View Full Version : Silence when key is turned

08-09-2016, 03:36 PM
This is the 2nd time its happened, the first was right after a 20min road test. Shut it off, refused to start or even crank. Let it sit til next day, all seemed fine. Car gave me no trouble for weeks.

Then this morning, we got some rare rain here in Phoenix, and I tried to move it outside to take advantage of the showers and get it clean. Cranked a few times but wouldnt start, then on the 3rd try I got dead silence again. No battery at all, lights dont work, power windows dont work.

Would the rain have anything to do with this? Why suddenly go dead just from a couple secs of cranking? Car is under covered parking spot, and hood did get wet, but engine compartment is bone dry.

08-09-2016, 05:52 PM
It's most likely either the solenoid or the shift lever isn't contacting the neutral switch correctly. Try moving the shift lever up and down slightly and see if it cranks. If that doesn't work than I would suspect the solenoid. Next time it happens jump across the solenoid and see if it cranks. If it does that will eliminate the starter as the problem.


08-09-2016, 06:59 PM
As John mentioned the neutral safety switch being out of adjustment is a common problem in these cars. It is mounted under the dash at the base of the steering column, screwed to the column with small sheet metal screws, slotted holes in the switch bracket allow adjustment. You have to be somewhat of a contortionist to service it. I forget if they are 1/4" or 5/16" drive screw heads.

Having owned old Fords for many years, whenever I get the no-go as you have, I instinctively reach over the top of the steering column with my left hand and lift up on the shift lever, from its park position. When the switches go out of adjustment, they typically do in the counter-clockwise position. If you find that is the problem, adjust it, tighten the screws, then use a worm gear type hose clamp to clamp the switch more securely over the column.

The starter solenoid is easy to test. Just review your wiring diagram.

bird 60
08-09-2016, 09:05 PM
As a precautionary measure, I always start my Bird in Neutral, just in case it slips in Reverse.
When I first bought it 9 years ago, I had to hold it all the way hard up in Park to start, otherwise nothing would happen. I could get a new detent plate but it doesn't bother me. Also would make it hard, for someone to try & steal it, not knowing about not starting in park without applying pressure.

Chris.....From OZ.

08-09-2016, 10:40 PM
Hey, he did say the power windows windows and light didn't work, it has to be more than the inhibitor switch?

08-09-2016, 10:41 PM
Here's the clue:
...No battery at all, lights dont work, power windows dont work...You have a classic example of cable wires with poor or NO connections.

Remember, the ground wire is equally as important as the power wire. Start at the battery and pull the cables off. Clean the connections, restore them to the battery posts and go on to the other ends. Make sure your wires are not burned, frayed or green with corrosion. Give your wires a tug to make sure the connections are tight.

This fault is NOT typical of just Squarebirds but can happen to any car. - Dave

08-10-2016, 11:05 AM
I had the neutral safety switch problem in my '67 Country Squire wagon (gosh I wish I had that car now), my '64 TBird and my friends '65 Galaxie 500. Never owned an old Chevy or Mopar so can't speak to that.

The '67 was my dad's car that he passed down to us kids back in the day. It has a 289 that idled so smooth my mom was constantly trying to restart it when at a stop light- only to hear the dreaded starter gear wailing. My dad eventually sold it because all of the lights, headlights, dash, everything, had a tendency to just go out while driving at night. It happened to me one time on a country road with no street lights and freaked my 16 year old brain out. Also it burned oil on startup. Both easy fixes had he been a car guy. The guy who bought it got the deal of a lifetime because it had no rust and the paint and interior were flawless.

08-10-2016, 11:17 AM
Dave is correct. If you are losing power to multiple systems not only check the grounds but also check the main connector that goes through the firewall on the drivers side. Corrosion in there can cause you to lose all power intermittently.


08-10-2016, 02:24 PM
Also, inspect the power panel (passenger side footwell- another contortionists dream) for corrosion of the fuse connectors.

Good idea to have spare fuses:

OE FUSE PANEL #1 on top left, counting down, then right column:

3/ 15 3AG/ 15A/ 0312015
4/ 14/ SFE14/ 0307014
5/ 2/ 1AG 2A/ 0AGA002
6/ 6/ SFE6/ 0SFE006
9-11/ 7.5/ SFE7.5/ 030707.5
12/ 4/ 7AG 4A/ 0AGW004