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Old 07-19-2013, 03:32 PM   #31
Desperate_Ashleigh
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I honestly don't understand why the starter wouldn't even make any noise if it was the engine but ok. I will have someone look at it and see if they can turn the engine since I don't know how to do that myself.
I also really really don't understand that before I started working on the car it was actually running just fine. It would just make this grinding noise every time I started it which everyone who heard it was sure it was the starter. This is why I took the car apart in the first place.
So just to make this clear my car was actually running but making a grinding noise when I started it so I took the starter out and went to get it tested but they told me the starter was fine, I put that starter back into my car and after that it hasn't started at all....
Does this change anything?
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:40 PM   #32
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Whoa then.....................before you do one more thing then someone must get under car and try to turn engine clockwise as looking at the passenger side which is front of motor. If totally locked up then stop with any and all starter work. Anyway it can be turned, even using belt, but clockwise. See how far you can turn it. Will take effort but should turn and turn, if totally locked up then you have a serious problem. Much easier to do if you pull the four spark plugs first. Make sure you note the order the plug wires go on plugs, must repeat exactly when they go back on.

The pic Marde posted is the correct starting system electrical diagram and says it all.

The neighbor I spoke of had it happen in grocery store parking lot. Car ran perfectly, go in store and come back out in 5 minutes, crank car and it simply turned a fractional second and stopped. he too was convinced the starter was the problem. The SOHC motor commonly drops a valveseat when engine runs hot (normal hot, not overheated) and then parked, the seat falls if valve open at that time. The grinding sound could've been loose seat trying to come out and rubbing at cranking time. Most people though get no warning at all.

Of course, hoping it's not that but you must check for it. If motor turns freely then go back to starter issue and continue.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:20 PM   #33
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There are two posts/terminals on the starter (see diagram on page-3). Terminal-1 on the starter is always Hot (12Vdc) because it is directly connected to the battery with a heavy gauge wire/cable. If this cable or the connections are corroded (faulty connection) it might cause your No Start problem. Amc49 previously identified this cable as a known problem for other Focus owners. The other terminal on the starter is terminal-2. Terminal-2 is always cold except for a few seconds during the engine start sequence (when the engine is cranking). If all of the wiring, switches and relays are working properly, terminal-2 should be 12Vdc only when the car key is advanced to Start. If you take the time to connect the multimeter to terminal-2 and “see” the 12Vdc hit during engine start/crank, you will know that most of the (control side) wiring, switches and relays are working properly.

You said:
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Originally Posted by Desperate_Ashleigh View Post
The weirdest part about it is that when the car is off I get voltage at the starter but the moment you try to start the car the voltage disappears.
Because you had 12Vdc on the starter when the car was off, you were monitoring Terminal-1. If the 12Vdc disappeared exactly when you tried to start the car, this indicates that you have a faulty connection that causes a (virtual) OPEN circuit because of the current/amperage. <remember my short story I told during my first post here?> If this is happening, please double check the red wire/cable going from the battery to the starter terminal-1 AND ALSO the ground wires that we previously discussed (on page 3).

Also remember that a faulty connection can hide itself, like a bad crimp, or some corrosion that is on the inside of a terminal lug. I have fixed 2 starting/charging problems recently without any testing at all. I saw ugly corroded wire on the positive cable terminal lug and cut the whole terminal lug off; striped the insulation, crimped on a new terminal lug and bam! Fixed. These were cars of friends, so I would never charge them, but I did get free beer and pizza.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:15 PM   #34
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Yes, the ridiculousness of the whole thing, often it can be fixed with not one cent spent, I've done it many times on many cars. That bad penny engine though has foiled many attempts at starter fixes. Because the starter was not the problem to begin with. Again, hoping it's not that.
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:31 AM   #35
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Well most of the things I have bought actually needed to be bought. I didn't pay for a new starter because it is under warranty and the battery was 7 years old and needed to be replaced.
The other two things that I have replaced didn't need to be replaced but oh well nothing I can do about that now.
I will be having a friend help me tomorrow since my arthritis has gotten much worse since working on my car all the time.
I will keep you updated.
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Old 07-20-2013, 04:02 AM   #36
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@amc49 and other FF’s
I must acknowledge and respect your thought that the motor could be stuck/frozen and causing the No Start condition. I have little experience with car engine stuff. Like you, I hope that her engine is not frozen.

My wild guess, based on the symptoms that she has described, is that (even if the motor is stuck) the voltage measured at terminal-1 would drop some, but would not “disappear”. Terminal-1 voltage is not regulated or fuse protected based on the simple wire diagram I am looking at. Terminal-1 should always be ~12Vdc.

I can guess that the starter motor assembly might have over-current/over-temp protection that protects both the starter motor and maybe the circuits on terminal-1 and terminal-2 (in addition to Fuse 8 - 30 amp) but this internal protection would never interrupt voltage on terminal-1 (ref to ground).

The OP has stated that 12Vdc is disappearing on terminal-1 and this cannot happen unless the circuit is “opened” by a fuse (there is none!?) or by a defective/faulty connection while under load. Separately, the voltage can be "dropped" across any resistive load such as a "faulty connection' or onto another unknown load on the circuit.

These are my guesses based on limited experience and the block diagram. Outside of the potential solutions already provided to the OP, does anyone have a more detailed electrical schematic of the 2002 atx starter system and can post it/link it here? Thanks! –m.
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Old 07-20-2013, 04:33 AM   #37
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You could easily be correct and certainly hoping so. The contact points inside solenoid on starter can do the volt drop off thing, I've seen it before if they are pretty burned to have no contact area. Rebuilt starter no guarantee of new solenoid, but you'd think so. If the lower quality rebuild maybe not. I've pulled off the shelf starters before to see badly eaten contacts and even used brushes, or utter crap. They simply get the motor running and nothing else on one year warranty parts. If the brush leads melt in two behind brushes then another dead spot but should burn and be done not repeat.

The quality of the metal conductor inside the plastic molding at the starter has caused trouble before also. Usually that shows by melting the plastic though, whoever changes starter should readily see that. I've also seen the further run of cable past the starter to the alt apparently just barely wear through at the engine block from rubbing to not short the live cable while it's not powered up, but upon starter power up it arcs and then dead short for a second against block. Needless to say no start. So why does it not short when starter not powered up? The line is still hot. Or another one of those weird things electricity does when conditions are just right.

Your guess is not wild.

Just that so much possible misinformation and the potentiality of this type motor broke that one really needs to get under there and look. It happens to others all the time, or, do much to get starter working and motor dead all along. The grinding noise could easily have been the valveseat and not the starter at all.

Could easily just be starter power. Here's why. Not one time unless I've missed it, has anyone mentioned the loud click that would occur if starter ever actually powered up, even if it doesn't turn. Meaning possibly the main is not powering on. Still suggesting power issue to the small wire. Or, again, an error in reporting back. Hate to keep harping about that but it IS an issue here. Affects what is done next.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:35 PM   #38
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Well I have not had time to actually get anymore work done but you are correct in assuming that there is no click. The only noises you hear when the car tries to start is what I believe to be the fuel pump turning on.
I am waiting to hear back from an old friend that is a ford certified mechanic but who knows when that will be. I just cannot believe that I have had this car for less than a year and I have put over 1000$ into it.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:05 PM   #39
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OK... I briefly scanned over this stuff. I'm sort of tired, but hey why not try a little.

1) Got 12v, goes to 0 under load, yeah loose connection every time. She's checked the battery terminals, so now to check the negative cable attachment to the engine. That would certainly do it also, and she might not have the supplemental ground that goes to the cylinder head. I have seen where a loose main negative caused the supplemental to burn into two pieces.

2) If the motor was locked up you'd hear a click. Also, you'd get voltage on both sides of the solenoid.

To make things easier, let's divide the starter into 2 circuits, and 2 potential problems. One is the starting circuit- which is what powers up when you turn the key to close the solenoid on the starter and tells the starter to go. The second is the starter power circuit, this is what powers the starter.

I'm not entirely convinced that the solenoid is being tested correctly. There should be 2 bolts on the front of the solenoid. One bolt is where the starter power from the battery is connected to. The other bolt supplies the power to the inside of the starter. When the starter is not engaged, you'll get power between ground and the bolt from the battery, and nothing on the other bolt. Turn the key, if everything is working, you should read power to ground on both bolts. Now the little wire connects on a small screw. It can be tested also- test between that wire and ground (engine block). It should be dead with the key off, and when the key is turned on- it should have power. If it doesn't, then we're back to diagnosing the starting circuit not the power to the starter.

I'm still with the loose connection theory- something must be wrong with the ground if the positive has a good connection and is not damaged.

I hope you can find someone who can help you run those 2 tests to divide up the problem before you throw more parts at it. Next time ask "How do you test this to be sure that is the problem?"
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:20 PM   #40
Desperate_Ashleigh
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Can you possibly give me a list of all the connections that I should check? Just so I can write it down and do them all in order. I don't want to leave anything out.
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