Starts about 50 to 75% of the time but always starts if you get it rolling and pop the clucth

My ranger Starts about 50 to 75% of the time but always starts if you get it rolling and pop the clutch. It cranks as hard as is it always does when it doesn’t start. No other problems no miss nothing.( I’ve replaced the lock-cylinder, ignition switch, and fuel pump relay. It acts like its just not getting fire to the plugs but i cant check because every time i try to it doesn’t start. Its a 1994 Ford Ranger XLT 3.0 5 Speed

Need help don’t know where to go from here

Here is a guess: Starting and running are two different things. When you turn the key over to start, the engine may crank, but for some reason there is no ignition. I know you replaced the ignition switch, but the problem may be in the wiring. However, when you roll the vehicle to start the engine, the ignition switch is in the “on” position. You are then activating the ignition.
When the truck doesn’t start, leave the ignition switch in the “on” position and bridge the starter relay with a pair of pliers. If the engine then starts, that confirms that you are not getting spark (or possibly fuel) when the switch is in the start position.

Alright i will try that thank you. Do you mean the solenoid on the fender wall or the relay

If that does start it what do you suggest i do next ?

I was thinking about the solenoid on the fender well. The positive battery cable should go to this unit (it’s called a solenoid, but technically it is a relay). Be sure the truck is not in gear (park or neutral if automatic) when you try this.
My brother had this problem with a Ford van. He happened to have a remote starter switch he used to use to crank the engine in the old days when he needed to turn the engine over while setting the ignition point gap. He connected one line from the switch to the battery terminal side of the relay and the other to the wire coming from the ignition switch. He ran the wires from the switch through the firewall and taped the switch to the steering column. He then just turned the ignition switch to “on” and pressed the button. I still think we were better off before Chrysler corporation came out with “key turn” starting in 1949 and the other manufacturers followed suit. I had no problem with the starter being activated by a push button or a floor mounted pedal.

The problem might be with the Ignition Control Module.

The ICM functions in two modes. These are the start and run modes.

When starting the engine, or the start mode, the ICM allows full battery voltage to the coil. This insures there’s a hot enough spark to start the cold engine. When the ignition switch is allowed to go to the run position, the ICM switches to the run mode. This reduces the voltage to the coil when the charging system comes on line. If this isn’t done, the coil and other secondary ignition components would be damaged from the higher voltage.

So the problem might be that, the ICM is failing in the start mode, but functions in the run mode.

That’s why the engine starts every time when the ignition switch is in the run position, because the ICM is in the run mode when popping the clutch.


Alright thank you guys so much i will start on it tomorrow if i can. Where is the icm located ??

Any way to test the ICM

What year and engine?


I think Tester is right. On older cars before electronic ignition this could happen too. The current to the coil in “on” or “run” was limited by a resistor to avoid overheating the coil on long drives, and in “start” that resistor was temporarily bypassed, so the coil would get full current from the battery in “start”, producing a nice hot spark, good for starting a cold engine on a cold day. Then you’d return the key to “run” or “on” , and the resistor path would kick in.

All that stuff could fail, and in two ways. One way the engine would start, but as soon as you returned the key to “on” or “run” it would stall. And the other way, the engine would crank but wouldn’t start in “start”, but you could get it started by pushing it with the key in “on” or “run”. Which problem occurred depended on which of the two circuit paths had failed. I expect your problem is the electronic ignition version of this.

Those times when it doesn’t start, try pumping the clutch pedal.
There’s a safety switch designed to prevent the starter from turning unless the clutch pedal is pushed in to prevent the starter from moving the vehicle unintentionally. Perhaps that’s becoming flakey.

Post the results.

TSM … the OP says it cranks reliably, even when it won’t start. Wouldn’t that imply the clutch safety switch is ok?

Nice catch George. Yup.
Gotta start reading more carefully… {:stuck_out_tongue:

starter dragging,armature rubbing?