1990 Ford Econoline starts just SOMETIMES, help!

Hi, I have a 1990 Ford Econoline that is a great van if it STARTS! It usually starts up great, even in the cold. But recently its randomly not starting, it sounds like the starter is trying to go, and then after a couple tries there’s just a little ‘click’. I then called roadside assistance, waited for 25 mts or so, and then tried to start it just for the heck of it, it started right up! Same thing happened today, it started up fine, I took it to the grocery store, bought my groceries, then got in and it wouldn’t start! Walked home, came back 3 or 4 hours later and it started up perfectly. I left the lights on the other day for like 3 hours, and the van started up fine. Just had the battery checked out, Autozone says the battery is “good”. What is going on??? Why does it just start occasionally!?

The next time it happens, try tapping on the terminals of the battery and then try to start the car. Better yet, remove the battery cable clamps from the terminals on the battry and clean them. How do you do this?

  1. go to an auto parts store and purchase a terminal clamp puller and a terminal cleaning brush. This should set you back less than $10.

  2. Using the puller, remove the negative cable clamp first. Use the cleaning brush to clean the terminal of the battery and then the cable clamp. Leave the negative cable disconnected.

  3. repeat step 2) for the positive terminal.

  4. reconnect the positive terminal first. Then connect the negative terminal.

Battery terminal connections CAN be intermittent. We usually think of the connection as failing and staying failed; but, it can be intermittent. So, removing the battery cables, and cleaning them and the battery posts will (at least) rule out that possibility.

You may need a heat shield on the exhaust pipe near the starter. I make them about 5 or six inches by nine. Drill two holes where a muffler clamp will go through. Put both of the clamp parts on, then the shield, then the nuts.