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1999 Ford Contour won't start - help me troubleshoot?

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posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:04 AM
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My son bought his first car this past weekend. A good deal from a trustworthy neighbour that takes good care of his vehicles. It's older and not the best looking...but a great first "beater" for a teenage boy! Saturday we drove it into the driveway with no issues. The car will not be on the road for a few months until a few repairs are made and our son gets his next level of driver's license...but in his desperation and love for his first car he spent sat. afternoon cleaning/vacuuming/armor-all-ing the interior. Unfortunately he hit the interior lights while doing this and didn't notice them on for some time so the battery drained. We didn't have time to deal with moving the car into our garage until Sunday, so we didn't bother with boosting the car at that point. Sunday afternoon we went to boost the car with no luck...no noise whatsoever, not turning over or even clicking although we do have lights and radio. The battery is fairly new, and testing fine on a volt meter. We cleaned the battery terminals and contacts on everything and still nothing. We are not very mechanically saavy, but what troubleshooting steps can we take at this point before dragging this car into a shop? Our son doesn't have a lot of money and would like to try to fix any issues on his own if possible. Our son swears he did nothing but turn on radio and wipe down interior...but is there a possibility there's some sort of switch inside the car that he may have hit accidentally?? He wasn't under the hood at all..so it would have to be something inside the car if anything. Thanks in advance!

Michelle




posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:14 AM
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Hmm sounds like you might want to check the fuse box, make sure none of them are burned or broke, check the battery cables themselves and make sure they are secure and tight, my wifes car wouldnrt start with a brand new battery, and turned out to be faulty battery cables. also, comes to mind, is starter, distributor cap, and the little electronic thing I cant remember the name, but your positive battery wire runs to it. Good luck and always check make sure its in park, LOL done that before too



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:15 AM
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Ignition switch on the steering column. Or fuse.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:23 AM
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The fact that your getting nothing at all from it, sounds to me like its the battery. I know you said you tested it, but it could still have a bad cell or something. I would take that baby out and run it up to Advance or something and they will hook it up and test it for you for free.

It could be any number of things though, bad connection, short in the wiring somewhere, ignition, starter, alternator...

Try getting a hold of the neighbor and seeing if he's had any similar issues with it over the years?

Is the check engine light on? I realize the vehicle is not running right this moment but if the check engine light is on there are a number of places that will hook up their scanner and give you the trouble codes for free.

I'm no mechanic, this is just from personal experiences I've had. Good Luck!!!



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:23 AM
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Edit
nvr mind the guy above me said what I pretty much did
edit on 23/4/13 by freedomSlave because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:28 AM
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It could be that if the battery was drained far enough, that with your jumper cables connected to another car you are able to supply enough power for lights/radio, but the depleted state of the battery is taking most of your amperage. You say you have a volt meter, hook the meter to the battery terminals, and read battery voltage. Should be 12 to 12.8. Next, watch the meter as a second person tries to start the car. If the voltage drops below 10 volts, charge it fully and retest.

If your voltage does not drop at all when trying to start it, check fuses, connections, grounds, wiring.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:34 AM
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Thanks guys for all the quick replies! We will start checking all the things you've suggested and we'll try a new battery just in case. The neighbour did come over and try to troubleshoot with us with no success. He said he's never had the issue before and is at a loss. We drove the car saturday with no issues...so we know he hasn't just sold us a lemon. Just dumb luck I guess :/ Thanks again and I'll let you all know what if anything we find.

Michelle



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:35 AM
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reply to post by Michelle129th
 


Yeah. getting slightly past the DYI era. Could be an ignition control module. ( could be lots of things - even bad electrical connections ... )
You need proper diagnostics. Narrow it down and pay for the repair - ONCE .

Hope you sort it soon.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:37 AM
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Type the exact problem that you have along with the make/model/year of the vehicle in the search box on Google.

The troubleshooting guides will pop up for you and this would be the correct way to solve the problem.
edit on 23-4-2013 by butcherguy because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:54 AM
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I had this issue myself when I got my truck, it would just drain my battery, I could never figure out what it was. Then I disconnected the light under the hood, and it stopped draining it. Perhaps that switch has gone bad, and the light doesn't shut off when you close the hood. worth a shot.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:08 AM
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Sounds to me like a dead selenoid switch. On that vehicle the switch should be on the driver side, inside the fender, under the hood. A smallish two pegged (Positive/negative) round black plastic part. to test, grab a screw driver and place betweeen the two pegs, tilt the screw driver so it touches both pegs at the same time, if the the car starts, you know the selenoid is dead, you've just by passed it.

The selenoid acts as an on/of swtch between the battery and the car starter, the part is about $15.00 and can be changed out done by just about anybody.

Let me know if that worked !



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:13 AM
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reply to post by Michelle129th
 


Had a similar issue and found that the wiring harness came unplugged under thedashboard. Plugged the two connectors back together and all was well. If your battery is good, check the wiring.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by Nuke2013
Sounds to me like a dead selenoid switch. On that vehicle the switch should be on the driver side, inside the fender, under the hood. A smallish two pegged (Positive/negative) round black plastic part. to test, grab a screw driver and place betweeen the two pegs, tilt the screw driver so it touches both pegs at the same time, if the the car starts, you know the selenoid is dead, you've just by passed it.

The selenoid acts as an on/of swtch between the battery and the car starter, the part is about $15.00 and can be changed out done by just about anybody.

Let me know if that worked !



This is my recommendation as well. If the solenoid is not the problem, then I will be very surprised. I've gone through many solenoids in my Jeep over the years and the description of the OP's problem precisely matches the description of a bad solenoid.

In case you have a difficult time locating the solenoid, here is what it looks in the 1999 Ford Contour:


edit on 23-4-2013 by LeatherNLace because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 12:10 PM
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Start with the simple most recent thing. The battery was drained. Dont buy a new one just yet. Jumping or boosting a car can take 20+ min. on a dead battery and still wont be fully charged. The computer that runs everything on the engine and powertrain needs full voltage to work properly.

I would suggest borrowing a battery charger from someone or letting the boost on for at least 20 min. (sometimes you think the jump/boost is working and it isnt) try looking at the headlights when you turn the car over if they go out you not ready yet.

if it dosent crank or click your problems are narrowed down quite a bit be thankful for that. check the headlights while cranking if they go out you not up to full charge and go from there Iam doing this for 35 years now so I am confident in what I say.

good luck



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 12:29 PM
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Battery and fuses are the first things to check, as many have said.

In smaller cars like that, though, its quite common to kill an alternator if a battery sits drained for too long. Most local battery shops can test your alternator.





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