HELP! 1996 Mustang GT Will Not Start! (LONG Description of a WEIRD Problem....)

Hello Everyone:
I have a 1996 GT, 5-speed manual transmission.
A couple of months ago, I noticed that my car wouldn't start. When you turn the key, all you would hear is a click (I am assuming it is the
starter solenoid). Then, if you turn the key again and again, sometimes you get lucky and the car starts right up as if there were nothing wrong at all!
I had my battery and starter tested. Battery was bad, but starter was good. Just to be safe, I replaced BOTH items, and I made sure that all connections to the starter and battery were clean and VERY tight.
Car did fine for a while, and then the non-start problem reappeared.
This time I removed the ignition key lock cylinder and sprayed inside the steering column with a generous amount of electronic contact cleaner.
I put the car back together and it started very regularly after that. Maybe once in a GREAT while it wouldn't start, but simply turning the key a second time would make the car fire up right away.
It might be my imagination, but I believe the problem happens more often in warmer weather.
Well, now my car absolutely REFUSES to start. I just get the click when I turn the key. NOTHING else. It WILL NOT turn over at all.
Honestly, I am out of ideas here!
Is there a part that commonly fails on cars this old?
Could it be the ignition switch under the dash?
Is there a switch connected to the clutch pedal? Something else? (INTERESTING NOTE: When my car was healthy, I could start it even if my foot was OFF of the clutch pedal.)
I am really tired of dealing with this. What could possibly be wrong with my car?
Many, many thanks in advance....
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EADGBE wrote:

Why would replacing a good starter be the "safe" thing to do?

Cool. Now, if there is any wires with bad insulation, they will be sure to short out.

My nephew is the same way. He just pouts, folds his arms and refuses to do things. Kind of funny, really.

It sounds like it is a bad contact someplace. I would charge the battery with a battery charger, to make sure it has a good charge. I would clean all the connections, like the ones on the battery terminals. Also, make sure your battery and alternator are good.

If you're getting a clicking sound, I think that indicates that the ignition switch is working.

Good luck.
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"EADGBE" wrote: (1996 GT, 5-speed manual)
A couple of months ago my car wouldn't start until you turned the key many times. When you turned the key, all you would hear is a click (I am assuming it is the starter solenoid).
I replaced the battery and the starter and tightened all connections. It started fine for a while, then the non-starting problem reappeared. I removed the ignition key lock cylinder and sprayed inside the steering column with a generous amount of electronic contact cleaner. It started regularly after that.
Now it again will not start. I just get the click when I turn the key. It WILL NOT turn over at all. Could it be the ignition switch under the dash? What could possibly be wrong with my car? ____________________________________________________
The first suspicion of a starter solenoid problem was a good guess. Follow it up.
It's an electrical problem, so cleaning the key lock cylinder does nothing to help.
It's probably not the ignition switch, because it does make the solenoid click.
Good luck.
Rodan.
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On Sun, 2 Mar 2008 16:27:37 -0800 (PST), EADGBE

The problem you describe sounds like a solenoid problem. Your car may actually have 2. There may be one mounted on the fender and another on the starter. Since you have replaced the starter and the solenoid almost always comes mounted on the starter, I would replace the one on the fender. Probably cost less the 20 bucks and take about 10 minutes if you have to read the directions once you find it. The positive battery cable should attach to it. The other side goes to the one on the starter.
Lugnut
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wrote:

Don't forget the possibility of a bad flywheel. I've seen flywheels with chipped teeth that will act like this as well. Easy to diagnose since this is a manual. When you get the hard "click," put the car in fifth gear and roll it a few feet forwards or backwards to move the flywheel to a different set of teeth, and then try to start the car.
Ed
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EADGBE wrote:

Ill relay one problem i have had, but it may not apply to you. I had the same trouble on my 93 taurus. It has no external battery switching. The battery hot direct to the starter and a control wire from the ignition switch.
What happened was the spade contact on the switch wire going to the starter solenoid was loose and had crud on it. At times it would not turn over. Pushing it on and off would make it go.
Bob
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Well, I *think* I found and solved the problem.
It was the small pigtail wire to the starter.
This apparently is the wire from the ignition switch.
When I replaced the starter, I installed automotive electrical plugs on the starter's switch wire and the wire from my car's wiring harness.
The type of plug I installed was the typical "bullet" male plug with the matching socket.
Although I crimped AND soldered both male and female plug parts onto the wires, and although the male plug was still plugged in, it was apparently not quite plugged in enough.
I pushed the bullet plug in a bit further, and I was able to start the car with no problems.
Just to make sure, I gently crimped the socket to make it a bit tighter on the bullet plug and then re-connected the bullet.
Thanks for all the help! I really hope that I have solved this nagging problem this time.
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