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What could cause a 96 ford pickup not to start it make a single clunk when trying to start, isn't starter or relay what else can I try?

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  • Amanda Apr 11, 2011

    I took starter in had it tested good, just changed the relay(solenoid) tht is bolted on body, haven't gotten to into wiring yet figured tht or maybe safety switch thanks though I'll let ya know outcome


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Check first for good battery connections and earth.If you are sure that it is not the starter,remove the spark plugs and crank.If it does turn over it had hydrauliced.If no turn over still try turning over from crank pulley,to ascertain if it has seized.Check oil level.Or give the starter a whack with a hammer while someone is turning the engine over.If it cranks the starter may have worn brushes,solenoid.I hope this helps you or get back with your findings.

Posted on Apr 11, 2011

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Could be a lack of juice such as a loose wire, a bad ground or bad battery. Are you sure the motor is free? Try grabbing the belts and moving the motor over a little bit-maybe the starter teeth are bound up. May have to remove and reinstall to get unstuck. Did you use the same shims that came out? Hope this helps.

Posted on Apr 11, 2011

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Check the battery-to-starter cables for corrosion and clean the battery end of the cables. If there is a yellow or white powder on the battery around the battery connections, you may have a cracked seal around the battery post. The crack is usually microscopic, but will allow a small amount of acid to get into the connector.

The way to prevent seal cracking with clamp-type connections is to apply a counter-torque with one hand while using a wrench on the clamp with the other (picture how the wrench is trying to bend the battery post, then pull the clamp in the opposite direction to keep the post from being bent in that direction). I used to have lots of trouble until I hit upon doing this; since then I hardly ever have connector problems and my batteries last much longer.

Explanation for the clunk, followed by silence: The bad connection can pass enough current to pull in and hold the starter solenoid (clunk), but has too much resistance for running the loaded starter motor. If you put a voltmeter on the starter terminal, you will probably discover you have less than 8 Volts on the starter motor even though the battery is at or near 12 Volts. The rest of the power is being wasted as heat in the bad connection.

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Sounds like a bad battery. How did you test battery & starter? Have you tried jump starting? Sounds like battery isn't holding a charge, it might be able to turn on lights, etc, but starter draws 100s of amps where bulbs draw min amps, Also clean you battery cables top and ESPECIALLY the bottom ends. The bottom end connections are exposed to grease, grime, and YES they're a pain to get to but they need it more than the top connections.

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My truck does it too. Read a few articles about the problem and most talked about a Recall of the main starter harness. I looked at mine and there was Green corrosion on the Starter loom. I had just enough slack to solder a new end on it.

You may be able to get another wire loom with your Vin#. After I fixed mine, it never broke again. But my dash gauges still peg out and then work. Doesn't seem to bother anything. I put on a Starter relay and yours is the same age as mine. Try jumping the Starter relay to see if it is bad.

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Does the starting solenoid engages? This is would sound like a deep clunk on your starter. When the solenoid engages it close the contact that energize the starter motor, but a worn contact on the solenoid would result in it engaging but not having enough current to turn the engine resulting in a clunking noise when you try to start.
The starter solenoid gets its 12 volt from a relay. This is referred to as the starter relay. If you try to crank, and you hear only a click but the starter do not turn, then the contacts on the relay maybe worn.
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