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1986 Ford Bronco - Starter-related issues

I have a full-size 1986 bronco. It’s the 5.8L V8 OHV 16V, 4wD,

I bought it and was told the starter solenoid was bad and needed to be replaced. So I did. Started fine that day. Then in a week something wasn’t right.

I would turn the key and get it running, but once I let go of the key, it still sounded like I was turning the key.

So I took it in. The shop replaced the actual starter. But when I went in to pick it up, I went to start it and it did it again. The machanic looked at me and said “ you can let go of the key now miss (yes I’m a chick)”. I held up my hands to show him I wasn’t doing anything. So he banged on the starter solenoid and said (just bang on this when that happens :…( ).

$400 for nothing.

So the beast was put to the side a few months. Come winter time we got some unexpected snow. So the best was started again.

I would get one good start out of her. The second start of the day was harder. Then the third was a toss up.

When my husband took her to work. He had no problem the days he would drive to work, park her all day and then come home 9 hr later. But the day he had to go get something an hour after he got to work, he had the same problem.

I’m thinking something with heat?!? No machsnic around here seems to know what the heck to do. But they are fine charging me while they play around with things. But never give me any feed back of how to fix it.

Maybe a shim is missing and the starter’s drive teeth are jammed against the flywheel teeth.

Sounds like a defective starter solenoid.

Okay, but is this something that would get worse as the day goes on being warm/hot and get better as the rig gets cooler?

Thank you for your response and help

I’ve gone through 5 starter solenoids. There’s something else going on.

Or maybe you can recommend a different type. I’m using the motorcraft brand

The ignition switch mounted at the base of the steering column may be out of adjustment, or worn out.


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Okay, thank you. Is this pretty easy to install? If I went and bought one to install my self?


Just have to stand on your head under the dash to swap it.


Okay. Awesome I’ll try in the next day or 2 when I get time to do it and the rain stops. You rock. Hope this works.

Happy New Years.


An ignition switch that doesn’t spring back to the Run/On position from the Start position could be the problem. You want to make sure that actuating rod is OK, too.

I presume you have a conventional two-terminal starter. If so measure the “s” terminal voltage (smaller of the two harness wires) while this is happening. The s-terminal should be about 12 volts with the key in “start” and close to 0 volts with the key in “on” or any other position besides “start”. If it stays close to 12 volts even when you return the key to “on” from “start” the problem is most likely before the starter. Probe between the terminal and the starter case, with eveything connected.

Thank you all I’m going to try to get to it today and give you all feed back. Hopefully I won’t have anymore questions.

Thank you again for the help.

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Hey everyone, Sorry It’s been crazy over here. I was able to get the Ignition switch replaced. That was fun, had to remove everything to get up in there. It didnt make a difference, but by looking at the old one, its good I replaced it.

I also bought a new ignition control unit. That was super easy and the bronco started right up… Yay!.

The rear brake is now sticking, but I assume this is because its been parked for 6 months and the e-brake was on?

Thank you again for all the help. I know Ill be back to rack your brains.

Happy new years!