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86 2.3l isn't starting any ideas?

Jay_Chain

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I have a 1986 4x4 2.3l 5 speed manual Ranger. i bought on Craigslist back in August (best purchase i have ever made). It was running fine until about two month ago, the alternator died. I replaced it, got a new battery. Then the ignition wouldn't work, so we rigged a switch to jump it at the starter coil. No big deal it was running fine for a few weeks, then it wouldn't start again. We figured i had burnt out the coil. so I got a new one. now the switch and the ignition both don't start it. When I turn the key It triggers all the electronics like when it turns over but nothing in the engine moves. When I press the button it does the same and gives me a whirring noise that's really similar to an R/C engine. Any ideas what it might be? Also before that it was idling really rough after a long day of driving on it, i dont know if thats related. Any ideas what is wrong?
 


Mark_88

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It is probably a loose wire on the starter itself. There should be a wire directly from the battery to the starter. It is notorious for coming loose with vibrations and can appear to be connected but it isn't.

If that is not it and you've jumped the solenoid then either your battery terminals are not tight enough or something between the ignition/push button and the the starter power is disconnected.

When all the other components work (headlights, dash lights, radio, et al) but the starter is dead it pretty much is the starter wiring or the starter itself.

You can pull the starter out fairly easily on these motors and have it tested. I've had starters with the whirring sound (the starter is turning but not being pushed into the flywheel...meaning the bendix is not functioning) and had to replace them.

You can buy them rebuilt for under $100 or go to a junkyard and pull one from the same type of transmission (automatic or manual) to make sure it is pushing to the flywheel (not sure if these are different than other motors though but it might make a difference).

The whirring noise could also be your blower fan so make sure that is turned right off when you listen in...
 

Jay_Chain

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The starter I just got in August. Do you think it went dead that quickly?
 

Jay_Chain

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Starter is good. Just got it tested. Think it may be a problem with the flywheel?
 

Mark_88

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If the starter has worked with this engine before and is not working now but works out side of the truck then you may have a dead spot on the flywheel...

You can check that by pulling the starter and have someone turn the engine by hand...watch for missing teeth in the flywheel.

NOTE: make sure the truck is in neutral and it is properly blocked at the wheels before trying this...just in case...and disconnect the battery and distributor to make sure it doesn't fire while you are under there playing dentist.

Since the starter works outside of the truck it would probably come back to having a wiring problem.

Could be the cable used between the battery and the starter...you can test that for resistance or simply replace it for $20...
 

kimcrwbr1

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Is the battery fully charged the rough idle kinna tells me it was running on low voltage. Once you get it running be sure and do a complete charging system diagnostic. That could be the whole of your problem.
 

Jay_Chain

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It was the cable that runs from the battery to the starter. Some wires came out of the crimp. I electrical taped them onto the other wires for now until I can get a new cable. Now I'm wondering why when I turn the key nothing happens. Any ideas on that?
 

Mark_88

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I can see two threads on this issue so it is a bit confusing...but this one has a later time stamp so I'm assuming that repairing the wire between the battery and the started did not fully fix the issue...

So...back to the solenoid...have you tried jumping the solenoid since repairing the connection on the starter? That would tell you that the little boot wire is either on the wrong post or the solenoid is not working...it can happen...but that third wire on the solenoid is the power feed to the ignition...and the key won't work if that is disconnected.
 

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