The Starter and Starter solenoid

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Thanks to Hugo Teufel for the following :

If you have had your SHO for a number of years you will doubtless find yourself, probably when you least expect it, with a dead starter or solenoid. The good news is that replacement of either the starter or solenoid on Gen. I SHOs, or the starter/solenoid unit, on Gens. II and III SHOs, is fairly simple.

Indicators: The most obvious indicator that the starter or solenoid is bad is the failure of the car to start. Of course, failures to start may be attributed to any number of things, including a dead battery or a bad clutch starter interlock switch. The other major indicator of a bad starter or solenoid is when the starter fails to stop after the car has started, though another possibility for this problem may be an ignition switch that is sticking. With regard to starters, some have reported a "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzing" sound when attempting to start their SHOs. SHO drivers have reported that when hearing this noise, they have to shut off car, with the noise sometimes stopping, and sometimes not. One list member has stated that it is the bendix drive in the starter that is not retracting, which means that the gear remains engaged to the flywheel after starting. A new starter is in order.

The solenoid may also be responsible for a failure of the starter to stop after the car has started. A list member has reported seeing starters that keep running, because the switch contacts in the solenoid got "fused together". Note: If this happens to you, it usually will burn up the starter and battery cables before the battery runs out. Second note: If the starter ever is running continuously, remember that the battery terminals will get very hot, very fast with the current being pumped through the starter!

Fortunate SHO owners will have intermittent starting problems for a few days, before completely losing use of the starter and/or solenoid. Not all starters and solenoids are this kind! It is not at all unusual to have no indications whatsoever of a bad starter or solenoid prior to its/their demise.

One list member has provided the following discussion on bad starter/solenoid diagnosis. "If the solenoid goes on/off rapidly you could have a bad (low) battery or poor connection. If it just does one click per key turn, the starter is probably bad or the battery is really bad (check your lights). If you have a voltmeter you can measure the voltages at the battery and on the starter hot contacts. Advance symptoms: day 1, one extra revolution to startup. Day 2 two extra motor revolutions to catch. Day three nothing but click."

As a safety precaution, Be SURE to disconnect the battery completely before replacing the starter!

Replacement on Gen. I SHOs: As I mentioned previously, Gen. I SHOs have the solenoid (also referred to as the starter relay) separate from the starter. The solenoid is very easy to find: it is mounted on the driver's side fender well, behind the air filter and in front of the strut tower (if you have the factory alarm, it should be right next to the alarm's speaker/siren). This is the same starter solenoid that Ford has used since it went to 12-volt systems in the 1950's. If you ever learned how to start your old Ford with the screwdriver across the terminals you can use this trick to confirm whether a bad solenoid or starter. Note: these external solenoids rarely ever went bad. Removal and installation is very easy. Remember to disconnect your battery before replacing the solenoid. When installing, tighten the nuts for the electrical connectors to 45-89 inch pounds. The starter solenoid/starter relay should cost about $10 to $15.

The starter is also very easy to replace; about 30 minutes to do the job yourself. Or, as another list member said: "Even for someone who doesn't know the difference between a screw driver and a ratchet, it should only be about a one hour job." Remember to tighten the retainer bolts to 15-20 foot pounds.

All major parts stores should have rebuilt starters for the Gen. I SHO readily available. For instance, a rebuilt starter from Auto Zone comes with a lifetime warranty at a cost of $67.99 (the part number for a 91 SHO is DL3198).

Replacement on Gens. II and III SHOs: Starting with the 1992 model year, SHOs came with combination starter/solenoid units. Though it is possible only to replace one of the two components, the labor will be greater to do so. If you are having a mechanic do the work for you, it's probably better to have the whole unit replaced. The starter as used on a number of other Fords. Prices for rebuilt combination starter/solenoid units go from $72 (Car Quest) to 89.99 (Auto Zone).

If you are doing the work yourself, you should find it an easy job. The starter and solenoid are dead center in front of the motor just above the front cross member. The unit literally will drop right out. Be careful that it does not hit you in the forehead. Remember to tighten the retainer bolts to 15-20 foot pounds and the start cable not to the starter solenoid to 80-124 inch pounds.

New or Rebuilt: A new Starter from Ford runs from $265 to $295. A rebuilt starter from Ford is $170 plus $35 core. Parts stores will be even lower. There seems to be no reason to go with a new Ford starter or, for that matter, a Ford-rebuilt starter. Note: be aware that rebuilt starters may have incompatible gears, with some rebuilt starters having 9 teeth, instead of 10 or 12 teeth, as the Ford new and rebuilt starters do. If you go with the Ford starters, the original part number for a 1993 SHO is F3DZ 1100 AA (10 tooth), with the rebuilt starter from Ford being F3DZ 1100 BX (12 tooth).

Replace or Rebuild: SHO starters can be rebuilt. The factors to consider are time, cost, and the part. If you can afford to leave your SHO in the garage for a few days, want to save 1/2 to 2/3 of the cost of a rebuilt starter, and prefer to have your original starter in your car, then by all means have it rebuilt.

One list member reported that he had a harder time replacing the starter than indicated above, and suggested the following :

This is my experience with a 1989 SHO with close to 150,000 miles. It is a southern car. Every once in a while I would have to bump the starter a couple of times for it to catch the flywheel. It has been doing this for a couple of years. This last week it started making some ugly grinding noises like it was destroying my flywheel. I decided to replace the starter immediately. I bought the replacement from AutoZone as listed in the FAQ. It cost me $54.95.

The thing that separates this job from any other starter job I have done is a bracket on the back of the starter that must be removed. It is hard to notice when you think it is going to be an easy two bolt afair. You will need:


10mm socket 15mm socket deep 13mm (1/2 inch) socket deep 3/8 wrench Plenty of wd-40 or liquid wrench Screwdriver or small prybar Grab all your extensions because you need just the right length to get to these bolts Disconnect negative lead from battery. I raised my car and used jack stands. The tires barely left the ground and I had enough room.

Starting with the front(nose) of the starter, using the 15mm socket, remove the nut on the starter holding two cables in place. This is a bolt/stud combo fastener. Now using your 1/2 inch socket remove the bolt/stud. Now find the second front starter bolt, it is 1/2 inch also. You may be able to get a better perspective by working on the starter by facing the front of the car. Now begin on the other side of the starter. Remove the positve lead from the starter. It is a 3/8 inch bolt. Make sure the battery is disconnected first!! Next remove the bolt on the back of the starter. It is a 10mm bolt. This will free you from a holding bracket. The other side of the bracket is attached with a 10mm bolt also. Loosen it. I did not have to remove it. NOW....after some persuasion, you should be able to remove the old starter. Mine was pretty tight. I should also let you know that I had to use a breaker bar on the two 1/2 inch bolts. No rust either. These should not be that tight. Remove by pulling toward the front of the vehicle. Once you know where everything is, it is not a bad job. It is no easy Mustang starter job though! I believe my bolts were held in with loc-tite.

Things to watch out for: O2 sensor and oil cooler(p/s I believe...didn't check). They are easy to bump, and I did.

Assemble in opposite order.