Galaxie not starting

Usually I’m pretty good with this stuff, but I’m stumped here.

I just got back from a deployment and found my 1965 Ford Galaxie convertible dead in the garage. My girlfriend had been driving it while I was away, so I’m not exactly sure what happened to it. I know that it didn’t always start right away for me, so I can only assume she had some trouble getting it started.

After a quick examination I found that plastic around the positive battery post on the fender-mounted starter solenoid had melted. So I replaced the solenoid and, while I was at it, replaced the positive and negative battery cables, as the positive cable also had signs of overheating.

Now, all I get is a very rapid clicking of the solenoid whenever I try to start it. I checked the battery voltage and it’s around 12.6V. I also put a charger on it with it set to start and it just clicks louder. The lights in the car just dim slightly while trying to start it.

I then installed a new starter, but the same problem exists. If I disconnect the cable at the starter the solenoid only clicks once. I can replicate the rapid clicking noise by shorting the starter cable to ground. This is a different sound than what you get with a weak battery- it’s much more rapid. I pulled the new starter back out and brought it back to the store to have it tested and it’s fine. I swapped in another solenoid and it did the same thing. I’ve tried all different wiring combinations, as well as running the secondary directly off of the battery, but I get the same results. I turned the engine over by hand to move to a different location on the flex plate ring gear and make sure it wasn’t locked up; everything with the engine seems to be fine. The car doesn’t have any battery draining issues and is otherwise a good vehicle. Any ideas?

One thing you seemed to miss and would have been my first guess. You voltage tested the battery, but you did not do a load test.

How old is that battery, over 5 years and I would replace it, if newer, then have it load tested (usually done free) and let’s go from there.

Ah- I’ll check into that. The battery is only about 8 months old, so at least it’s still under warranty. Thanks and I’ll keep you posted.

Check the positive cable that runs to the starter from the other side of the solenoid. If the insulation is cracked, the wire is corroded and can’t deliver enough power. You did well by changing the negative cable too. If your new negative cable doesn’t have a flange where it attaches to the body on its way to the engine block, and your old one did, you have to get the right cable.

Since you saw signs of wiring overheating, I’d also check the ground strap between the engine and the frame and make sure it isn’t melted or corroded. Also a load test on the battery as someone else mentioned. The battery may have been cooked by whatever event (probably too much engine cranking with no cool-down period) caused the melted insulation.

Yep, sure enough. I load tested the battery and I got 00 CCA. Exchanged it under warranty and put the new one in- the Galaxie fired right up!

Thanks again!! I’m going to go enjoy some top-down cruising here in Georgia.

Sincere thanks for your service.