03 intermittent crank issue

rabbitweasel

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Having a crank issue with completely stock 03 (video included)...

So recently the 03 has had an issue cranking. I'll provide lots of observed information and some of it may or may not be relevant but the more info the better I hope. There will be some speculation inserted where appropriate.

Past:
The first few times I noticed it a couple of weeks ago. During turning the key it would just make a loud click. After 2-3 ignition attempts it would start up easy whether cold/warm but eventually had the following symptoms after even 20x attempts: Click on ignition (but only sometimes). When turning the key, I looked carefully at the dash and it would light up (but only sometimes). Otherwise, I wouldn't even get the dash to light up or even a click when moving from accessory to ignition. Between ignition attempts, I would remove the key entirely. Additionally I could still get the accessories to still light up sometimes even if the accessories didn't light up in the previous ignition attempt. However the headlights would be dim in either case. Did not check battery voltage this time as didn't have tester with me. Ultimately the lack of headlights lead me to think the battery. Had car towed (position of car made jumping battery unfeasable) and with a test from nearby Ford dealership, the battery had a bad cell. Battery was about 4 years old and replacement made sense anyway. Battery replaced at Ford dealership, car started right up. No problems for about another week...

Present:
Then the no start/no turnover issue with just click came back in ~10 days with a couple of short driving sessions which went fine in that time. Exact same symptoms now though did an extra test: I had someone to help and put a voltmeter on the terminals with ignition off/accessory/crank attempts with everything well in the green in each phase for 12V. I'm thinking the battery was just a part of the picture now. Battery still shows adequate voltage at all times on voltometer but won't crank. Lights are very dim now so again battery is drained but it's brand new from dealership. This time around the battery was jumped (it did take about ~3 tries to get it to start and first attempt was after a couple of minutes of jumper car running). Helper this time claimed on last attempt that he pushed down on negative jumper end (not sure if relevant but posting incase it suggests connection issue though could be coincidental).

<Amateur speculation time>
1.) Maybe possible power draw when car is not running. 2.) Alternator may be on the way out which would explain why it drove fine for a little over a week until no start. 3.) Bad electrical connections somewhere / bad grounding. 4.) Starter solenoid going out. 5.) Something worse :O 6.) Your input of item(s) listed or other.

Car is at dealership again but won't be seen for a couple of days as 'Stang specialist isn't in. Didn't remember to check fuses so I can't comment on them. If you have additional questions or the info seems ambiguous, post below. Link to video. Ignore the part where I comment on hot/cold start as it happened even on a cold start:

https://youtu.be/rt49UiPaVaU
 
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mkb116

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Was anything done to the car just (or somewhat recently) before the issues started?

How long have you owned the car?

What mods are on the car now?

How many miles on the car?
 
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rabbitweasel

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Haven't done anything with car recently though a recent long drive in one day mentioned below VVV .

Not that long. A month. Though I put about 700 miles on it the day I bought it driving it home. Another 200 miles since.

No mods at all.
 

mkb116

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First thing I would start with is checking the alternator simply because it's easy. Make sure the battery is fully charged. When you get the car started, turn on everything that's gonna put a load on the electrical system. Put your meter on the battery and watch the volts. If they start dropping noticeably, your alternator has an issue.

Then check as much of the wiring as you can, especially the grounds, fuse block, and battery. If your familiar I'm sure you can find the wiring diagrams descriptions of grounds.

Lastly, doe the starter, you can do the tests with your voltmeter, but i'd have someone hit it with a hammer while you try and crank it over.

If it's the alternator or starter, do you have the ability to swap it yourself?
 
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hotcobra03

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Are the battery terminal changed?

The aftermarket red and black painted...

ive found cause 99% of starting issues..

they must be clean under clamp holding cable..

paint must be removed for clean connection..

always remember..car can be push started
 

MG0h3

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I suspect a bad connection somewhere. The fact that the extra amperage used trying to crank kills everything is what leads me to that. Im assuming the new battery is charged. A faulty ignition switch or very low charge on the battery can show the same symptoms though.

Sounds like the dealer is going to do the work but if you end up tackling it jump back in and we can work you through some electrical testing procedures.
 

rabbitweasel

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It's been a bit of time but life circumstances kept the mechanic from getting to the vehicle till yesterday (Tuesday). He's unable to reproduce the issue from talking to the service advisor. He's tried yesterday multiple times and the same today. The car starts up for him just fine. Car starts fine in storage lot, is driven to service area, and when shuts down there starts again fine even after multiple shut down/start cycles. Among many things: a load test has been done on the battery and voltage doesn't show any issues during crank or full accessories (probably not alternator), the power draw on the battery when the car is off has been measured to be well below limits, grounds have been checked to be fine, no blown fuses, battery terminals connectors aren't painted and have a rock solid grip. They do have the corrosion protection goo on them though. Is it possible that the goo is preventing a good connection? It's only lightly applied though. Guy working on car knows the edge series mustangs and has performed plenty of work on Terminators. At some point the GEM module has been brought up as a possible culprit but nothing so far seems to suggest it though it is responsible for lots of electronics.

Any additional ideas or areas to further investigate from you guys?
 
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hotcobra03

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It was most likely just a battery connection issue..

Havent read much about issues with other parts past battery/starter
 

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