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Old 10-03-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
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Click when starting - narrowing it down...

Since purchasing our 2000 E450 class c used over a year ago, it has had an issue where you would sometimes get a good "click" when you first turn the key to start. However, the "click" is all you get - no starter turning.

As time has gone on, this happens pretty much every time I turn the key. Usually, the second twist of the key gets me the starter and everything's fine from there.

Last night, I had to give it 3 or 4 twists (with a click each time) before the starter spun.

Other facts:
Battery is fully charged
Terminals are clean on battery and starter
Also have checked & cleaned the terminals (wide flat metal) near the relay box under the hood.
Replaced the starter relay (bolted to the fenderwell near the front of the engine compartment).
Replaced the wiring harness that goes from the relay box to the starter relay (it has a fusible link, and I noticed that the wiring insulation was somewhat melted).

At this point, all I can think of is that the starter itself is going bad. When it cranks, it cranks well - good sound, good speed...but I'm afraid someday all I'll get is clicks. A new starter is about $138 from AutoZone - so it won't break the bank anyway.

Advice would be most welcome!

Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:09 PM   #2
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It could be the starter but I would bet on the switch. Im retired from ford fuel handling and electrical div. You to see if contact can pull the starter off and have it bench to tested at a ford dealer or auto parts to make sure it bad there is a module on the column check the plug on that as well
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschuh53 View Post
It could be the starter but I would bet on the switch. Im retired from ford fuel handling and electrical div. You to see if contact can pull the starter off and have it bench to tested at a ford dealer or auto parts to make sure it bad there is a module on the column check the plug on that as well
Thanks for the suggestions - I'll run them each down. One question - if the switch were bad, would I still get the click?? I always get at least a loud click from under the hood whenever I turn the key...
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:24 PM   #4
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yes and no contacts in switch may be wore and the connection might fault
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:43 AM   #5
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I would guess that you have a bad starter realy on the fender or the wire from the starter relay to the starter has a bad connection on one of its ends.

Take a test light the kind that has a bulb in it so it will load the circuit and put it on the wire to the starter at the start relay on the fender.
Have someone turn the key to start and if it clicks see if it lights the test light. Do this until the the relay clicks and the engine does not crank. If it clicks and the test light does not light the starter relay is bad.
If the test light lights and the starter does not crank and you can get to the other end of the red wire put the test light on the small starter stud that other end of the wire from the starter relay hooks to and do the test again. If it lights put the point on the starter stud of the larger wire from the battery and see if it stays lite when the starter relay clicks. Both wires should keep the test light lit while the key is in the start position.

Note you may also have a bad ground wire connections from the battery to the engine block.



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Old 10-06-2013, 06:50 AM   #6
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I had a intermident no start. Finally checked each cell of battery with a hydrometer. End one was dead, but at times still got 12+ volts. Replaced battery, all's good.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:07 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips! Am doing some troubleshooting in between other busy-ness.

Following Bill's suggestion to check the engine ground - except I can't find it. Anyone know where I should look? Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
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Just reporting back - after some further testing & cleaning, I felt reasonably confident that the starter was to blame. I installed a new one, and so far no clicks - only starts! Keeping fingers crossed...

Still would like to find the engine ground strap, though.
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