Electrical Yet Another "mustang Suddenly Died" Question

El Sabor Asiático

New Member
Nov 7, 2013
Sorry for the 1,000th thread about a Mustang not starting up, but I wasn't able to find a situation that matched my own, so I thought I'd give it a shot and see if anyone has any insight on this situation.

'04 GT (edit: this is an automatic) has been starting up just fine, with zero indication of any problems, and is being driven daily. This morning, I drove to the supermarket, no issues whatsoever. Parked in front of my house waiting for my wife, turned the car off for a few minutes. Tried to start back up: nothing. No crank, no lights on the instrument panel. Totally dead.

We have one of these no-jumper-cable jump starters that connects to the cigarette lighters of each car, so I tried using that. This did cause the dash lights to come on, and when I tried starting up, it would not turn over but instead I got a rapid-fire click-click-click-click-click sound.

Next, I tried jump starting the car conventionally, with jumper cables. This did even less -- the dash lights did come on, but turning the ignition produced only a soft "coughing" sound and then nothing. At that point the lights went dead and any subsequent attempts to start the car, with the jumper cables still hooked up and revving the gas on the functional car, produced no effect whatsoever.

Meanwhile, I noticed that while the cars were hooked up, but with the Mustang not only shut off but with the keys out of the ignition, there was an erratic but ongoing clicking sound that seemed to be coming from the dashboard.

I then thought perhaps the battery had given out, so I bought a brand new battery and hooked it up. Started up -- nothing, totally dead. No lights, no sounds.

Tried hooking up the jumper cables again just on the off chance the new battery was drained. The only effect was, initially the same thing happened as previously, where the dash lights did come on when I turned the key to "on," but if I turned it, the same soft cough and then totally dead.

This problem is baffling to me. It's a brand new battery, and everything had been working fine up to the moment it didn't. There were no signs of anything failing, and it had started up fine just minutes before everything died.

I'm wondering, given the circumstances, what are the chances that it's a blown fuse? If so, which fuse or fuses could it be? I looked at the starter motor relay fuse in the power distribution box, but I can't tell from looking at it whether it's OK or not. I don't have a volt meter so I don't know how to tell if it's bad.

Another problem is that I've got more time than money or automotive knowledge. Having this car towed to the mechanic to replace the starter or alternator will be very hard on my finances right now (since I already bought a new battery), so I'd like to try any cheaper possible fixes before taking it to the shop. I've looked at DIY guides to replacing the starter on this car, but it looks pretty daunting since I've apparently got to get underneath the car and get up into some tight spaces. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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The alternator is pretty easy to do. If you got somebody to drive you around, pop that off and go get it checked at the local auto parts store. If that isn't it, take off the starter and have it inspected. The starter is a bit more complicated to remove due to a third starter bolt on top of the unit that is hard to get at and requires long long long extensions. It is still very doable its just a pain.
Thanks for the responses! I think I'll go ahead and replace the battery cables regardless, since they do look pretty corroded. One thing I can't find any specific info about -- for a 2004 GT, are the cables a universal, standardized part that I can get in an auto parts store, or is there anything specific to these cars (in terms of length, etc.) that I would need to know in advance?
Trying to remember my 2003GT, but i think they are specific. There isn't a need to replace the entire cable unless the entire cable is corroded, you can merely cut the battery terminals off and install new ones from the parts store. Usually the wiring is fine, it's the terminals that corrode up and cause a bad connection.

You can get a wire brush and try to clean them up well for a temporary solution. Wear a mask, or put a shirt over your nose as you do not want to breathe the dust you create in.

Also...this is the V6 subforum...might make more sense to put your thread in the V8 or general SN95 forum next time :)
Apologies again for posting in the wrong forum!

Just an update in case anyone is willing to advise...

Checking things over this evening, I observed the following:

-- Interior/dash lights and power locks did work, but turning the key only produced that "cough" sound and everything went dead;

-- Turning on ACC again did bring the lights back on, but turning the key a second time just killed the car, no sound;

-- Subsequent attempts to turn the key produced nothing -- car totally dead.

So it seems like there's some tiny amount of power that built up over the past day that was able to power the interior lights, but once it was discharged that was that.

I'm wondering if this says anything about exactly what component(s) is/are at fault here. Would this symptom be consistent with bad wiring? I did check all the cables that were visible from above (too dark to go underneath), and the ground connections and the connections to the battery posts were all tight. Connection from the positive terminal to the fuse box was also tight, no noticeable corrosion.

HOWEVER, looking at the pos/neg connectors, the insulation is stripped back from the connectors and the (bare) wires do have a lot of corrosion on them. So my next move, unless otherwise advised, will be to cut back those cables and change out the connectors.
HOWEVER, looking at the pos/neg connectors, the insulation is stripped back from the connectors and the (bare) wires do have a lot of corrosion on them. So my next move, unless otherwise advised, will be to cut back those cables and change out the connectors.


Corrosion and bad connectors would cause the symptoms you are seeing. It's a logical next step to take care of that and see if that has any effect
Quick update just to close out my topic. Yup, it was the corrosion on the connector(s) and cable wires. I believe it was the negative cable that was the culprit (although the positive connector was badly corroded, so I went ahead and replaced both). It had obviously been replaced in the past, and whoever did it failed to cover the bare wires in any way, so there was a shower of crap that fell out from it every time I so much as tapped it. When I took off the connector, it was clear that the wires were badly caked with gunk. I cut back the cable and put on the new connector, started up and hallelujah, she's alive!

Thanks again guys for your help!