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Old 11-06-2011, 09:14 AM   #1
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Question 2.3 has me stumped

just bought an 83 2.3l with a 5 speed. it's been sitting for over a year but ran fine when parked. when i turn it over it just clicks once. put in a new battery and tried tapping on the starter, same thing. also tried jumping the solenoid. motor turns over by hand. tried push starting it and got nothing. it has a half tank of gas, do i need to drain what's in there or can i add new to the existing fuel? also, is there any way to check for spark seeing that it won't turn over? i'm lost on where to go next. any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

Change your cables, make sure you have a good ground...
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

cables look good. i'll check out the ground. would that stop it from being able to push start? thanx.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

Probably not... just a good place to start... Make sure you have good ground from battery to engine and engine to body...
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:56 PM   #5
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

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Originally Posted by 351 windsor View Post
just bought an 83 2.3l with a 5 speed. it's been sitting for over a year but ran fine when parked. when i turn it over it just clicks once. put in a new battery and tried tapping on the starter, same thing. also tried jumping the solenoid. motor turns over by hand. tried push starting it and got nothing. it has a half tank of gas, do i need to drain what's in there or can i add new to the existing fuel? also, is there any way to check for spark seeing that it won't turn over? i'm lost on where to go next. any help would be greatly appreciated.
The click you are hearing is probably your starter solenoid.
Do like advised and check all of your battery cables and grounds on both ends. Pay careful attention to the cable ends. I have seen them corrode almost completely through with little to no visible signs on the outside insulation.

Once you are sure the cables are good, check your air intake tract and make sure no mice or squirrels have invaded and built nests or stored acorns there.

Have someone else work the key and check the side of the solenoid that goes to the starter for voltage. Should be 12-14 volts on a fresh battery.

If everything else is good then I would suspect that your starter has gone bad and is frozen up. You'll have to replace it or tear it apart and rebuild it in that case.

You might put a can of fuel treatment in the tank and add some fresh fuel if you don't want to dump what is in there. Personally I have burned gasoline that was over 3 years old in one of my old Mustangs that had sat forever. It didn't run great, but it would run on it.

It won't do you any good to try and check for spark if the engine won't turn over. Those are two different electrical systems.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

Just a little update. It's been raining here for a week so mother nature finally gave me a break. Got the motor to turn over jumping the solenoid so i took the cables off and cleaned everything up. After we put them back on, in the correct positions, the battery started to smoke from the caps on top. Not too sure what that's about? Before we cleaned them up and the smoke started it would click continuously like when your battery is dead when we turned it over with the key. We had 2 batteries, both reading 12 volts. My guess is that the solenoid got stuck completeing the cicuit, hence the smoke. Does that sound like i'm on the right path? When we checked the solenoid for continuity from pole to pole it didn't ring out so that kinda threw me off but i don't know why else it would start smoking. I'm gonna start with a solenoid and cables. If you guys think of anything, i appreciate the help. Get back to you as soon as i get the new stuff on. Hopefully that'll do the trick. Thanx again for the input. Also, i said the cables looked good but it was in the dark. Once i got a better look, they can def. be replaced, not horrible but i did see a little corrosion .
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:49 PM   #7
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Also while cranking the motor the output on the silnoid only read .4 volts.so yes were pretty sure the silinoid is bad but like 351 said could that cause the battery to smoke?
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #8
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

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Also while cranking the motor the output on the silnoid only read .4 volts.so yes were pretty sure the silinoid is bad but like 351 said could that cause the battery to smoke?
The battery smoking from the cells means it is being discharged really fast like you have a dead short somewheres. Maybe the starter is shorted out internally?
When it gets that hot it is likely the battery might be junk now. The plates heat up and warp when that occurs and if they touch then those two cells are effectively shot and your battery won't hold enough current to start an engine anymore.

If the solenoid is shot and not passing enough current through to the starter, that might have burned up the starter because it can cause the windings to overheat and short out inside the starter.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:30 PM   #9
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Could we have shorted out the silinoid from jumping it? At least we made some progress.we actually got it to crank.he put his battery (a different one on the charge and is gonna buy new cables and silinoid.then give it hell again.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:43 PM   #10
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

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Could we have shorted out the silinoid from jumping it? At least we made some progress.we actually got it to crank.he put his battery (a different one on the charge and is gonna buy new cables and silinoid.then give it hell again.
That usually does not happen, but "how" did you jump it?

If you put a switched jumper from the battery + to the "S" post to activate the solenoid with, then no, you shouldn't have hurt it.
I use a HD pushbutton switch to do that with on my Fords and I have never had any issues.

You should get full voltage (12-14 volts) across the solenoid with a 1-3 volt drop possibly when the engine is cranking over.

You should probably have the starter tested before trying other new parts to keep from destroying them if the starter is bad.

If the starter windings are burned and the starter is dragging hard enough it can weld a new solenoid's contacts together and if it heats the cables enough to discolor and soften the wires inside they are pretty much ruined.
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:23 PM   #11
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We jumped it hillbilly style with a piece of wire we found lying around.it does seem as if the contacts could be welded together.it turned over the first couple times and then it wouldn't any more.
We will definitely have the starter test.
Thanx for the input TH.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:13 AM   #12
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

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We jumped it hillbilly style with a piece of wire we found lying around.it does seem as if the contacts could be welded together.it turned over the first couple times and then it wouldn't any more.
We will definitely have the starter test.
Thanx for the input TH.
That should work ok too. I did that too before I special built a pushbutton switch and cord.
If the solenoid contacts weld together it won't stop turning over and can quickly burn up some wiring causing serious damage. Keep a couple of wrenches ready so you can quickly remove a battery cable in case that happens.
I think you have starter problems and as always "double" check the engine grounds.

Good Luck and let us know what you find.
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:43 PM   #13
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

Thanx alot Trojan. Looks like you guys covered it all. We'll get back to you.
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:14 PM   #14
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

Simply replace the starter. You can find them inline for less than $50.00
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:03 PM   #15
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

changed the cables and solenoid, can get it to run for a sec on ether but then it dies. still haven't added fresh fuel or pulled the plugs or anything but i think i'm getting there. thanx for the help guys.
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:07 PM   #16
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Re: 2.3 has me stumped

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changed the cables and solenoid, can get it to run for a sec on ether but then it dies. still haven't added fresh fuel or pulled the plugs or anything but i think i'm getting there. thanx for the help guys.
You are not getting any fuel if it will run on ether, but not by itself.
Check/replace your fuel filter, add some fresh fuel and make sure your pump is running.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:07 PM   #17
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Update. So 351 was a little low on funds being Christmas time and all.well he finally got around to getting a fuel pump and I went over there today and helped install it.he did most of the work .I was just there for moral support.lol.anyways it fired right up. So to sum it up ,it had a bad coil and fuel pump.he ended up getting the truck for free from a friend of the family.it only has 57000 miles on it and it is pretty clean.all in all I would say he did pretty good.
Me and 351 want to say thanx everyone who gave any input.
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