The problem is intermittent: After turning off the car, there is a clicking noise coming from the needles in the dash. Sometimes the needles click and jump repeatedly; sometimes there is just the clicking noise. To get it to stop, I’ll turn the ignition switch several times. At this point, the car seems “dead” but not from the battery. The car actually will not do anything electrically including popping the truck, unlocking, etc. It will not start. After turning the switch several times, the car would eventually start like nothing was ever wrong with it. I am just guessing that there is something wrong with the switch or something electrical. I also want to think it coincides with something to do with the battery. The problem seems to be worse after checking and seeing that the battery may be low. We have had the alternator checked, we’ve had the battery itself checked, etc. In addition to driving around with an angry (bad) catalytic converter, this problem, etc, I really would like to send it off of a ravine.
Needles in the dash? You mean the speedometer and tachometer?
I’d first check the connections to the battery. Make sure they are good and tight and that the wires are properly crimped into the terminals.
Just make sure nobody lives at the bottom of the ravine and you’re good to go.
What would you check next?
Battery connections have supposedly been checked by two mechanics…of course, I haven’t resorted to the Ford dealership just yet. I did talk with one of the servicemen at the dealership and he looked at me like I was absolutely insane…never had he heard of this problem. Just my luck.
If that problem is present when a mechanic is looking at it and he can’t figure out what’s going on, you need to find a new mechanic.
Get a test light or multimeter and put it across the thick wire to the starter and a large metal piece on the engine - ie, ground. You should see 12V there all the time.
If you see 12V there, move it to the thin wire on the starter and see what happens when you try to start it. It should have 12V there.
It could be an intermittent interlock or a bad ignition switch.
Next time it happens and you don’t have tools handy, see what happens when you open the door. Does the domelight turn on? Is it still on when you turn the key to start the car or does it turn off?
Update: the alternator died and was the cause of the strange occurrences.