1999 e150 van won't start

Starter ok. Battery ok. Turn key, nothing happens except door locks go up and down a couple of times by themselves. Can short across starter with screwdriver and start it, runs good!

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Sounds like wiring or the ignition switch.
Jeff
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Thanks Jeff. I think you might be right. I'm 65, not great health. Besides calling a mech. to make a house call, what can I do next?
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On 26 Nov 2006 08:15:08 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:
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Are you shorting across the starter solenoid main contacts (Big Spark), or the battery lead to the pilot contact coming from the ignition switch 'Start' contacts?
If it's the pilot contact, there's something in the ignition switch, neutral safety switch, or the alarm system starter kill (if installed). Take a test light or a multimeter and start heading backwards till you find the offending switch.
And if you can get it started, you can always drive it to the mechanic. Just remember to put it in Park and chock the wheels before crawling under the hood or the car to do it - getting run over by your own car is very bad form. If you can have a second person there with their foot on the brakes that's even better.
--<< Bruce >>--
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I'm not sure about which one is which. I shorted across from the big post to the small post to start it. Does that tell you anything? Thanks, Jerry
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On 26 Nov 2006 09:52:07 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

If this is a modern car with the integrated starter solenoid on the side of the starter, it will have three posts minimum.
(The old Autolite system had the power switching relay up on the fender, and the solenoid used to swing the Bendix drive gear out was simply a movable pole piece on the side of the starter motor. The pole piece cover is shaped like a wedge, with the fat end away from the flywheel.)
The big post with the big wire is coming in from the battery.
There will be a small post (#8-32 or #10-32) with the wire coming in from the ignition switch "Start" circuit - that only has 12V when the key is turned. (Some new cars have a quick connect on this wire.)
If you put a "Remote Start Switch" (a simple normally-open push button switch and two clip leads) between the battery lug and this small solenoid windings lug, the starter motor will run when you push the button. This indicates an open in the start circuit - the most likely one is the Neutral safety switch or an alarm system. Try starting in Neutral instead of Park, and in the other gears with your foot on the brakes.
(If the engine RPM flares on start like normal but you're starting it in gear, the car can try to move even with your foot hard on the brakes - do this somewhere you have room in front of and behind the car, in case it does.)
There will be a heavy post with an odd crimp lug going down into the starter through a grommet - that's the switched power from the solenoid contacts to the starter motor windings and brushes. Don't mess with that one, unless you want to make lots of pretty sparks and melt big chunks out of the side of your screwdriver.
On older cars there's a fourth wire that feeds switched 12V from the starter back to the ignition system, and overrides the coil ballast resistor to get a hotter spark during starting - they literally use a 6V coil with an inline ballast resistance. You won't see this with electronic ignition.
--<< Bruce >>--
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(My granddaughter always adds one of those on her email.) I will try those things tomorrow. Thanks again. Jerry Stephens
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