Asked by Apr 23, 2016 at 02:28 AM about the 1985 Ford Bronco XLT 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have an 85 Bronco with a 351 windsor. This truck needs some major love but
i think i got it at a good deal for 500 bucks. I wanted a project truck to start
learning and I got one, I don't know much about cars/trucks but I am a Jet
engine mechanic, so I am mechanically inclined but just not too familiar with
the nomenclature, so bare with me please lol. Okay so heres my issue. First off
before I start going into it I had to bypass the key in the steering column and I
am testing my ignition by jumping the Batt with the starter switch/solenoid on
the fender. When I did this the first time I heard a loud whine, so it sounded like
the starter was spinning, but the flywheel was not being engaged. I removed
the starter and tried again to verify starter was extending and spinning and it
was. I also checked Starter on a bench at O'reillys and it checked good. The
wear mark on the starters teeth from the flywheel looked pretty dead center as
well. The flywheel also has metal flakes around its teeth. I am leaning towards
the Flywheel needing to be replaced but before i do i am going to check the
battery output with a multimeter. I also manually rotated the cam shaft? (told
you I'm new to this) my buddy showed me how to do it with a rachet, and it
rotates smooth with no binding. I tried starting in Neutral as well, not sure if
thats a capable troubleshooting step but I thought maybe the transmission
was preventing the flywheel from turning, maybe I am just retarded haha. What
do YOU guys think is the culprit?

1). Newer Battery, but still going to check voltage output.

2). New Starter Solenoid on fender.

3) New Starter.

4) Grounding Wire looks good.

3 Answers


Ok you stated flywheel so I assume it has a standard tranny, sometimes the ring gear on the flywheel will crack and then all it does it spin around on the flywheel, so to verify this you can pull of the starter or inspection cover on the trans and see if you can move just the ring gear with a large screwdriver or small pry bar, I'm thinking it has already moved away from the starter drive si it is not engaging the drive. But then you stated you tried it in neutral so now I'm not sure what trans you actually have, cause if you have an automatic it is then called a flex plate, and those can and sometimes do break, there again removing the starter and inspection cover if it is broke you can move it in and out. So you rotated the crankshaft with a breaker bar so you know the engine is not seized. So far, I am in agreement with you as far as something amiss with the ring gear or flex plate depending on what tranny you have.

2 people found this helpful.

Thanks I'm going to try removing inspection cover on the tranny. Told you my nomenclature was bad haha. I have an automatic transmission. I'll let ya know how it goes. Also I found that according to the schematics the past owner looks like they hooked up the starter relay wrong, I tried the right way jumped it and it wouldn't turn off when I jumped it. Lol. Battery is a little low at 12.38 voltage but not by much.


Full battery charge should be 13.2 volts. See pic for wiring.

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