94 Ford Escort Won't Start


Old 10-20-04, 04:50 PM
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Unhappy 94 Ford Escort Won't Start

My mom's wagon won't start but once every 20 tries. when i turn the key to on the idiot lights will turn on. Once i turn the key to start they go off and the car dosen't do anything, not even the clicking for the starter. to get the idiot lights back on i have to jiggle the shifter. Once they are back on i try to start again and nothing happens until i give up hope, then the car will start sometimes. My battery is fine, i have to replace the connectors (not sure how since the old connectors are clamped on not screwed. i will not have enough cable if i cut them off), i don't see any stray wires with bare spots, the shifter will only shift if the idiot lights are on, my headlights work but my wipers work sometimes. I'm at a loss. I have to get her poor little car fixed soon and i have run out of ideas. I beleive the Neutral Safety Switch is fine. PLEASE HELP!!!!!
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Old 10-20-04, 10:02 PM
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How do you know the battery is fine? Has it been load tested? Try jump starting it (make sure you connect the jumper cables properly). If it starts fine doing that, then you'll know you have a problem related to the battery or connections. Why do you have to replace the connectors...because they are corroted? It's best to get new cables for the exact make and model of the car. There should be a nut on the clamp. Make sure you disconnect the negative side 1st.
Old 10-21-04, 12:00 PM
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If the dash lites always turn on before you try to start it, you can rule out the battery connections.

I would lean more towards the ignition switch. since you can't get the idiot dash back on. Do your headlights always work when the car is off?

When your key is in the "start" position (not run) you aren't supposed to have any lights or anything on. They designed the car that way, so that all battery power can be diverted to the starter and engine.
Old 10-21-04, 01:45 PM
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The battery connections are high on my suspect list
I've had this wierdness happen when they are too tight/loose/corroded
Dash lights on, turn key nothing, dash lights off, etc...
Old 10-23-04, 04:03 PM
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I had the battery tested at Auto Zone and they said it was fine. I have to replace the connectors because i had to jimmy rig them with nails so they would stay on the terminals. (i know it wasn't the best idea but i was about an hour away from home when they kept pooping off.) My headlights do work but the wipers are funky. With every car i have owned the idiot lights come on right before you start the car or when you want to listen to the radio and there is no accessory option on your steering column. how do you know when your ignition switch is bad? Can you get it tested somewhere??? The connectors are the first thing i'm going to fix before i drive into other options so if this helps in you guys know what's going on, please make a suggestion. Again, i'm at a loss. Thank you for your help.
Old 10-24-04, 03:41 AM
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I'm with kuhurdler here. The ignition switch is highly suspect. The shift adjustment is a possibility too. Have you tried starting it in neutral?
Old 10-24-04, 01:28 PM
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Red face

i have tried it the first time she won't start. She didn't start. is there a way to test the ignition switch? thanks again for the help. Monday is the day for doing all this...i hope it works.
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