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  #1  
Old 07-15-2002, 02:45 PM
gsteinma gsteinma is offline
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Why does my Lincoln burn up Starter Solenoids?

I need some help from someone who understands old Fords.

I have a 1969 Lincoln which has the typical Ford starter solenoid, located on the inside of the fender. Just after I bought the car, the solenoid went bad and I replaced it (after someone showed me how to start the car by shorting out the + battery terminal and the "S" terminal on the solenoid). The replacement failed a couple of times, but was all right most of the time until it failed completely. The new one I just put on doesn't work at all.

Typically, when the solenoid fails, you turn the key and you can here the solenoid "thunk" but the starter won't turn over - unless you short it out as described above.

What could be causing the car to eat up solenoids? This is my first Ford and I am having a hard time with these "quirks".
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2002, 03:34 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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I'm thinking "voltage regulator".


Also, poor wiring could be a cause - like shorts or crosses that cause surges.
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  #3  
Old 07-15-2002, 03:59 PM
Berkut Berkut is offline
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Re: Why does my Lincoln burn up Starter Solenoids?

Quote:
Originally posted by gsteinma
Just after I bought the car, the solenoid went bad and I replaced it (after someone showed me how to start the car by shorting out the + battery terminal and the "S" terminal on the solenoid). The replacement failed a couple of times, but was all right most of the time until it failed completely. The new one I just put on doesn't work at all.

Typically, when the solenoid fails, you turn the key and you can here the solenoid "thunk" but the starter won't turn over - unless you short it out as described above.
If your car will only start by shorting the S terminal to the positive battery terminal, it isn't your solenoid that needs replacing; it's your ignition switch (or related wiring).

That solenoid is nothing more than an oversized relay. It has two larger terminals on either side, one for the positive battery cable, and one for the cable leading to the starter. Those two terminals terminate in posts inside the case of the solenoid. There is a metal disk inside the case, with a spring that holds it away from the metal posts. When current is applied to the S terminal, in energizes an electromagnet that overcomes the spring tension and pulls the disk against the two large terminals, connecting them and engaging the starter. The ignition switch is what sends current to the S terminal. If you apply this current yourself, you are really bypassing the ignition switch, not the solenoid. If your car starts when you do this, you are proving the solenoid is good, rather than bad.

Check your igniton switch, and all its connections.
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2002, 04:27 PM
AndrewL AndrewL is offline
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If you can hear the solenoid switching on, but nothing happens, likely the ignition switch is fine. The starter solenoid itself is also probably fine, if the problem has gotten steadily worse and replacing the solenoids hasn't helped. If shorting the S terminal to the battery + side starts the car, then it's not a problem with the battery or voltage regulator circuits. About the only thing that leaves is the wire connecting the + side of the battery with the starter solenoid.

Do you have a multimeter? Getting one will help in troubleshooting this problem.
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  #5  
Old 07-15-2002, 06:20 PM
Chris Luongo Chris Luongo is offline
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If you don't have a multimeter, try this: Next time the car fails to start, choose one wire at random, wiggle it, and try starting the car again. Repeat this until you've wiggled each wire in turn...you may find that one has come loose.

I'm pretty sure (although I could be mistaken) that the solenoid gets its ground through the mounting bolts. At least I know my '85 Crown Vic wouldn't start with the solenoid unbolted. Be sure the bolts are clean and secure.
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2002, 06:54 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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Could be a bad starter, too--or the starter could be loose (not bolted tightly to the bell housing) for whatever reason. Last, but not least, it could be a borderline battery.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2002, 10:11 PM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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Btw, this is an extremely common problem on Fords.
Not sure why, but it definitely is.
Try buying a better solenoid from a place like NAPA.
The $8 solenoids you can buy at the discount places
are sometimes of inferior quality.
Also- 1969 Lincoln-sounds like a cool car- is it the Mark lll,
or a Town Car?
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2002, 11:25 PM
Tedster Tedster is offline
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Interesting thread. Try cleaning all the cables and ground connections to clean shiny bright, and tighten. Car manufacturers are notoriously chintzy and use the minimum amount and gauge of wire possible, it's truly amazing. One area they skimp is the ground side of the starter connection. Typically a short thin wire goes to the firewall, with the starter picking up the connection to the frame. I go around this by installing a heavy gauge wire directly to the starter.
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2002, 06:56 AM
gsteinma gsteinma is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Thank you for your helpful suggestions.

One thing I will definately check is the ground - I was poking around last night and noticed a heavy cable leading from the engine block was cut off - I think this may be a grounding wire that was cut for some reason. The heavy cable from the battery grounds directly to the engine block but there is only a very thin small wire from the battery to the fender - I plan to install a heavy-duty cable form the engine block to the frame. The battery-to-solenoid cable is new, and the battery is a good strong "Interstate" brand.

Another thing is the sound I am hearing I think is that metal disk- spring arrangement - it sounds like the solenoid is energizing. The "New" solenoid is a $5.00 from the auto parts store - it could be bad from the get-go so I will try another solenoid and see if I can get a heavy-duty one form the dealer.

As for the ignition wiring, I did have the ignition switch out of the dash (it is located in a plastic panel at the bottom of the dash which must be removed to access the inside of the dash) - I will check it to see if I loosened any wiring, plus I have had a problem with dirty contacts and connections throughout the car. It won't hurt to check it.

And to SimpleHomer - the car is a Continental Hardtop Coupe - a two-door version of the four-door (suicide door) Continental - fairly rare as only 9000+ were built in '69 as opposed to 25,000+ four-doors.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2002, 11:54 PM
Berkut Berkut is offline
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How about an update on your car problem?
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2002, 08:01 AM
gsteinma gsteinma is offline
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Update

I added the stronger ground and bought another new solenoid, but the problem persists intermittantly. My next step is to disassemble the starter switch and clean the contacts, followed by a trace of the wiring.
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2002, 11:17 AM
Enola Straight Enola Straight is offline
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Sometimes at work we have a car that has a dead starter and I use a little trick: take the tire iron and tap the starter as someone else turns over the ignition.

Sometimes an old starter hits a "flat spot"...it has something to do with the windings or the electromagnets.
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