Lost the start wire!

Will

Registered
Was changing the starter on my Mark VIII and when I went the install the new starter the start wire (Black with ring on end) is nowhere to be found. The two red wires were right easy to see, but no black wire. Searched for an hour! Had helper search... no start wire. Where does the wire route from? Anyone else ever have this happen? I've been doing this type of repairs for many years, and never had this happen before.
 

driller

El Presidente
Staff member
Is there not only 2 wires to the starter? One heavy wire (B) from the battery and one 14 gauge wire (S) for the solenoid? I think they're both red.

From Google...

2009-06-22_224241_linc.gif
 

Will

Registered
"Is there not only 2 wires to the starter?" No. There are two red wires and one black as stated.
 

Will

Registered
Today I tried using the two red wires. With heavy wire on main and smaller on solenoid terminals, "no crank" when using the key to start. However, will crank if screwdriver is used at solenoid. Tried running wire directly from starter relay, no crank. Starting to think installing a start button might be the simplest solution.
 

Will

Registered
The starter was replaced because it would work when the car is cold, but not when car is hot. I did a test at the relay to prove the start signal is being sent. Bench test on starter at Autozone showed intermittent problems.
 

Will

Registered
Note this car is my only ride. I did a test drive, and everything worked about perfect. I live about 20 miles out of town, and the car had no problems what-so-ever until I turned it off in my driveway. Then, I tried to move to a different parking spot. No crank, no click, nothing but dash lights. Waited till next morning, and car started first try. Warmed car and did 15 minute drive, and returned to home. Would not re-start until 4 hours later when cool. Ran car in driveway until temp was at normal, turned off, would not re-start. That's when I tested signal at relay. Moving key to start position causes power at relay. Then I pulled the starter.
 

driller

El Presidente
Staff member
Note this car is my only ride. I did a test drive, and everything worked about perfect. I live about 20 miles out of town, and the car had no problems what-so-ever until I turned it off in my driveway. Then, I tried to move to a different parking spot. No crank, no click, nothing but dash lights. Waited till next morning, and car started first try. Warmed car and did 15 minute drive, and returned to home. Would not re-start until 4 hours later when cool. Ran car in driveway until temp was at normal, turned off, would not re-start. That's when I tested signal at relay. Moving key to start position causes power at relay. Then I pulled the starter.
The symptoms you describe sounds identical to one of mine years ago. Cold starts were no problem but intermittent hot start problems eventually required attention. In my case it technically was the starter solenoid, but it proved easier just to replace the entire unit.

I'm still lost on the whole third wire though. The only thing I can think it could be would be a jumper wire for the solenoid? See image below...

F144720257.jpg
In this example, the "black wire with ring" connector is furnished with the starter. The OEM starter actually has a spade connection for the solenoid wire. Evidently some aftermarket starters simply use this jumper wire to adapt to the OEM wire connection which is a spade type connection.

Make sense?
 

Will

Registered
I noticed on the replacement starter that it has a black wire installed in the start position, and marked DO NOT REMOVE THIS WIRE. Perhaps the old starter this short wire attached at the starter, but not attached to anything on the car. When I detached it from the starter It could have simple fallen someplace out of sight. Problem is starter will not crank with only the two red wires. Maybe the black wire was a work-around from prior electrical issues. I know I have power coming out of the relay when key is turned to start, but no power at starter "start wire." Other red wire always has power. What do you think? Install start button to fix no matter the cause?
 

driller

El Presidente
Staff member
I know I have power coming out of the relay when key is turned to start, but no power at starter "start wire."
I think the obvious answer is a problem with the wiring between the starter relay and the starter. But your earlier post said you ran a wire from the starter relay but still no crank? Have you tried replacing the relay? The coil of the relay may still be functioning but the contacts may no be functioning. I've seen bad relays test good with a voltmeter but not actually 'work'. Same with some fuses.

I would try replacing the starter fuse (#27 in above diagram) and the starter relay in the engine compartment fuse box. Refer to your owner's manual for actual location in the fuse box. Beyond that you would need to trace the wiring from the starter back to the starter relay looking for a fault.
 

Will

Registered
Today I tried to install a start button. Now when I try to hook up the wires to the starter the main power is shorted out. Tried to hook up battery after attaching starter wires, and it makes a BIG arc. Never had that problem before. Next is find where it is shorted... but see little chance of finding it because the wires are in the harness. Also, I was able to find a factory service manual used on Amazon for $50. Doesn't help much...
 

Will

Registered
Got the short fixed, but car can only be started with a screwdriver on the starter terminals. Still no key start. Back to trying to install a start button.
 

Will

Registered
Installed the start button today... Nothing... New heavy duty start button bought on Amazon is defective, and does not work! Pulled button out and used a screwdriver to short acoss the terminals on the back. Car started no problem. Checked continuity with meter while pressing button. Defective.
 

Will

Registered
Get the start button installed. Car runs great.... but, no electronics. No speedometer, no turn signals, no radio. Head and tail lights work. When key is in accessory position, all work as they should, but do not work with key turned to "run." Nothing. (All worked great before changing starter.) I'm going to order a new start interrupter relay.
 

tixer

Lincoln Evangelist
Staff member
Paid Member
Could the ignition switch itself be the source of your trouble here?
 

Will

Registered
Put in the new start interrupter relay. No change. Next I'll try the ignition switch. I have the factory service manual, but am having trouble finding instructions to change the ignition switch...
 

Will

Registered
Latest.... New ignition switch is not available. Not on eBay or any place I have looked. Even tried the local dealer - he laughed and said it has been obsolete for more than 20 years, good luck! Anyone know of a source? My last resort might be to get a generic switch, but the wiring could be tricky because of the security. Everything works on the car, drives fantastic... but can't be driven after the new starter was installed.
 
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