1965 Thunder Bird

My 1965 T-Bird will not start. I have replacved the battery and solenoid. I even had the starter tested which is working fine. Does anyone have a clue on why the car will not start?

The details on the symptom are pretty sparse but from what you posted it sounds like the problem is that the starter motor is not physically cranking the engine over.

If this is the case you need to verify that power is provided to the small wire on the solenoid when the key is turned to the START position. If there is no power at that lead then the problem is more than likely either the ignition switch or the neutral safety switch.

Since it’s assumed the car has, or should have, an automatic transmission you could try shifting it into NEUTRAL and see what happens. If it starts then the neutral safety sw. is more than likely bad.

Thank you for the reply and help. I did as you recommended and the car did not start in neutral or park. After having the starter tested and installing a new battery and solenoid, I am going to replace the ignition switch and see if this will resolve my issue with the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird has a 390 engine with a automatic transmission.

Cool car! Coupe or convertible?

WHOA! Slow down. Give us a more detailed description than “won’t start” and maybe we can suggest better things to check. Does the car crank? Do you just get a clicking sound and no crank? What exactly happens when you turn the key.

Please tell us…

Crank, but no start
No crank, nothing…

The car is a hardtop and I became the third owner in 2004.

Dpes anyone else have answer that I can try? I really want to get my car back on the road…


Does anyone have any idea on what else I can try to get my car started?

Thank you,

With these old Ford’s, you can by-pass the switch with a screwdriver. Take the screwdriver, place the blade on the 12V lug from the battery, and cross it over the small terminal. This will send 12V to the solenoid trigger, and activate the solenoid. If the battery, solenoid and starter are good, it should crank the engine. Then, the problem is with the 12V trigger voltage from the ignition switch.

Also, I just had a similar problem with my Toyota Supra. The starter would not work, but it bench tested OK. The best I can figure, some coils within the starter failed, and, even though it would tunr on the bench with no load, did not have the capacity to turn the engine. A replacement starter fixed it.

Negative battery cable. Check it for cracked insulation which will cause corrosion. How to test for bad negative cable: clamp jumper cable to negative terminal end (with the battery cable still on the battery) and the other end to a solid part of the engine. You can use both pos and neg jumper cable on the ground side so as to get a better ground. Then try to start the car. The part of the engine I connect to is something like an alternator bracket or any other thing that is connected to the engine. Good luck. You could skip the test and change the negative cable. It won’t cost too much.

On A 1965 THUNDERBIRD there is neutral safety switch located on top the swing away steering column. There should be vacuum hoses going to the park brake release that will release the parking brake when it shifted into gear. I have had mine on 1966 thunberbird stick in drive position where it would not start. There will not be any power going to the starter solenoid to active the starter… The neutral safety switch is not a part that will be available at the local parts house and most likely be available only at a parts house that specialize in the vintage Thunderbird parts like Larry Thunderbirs in California… Another typical problem is the neutral safety switch is out of adjustment and you can hole the shifter leveler up in park and turn the key and it might start…

Good luck