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Discussion Starter #1
Uhoh...

I just replaced the valve cover gasket on my 2001 Zetec. My first attempt at removing the cover involved pulling the wires off the spark plugs. The car started after I reattached the wires, and I moved the car to where I had better light (working at night). For attempt #2, I pulled the wires off the plugs AND off the, uh, the thing at the other end of the wires...that's the coil, right?

Fast-forward through the successful gasket replacement, and now I'm buttoning everything up - and the car won't start! I turn the key, and it just goes click click click until I let go of the key. The headlights and instrument cluster light up just fine.

Please help! I just fixed a minor problem and now have a bigger one!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Won't start - clicking noise

Alrighty...

When I turn the key, I hear a rhythmic clicking, but the engine just won't turn over. It started fine earlier today. What do I do now? What is clicking, and is it supposed to?

Sorry for the re-post, but I'm hoping more people read this thread than the other one I posted. A few hours ago, the car started normally. Now, it's below freezing out, and I've just finished replacing the valve cover gasket and reinstalling the plug wires. I was hoping to save some $$$ replacing the gasket myself, but now I can't even drive the dang thing to the shop to have them fix whatever I screwed up.

Please please please help!
 

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Did you check the connections at the battery and your ground wire?? Is your battery good??
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I haven't touched the battery, but I'll be sure to check on the terminals and the voltage. Where is the ground wire? The valve cover gasket was my first DIY other than light bulbs, so I don't really know where stuff is.
 

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Is your Odometer Displaying Dash's

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Like that ????
 

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ROTFL I forgot to ask what engine he has XD..

I caused the same thing with my car and I was doing the same thing he was and inadvertently unplugged something which caused the same thing but the telltale show was the dash's which only 2 things can cause the digital odo to dash out...

im curious to know if he has a multimeter
 

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It is your starter solenoid clicking, try a jump start and the car should start right up. Your battery is low. See if you have a drain on it, as above, you need a multi-meter to check this,
 

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That clicking noise sounds like a dead battery. Double check your plug wires are completely in place, you should hear a snap sound when you put them. The plug wires don't go into the coils in the SPI, they go into the sockets in the engine and into the distributor by the other side.
 

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JUMP IT, mine did the same thing when I was detailing the inside of mine and left my car in the ON position so I could have sum light and music
 

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Charge the battery or get a jumpstart and see if that takes care of it. Hopefully you have the wires back on in the correct places.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone! Yes, I do have a multimeter, and now that you mention it, it does sound like a dead battery. What could cause the dashes? It's currently 6:00AM here; I'll likely be riding the motorcycle in the cold today and not get to tinker with the car until after work, but the more info I get before then, the better.

BTW, it's a 2001 Zetec ZX3 with automatic transmission.

I'm hoping it's a dead battery. On the one hand, the shop that gave me an oil change last week said the battery needed maintenance, so that fits. On the other hand, I had just done the gasket thing, so I figured it had to be something I screwed up. Hmm...come to think of it, I think this is the car's original battery!

It's nice to start the day with a dose of optimism. Thanks again, everyone! I'll keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
"C'mon honey, wake up! ....yes, I realize it's BFE in the morning, but I need a jump...."

Wires are right; I made sure to draw a diagram before I took 'em off. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just an old, dead battery...

...and that I put the wires back on right.
 

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yup....battery lol...

Good luck on the bike....I bet it's cold lol It's freezing here in the burg. :)

btw....if for some reason you need a jump and can't find anyone in Blacksburg I'd be glad to run on over for ya'
 

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does the Odo display dash's if it does its not the battery
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dead battery! I didn't unhook it before I worked on the valve cover, and it drained. It jump-started okay, but now the damn thing vibrates like you wouldn't believe.

The vibes are related to engine speed. If I rev it to about 2000, it mostly smooths out, but at idle, it's pretty lumpy. When I shift from park into a gear, the revs drop a little (which I think is normal, it's always done that), but the vibes get really bad. If I try to actually move the car, the revs plummet, the vibes turn into a full-on shudder, and I wish I had a clutch to slip to get the car rolling.

After the shuddering, the headlights and dash started to flicker a little, and the ABS light came on...and went off...and on and off....

My thoughts:
1. Keep the revs up in park and just let the battery charge for a while
2. I removed and reinstalled the plug wires - could a loose/disconnected wire cause this? I'd think not, what with the engine still spinning like it should.
3. Is it even remotely possible that my heaving and yanking on the valve cover would break an engine mount?

I'm in for the night, but I'll get up early so I can check the plug wires and try to charge it a little before I have to ride the motorcycle 30 miles in below-freezing temperatures to get to work.

Keep the advice coming! Y'all are really helping me out!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey, thanks...aw crap, it still lists me in B'burg? I've graduated and moved to the DC area. *hunts for profile-editing widget*
 

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Drive the car for about an hour.. the ECU's lost its learned Idle and run perameters...
 

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Its possible by fudging with the plug wires they are no good. Sometimes if they are old and on thier way out pulling them on and off will tip them over the edge to crap town and cause a rough running condition.
 
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