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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m having trouble starting my van. The starter will engage but will not turn the engine.

I’ve…
Bench tested the battery: it’s good,
Bench tested the starter: it’s good,
Done a continuity check on ground and power cables, almost no resistance 👍,
Manually turned the crankshaft to make sure the engine was free to turn.

What should I check next?
 

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How did you bench test the battery and starter?

A no load test may not reveal the whole picture.

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How old is the battery?
What year Windstar?

OK and if there is enough current to get the starter engaged here is what can be said -
The control circuit is working. When the key is moved to the start position, that is working to get the relay or solenoid engaged to send current from the battery to the starter. The connections are good enough to say the system is wired correctly.

However there is not enough current reaching the starter. Or the starter can not use the current fully. Or the load the starter faces is too great.

All of the tests you have done have covered all of those areas. While the battery can be load tested off the car, the question would be did they? The starter is almost never load tested off the car. It is put in a jig and power is applied. If it turns it is given the green light. And the only other thing is ... are the connections clean? Battery cable ends and starter mounting area. You have it covered. Unless someone missed something, the starting system should work well.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How old is the battery?
What year Windstar?

OK and if there is enough current to get the starter engaged here is what can be said -
The control circuit is working. When the key is moved to the start position, that is working to get the relay or solenoid engaged to send current from the battery to the starter. The connections are good enough to say the system is wired correctly.

However there is not enough current reaching the starter. Or the starter can not use the current fully. Or the load the starter faces is too great.

All of the tests you have done have covered all of those areas. While the battery can be load tested off the car, the question would be did they? The starter is almost never load tested off the car. It is put in a jig and power is applied. If it turns it is given the green light. And the only other thing is ... are the connections clean? Battery cable ends and starter mounting area. You have it covered. Unless someone missed something, the starting system should work well.

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The battery is only a few months old
2000 Ford Windstar

This morning before heading to work I hooked a multimeter from the battery positive terminal to the starter positive terminal. When the starter was engaged I observed only 1.5 volts to the starter. Now that I’m back home from work, I’ll be performing this test again to verify.

Based off the previous test, I hooked up my jumper cables from the battery terminal to the starter hoping to give a good path. Starter behaved the same.
 

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The minimum voltage needed is something like 9.6 volts

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the number I stated earlier was voltage drop. It should have been less than .7 volts. The higher voltage reading was due to a bad connection (corrosion) on the positive cable. I trimmed off the corroded wiring, replaced the connections, and charged the battery.

Cranked right up!
Here are the videos I used for troubleshooting.


(this one was really good!)
 

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Repairing a cable is usually a temporary fix. May last a couple of years depending on environment.

Cable replacement will last some decades

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