98 Ford Windstar won't start


Old 03-22-07, 03:56 AM
Memedav's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Angry 98 Ford Windstar won't start

Hello all, I have a bit of a dilemna on my hands. Off and on for the last month when I go to start my 98 Windstar it won't start. Sometimes it will start after 20 minutes or so and then it will be fine for a week or so. Well on Monday it happened again and now it won't start at all. When I turn the key everything lights up as the battery is only a few months old. My radio, interior lights, etc. all come on as normal. However I do hear a "clicking" sound as I'm turning the key. I try to start it in neutral but that doesn't work either and it hasn't been running hot or had any major issues. Someone on another board told me to pop the solenoid and see if that helped.....but I'm clueless as to where that would even be. I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have and thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 03-22-07, 04:38 AM
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The clicking sound is the solenoid actuating. It simply closes the circuit to allow the power to the starter. The best test would be with a meter and checking for voltage at the starter. If you have voltage at the starter when you turn the key, it's likely going to be a bad starter. They are often intermittent for a while before they decide not to crank at all. The solenoid is mounted to the starter itself.

Here's some info:


One common troubleshooting step with your symptoms is to smack the starter itself (being careful to strike the body of the starter and not parts that will break off) with a hammer. If the engine will then crank - bad starter.
Old 03-26-07, 07:05 AM
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Thanks tow for your suggestions. I had someone come to my house over the weekend to take a look and he went right to the starter with his meter. He also did the smack with the hammer (I guess he knows what he's doing because I didn't have to suggest to him that he try it). He told me that there was no power going to the starter. My question would be what if anything else would be the cause? The radio/lights etc all come on fine but it just won't start. Also about 4 months ago we had to have a bolt replaced in the gearshift because it had slipped gear and wouldn't start then. However my husband had it then and just had it towed/fixed, so I'm not sure if this problem has anything to do with that. The guy who looked at it mentioned maybe the ignition switch or maybe a neutral saftey switch. Do you think eitehr of those would be the culprit? Thanks so much again for your suggestions.
Old 03-26-07, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
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Originally Posted by Memedav View Post
The guy who looked at it mentioned maybe the ignition switch or maybe a neutral saftey switch. Do you think eitehr of those would be the culprit?
Possible, but if your hearing the solenoid clicking, not likely

First I would look for loose/corroded wiring, especially to the starter
Old 03-26-07, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 15
You should have a starter relay ( the pos cable will run to it and then another red will run out to the starter) Check that you have voltage on the cable going out to the starter when you try to start.If you have voltage .Then check the small red wire that plugs into the starter solenoid .This wire is what activates the starter when you turn the key. Make sure you have a good contact . I just went through this with my F150.It would be fine for a long time and then out of the blue not start......

Let us know what you find out.
Old 03-26-07, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
Yep, I agree...... bad cable.
Even though you may have lights the cable can be bad.
What happens is there is not enough current flowing through the corroded cable to supply the starter but just enough to supply the lights.

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