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Starting system confusion

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Old 08-12-2017, 12:58 AM
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Default Starting system confusion

Hey all

I've got a 1987 Ford F150 that wasn't starting. Headlights weren't dimming or anything and the battery wouldn't hold a charge or jump start. The sticker on it said it was 11 years old so I replaced it, I've got dash lights and whatnot but the headlights don't dim when I turn the key. I replaced the starter a few weeks ago, the starter solenoid housing was cracked so I replaced that as well. Still no dimming or anything when I turn the key. If I bridge the contacts on the solenoid, it'll spark and if I do it while someone is holding the key in the start position, it'll start the truck real quick. My problem is that as soon as you shut the truck off, you've got to bridge the contacts to start it again.

I have a 12 volt test light, and if I probe the wire coming to the solenoid from the battery, it's got power. If I probe the wire going to the starter it's got nothing, even when the key is turned. If I probe the small boot-looking wire going into the solenoid, it's got current going through it at all times. Not sure what's wrong here but would appreciate some guidance.

Thanks a ton
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:20 AM
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That's a strange one. Are you sure you got the wires hooked up correct on the new solenoid? Basically the only thing that should be hooked on one of the large bolts on the solenoid is the large battery cable going down to the starter.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:23 AM
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There are four wires hooked to the side that has the positive battery cable, there's only one wire on the opposite side going down to the starter, and only one wire connected to that little boot wire
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:41 AM
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This is how my solenoid hooks up. Is the small wire supposed to have constant current?
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:46 AM
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I wonder if you don't have a grounding problem. If I remember right on my 1988 the ground cable coming from the negative battery post grounds to the frame and then goes down to one of the starter bolts, all one cable.

I find it really strange that the starter won't crank when you just bridge the posts on the solenoid and then will crank with the key in the start position. Other than a ground problem I'm stumped.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:50 AM
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No, you have it backwards. It cranks when I bridge the contacts but only when the key is turned. If I just turn the key, it won't crank
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:55 AM
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AH I was typing and thinking for #5 when you posted the picture under #4. The small wire coming from the ignition switch should go on the the small post at the top.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:56 AM
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I'll give that a shot, give me maybe 15 minutes tops to let you know what happens
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:00 AM
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I seem to have misplaced my keys. I'll have to let you know in the morning, thanks so much
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Lewis View Post
I seem to have misplaced my keys. I'll have to let you know in the morning, thanks so much
OK. I'm still stumped. When you bridged the two large posts on the solenoid, the starter should have cranked regardless whether or not the switch was turned. Because basically you would have direct contact with the starter. Possibly I am missing something here though.
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