Dead Electrical 1996 Ford Ranger

Out of the blue, I turned the key and the started jerked and stopped. Next turn solenoid clicked only. After that no sound on turning key. No radio, panel lights, headlights, etc. My guess at this point is that
there is a bad negative ground.
No ongoing symptoms before today. Battery is new and checks out as fully charged. Voltage OK at the solenoid relay on the inside wall.
Searched last night for a main fuse or fusible links. Wiring diagrams show them but do not tell where to look for them. I assume close to the battery -- will spend some time now looking and TS with a meter.
Any other suggestions?
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in message Out of the blue, I turned the key and the started jerked and stopped. Next turn solenoid clicked only. After that no sound on turning key. No radio, panel lights, headlights, etc. My guess at this point is that there is a bad negative ground.
No ongoing symptoms before today. Battery is new and checks out as fully charged. Voltage OK at the solenoid relay on the inside wall.
Searched last night for a main fuse or fusible links. Wiring diagrams show them but do not tell where to look for them. I assume close to the battery -- will spend some time now looking and TS with a meter.
Any other suggestions?
== Update from today....
I turned the key this morning and it started right up. When I got back home, I turned it off and on a few times and started each time without hesitation.
This morning the clock showed 5:30. When power is restored, the clock starts at 12:00. This means that the power was restored to the clock about the time I stopped troubleshooting yesterday. Last thing I did yesterday before locking it up was try to start it and all was dead, including panel, radio, lights, etc. Unless slamming the door jiggled a connection, I don't know what would have caused it. It would not be a heat-related problem because the engine was never started that day.
I don't want to go driving around town not knowing what the problem is but I'm stumped now.
So I guess what I'm looking for is some things to check the next time it won't start.
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On Tue, 5 Apr 2016 11:46:25 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

I'd bet you your morning coffee it's a bad battery connection.

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in Out of the

I would bet its the connection on or the sloinoid itself. pretty common on them. KB
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Out of the

turn

that

diagrams

clock

clock

did

jiggled

be

day.

is

time

From what I saw this morning, I'd say you both are hitting it on the head. I was checking the cables and noticed the prettiest shade of green you ever saw peeking out from under the insulation on the neg cable. Cables from the pos post look OK. Will check it out more and the connections. I suspect I'll have to replace the cable - I remember cutting it off once before when I changed the battery. Probably not long enough now for more trimming.
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On Tue, 5 Apr 2016 10:07:59 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

First the obviose. Do a voltage drop test on bith pos and neg battery connections, then do voltage drop from pos battery post to solenoid post, and from neg post to engine block.. Do the test with the key in start position and headlights on.
That should nail down WHERE the problem is - then you can visually trace down WHAT the problem is.
Really a very simple problem to troubleshoot.
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wrote:

Next turn solenoid clicked only. After that no sound on turning key. No radio, panel lights, headlights, etc. My guess at this point is that there is a bad negative ground.

fully charged. Voltage OK at the solenoid relay on the inside wall.

diagrams show them but do not tell where to look for them. I assume close to the battery -- will spend some time now looking and TS with a meter.

Welp! You were right as usual. My crawling in the mud clothes are in the laundry so I'll get to the under car connections later. I suspect those connections are OK - I was careful about cleaning and tightening those when I swapped out the starter last week.
There was enough under the hood to keep me busy today. It was obvious that most of the connections needed cleaning, so I took each loose one at a time one, cleaned them and fastened back. Afterwards everything worked noticeably better - starting, lights, radio, you name it. The sun came out and birds started singing. I measured voltage drops and resistance before and after, and much better on nearly ever conductor.
One question.... on the solenoid relay, the nuts on the 2 posts going to the battery and solenoid have nuts on them with spinning washers fastened to the side that contacts the ring connectors. Checking with the meter, I saw that the outside of each nut has some kind of insulating coating on it. I've never seen those type before especially where several ring connectors are supposed make good connections. Even the face of the nuts are insulated. Any idea what the story is about those?
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On Wed, 6 Apr 2016 20:08:23 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

Not sure exactly what coating you mean - I'll have to look at my '96. Any insulating coating on the nuts would be for safety or corrosion protection.
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wrote:

stopped. Next turn solenoid clicked only. After that no sound on turning key. No radio, panel lights, headlights, etc. My guess at this point is that there is a bad negative ground.

as fully charged. Voltage OK at the solenoid relay on the inside wall.

diagrams show them but do not tell where to look for them. I assume close to the battery -- will spend some time now looking and TS with a meter.

battery

in

in the laundry so I'll get to the under car connections later. I suspect those connections are OK - I was careful about cleaning and tightening those when I swapped out the starter last week.

obvious that most of the connections needed cleaning, so I took each loose one at a time one, cleaned them and fastened back. Afterwards everything worked noticeably better - starting, lights, radio, you name it. The sun came out and birds started singing. I measured voltage drops and resistance before and after, and much better on nearly ever conductor.

to the battery and solenoid have nuts on them with spinning washers fastened to the side that contacts the ring connectors. Checking with the meter, I saw that the outside of each nut has some kind of insulating coating on it. I've never seen those type before especially where several ring connectors are supposed make good connections. Even the face of the nuts are insulated. Any idea what the story is about those?

I think the coating is teflon or similar. I could scratch it with the meter lead and contact the nut. No coating on the spinning washer. They look like these, except mine don't have the toothed washer. You can see the concave washer inside that spins. http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjAwWDYwMA==/z/bHMAAOSwmrlU0tkk /$_12.JPG
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message wrote:

The beveled part shouldn't spin. It's just an extension of the threaded area that is flared to hold the lock washer in place, be it the toothed one in the picture or the smooth washer type.
I've seen the insulated/coated nuts before- we used them on high-voltage/amperage power supplies in our milling machines. They never really made much sense to me since the post that they were screwed on to extended beyond the end of the nut and wasn't insulated, and the lug that was held in place by the insulated nut obviously wasn't or a connection couldn't be made using the smooth non-toothed washer :-) I think the coating may be more for corrosion protection than electrical insulation.
--

SC Tom



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wrote:

stopped.

turning key.

point is

out as

wall.

assume

with

battery

solenoid

key in

visually

are in

suspect

tightening

obvious

one

everything

The

and

conductor.

going to

with

especially

Even

about

'96.

the

They

see

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjAwWDYwMA==/z/bHMAAOSwmrlU0tkk /$_12.JPG

threaded area

in

never

to

that

connection

coating

I'll take a photo if I don't forget..... The has only the spinning beveled washer - no lock washer. There are two of these nuts, both identical, both spin.
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in message wrote:

stopped.

turning key.

point is

out as

wall.

assume

with

battery

solenoid

key in

visually

are in

suspect

tightening

obvious

one

everything

The

and

conductor.

going to

with

especially

Even

about

'96.

the

They

see

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjAwWDYwMA==/z/bHMAAOSwmrlU0tkk /$_12.JPG

threaded area

in

never

to

that

connection

coating

- I'll take a photo if I don't forget..... The has only the spinning beveled washer - no lock washer. There are two of these nuts, both identical, both spin.
I did a little searching. They're called KEPS nuts. Will start a new thread for this one.
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