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Fun With Starters Essay, Research Paper

The function of the starting system is to crank the engine to start it. The system is composed of the starter motor, starter relay (also called a solenoid), battery, switch and connecting wires. Turning the ignition key to the start position sends a signal to the starter relay through the starter control circuit. The starter relay then connects the battery to the starter. The battery supplies the electrical energy to the starter motor, which does the actual work of cranking the engine. This is pretty standard in most all-domestic and foreign autos.

The starter on the 1987 Ford Thunderbird is relatively easy to change out for the home mechanic; all you need is a little patience, a socket set, and a little elbow grease. If you don t know anything about auto repair then stop reading immediately and take your car to a qualified mechanic. Now for the folks with a little experience in dealing with the legendary P.O.S. that is the Ford Thunderbird, the first step is deciding whether or not you have a problem.

If the starter motor doesn t turn at all when the ignition switch is operated, make sure the shift lever is in neutral or park. The automatic transmission T-Birds of this model year comes equipped with a neutral start switch in the starter control circuit. This prevents operation of the starter motor unless the vehicle is in neutral or park. If your ride is equipped with a manual transmission, make sure the clutch pedal is completely depressed when starting. Next make sure that the battery is charged and all the battery and starter relay wires are secure. Now if the starter motor spins but the engine doesn t turn over, then the bendix or drive assembly is slipping and the starter motor needs to be replaced.

Okay, so all of that checked out swell for you. Well now we ll move on to the relay switch. If when the key is turned, the starter relay clicks but the starter motor doesn t turn at all then the problem lies with either the battery, the starter relay or the starter motor connections, or the starter itself. If the starter relay doesn t click when you try to crank the engine, either the starter relay circuit is open or the relay itself is history. To check the relay, remove the push-on connector from the relay wire. This little sucker is easy to find; it s the only wire you can take off without using any tools! Next you need a jumper wire (found in any well-stocked garage) to go from the positive terminal on the batter to the exposed terminal (the one you just removed the wire from) on the relay. If you re too much of a pansy to do this ask a neighborhood kid that no one will miss or your mother-in-law. If the starter now jumps to life then you ve got a bad ignition switch or you ve got a bad neutral start switch. If this is your problem then well you re on your own. If absolutely nothing happens with the magic jumper then you ve got a bad relay switch.

So you ve decided you have a bad starter? Well welcome to the fun zone! Remove the negative battery cable. You re going to need a set of ramps or a hydraulic jack and jack-stands. If you ve got ramps, get two buddies to help you. Hop in your car and let your buddies push it up on the ramps. Don t let them know how heavy your car is and laugh as they kill themselves trying to push the thing. When and if they do get it up the ramps depress the break pedal and set the emergency break. Or for effect do neither and let it roll back on top of them. If you don t have ramps set the emergency break then slide your jack under the middle front of your car. You ll see a plate running across that will support it. In either case make sure you put blocks behind the back wheels. Jack the car up and set your stands. I suggest consuming at least a six pack of your favorite beer before continuing. Disconnect the large cable from the terminal on the starter motor. Next remove the two mounting bolts that hold the starter in place. Support the thing with one hand and jerk it out with the other.

Wow, you re done! Now jump in your buddy s ride and have him take you to your favorite parts house. If he complains remind him you ve been drinking heavily and it s an awful long walk. Take the starter in and have them test it. If it proves to be bad get a rebuilt starter or a NOS (new old stock) if you ve got the cash. Installation is the reverse order of removal. Now wasn t that a blast?


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