Question about 1996 Ford Mustang

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96 Mustang, V6, Automatic Trans. Key spins freely around. Turns on interior electric (fan, radio). Does not engage starter. Wht is the problem? Ignition Switch? Something else?

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  • raymond_huck Jul 06, 2010

    LocalWonder did a great job for me. I will recomend your service without reservation.

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  • Master
  • 6,784 Answers

HI. If the ignition switch spins all around in a 360 degree circle, this will indicate that the internal mechanics of your ignition switch has been greatly compromised and should be replaced, asap. With that said, If your ignition switch is currently rotating as designed, without totally looping around in a 360 circle, This will indicate that the starter or related component are suspect. Use my procedure below to isolate the issue.

Starter and Ignition switch troubleshooter




A.Check for 12 volts on the large wire attached to the top terminal on the starter relay. It should have battery voltage. If not, the battery, terminals or wire is bad.



B.Check the small wire on the solenoid for power when the key is in the start position. Remove the small wire on the solenoid and have a helper hold the key in the start position. Check the wire for battery voltage. If there is voltage, the starter is bad. If there is no voltage, replace the wire.



C.Check the fuse in the fuse box under the hood on the left fender well. If it is good, check the relay by pulling it out and checking for power at one terminal with the key off. If there is no power, the problem is in the fuse box between the fuse and the relay. If there is power, have the helper hold the key in the start position once again and check for power at another terminal from the ignition key. If there is power, the relay is bad. If there is no power, the starter circuit is suspect.



D.Check to see if there is power to the neutral safety switch if there is no power at the relay. Use the voltmeter to check for power with the key in start. If there is power going in, check for power going out. If there is no power going in, the security system or ignition switch is suspect. If there is power going in and none coming out, the switch is bad. If there is power coming out, the problem is between the neutral switch and the relay.



E.Remove the cover on the bottom of the steering column. Check the solid yellow wire for power when the key is in the start position. If there is no power, the ignition switch is bad.




Posted on Jul 06, 2010

  • 7 more comments 
  • raymond_huck Jul 06, 2010

    The switch does rotate 360 degrees. Not a complete spin but to a stop then back in the other direction to the same point, but a full 360 degree arch. The switch does engage power, the radio comes on, the air conditioning fan will work. It will not turn power off. I disconected the battery to save power.

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    Ok, that ignition switch must be replaced, asap. It is allowing a closed circuit(power always on). This is dangerous(fire hazard). The internal switch mechanism is compromised.

  • raymond_huck Jul 06, 2010

    Thank you.



    Can you give me the proceedure please?

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    Sure, one moment please...

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    Follow carefully:

    First, disconnect the negative cable on your battery with the 8-millimeter wrench and allow 15 minutes for the circuits to go to sleep before beginning. This will disable the SRS, or airbags system. Next, remove the lower cover on the steering column behind the steering wheel by using a Phillips screwdriver to remove the three screws. Once the screws are removed, press the two tabs on the side of the ignition switch and pull it straight off. Now,disconnect the ignition switch lower harness connector piece. This will be below the steering column or at the opposite end of the ignition harness. Next, Install the new ignition switch by locating the switch so the tabs line up and pushing it on the tumbler assembly. After that is done,plug in the lower section of the electrical pigtail or harness connector into its respective connection point. All done.



  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    NOTE_ Be sure to reinstall the lower steering column cover after the new switch is connected.

  • raymond_huck Jul 06, 2010

    Thank you again, you give very clear and concise trouble shooting and repair instructions.



    I have a few more questions.



    Will I need to purchase anything other than the ignition switch at the parts house?



    Will I need any other tools than the wrench and screw driver you mentions?



    Will I be able to use the same key?

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    "Will I need to purchase anything other than the ignition switch at the parts house?"

    No. Just purchase the ignition switch replacement kit.

    "Will I need any other tools than the wrench and screw driver you mentions?"

    No other tools will be needed.

    "Will I be able to use the same key?"

    No, the new ignition switch kit will come with a new set of keys. Be sure to bring your entire VIN number in when purchasing the kit.

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Jul 06, 2010

    NOTE-->>>The ignition key tumbler and ignition switch should never be removed, simultaneous.Damage to the column may result, if done in that manner. It is also important to specify to the parts store clerk that the electrical aspect of the ignition switch is being replaced. Many times the parts store clerk will mistake the ignition key tumbler for the ignition switch.



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