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Car won't start without jump ... not a dead battery. Solenoid?

I have a 1994 Ford Tempo GL, automatic. The car started having problems cranking. When I turned the ignition, it wouldn’t do anything. The battery is fairly new. I replaced the Solenoid. We can jump off the car w/ another battery in another car OR we can simply turn the ignition, raise the hood and touch the screws which hold the wires going to the Solenoid w/ a screwdriver and that starts it. But when I turn the ignition w/out jump-starting or touching the Solenoid, nothing. I don’t think its the battery b/c it cranks right up w/ a jump or touching the solenoid w/ a screwdriver. We think there’s a short in the wiring somewhere (perhaps the one on top of the starter) but i really have no idea. Any ideas what the problem might be and how to fix it.

My experience has always been to replace the entire starter, not just the solenoid.

I’m sure you were talking about the switch solenoid near the battery. How many volts do you get when you check the battery. If you are getting 12.3 or lower, it might be a sign that you have a bad ground from engine to body. Not a very likely situation but the ground strap is usually near the alternator (87 Tempo). See if it is loose or missing. More likely is that the ignition switch is not working right. You may also have a second bad solenoid, try tapping it with the plastic end of a screwdriver when the key is turned. If that helps, you may actually have another bad one. It happens.

Not sure how you are jumping this, so try this.

Pull the wire with the rubber boot off of the starter RELAY & jump 12 volts to that terminal. Does it crank?

The starter RELAY connects voltage to the starter solenoid which is part of the starter

The wire with the rubber boot connects to the neutral switch or clutch switch & from there to the start pin of the ignition switch.

The safety switch may be the problem. See if it will start in neutral or try moving the shift lever around in the Park position.

This sounds like a solenoid. If it is easy to get to why not get a new one and see what happens. In the old days these were fairly cheap and easy to replace. Today could be an entirely different animal.

i"m not to sure this apply"s to your problem? years ago this happen to me. i was not driving my car in the winter, had it in the garage. always started it once a week. it was racing too fast one time, i tromped on the gas pedal to idle it down( carb in those days) then nothing?? turned key nothing. i tried for a long time to try and figure what happen. i used the screwdriver to do what you did , and it worked! then one day by mistake, where the wire with the rubber boot goes in the solenoid i just touched it and i heard the long awaited clicking sound,( of course with the key on) i spliced a wire to the solenoid and we had life again!!! somehow by tromping on the pedal it must have shorted the wire in the boot , i just got a break . hope you do too. good luck