Sometimes when I turn the key over to crank car all the guages on the dash needles start jumping and the engine turns over but it wont crank. as long as the needles are jumping it will not crank. as soon as they stop the car will crank as usual. leaving the key in the on position and waiting for the guages to stop is the only way it will crank. when it does crank normally I noticed that right after it starts up the guages are doing the same thing. after the needles stop jumping all the guages seem to be working correctly. there are no other problems with the car it runs well and everything is in good working condition.
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That sounds like an ignition problem...it should not continue to crank when key is released..force starting it with jumpers can work ..but not recommended repeatedly.Also check your ignition to starter wire..it is a metal male clip on the solenoid and a female coupler connects to it...without a good ground there the dash lights will come on and you will have a no start.no engaging of the starter at all ..only dash lights ..repeated cranking on the ignition can sometimes get it to crank and start..however you have a no start issue which goes back to ignition /or ignition relay/..your biggest problem sounds like a shorted crank position sensor as they mimic cranking but no start issues but with jumpers and several cranks it will fire up..I am deducing it to be your crank position sensor...I owned a Mazda and it did the exact same scenario..GOD BLESS
take the cluster out of dash-pull the plugs apart and re-plug a couple times,also do this with the main cpu-the connections can also corrode-and could be cleaned up-a tool to do this can be bought at an auto parts store-looks like a bunch of skinny files- cheers Denny
did you check out the battery cables,some times they can get corrosion inside where it cant be seen and cause a short, and lack of output and sonetimes will mess with the charging system.it happend on my 87.
IF WHEN YOU TURN YOUR KEY TO START YOUR DASH LIGHTS DIM AND HEAR A CLICKIN NOISE YOUR BATTERY IS LOW,IF NOT THOUGH AND THEY STAY BRIGHT AND NO CRANKING THE STARTER SOLENOID IS MALFUNCTIONING OR ITS ELECTRIC CONTACT IS CORRODED OR YOUR KEY SWITCH IS BAD.
Disconnect the crankshaft position sensor and turn the key on. See if the "no bus" message goes away and the gauges come back to life. If so, replace the crankshaft position sensor. On a 4.7 it is just above the starter, on a 4.0 it is on the left side of center of the bell housing. The modules all communicate on the bus and if it is down the vehicle won't start. I've seen the crank sensor short out and pull the bus down resulting in the exact condition you described.
I can think of 2 possibles,it could be a bad battery cable or an intermitent short in the starter solenoid, check or have the battery cables and there connections on both ends first not only are they a cheaper fix but the problem you describe sounds like a current flow issue.Test them with or have them tested with an ohmmeter they should show o ohms resistance,and while not attributed to the problem I do not reccomend using Bosch spark plugs of any variety,the best plugs for any Japanese vehicle are NGK's,this comes from my personal experience with them and other techs that I have worked with.
I had a similar problem, it was my fuel and spedometer though. If you turn the car on and off a few times, they needles should go back to zero. The problem seems to be that they are physically worn and are getting stuck. I eventually had the instrument panel replaced for about $600 at a dealership because having to remember what speed it started at was too much of a pain. The car thinks that where ever it starts frmo is zero, so if I turned the car on and needle was stuck at 20mph then when it showed 65 I was really going 45. You may be able to live with those to gauges not resetting, I couldn't do it with the spedometer.