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Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded

Posted By: huggie

Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/04/15 03:42 AM

I left work and the Montero started normally, I went a few miles down the road to pick up something at the store. 10-15 min later I get back in the car but now it won't start. 3.5 V6 automatic. I took apart the shifter to look at the inhibitor switch, which I cleaned a month or so ago.

It's acting the same way as if the switch isn't aligned right, I.e not fully in park. Which has happened before. No click-click-click sound nor dead battery. I'm thinking a bit of crap got underneath the moving part of the inhibitor switch, but I don't know. I guess I'll sit here and see if I can clean it some more but its getting dark. Lol
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/04/15 04:18 AM

FYI, its got 223k miles and most everything has been rebuilt, including an engine rebuild 10k miles ago etc. Has run great.

The alternator is new and battery has plenty of juice. When turning the key to crank, I can hear the relay click, but nothing after that - I.e. no cranking sound like if it was trying to start.

Inhibitor switch gone bad? Something with the ignition? I'm out of ideas but it's been a long day.
Posted By: lordtrunks

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/04/15 05:58 AM

btw is it a 3.0 and you typo'd or did your or someone swap in a 3.5 v6? 90 didn't get that motor(3.5)
If your hearing a click could be bad solenoid or the ignition switch is going and isn't passing a constant amount of juice down the pipe. I've had both go bad before bout. if you need a new Inhibitor switch autozone carries them for about 50 bones now when those have gone bad you get nothing power doesn't get past if you think its that the black and yellow wires are the starter wires just make a jumper wire at the inhibitor plug. you can cross the poles on the starter solenoid and start the truck if you get nothing doing that go pull the starter and change it out if you do this make sure to put the truck in park and set the parking brake just to cover your bases why not right.
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/04/15 06:55 AM

Thanks! Sorry about the typo, I meant 3.0 of course. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/drunk.gif" alt="" />

I'll check those out things out. The inhibitor switch looked good and I scrubbed the gunk off it that I missed earlier last month, unless there's some internal part that is clogged or just shot.

Which solenoid are you referring to? You mean the ignition coil?
Posted By: lordtrunks

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/04/15 08:41 AM

Quote
Which solenoid are you referring to? You mean the ignition coil?


no the starter solenoid take a screw driver and use it to bridge the two points that i circled in red this will make the starter run if you run the key to run and should the starter work it will start the engine so beware.
[Linked Image]
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/06/15 12:48 AM

Turns out the inhibitor switch was just plain dead. The roller pin might just have not been making decent contact anymore(?), even after cleaning. I didn't try jumping the wiring though, so who knows. I wish I knew a way to take that sliding part out to inspect it, but it seems you'd have to mangle the housing to do so, but hell, got a whole new one in there now and everything is back to normal.

Thanks for the assist!
Posted By: Jay Ayala

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/11/15 05:34 AM

You may benefit from this thread that I revived from over a decade ago.

Salvaged my inhibitor switch
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/11/15 06:13 PM

Quote
You may benefit from this thread that I revived from over a decade ago.

Salvaged my inhibitor switch



Hey Jay, I did find your awesome thread when this happened the first time 1 or 2 months ago. So at least I got a few more miles out of the old switch after cleaning it....this time around though, no amount of cleaning seemed to bring it back from the dead.

I'm glad that there are people here with info & resources that help us keep these on the road (and off-roading too).
Posted By: 90rustymontero

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 08/12/15 05:48 AM

Hey,

so I just learned this trick. If that switch dies, you can make a little piece of wire (like an inch long) and jump past the switch by tieing together black/yellow wire going to the plug for the inhibitor switch. Yea, so you'll be able to start in any gear but at least that will get you going...

part from autozone is around $50... ask me how I know <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> lol
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 10/29/15 05:49 PM

Anyone ever had a new inhib switch fail on them? It won't start 1st thing this morning, after sitting overnight. I've had zero problems in the last ~3 months, now I'm seeing the same behavior as before - turn key all the way to on, everything acts normal, but it won't crank - just the one click.

Tried racking the shifter through the gears a few times, pulled and inspected the switch. Didn't try jumping the 2 wires on the switch as the part might still be under warranty (need to check on that).

I haven't ruled out trying to jump the starter, but is there anything deeper down in the shifter guts, or under the floorboard past the inhib switch that I should check? Kinda perplexed here.
Posted By: cheesegrater

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 10/29/15 07:08 PM

Turn your headlights on and try to start. if lights stay bright, no juice is going to starter (an open circuit). if lights dim, bad starter. if lights go out, bad battery.
Posted By: huggie

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 10/30/15 06:35 AM

Yup, starter is toast. I love this dang ugly forum. smile
Posted By: fasteddy

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 11/09/15 07:51 PM

I personally feel able to start the truck safely without the "aid" of an inhibitor switch. You do put a foot on the brake while cranking, right?
Posted By: Leopard14

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 11/12/15 07:05 AM

I realize you have probably done this. But, I had similar problems and was getting ready to tear apart the starter and soleniod, after having cleaned the inhibitor switch and changed out the ignition switch cable. It ended up being the connectors attached to the positive terminal. A little sanding of both the terminal(there was rust on the metal) and of the wire connector and it turns on every time.
Posted By: fasteddy

Re: Help - 1990 Gen 1 not starting, stranded - 11/12/15 07:31 PM

starter solenoid most likely. The solenoid is clicking when you engage start. The copper disc on the forward end of the solenoid is not making contact across the two big terminals to which batt and starter are connected. Probable cause is accumulated arc scars. Sometimes you can whack the starter solenoid with a hammer while start is engaged at key, and you'll get a connect. You can also repeatedly hit start and the repeated hammering of the solenoid core will do the same. You can also pull the starter and remove solenoid and pull the core and sand off the copper disc.

Most starter "failures" are just like this, and most "rebuilt" starters are rebuilt just this way, or with only a new solenoid.

Starter diagnosis 101:
Tests are easiest out of the truck, but you can do them all in situ, just a good chance of arcing/welding stuff.

There are 3 terminals on the starter. One (S) is a small spade that carries ign power to the starter in start position. One (B) is a large copper lug with the heavy batt wire attached. The third (M) is an identical copper lug with a wire/strap connected to the motor windings.

Using jumper cables, connect batt neg to starter frame. connect othercable to batt pos, and touch to terminal M. Good motor will run without gear extending. Now touch batt+ wire to terminal S. Solenoid will click, gear will extend, motor will not run. Now connect batt+ cable to terminal B. This is the normal state of the installed starter. Using a jumper wire, connect B to S. Solenoid should extend, then motor should run IN THAT ORDER. If the motor does not run, it's the solenoid copper disc, or crud in the solenoid is blocking the full motion of the core.
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