Electrical HELP !! Driving and just quit...

Stang1988

New Member
Sep 23, 2019
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St. Albert
I have an '88 Fox that is pretty much stock. I replaced my ignition relay (firewall) a few days ago and this seemed to solve my issue with "missing". I started her yesterday to go get a car wash and it drove great. (5 gear). As I was pulling away from a stop light and turning the corner, all of a sudden it just quit with no warning or hesitation. I saw the tach drop to zero, and lost everything. It would not start, however, I did get a "clicking" sound at the relay.. New battery last year and alternator is only about 5 years old.

I just found out there was a recall regarding the ignition switch in the steering column and not sure if it was ever changed. I haven't looked yet to see if it's the original or not. I would think this would cause the battery to drain explaining the almost dead battery. It only sat for about 5 days until this happened yesterday... Thoughts?? I'm starting to get quite frustrated and ANY help or suggestions would be most appreciated.
 
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Stang1988

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Sep 23, 2019
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St. Albert
I'm quite mechanically inclined.. That's exactly what I was thinking. Is there a way to tell if it's the original or not?

Just because there was a recall doesn't mean the previous owner(s) dealt with it. I just tried to start it again.. now I get a loud buzzing sound from the relay and it seems hot. I know, one issue at a time. I'm also charging the battery as it seemed almost dead.
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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You need to start with a freshly charged battery, after you juice it up take it to auto something or other and get it checked, low voltage/slow crank heats stuff up and kills cables and solenoids, starter really quickly.
The starter switch will show brown spots on the connector and burnt wires.
 

dgollem

Active Member
May 5, 2004
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The ignition switches are prone to fail on these cars due to age. They are not that hard to change, just have to pull the covers off of the steering column and if I remember right lower the column the switch sits on top of the column. The switch is held on with anti tamper screws but I was able to get mine of with some vice grips. If you can but a motorcraft replacement I had one of the aftermarkets fail after about a year. Generally what happens is the plastic cracks and the contact inside the switch then make erratic and intermittent contact. This is the actual electrical switch not the mechanical switch the key goes into. Good Luck
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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polk county florida
This shows you how to find what the problem is, also talks about the security screws on the switch.
 

Potomus Pete

Gretchen Whitmer is eating at me
Mar 7, 2019
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What about ignition module......Will it start again when cooled. My aftermarket column module got bound up after a few months and I had to take the whole thing apart and redo it. The tightness of the security screws had to be just right. I had one really tight which threw it off.
 
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Rdub6

Mustang Master
Dec 29, 2017
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The ignition switches are prone to fail on these cars due to age. They are not that hard to change, just have to pull the covers off of the steering column and if I remember right lower the column the switch sits on top of the column. The switch is held on with anti tamper screws but I was able to get mine of with some vice grips. If you can but a motorcraft replacement I had one of the aftermarkets fail after about a year. Generally what happens is the plastic cracks and the contact inside the switch then make erratic and intermittent contact. This is the actual electrical switch not the mechanical switch the key goes into. Good Luck


+1 on the vice grips to get original screws out.
 

nickyb

WAIT,you now have a pair?
5 Year Member
Apr 3, 2009
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When I replaced my switch years ago I slipped a zip tie around it as a back up in case it failed.That was about eight years ago.
 
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Rdub6

Mustang Master
Dec 29, 2017
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When I replaced my switch years ago I slipped a zip tie around it as a back up in case it failed.That was about eight years ago.

I just changed mine a few months back. Probably should have done the zip tie thing! I’ll have to remember if I ever open up the column again. Good idea!
 
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nickyb

WAIT,you now have a pair?
5 Year Member
Apr 3, 2009
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I just changed mine a few months back. Probably should have done the zip tie thing! I’ll have to remember if I ever open up the column again. Good idea!
always looking to share what worked for me.
 
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Stang1988

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Sep 23, 2019
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St. Albert
I changed out the ignition switch and it was the original. Not done despite the recall. It started no problem. I shut it off and now the relay (new) buzzes. Checked all grounds and they look good. I'm charging the battery to a full charge to see if that is part of the issue. Can a new relay be defective right out of the box ?