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electrical problem with my 1995 Lincoln Continental

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  • electrical problem with my 1995 Lincoln Continental

    OK, here it is guys, I'm having an electrical problem with my '95 Lincoln Continental. When I get into the car I have power (lights,radio,air compressor, fuel pump work) but when I turn the key I lose all electric (no starter, no dash, no lights, nothing (just completely dead). Now, I've swapped the battery out for the brand new one I use in my '69 caddy (I know for a fact it's good) and get the same results. But when I hook the car to jumper cables I get the starter to turn very slowly (like I am getting very little juice) but it will not start.
    I haven't had many problems with this car since I bought it last year, I'm usually pretty good about troubleshooting, but when it comes to electric I'm clueless (sometimes I wish I could just drive the Caddy full time)..
    I'd appreciate any opinions or pointers you guys might have on this problem..

  • #2
    My wife's car would go completely dead when the key was turned. Just once every 3 months or so. It was the battery terminals. For some reason, they would corrode under the terminals (side post GM). So I trained her to remove the terminals, wire brush them, and reattach. Last time it happened, I wiggled the terminal and found that even though the nut was torqued down real good, the terminal wasn't completely compressed against the battery's side post... the lug was bottoming out in side post terminal. So I measured under the terminals with a feeler gauge and found a .005" gap!

    A simple high resistance connection.

    That's what it sounds like in your case. Since jumper cables improve the situation, they must be bypassing the high resistance connection...

    Do you install the red clip to the battery terminal and the black clip to the engine block?

    If so, the high resistance connection is between the negative battery terminal and the car's ground. The jumper cables have bypassed the corroded connection. Suspect places are... where the battery cable bolts to the car's frame, and where the frame is bonded to the engine block.

    Take a voltmeter and measure the voltage from the negative battery terminal to the engine block. It should read zero. Then, crank it. If 8-12 volts appears between the battery terminal and the engine block, you know there is a bad connection between the two. Clean and reattach all battery cables. Not just under the battery terminals, but also at the other end where the cables bolt.

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    • #3
      Sounds like the starter or the ignition,go under the car and tap on the starter. When you turn the key to the start position things normally cut off

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      • #4
        Try taking one end of your jumper cable and hooking it to the engine block and the other end to the negative side of the battery(the same color as hooked to the block) and try starting it. This will at least eliminate the ground cable as bodybagger suggested, but might be quicker
        Just a thought
        Steve

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        • #5
          I've tried most of this

          it has the 4.8 V8 300CI engine that was a factory replacement for the mustang 302CI or 5.0L in '95, The starter is on the backside of the engine and is almost impossiable to get to due to the skid plate on the Lincoln Continental. The battery terminals are good, and the starter seems to work, I understand the electronics cut out when starting, but I lose all of them after I've tried to start the car.. The only way I don't is when I hook the car up to jumper cables. I thought that maybe the alternator has a short and is drawing that much juice as to cut my battery out.. maybe I'm wrong, I don't have the proper tester and only about $170.00 to fix it, as I've been out of work for awhile and need a vehicle to start ANY job. Also my door ajar light comes on whenever I try to start the car, could it just be a door sensor that is shorting out and drawing excessive ammounts of battery?

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          • #6
            There is most definitely a bad connection between your battery and your car. When you turn the key and energize the starter solenoid, several hundred amps needs to get from the battery, through the starter windings, and back to the battery.

            When this current attempts to take this path, a bad connection gets heated and burns out. When corrosion sets up, it allows a small current to get past this bad place which is why you eventually get your electronics back UNTIL you try to start the car.

            Trace the battery cables... start at the battery terminals and follow it to where it bolts onto something. It is broken or the place where it is bolted has gotten rusty. I bet it's bolted to a rusty place.

            The door ajar light might just be malfunctioning indicator lights due to low voltage.

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            • #7
              Swap in the battery from the other car. You might just have a battery with a bad cell.

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              • #8
                Very much possible. He'd know that if he used a voltmeter. If he hasn't figured it out yet, he should take it to a mechanic.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Josh Luce View Post
                  it has the 4.8 V8 300CI engine that was a factory replacement for the mustang 302CI or 5.0L in '95, The starter is on the backside of the engine and is almost impossiable to get to due to the skid plate on the Lincoln Continental. The battery terminals are good, and the starter seems to work, I understand the electronics cut out when starting, but I lose all of them after I've tried to start the car.. The only way I don't is when I hook the car up to jumper cables. I thought that maybe the alternator has a short and is drawing that much juice as to cut my battery out.. maybe I'm wrong, I don't have the proper tester and only about $170.00 to fix it, as I've been out of work for awhile and need a vehicle to start ANY job. Also my door ajar light comes on whenever I try to start the car, could it just be a door sensor that is shorting out and drawing excessive ammounts of battery?
                  Thats a 4.6 liter v8 or 280 cubic inches. I agree with what the other guys posted sounds like a problem on the starter or with one of its components. Does that year still have the solenoid mounted on the fender? If so check it and make sure the cables aren't loose. If thats fine and you cant afford to send it to a mechanic you are gonna have to find a way to jack it up and get to the starter.

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                  • #10
                    95Continental

                    Hello Josh
                    It is very difficult to diagnose through this forum.
                    With that being said, try pulling the gear select to neutral, and try starting while in neutral If it starts, you might have either an adjustment/bad MLP( Manual Lever Position Switch) concern. . Notorious for issues. If you know how to check for Voltage drop along the start circuit that would help/or check for current draw while starting. If it is above 350amps,that starter is probably the culprit. Smack it with a hammer! If it starts after this, you have your problem! $117.59 + $75.00 core charge from Ford. Online price! Be careful jumping these cars, you can cause damage.
                    Contact me if you need additional help
                    Also, make sure there is a heat shield on that starter solenoid. The one on the starter. They get broken easily, and are imperitive or the wires get cooked!

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                    • #11
                      Body Bagger has it right. As a mechanic first, and a weldor second, I know my way round the new ones as well as the old stuff. This however is classic.

                      Take your battery terminals, and look at them, white and fuzzy is bad. Green is also really bad. Get a wire brush, take all of the white fuzzy stuff off, and re connect. Make sure that the ground is connected somewhere that there is a good connection...even if your battery connections are great, you need that good ground for anything to support the current. Make sure any connections are tight, loose connections take more current to cross, and that means less for your starter to use. After you finish cleaning and re connecting everything though, go ahead and put some vaseline on those connections to help protect them from future issue.

                      AFTER you take care of those issues if they exist, then go ahead and check your battery. You can probably take it to a local autozone, or napa, and have it load tested. If it fails that, regardless of voltage that it holds, replace it.

                      I cant tell you how many times I've overlooked the easier option first...just because I thought, "oh, that cant be the issue...thatd be WAY too simple!" 2 hours later, and frustrated, I came to find it WAS the simple option.

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                      • #12
                        hi, new member, here's my thoughts. during my time as a tech at a ford dealership, i have found a few battery cables that corroded inside the insulation right at the battery terminal, almost impossible to see, but caused lots of trouble. Do the voltage drop test as described, that will find it. My guess is probably not a bad starter, since you have no voltage to any systems. ECU shuts down at anything below 5 volts. Door ajar light says maybe problem is with bad ground connection. Make sure connection to bat, from bat to cable and cable to frame is good, also make sure engine ground cable is installed and has clean connections (engine needs to be grounded to frame as well as bat) Has car had any recent mechanical or body work? Has it sat for a period of time?

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                        • #13
                          im by no means a genuis when it comes to diagnosing but i would ceck all the main battery cables( bat-ground eng-ground Pos-starter) and check for cuts, bent twisted or coroded ends exposed wire. also dont just clean the cable ends but also where the cable conects to (such as where the ground meets the frame or engine) and clean those surfaces as well. kind of like when your welding- if you dont have a good clean ground or are trying to start and arc on a painted surface it wont worc because theres not a complete circut being made to start the arc.

                          just my thoughts...
                          Last edited by 2tay530; 06-24-2009, 11:26 PM.

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