. I'm old. We've always called it a solenoid, so there. :toothless Solenoid, solenoid solenoid). If you jump across the 2 large solenoid terminals (See the warning above) with a screwdriver or large jumper, it bypasses the solenoid. If it cranks when bypassed, & the solenoid only clicks from the ignition switch, it sounds like a bad solenoid.
  • A loose starter that hangs up against the flywheel when it tries to crank. It jams, overloads & drops the voltage.
  • A bad starter. Many auto parts stores will test them.
  • A frozen engine. Serious breakage inside, hydrolocked, rusted solid, badly broken parts keeping the engine from rotating, etc. With the key off & the coil wire disconnected, trans in park or neutral, try turning the engine over with a breaker bar on the crank bolt.

If you've had both grinding & buzzing, check the starter mounting bolts, since loose bolts can cause both.


A -Starter Engagement


B -90 Solenoid (3 post)


C -69 Solenoid (4 post)


D -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.


E -Corroded cable with insulation cut away & cheesy clamp on end. From 67 GTO
Thought I'd add an image for this. Cable was extremely stiff, but not 6" further down. Figure that's an easy way to find 'hidden' corrosion. And, yeah, those universal terminals are complete junk. Guess I'm just a sucker for punishment. :banghead
 

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If your battery tests good then you have a major bad ground somewhere, guarantee it.

Don't know why someone said the engine was seized. You don't just wake up one day and your engine is seized, you would know it when it happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I changed the relay and now it starts but the starter makes a clicking noise when I use the clutch to change gears, any ideas what may be causing that now?

Thank you for all the previous help as well.
 

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Check to make sure the sm bolt are tight and look at the flywheel and see if there's any damage etc. etc.

Good Luck ~ :thumbup
 
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