Please help, escort problems

I am having trouble with my 92 Escort. 1.9L w/4 speed manual trans. The engine will not turn over when you use the ignition key. I have checked the clutch safety start switches with a VOM; they're OK.
I checked the operation of the solenoid and starter moter by applying 12v from the positive battery terminal directly to the S terminal on the solenoid. The engine turns over just fine. Current draw on the solenoid is 10.1a. I checked voltage on the Start terminal on the ignition switch and got 12v when the key is in the Start position. I then checked voltage at the solenoid wire (wire disconnected from the solenoid). This is where things get a little confusing. With the igintion on (key in Run position) I am reading around 8.5v on the solenoid wire. When I turn the key to Start, after about 20 seconds or so, I will then get 12v on the solenoid wire. During this time, the voltage fluctuates, finally peaking at battery voltage. If I remove the cooling fan relay, the 8.5v that I see on the solenoid when the key is in Run position goes away. It still takes 20 seconds or so after putting key in Start position for 12v to appear on solenoid wire. At this time, if I put the solenoid wire back on the solenoid, the engine will not turn over. I can start the car by pushing it. However, when I do this, I have the Brake and Fuel Cutoff lights come on when the clutch pedal is depressed. Release the clutch pedal and the lights go off. I just occured to me that this is happening when the engine is running, and the solenoid wire is still disconnected from the solenoid. It kinda sounds like a ground problem, but I've been working on this for so long that I am starting to go in circles. I do not have a good schematic of this car (I will find one tomorrow) so it is hard to know where to go from here. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
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If I had to guess I'd say you have an intermittent/dirty/bad connection someplace. Works fine when your only load is a high input impedance digital VOM but doesn't work when you actually put a load on it.
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This sounds like what is happening to my Escort. Did you find the problem? I'm showing 12V at the S terminal with the ignition in the ON position. When I push the clutch in, it drops to 8.5V. Any clues?
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