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Old 04-24-2019, 08:29 PM   #1
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Starter occasionally does not engage when ignition key is turned.

Hi
We have an 2001 F-53 chasis, 2002 Holiday Rambler Admiral. The starter occasionally does not engage when ignition key is turned. The battery is new.
I will be checking the wires on the starter and the grounds. Could this be an ignition switch or another issue? I am hoping there is a member who has seen this.
Thanks for your time,
Dan
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:57 PM   #2
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Dan,

Intermittent electrical issues are thee most difficult to diagnose. This is a fairly common issue with older coaches . You might think you need an RV service center to fix this but that's not true. This happens on all kinds of vehicles and the fixes are about the same. Your ideas are good but again trying to pinpoint if it's a corroded or loose battery wire connection or just a worn out or high resistance connection inside the solenoid or bad connection in the ignition switch is not easy to determine.

Connections and solenoids can be diagnosed with a voltage drop test but most technicians and shops will just check a few connections then change the ignition switch.

We don't know your history with this RV so if you started by cleaning all the positive and negative connections in the battery circuit it would be a good thing to do anyway.

That is where I'd start. WHY?? It should be done and when it's done you'll know they are clean and working well. The cranking circuit draws heavy current and heavy current needs good clean connections when drawing 150 or better amps every it's cranked.
Don't forget to clean both ends of positive and negative connections. They need to be scraped or brushed clean then a connection spray applied after they are reconnected to keep oxygen out to reduce corrosion.

Next! When it won't crank what do you do??? If you try cranking again and again and it eventually cranks it is probably an old worn out ignition switch. They are not expensive and just under the dash around the steering column. That would be my next repair.

Try these things and get back if it's not fixed.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
Dan,

Intermittent electrical issues are thee most difficult to diagnose. This is a fairly common issue with older coaches . You might think you need an RV service center to fix this but that's not true. This happens on all kinds of vehicles and the fixes are about the same. Your ideas are good but again trying to pinpoint if it's a corroded or loose battery wire connection or just a worn out or high resistance connection inside the solenoid or bad connection in the ignition switch is not easy to determine.

Connections and solenoids can be diagnosed with a voltage drop test but most technicians and shops will just check a few connections then change the ignition switch.

We don't know your history with this RV so if you started by cleaning all the positive and negative connections in the battery circuit it would be a good thing to do anyway.

That is where I'd start. WHY?? It should be done and when it's done you'll know they are clean and working well. The cranking circuit draws heavy current and heavy current needs good clean connections when drawing 150 or better amps every it's cranked.
Don't forget to clean both ends of positive and negative connections. They need to be scraped or brushed clean then a connection spray applied after they are reconnected to keep oxygen out to reduce corrosion.

Next! When it won't crank what do you do??? If you try cranking again and again and it eventually cranks it is probably an old worn out ignition switch. They are not expensive and just under the dash around the steering column. That would be my next repair.

Try these things and get back if it's not fixed.
Happebed to myy 1999 Dutchstar. Checked bat wires starter solenoid. Put in new starter. Test start er by going direct from battery to starter if it starts with key in run position then its one of several things. By pass all that with a push to start button that runs direct to starter solenoid. Turn key on push button no problem for 2 years.call if you like 321 999 4555. Will tell you all about fix.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:46 AM   #4
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The Ford starter is exposed to high temperatures from the exhaust system. This cooks the starter.

Your starter is 18 years old. replace it. An inexpensive new one from RockAuto runs about $65.

Disconnect the battery before working on the starter. There are three bolts on the starter. The top bolt is hidden and you can't see it. You'll need a long extension to get to it.a

..
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:07 AM   #5
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Many times it's the pigtail connection on the starter solenoid. You can either clean it and apply an electrical grease or replace it with a new and improved pigtail.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Solving-St...cts&id=2592104

TSB 06-19-14

10/02/06

NO CRANK / STARTER TERMINAL FATIGUE

FORD:
1997-2007 Crown Victoria
1997-2004 F-150 Heritage
1997-2006 Expedition
1998-2006 E-Series
1999-2006 F-Super Duty
2002-2007 Explorer
2004-2006 F-150
2007 Explorer Sport Trac

LINCOLN:
1998-2006 Navigator
2003-2005 Aviator

MERCURY:
1997-2007 Grand Marquis
2002-2007 Mountaineer

ISSUE
Some vehicles may exhibit a no crank condition due to an open circuit in the starter relay to starter motor circuit at the starter motor connection.

ACTION
Follow the Service Procedure steps to correct the condition.

SERVICE PROCEDURE

A new starter terminal wiring pigtail kit is released eliminating the need to replace the entire harness for the terminal connection.

NOTE
TERMINAL KIT ONLY SERVICES THE STARTER RELAY TO STARTER MOTOR CIRCUIT. THE KIT DOES NOT SERVICE STARTER MOTOR BATTERY POWER CIRCUIT.

Refer to instruction sheet contained in Wiring Pigtail Kit for wiring harness service procedure.

NOTE
REFERENCE THE APPROPRIATE WORKSHOP MANUAL SERVICE SECTION 303-06 FOR REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION OF THE STARTER MOTOR WIRING TERMINAL CONNECTION PROCEDURES.


Part # 6U2Z-14S411-NA
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
Intermittent electrical issues are thee most difficult to diagnose. This is a fairly common issue with older coaches . You might think you need an RV service center to fix this but that's not true. This happens on all kinds of vehicles and the fixes are about the same. Your ideas are good but again trying to pinpoint if it's a corroded or loose battery wire connection or just a worn out or high resistance connection inside the solenoid or bad connection in the ignition switch is not easy to determine.

Connections and solenoids can be diagnosed with a voltage drop test but most technicians and shops will just check a few connections then change the ignition switch.
Excellent advice ! You don't want to "shotgun" and replace parts when it can be as simple as a loose/corroded terminal.

Start with the simple things, the battery terminals. Are the clean and tight ? Easy to check, easy to fix. I would remove the terminal, clean and reinstall. DO NOT REINSTALL THE NEGATIVE CABLE JUST YET !

Then the starter relay. This usually located very near the battery. Follow the heavy positive cable. The starter relay should be the first connection. Remove, clean all connections.

Last the starter itself. I have seen a loose starter cable connection build up enough carbon to prevent the starter from functioning. Remove, clean and reinstall all connections.

NOW YOU CAN REINSTALL THE GROUND CABLE !
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:22 PM   #7
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Next time, if it happens, drop out of park and into neutral and try it again or just wiggle the gear shift a bit. Might be the park/neutral safety switch needs attention.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:16 PM   #8
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Next time, if it happens, drop out of park and into neutral and try it again or just wiggle the gear shift a bit. Might be the park/neutral safety switch needs attention.
Happened to me a few years back . Crawled under tapped the starter like I used to on my 65 Corvair and away it went. New starter at advance auto part and no problems since .
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:34 PM   #9
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We had a 99 F53 where there was a starting solenoid fastened to a chassis frame member (behind the radiator) accessible in the passenger fender well. This solenoid requires the solenoid mounting flanges to be bonded to the chassis to serve as the negative side of the solenoid coil. You should be able to hear this solenoid click if it is activated by the key switch (when the starter does not engage). If you cannot hear the click, then the solenoid mounting flanges to chassis bond could be intermittent.
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:00 AM   #10
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Thank you for the replies! We sincerely appreciate your time, experiences and knowledge. The battery was bought two months ago and is clean. This past week, I picked up a starter (ensuring it had the mod Randalpho mentioned) and a relay. I was able to get into it yesterday, starting at the relay. All of the connections on the starter and relay are covered with boots, protecting them from dirt and oil. The relay was a bugger to get to.. I found that a connection on the relay was not tight, maybe snug at best. For now, I tightened it up and will give it a week or so of starts to see if this acts up again. I still may replace these given the history of failures you folks have mentioned above. Compared to a field repair or tow bill, it is cheap insurance. Once again, thank you!!
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgrant09 View Post
Thank you for the replies! We sincerely appreciate your time, experiences and knowledge. The battery was bought two months ago and is clean. This past week, I picked up a starter (ensuring it had the mod Randalpho mentioned) and a relay. I was able to get into it yesterday, starting at the relay. All of the connections on the starter and relay are covered with boots, protecting them from dirt and oil. The relay was a bugger to get to.. I found that a connection on the relay was not tight, maybe snug at best. For now, I tightened it up and will give it a week or so of starts to see if this acts up again. I still may replace these given the history of failures you folks have mentioned above. Compared to a field repair or tow bill, it is cheap insurance. Once again, thank you!!
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:19 PM   #12
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Internally starters have brushes and contacts that have a immense amount of energy flowing through them when you turn the key as a can imagine. This causes carbon dust and over the years it causes the starters plunger to stick. When you tap on a starter with a hammer it is freeing the plunger and allowing it to make contact.

Most all heavy duty starters are rebuildable and parts are readily available. I would rather keep my factory starter and rebuild it than get one of the mass rebuilt ones from south of the border.

Starters on Cummins engines are made by DENSO which is a very high quality Japanese Electronics company. No way I'm turning one of those in as a core for a mexico rebuild!
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:03 AM   #13
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1320Fastback,

You made some very excellent points that most owners just don't consider when replacing parts like starters or alternators.

The average person may only think of price when replacing one of these work horses. What needs to be considered is how much quality went into manufacturing the original part and consider the same when that stock part is being rebuilt.

Over the last 40+ years I've observed how long an original starter, alternator or exhaust system lasted versus how long the replacements lasted? Often a stock starter would last 8 to 12 or more years and a replacement might last 3 to 6 years.

When you decide to buy one of these parts the last thing they want is for you to walk out when they give you the price. Most if not all parts houses will tell you the price ranges they offer and there are usually 2 to 3. To reduce the rebuild cost some aspects of the rebuild are not brought back to stock specifications. Hence the difference in price as well as the eventual longevity.

Years ago when we still did a lot of exhaust work I bought a "Y" pipe and some how I got the wrong one. I had taken it to the shop (no deliveries then) so I knew how heavy it was. When the correct replacement pipe arrived I swapped them and realized the new one was twice as heavy. That's when they told me the only one they had in stock was an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) pipe which was twice as thick. It's no wonder why it lasted twice as long.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:19 AM   #14
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Intermittent start problems

I chased this down ! Ford has two start solenoids mounted in series!!! one mounted on the starter and another in the front wheel well on the passenger side. In my case that was the culprit due to exposure to road grim and water. The intermittent problem is gone !!
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