Mustang problems!

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Janis Sauncy, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Ok, why does this stuff always happen on the weekends when all the (local) mechanics don't work?

    I have been having no problems with my little beater '91 Mustang until today. It started when I was taking care of some business about thirty miles from home. When I got back in, it was deader than a doornail! I've had some problems in the past with the battery terminals; they corrode easily and the negative side was loose. I did at one time force a screw between the post and the connector and that did seem to do the trick.

    Today, however, it was way loose and both terminals were really corroded. The guy at the business I was at (unfortunately NOT an auto mechanic) pounded another screw in to tighten it down and him, my son, and another guy pushed me so I could pop the clutch and start it.

    I could have come straight home, but it was showing a good charge so I decided to go ahead with my plans and head even farther away from home. We stopped at a Wendy's for lunch (about 60 miles from home) and parked on a slight hill just in case. As soon as I turned off the motor, just out of curiosity I turned the key and it started. But after we had eaten and got back in the car, it was dead again. No clicking or anything and when I turned the key, it showed a real negative charge. My son and another good sam pushed me AGAIN (thank God for stick shift!) and I drove straight to a Firestone tire dealer less than a block away. The guy said I definitely needed new connections and for $55.00 they could do that for me ($12.00 for the connectors and $36.00 for labor!). I went ahead and had it done. For that money, they also checked the charging system and starter and everything checked out good.

    I proceeded on my merry way....stopped for gas and one or two other stops with no problem starting.

    I got almost home and had two more quick stops to make. The first one, got back in the car and dead!!!! The next stop, I left the car running and made it quick.

    Got home, backed into the driveway just in case, turned the motor off and then tried to start it again and it wouldn't. I turned on the headlights and I have lights. But when I turn the key, the battery guage (or whatever it's called) shows a negative charge.

    Help!!!! I have to work on Monday and have to know I can get there. And then I have to know I can leave there and head straight to my regular mechanic in the afternoon!!!

    Any suggestions?

    Janis
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I think your battery is shot. Leave the headlights on for a few minutes and see if they fade away. If the battery is older than 3 years replace it.
     

  3. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Well-Known Member

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    I think agmantoo is right. The battery won't hold a charge. Sadly, you killed it by leaving the loose and corroded terminals unrepaired. The battery was stressed for so long it finally died. So don't do that again! :nono:

    :)
     
  4. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the responses because I am really stressing here....

    They checked the battery at Firestone and the readings say "battery good:" Rating:525 CCA and on the little guage thing on the print-out it shows 12.01V and under that it says 586 CCA. and on the "charging system test,: it says "no problems" and on "no load," it says 14.210 (whatever that means) and on "loads," it says 14.090. So, if you can believe their test, wouldn't it show the battery ok? (I am going to try the light thing, though.)

    A couple of other things I want to ask: also on the way home, I realized I had a headlight bulb out. I stopped at a wrecking yard I was passing by and they took the old bulb out and commented it was "fried," and put another bulb in for me. Could the fact that the other bulb was "fried" be an indication of a short somewhere?

    Also, could there be any connection to the clutch and having to have the clutch pedal down? Could there be something not engaging?

    Obviously I greatly appreciate any suggestions. I have to be at work at 4:30 in the morning. Luckily I live on a hill and I know I can pop the clutch and get it going but then, when I get off work at 3:;30 I have to be able to get out of the parking lot so I can get it to my mechanic. And I am really stressed!

    Thanks!!!!

    Janis
     
  5. Herb

    Herb Well-Known Member

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    Yes the clutch does have to be pushed in order for the car to start. It is a safety feature to prevent you from starting the car in gear.
    If you have a volt meter, you can check the charging system yourself. Take the cables loose from the battery. You should have around 12 volts. Anything less than that and the battery doesn't have much charge. To checking the charging system, put the cables back on the battery and start the car (in your case easier said than done). The voltage on the battery terminals should be around 14 volts. Any less and the battery isn't charging.
    You may also need new cables. The corrosion can "wick" up the cable and render it useless. Also check all of the connections at the battery, solenoid, starter, and altenator.
     
  6. Red Devil TN

    Red Devil TN Well-Known Member

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    It's not your battery or your alternator, it's your cables. Check that your ground on the block/accessory is clean and tight, the positive on the solinoid is clean and tight and then clean and properly tighten your teminals and then spray on a protectant like the red CRC stuff. Then make sure the solinoid is working properly, iirc the Ford ones will be mounted on the fender or firewall and you should be able to hear a click when engaged. You can also jump the terminals to engage the starter. If the cables are toast, make sure one of your next stops is to a parts store.
     
  7. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Wellll..........

    The car is apparently fixed. I don't quite know how to explain it but it seems
    the problem was a penny....

    My son went out and started poking around beneath the steering column and down by the clutch.....there is a wire hanging behind the fuses that has a penny in it that is connecting something (kind of a plug-in type of thing) and when the penny is loose, the car won't start but when the penny is in there tight it will. Don't ask me but I'm sure all you nice people who have been trying to help me figure it out will know what it is.

    Anyway, I had my son tape around the "plug-in-thing" to hold the penny tight and I haven't had any other problems (so far)!

    (I bought the car in May for the 30 mpg and have been very happy with my $600.00 "beater." I've had rear brakes put on and bought two tires.)

    Thanks!!!!!

    Janis
     
  8. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    The penny is being used as a jumper across the terminals of the connector that is supposed to be connected to your clutch safety switch. The clutch safety switch doesn't allow the starter to work unless the clutch is fully depressed preventing accidently having the car lurch or start in gear without depressing the clutch. You just have to be very aware of this and not start the car without pressing the clutch and or moving the shifter to neutral.
     
  9. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Beeman:

    Ok, so am I supposed to have the car in neutral when I start it and should I have the clutch down AND in neutral? I have always started it in gear (obviously, with the clutch down) and my son (who doesn't even have his license yet) keeps telling me I should only start it in neutral.

    Janis
     
  10. Herb

    Herb Well-Known Member

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    If the clutch is pushed in you can start the car. I will usually put the car in neutral though.
     
  11. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Putting the car in neutral will avoid any possibilities of the car jumping and is a very good habit to get into. Always step on the clutch, move the shoifter to neutral, and then start the car.