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86 mustang wont run

Ok so i got everything fixed on my mustang new solenoid, ignition cylinder, starter and ignition switch i drove to my buddys house and shut it off i got back in and since it idled low i had one foot on the gas so it wouldn’t bog down and die and pushed the brake put it in reverse and it died cant get it to start now i went and exchanged the solenoid and still nothing no clicking or grinding doesnt even try to turn over even with a jump any ideas?

Check the negative battery cable. If you have metal wheel wells there should be a lug on the cable that attaches to the wheel well. This area can rust and cause a bad ground. From there to the engine, check the cable for cracks in the insulation. Replace the cable if you find some cracks.

Did you find your problem yet ? If not I’ll try to help .

No i i havent found the problem and the ground cables are in good shape

It’s not the cable’s condition that’s the issue. It’s where the cables connect to the body near the negative battery terminal. I have also seen cables that LOOK good but are trashed/corroded inside. Those after market new cable ends can be a problem too. Do your cables have their original ends?

It’s just not cranking at all when you turn the key to “start” right? No “rrr rrr rrr” sound.

That should be pretty easy to diagnose. Not necessarily easy to fix mind you. The fastest way to the diagnosis is to begin at the starter motor and work you way backwards. This has a separate starter solenoid like my Ford truck from what you say. So the starter motor just has one electrical terminal. When you turn the key to “start”, get an assistant to measure the voltage at the starter motor terminal, terminal to starter case. You can do it yourself if you rig up some long wires with alligator clips on to run to your volt meter while you are inside the car.

If this works for you , you’re not getting voltage from the ignition switch to the solenoid or the solenoid switch is bad . If this doesn’t work for you , you have a battery or cable or starter problem .
If you have a manual transmission make sure it’s in neutral , if it’s an automatic in park .

Maybe during the solenoid change you broke an aged fusible link. Those are the heavier wire leads at the solenoid.

No matter; these cars are very simple to diagnose and repair so don’t panic just yet.

Another possibility is a flaky neutral safety switch or clutch safety switch; all depending upon transmission type.

This is one of those where if we were onsite…it would be a simple affair.

The solenoid is a remote switch… it uses an electromagnet to make n break the straight connect to the battery. It has a field coil inside of it that requires power n ground to then physically move its internal connector to bridge those two main wires going to it…you can bridge these w a heavy wire or screwdriver.

If you jumper the two main contacts on the solenoid…the starter motor has no choice but to run…if it does NOT? Its a starter problem or an electrical connect problem. The starter only needs 2 connects…power n ground.

You can very quickly rule out either one. Wish you were nearby…this is an ez one to troubleshoot.


If there was any wire stripping to install new connectors involved, that’s a place to suspect too. It’s very easy to nick the wire, which weakens it, then it breaks during the install.

Ok so i had the starter tested at oriellys and i watched and it passed spun up and everything and when i jump the solenoid i can hear the starter try to spin up but thats it any ideas

Measure the battery voltage and the voltage at the starter while cranking.

With the key in start what is the voltage at the big thick wire connected to the starter motor? If there are two wires connected to the starter motor, one thin, one thick, what are the voltages at both of them? Do this measurement with the wires connected and the key in “start”. Measure the voltage from the connector on the starter motor to the starter motor case.

If the starter is good you’re not getting enough battery power through the cables to the starter or the - battery cable isn’t providing a good ground to the engine block to ground the starter . Another possibility is your engine is seized & won’t turn . If the battery & starter & all cables are good & making connection , jumping the solenoid should have made the engine crank . Do you have a meter to check voltage with ?

““when i jump the solenoid i can hear the starter try to spin up”” Jumping the solenoid will make the starter do exactly what it did at Oreillys… NOW…this is not to say that you do not have a starter allignment or spacing issue… Sometimes starters need to be shimmed so that the gear in the starter is able to couple with the flywheel gears… When they are not copacetic you will hear the starter click and sometimes it will grind or sound like crap.

But Im confusing myself here… I believe you are turning the key to start and nothing is happening? You should hear the starter solenoid click…especially if the starter itself isnt making its own loud noise to mask the solenoid click.

You need to be SURE your engine is properly grounded…dont just assume that it is…SUPPLY IT with an external ground…be that a jumper cable or something more robust. You need full batt power and ground… Neither one is more important than the other…they coexist in this situation. In fact attach the new test ground cable directly to the starter body itself…Ive seen this solve many many a “Starter Problem” Use a good solid jumper cable if you have nothing else

If I had a starter that did NOT work when bolted to the engine…the very next thing I would do is ground the engine block or starter body…and KNOW it was grounded… Then…the starter has no choice but to run…if it functioned out of the car. The test at Oreilly provided the starter with 12VDC AND Ground.

Dont just assume your block and starter has a good ground supply it with a new one…it can deceive you sometimes…connections get funky…wires break…blocks rust…etc


When a starter is tested at Oreillys or other places that do this , are they tested under load or are they just connected to a power & ground ? A starter is nothing but an electric motor & I have seen electric motors that would run when not under load but wouldn’t when connected to a load . I would assume they test under load .
I’m suspecting two problems from what he’s said . I don’t think he’s getting voltage from the ignition switch to the solenoid or it should have done the same thing when the key is turned as it does when jumping the solenoid .

Sloepoke is correct and I meant to mention that… When you hook up a starter out of the vehicle…you had better have a good grip on it… they produce a lot of torque and will twist right out of your hands when they are in good shape.

This will not be a complex solution here…