Electrical issue - no start

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raeovine

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Hi everyone. Last fall I replaced the intake manifold gasket in my 351 Cleveland. I got the distributor back in and everything worked. The car started differently (but started). When driving one day I heard what sounded like a pop from the engine. After that the car won’t start. When I turn the key I hear a sound but no crank. Can’t go the summer without driving it. Any ideas?  I can provide more info, pictures, anything to get to the bottom of this. Thanks!

 

midlife

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Oh my...that sounds potentially awful: a hydraulic lock of the engine due to water intrusion.  Disconnect the battery and see if you can turn the engine over by hand.  There are so many reasons for your symptoms, but this is the worst and easiest to rule out.

 

raeovine

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Thanks for the suggestion. I was able to spin the fan not sure if that confirms hydraulic lock isn’t the problem. Some added info:  when I attach the battery the alternator light goes on when I turn the key to the accessory position. When I try to start it makes 1 or 2 click/knock type sounds and doesn’t start. If I turn the key again it does nothing. Disconnect the battery for a while, reattach and try again and it will make the sound again. Just the first time I try starting after attaching the battery.

 
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I would start with some basic work. Clean your ground connection to the block, clean your connection to the starter. Add electrical grease to all connections. If it still will not turn over unhook battery turn the crank with a ratchet and socket on the crank dampener bolt. and bring to TDC on the timing mark with the #1 cylinder on compression stroke, check your distributor to see if you are pointing to the #1 plug. If not you have either broke timing gear.
If when you try to turn the crank by hand and will not turn pull valve cover and check your valves are all there. Maybe keeper came off or valve broke jamming up engine. Hard to tell what happened.
If timing looks right and turns over by hand take the starter off and take to parts store they can check on machine if bad.

 
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Did you spin the fan by hand, or with the starter? You can't just turn the fan to check for hydrostatic lock, the crankshaft has to turn. You can also remove all of the spark plugs and then try to crank it with the starter, if it is hydrostatic lock the starter will spin the engine and blow fluid out of one or more spark plug holes.

It also sounds like your battery needs to be charged, when it is low on energy all it will do is click the solenoid and not be able to crank the engine.

 

raeovine

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Hi I wanted to provide an update on this.  I appreciate all the comments and followed the instructions as discussed.  I replaced my Motorcraft starter solenoid with an old one I had from Advance Auto.  Hooked everything back up and the car started!  I noticed it was running rough so i shut it off and followed the guidance on tuning etc.  Determined the #3 and 4 leads were swapped.  Made the change and started the car again without issue.  Ran much better.

I then let it sit with the battery disconnected and on a charger for 1-2 days.  I went to try to start it again and it was doing the 1 click again.  Tried swapping out solenoids again and it did not do the trick.  made sure all battery contacts were clean so I put a brand new Motorcraft on there I got from Rock Auto a few days later.  Still only one click!  Has to be something with the solenoid, right?

 
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Sounds like you have a couple of problems and found at least one of them with the plug wires.  I  would also check the battery.  You could have a shorted cell. Just because a battery will take a charge does not mean it is good.  I would take the battery to an auto store and have them check it.  

 
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