Can it be the starter?

Asked by May 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM about the 2000 Mercury Villager 4 Dr Sport Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Running fine, then nothing works. Turn key no sound, no nothing, all (it seems) trouble lights go on .
No power steering, cannot roll up windows, nothing., no clicking that I would associate with starter ,
no rurr rurr like a battery. Had it towed to local shop. The mechanic said it's the starter. I'm not at all
comfortable with this diagnostic.It did not do anything that I am familiar with as a starter problem.
One more thing. Both starter and battery were replaced at end of last August. I am a rural letter
carrier. I replace the starter every 3 yrs whether it needs it or not. I have been stuck in the out in the
countryside with a vehicle full of mail, and I try to avoid that.. Is it possible that the starter  can go
without any of the usual  ."clicking" It seemed to me to be an alternator or something else.Can it
cause everything to go out?

5 Answers

246,305

If nothing happens when you turn the key, that would say to me the battery is suspect or one of your battery cables is corroded or loose. ALso could eb the starter soleniod, but if it was just the starter, it wouldn't crank and you would still have power. Can you take it to another mechanic in your area for a second opinion? Replacing the starter every 3 years is excessive. Something else is going on. I never replaced one in any of my cars.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

Have you tried starting the car in neutral? Turn the key until lights come on, shift into neutral, roll the key to the start position. Could be a neutral saftey switch. But like Tom said... check and clean the battery cables. Most shops can test a starter off the vehicle with a bench test. As well as battery and alternators. But being the windows dont work I would also say it is a battery problem and turn on the headlights to see if they are dim or not lit at all.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

I have gotten batterys from auto stores that are lucky to last three months. These things bet bounced around, thrown around so much that the plates can be damaged.

30

If the car does not make a clicking sound or otherwise try to 'crank' the engine, then you should probably be checking the inhibit relay and such - we are having the same issue and I'm heading home to try tracking it down. Symptom was turn key on, lights on dash light up as normal, turn key to start, no (or very minor) changes to lights on dashboard, NO clicking or any other sound from engine compartment. Tried jumping it, nothing changed. Tried jiggling the shift lever, tried putting it in neutral, still does not work. Someone on JustAnswer gave some nice schematics and such (and the inhibit thing is what I was leaning toward anyway). I assume you got it working by now (or killed the car entirely :-) ), but am throwing out this bread crumb for any others following...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
30

Well, bummer, it was the starter after all. Power was reaching the starter (both the heavy 12V and the switched 12V that pulls in the actual starter solenoid/relay). Having just spent about 1/2 hour fooling around checking out the inhibit relay, I recommend pulling the wire off the starter (the smaller one - there is a disconnect a few inches away from the starter where you can disconnect and hook a meter up). If you get 12V there when you put the ignition key on 'start' then you are almost certainly looking at needing a new starter. Starter is on the drivers side, barely reachable from the top. The inhibit relay is under the cover RIGHT behind the radiator fill cap (I had to force it past the radiator fill cap), it is tan (if I remember right), 3rd from the left. Verify this by the printing on the cover.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

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