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Hi everyone. A friend (whom I'll call CG) and I are trying to revive his Mustang track car, which has been languishing in his garage for almost 3 years. It was in good running order when he parked it, but would not start after we tried to fire it up this weekend.

We tried to jump start the battery, which seemed to work. When CG tried to switch the car on, the starter motor clicked and then clicked some more. Once out of several attempts with the old battery, the starter got maybe a half crank in there and thudded. I didn't hear it as well because I was in the truck doing the jumping. But there was a definite finality to that thud.

So we drove the battery to Autozone, and they confirmed it at bad. We brought back our new battery and tried again. Same thing. So I guess the jump start had actually worked? The starter would now only do a single initial click. That's the solenoid in the starter motor closing, right?

When we put the car on jackstands and crawled underneath, we were shocked to find that only 1 of the 3 bolts holding the starter to the bellhousing was attached. The others were just missing. So that's pretty scary. Anyways, CG tried to start it while I looked at it from below to see if we could learn any more.

It seemed to me like the click was coming from within the bellhousing, where the starter gear meshes with the flywheel. In any case, I could feel the vibrations from the click if I put my hand on the starter or bellhousing.

Here's our ideas:
- bad starter. Seems likely, given the evidence we saw.
- Clutch fused to flywheel. The starter might have too much load to turn things over. Counter evidence was the one successful crank we got out of it. Maybe there's enough flex in the driveline to allow that?
- Something in the tranny is messed up. Evidence is that CG thought the shifter was really hard to move between gears, although that did improve as we rolled the car back into the garage.

Other things we tried:
- we raised the rear of the car, put it in neutral, and were able to spin the rear wheels by grabbing the driveshaft and twisting. So it's not that the rear diff is locked up.
- we then put it into gear and were unable to spin the driveshaft. Seems reasonable that we couldn't run the motor with just manual force from there, though.
- all the other electrical stuff in the car worked: fuel pump engaged fine, lights worked. So it doesn't seem to be a high level electrical issue.

Next time we get to work on it, first thing we'll try is some strong banging on the starter to see if we can dislodge it. Another suggestion I've heard is to manually crank the engine via the crank pulley, just to see if it's seized. Is there a common tip for how to do this in the Foxbody? It seems too cramped to put a wrench or the like around the crank pulley.

Thanks for all the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #2

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Hi everyone. A friend (whom I'll call CG) and I are trying to revive his Mustang track car, which has been languishing in his garage for almost 3 years. It was in good running order when he parked it, but would not start after we tried to fire it up this weekend.

We tried to jump start the battery, which seemed to work. When CG tried to switch the car on, the starter motor clicked and then clicked some more. Once out of several attempts with the old battery, the starter got maybe a half crank in there and thudded. I didn't hear it as well because I was in the truck doing the jumping. But there was a definite finality to that thud.

So we drove the battery to Autozone, and they confirmed it at bad. We brought back our new battery and tried again. Same thing. So I guess the jump start had actually worked? The starter would now only do a single initial click. That's the solenoid in the starter motor closing, right?

When we put the car on jackstands and crawled underneath, we were shocked to find that only 1 of the 3 bolts holding the starter to the bellhousing was attached. The others were just missing. So that's pretty scary. Anyways, CG tried to start it while I looked at it from below to see if we could learn any more.

It seemed to me like the click was coming from within the bellhousing, where the starter gear meshes with the flywheel. In any case, I could feel the vibrations from the click if I put my hand on the starter or bellhousing.

Here's our ideas:
- bad starter. Seems likely, given the evidence we saw.
- Clutch fused to flywheel. The starter might have too much load to turn things over. Counter evidence was the one successful crank we got out of it. Maybe there's enough flex in the driveline to allow that?
- Something in the tranny is messed up. Evidence is that CG thought the shifter was really hard to move between gears, although that did improve as we rolled the car back into the garage.

Other things we tried:
- we raised the rear of the car, put it in neutral, and were able to spin the rear wheels by grabbing the driveshaft and twisting. So it's not that the rear diff is locked up.
- we then put it into gear and were unable to spin the driveshaft. Seems reasonable that we couldn't run the motor with just manual force from there, though.
- all the other electrical stuff in the car worked: fuel pump engaged fine, lights worked. So it doesn't seem to be a high level electrical issue.

Next time we get to work on it, first thing we'll try is some strong banging on the starter to see if we can dislodge it. Another suggestion I've heard is to manually crank the engine via the crank pulley, just to see if it's seized. Is there a common tip for how to do this in the Foxbody? It seems too cramped to put a wrench or the like around the crank pulley.

Thanks for all the help!
is there gas in it?:laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
is there gas in it?:laugh:
Yup. You can hear the fuel pump happily priming away if you leave the key on Accessories for a while. I'm not sure how lack of fuel would shut out the starter from cranking?

I did find this reference from searching around on google:
Starter Relay Help - Mustang Forums at StangNet

Does jumping the relay switch mean simply shortcircuiting between the relay terminals during the start?
 

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It means touching the threaded stud to the positive cable with a metal object.

It seems to be either a bad starter, a bad solenoid or a bad ignition switch.

How old is the gas in it? You need to get the old out of there and put in fresh gas. If it's 3 years old, it's fermented and separated, it could contaminate the lines too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How old is the gas in it? You need to get the old out of there and put in fresh gas. If it's 3 years old, it's fermented and separated, it could contaminate the lines too.
Yup, it's 3 years old. I thought it would be weird to try to use it, but I think my friend was just eager to try to confirm the motor was good.

a bad ignition switch.
What would the symptom there be? Sometimes closing the circuit for the starter, and sometimes not?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think we might try to manually crank the engine. What size is the bolt on it? A 1/2" Can it be turned with a socket wrench without moving the radiator fan or radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
CG's friend says we were taking a huge risk by trying to crank a bone dry engine, possibly damaging the ring lands or worst case, the crankshaft or conn rods. Is that reasonable or a small risk?

We'll probably flood the pistons with some oil before trying to start it again.
 

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That would work, you could also try pre-oiling the engine, everything else would be dry too.
 

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I'd prime the pump and make sure oil is getting up top, then climb underneath and crank it over by hand (it'll keep you clear of the fan, etc if you do it from underneath), if you can't crank it with a 1/2" socket wrench, it's seized.

A quick google search will bring up some articles on unlocking a seized engine without doing damage.
 

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Yup. You can hear the fuel pump happily priming away if you leave the key on Accessories for a while. I'm not sure how lack of fuel would shut out the starter from cranking?

I did find this reference from searching around on google:
Starter Relay Help - Mustang Forums at StangNet

Does jumping the relay switch mean simply shortcircuiting between the relay terminals during the start?
:so so serious... just trying to lighten your mood in a conundrum.
 

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Sound like the starter, but ford is weird for the short due to bad ground. Check connections, my truck will click but as soon as I wiggle the cables it fires right up. Same for mustangs sometimes the hard draw from the starter can make a loose connection not work at all. (Radio works, lights on but when starter clicks nothing a little wiggle and poof there ya have it)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sound like the starter, but ford is weird for the short due to bad ground. Check connections, my truck will click but as soon as I wiggle the cables it fires right up. Same for mustangs sometimes the hard draw from the starter can make a loose connection not work at all. (Radio works, lights on but when starter clicks nothing a little wiggle and poof there ya have it)
Where should I wiggle the cables? Around the starter, or around the harness on the topside of the engine bay?
 
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