(Solved) 97 GT 4.6 Starting problems

twisteddoes

Member
Jun 6, 2019
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Alright, I have been lurking here for awhile as my vehicle has given me nearly non stop issues thanks to the previous owner. Finally I have an issue that I cant find a solution for in the forums, so here i am.

A couple weeks ago I went to the store and upon trying to leave, I was met with a single click and no start. I was able to push start it and get it home. A mechanic read the voltage at the starter and said it was getting 12.4. And that the starter was likely the problem. Well I ordered a new starter. Installed it (That was a PIA). Left out the third bolt on installing the new starter. Went to start and had the same issue. One single click and nothing. Thought maybe my battery was bad. Had it tested, it is charged fully and working correctly. Then I figured the new starter must be defective, Pulled that off and had that tested. Nope. Working correctly. I wired it correctly. I am able to turn the motor by hand, so it isnt bound up. I checked the engine to chassis ground Drivers side, the grounds by the neg batt terminal and engine fuse box. Checked the fuses/relay in the bay and in I/P. All good. Called a friend over, and he thought maybe the starter wasnt aligning with the flywheel, got that aligned and nope. Same issue. One click. He put his battery on the car, and upon trying to start he noticed a spark on the neg battery cable then I lost power completely. I put my battery back on and My power returned. I tried to turn it over and it started right up. Great, right?

Well I shut it off to open my trunk since the button is nonfunctional. Went to go start it back up, and back to square one. One Click..... Any ideas? I am ready to roll the POS into the lake personally.
 
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twisteddoes

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Jun 6, 2019
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I have been thinking of just replacing the negative battery cable altogether instead of just cleaning it. and I plan on taking the Engine bay fuse box apart tomorrow to see if there are any loose connections.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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You can replace and/or take apart and clean what you want, likely will not hurt anything and you may accidentally fix the problem, if you methodically preform a voltage drop test on the connections starting at the battery you have a better chance at revealing the problem.
 

wmburns

SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
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Houston Texas
Seems likely that your problems are ground(s) related. Here's some detailed information that if understood and applied can be used to narrow down EXACTLY where your problem is.

Don't forget to also look at the grounds around the radiator core support.

Or +1 on above. Clean everything. A good electrical connector is clean, tight, shinny, and physically strong.

Howto perform charging system voltage drop test
 
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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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polk county florida
Was the battery load tested?
I would start there (I know you had it tested) because the video shows me a severe voltage drop when you turn the key to the start position. You can do this with your dvm, hook the meter to the terminals on the battery and turn the key to start. If it does the same thing as in the video I would find a known good battery and see if it will start the car.
 

twisteddoes

Member
Jun 6, 2019
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I fixed it. Those two round connectors had pins that were dirty, maybe greasy. I cleaned them off with a qtip and now it starts everytime. No problem
628780
 
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wmburns

SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
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Measuring voltage drop at starter This is a link to video I uploaded to my youtube where i am measuring voltage drop at my starter. Connected pos to the pos on the solenoid and the negative to the neg on the battery. Drop should be less than .1, right?
FWIIW this is NOT a voltage drop test. The test should have had one lead on the:
  • Main positive connector of the starter.
  • the other lead to the battery POSITIVE.
To test the ground:
  • one lead on the starter CASE.
  • The other lead on the battery NEGATIVE.
The concept of putting the red and black VOM on the same polarity device to test is counterintuitive.

But what you did measure was the system voltage. Note that the voltage dropped 12.44 volts to almost ZERO!! Which certainly proves there's a weak connection somewhere. The difference between the test is one tells you there's a problem where as the voltage drop test tells you WHERE the problem is.

Glad you got it fixed.
 
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twisteddoes

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Jun 6, 2019
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FWIIW this is NOT a voltage drop test. The test should have had one lead on the:
  • Main positive connector of the starter.
  • the other lead to the battery POSITIVE.
To test the ground:
  • one lead on the starter CASE.
  • The other lead on the battery NEGATIVE.
The concept of putting the red and black VOM on the same polarity device to test is counterintuitive.

But what you did measure was the system voltage. Note that the voltage dropped 12.44 volts to almost ZERO!! Which certainly proves there's a weak connection somewhere. The difference between the test is one tells you there's a problem where as the voltage drop test tells you WHERE the problem is.

Glad you got it fixed.

Right. Well before doing all that I wanted to be sure there was a problem. So I did it that way first. Then i went from the battery to fuse box (which i disassembled) and followed the wire to the starter looking and feeling for any breaks or otherwise damaged wiring. After finding none, I looked at those ground connectors. And luckily didnt have to do any more testing. But thanks for the info!
 

twisteddoes

Member
Jun 6, 2019
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Texas
Alright so update: My car keeps going into a no start situation. I want to drive this car into a lake and never look back. But usually if I mess with those connectors, it will start. My question is, are those important in some way? Is there a reason I cant just splice the wires together? Or replace them with an unbroken wire?
 

wmburns

SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
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Alright so update: My car keeps going into a no start situation. I want to drive this car into a lake and never look back. But usually if I mess with those connectors, it will start. My question is, are those important in some way? Is there a reason I cant just splice the wires together? Or replace them with an unbroken wire?
If just "messing with" an electrical connector makes it work better THEN the connector is NOT tight.

A main battery cable carries hundred of amps during cranking. Think about just how weak a connection would have to be in order to voltage drop almost 100% of the battery voltage!

Remember that a good electrical connection is:
  • Clean, bright, and shinny
  • Tight!
  • Physically strong.
I can't really tell from the pictures exactly WHERE you believe the problem is. Can you post better pictures?

I like to find cars on Craigslist. I buy at deep discount from owner's that have lost faith in their cars. So I'm looking for people that think their car is too expensive or too much hassle to repair. This sounds like a good possible repair project before it's driven into a lake.
 

allutz

Founding Member
Nov 17, 2001
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Can you post pic of your batt and terminals? I had an issue one time with my pos terminal(aftermarket type). Where i had the wire bolted/strapped down on the terminal was not quite right..turn keyb CLICK..wiggle pos cabe at term turn key engine crank!!