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2.3L ('83-'97) 1988 Ranger wont start without jumping starter solenoid


aeaton9021

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Graham, Washington
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1988
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Ford Ranger
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Manual
My 1988 Ranger 2.3l suddenly would not start with the key. I am able to jump the solenoid, and it starts every time that way. I have replaced the neutral safety switch, the starter solenoid, the battery and the ignition switch. I still have to jump the starter solenoid to start the truck. I have even tired bringing the wheels to center and then trying to start it, nope. I have also checked the fuses and all wires and connections. All good there. What is wrong with this truck? This is the first major problem I have had out of it in 12 years.
 


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RonD

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On the starter RELAY, on the inner fender is the "S" post, its the smaller post, should have a red/blue stripe wire on it
(It is actually a relay, not a solenoid that is on the inner fender, just FYI)

That red/blue wire should have 12volts when key is turned to START, test for that with volt meter or test light grounded to battery negative or a known good ground

If you have a 4 post starter relay it will also have a small "I" post as well, that is not used, must use the "S" post, it WILL have a "S" next to it

If you don't have 12volt on the red/blue wire with key turned to START then thats the problem

Power path is not that involved for this:

12v battery positive----(fusible link)----ignition switch--------clutch or neutral switch------------starter relay "S" post

In 1988 it should be a red/blue wire from ignition switch to starter relay
In 1989 it changed to a pink wire from ignition switch and changed to red/blue at clutch or neutral switch


When you say you are "jumping the solenoid" so you mean you are putting 12volts to "S" post?
If not then try that, it tests if starter relay is working
Starter relays frame must have a good ground for relay to close
 
Last edited:

tomw

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As I remember, there is also a "Clutch Safety" that requires the clutch pedal to be depressed fully to enable power to the starter relay. If that switch fails, the relay signal/control post will never see the 12V it uses to power the windings and close the switch.
It may(is likely) not be the same switch as the brake light switch. It may be co-mounted with the brake light switch.
tom
 


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