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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Pulling my starter tommorow

Hey guys first time posting here but I'm not new to fords or forum's, Glad to see there is a community of people for the thunderbird and all the other great fords this site represents.
So I don't know if its in my signature but I have a 1997 thunderbird Lx with the 4.6 liter v8. I also don't know if my car having the rear spoiler makes it anything special or not, I have read around on here and saw that some do and some don't.

Anyway guys my bird is having some very interment starting issues. It happens randomly not only when the car is hot or cold ect...
So when I go to start it I always let the fuel pump prime until it stops then turn the key, when I do it clicks only once not a bunch of rapid clicks like a normal starting issue. The best way I can describe it in writing is it seems like the starter is maybe missing a bolt and when I engage it, it tweaks it and cant give its full throw. ( just a hypothesis )
Its to the point where its 50/50 odds if the bird will start so I have been taking my dads truck to work all week. Ive had this issue for over a month so I have ruled out the battery being the problem. So I have the day off tomorrow and plan on taking the starter out if its not too big of a headache ( exhaust in the way? ) Also I was thinking maybe the starter solenoid. The only reason in my head I don't think its the solenoid is cause it does start at times and with a bad solenoid I figure it just wouldn't ever start. Idk if any of that makes sense guys but give me your input thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 06:55 AM
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My guess based on what you described is that you have a bad ignition switch, and the starter is probably fine.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 07:20 PM
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I read this early this morning but didn't have time to reply. I agree, I think it's more likely electrical related. Ignition switch and MLPS are common culprits, then there's corrosion at the battery terminals/battery-to-block ground, or the hot feed from the battery to the starter.

As far as mechanically, the solenoid and starter come as a unit on the 4.6. It's a bit tricky to get at the top bolt, but with the right assortment of swivels and extensions it's not as terrible as some make it seem.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 161k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys thanks for the input I totally forgot about the ignition switch I can really seeing that being a component of it worth checking out. The T-bird has 127,000 miles on it by the way. My first car was a 1989 foxbody gt that I owned for like 12 years and did every little maintenance need you can imagine on it including the ignition switch so this does bring back memories of when that switch went bad. As far as the mustang went the ignition switch was super easy to get too just pop off the plastic around the steering column and it was right there, is the t-bird roughly the same setup ? Life got in the way of my plans today and I wasn't able to get the starter out but I guess that's an ok thing. This is why I love forum's to just throw around different ideas and such, thanks again guys!

1997 Thunderbird Lx 4.6 Liter
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 09:11 PM
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Yes, it is a similar setup with the switch hidden by the plastic around the column.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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alright

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL View Post
Yes, it is a similar setup with the switch hidden by the plastic around the column.
Thanks man ill scope it out then. I know on the foxbodys their was an issue with them separating from each other and a lot of guys would just zip tie them together again instead of replacing them lol.

1997 Thunderbird Lx 4.6 Liter
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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So I got the switch all exposed from taking off the plastic shroud and everything looks good to me I was wondering if anybody has any method of bench testing the switch itself or would you guys just suggest getting a new one to stick in there.

1997 Thunderbird Lx 4.6 Liter
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-09-2017, 07:38 AM
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You need a volt meter and a wiring diagram, and when it doesn't start, see if you have power on the terminal that goes to the starter.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-09-2017, 01:52 PM
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If you do have voltage on the solenoid trigger wire, the next step after that would be to measure voltage at the starter terminals before and during cranking. If the voltage drops suddenly when cranking then there's a connection/corrosion issue somewhere between the starter and battery.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 161k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
98 Black Mark VIII 155k, stock daily driver
07 Redfire Fusion V6 SEL 178k, for the wife
Gone but not forgotten: 96 Mark VIII, 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2017, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys just thought id post an update. So this last Wednesday I pulled and replaced the starter ignition switch and all my starting issues are gone! Thanks for all the input guys saved me a lot of time

1997 Thunderbird Lx 4.6 Liter
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