You turn the ignition key on your mid-90’s Ford motor vehicle and all you get is a click. Initially you think that either the battery is low or that the battery cables are not secured tightly. You may be surprised that the problem is with the small red wire that leads to the starter solenoid (which is attached to the top of the starter).
Ford products (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury) made from 1992 to 2006 had a design defect in the starter that often caused a no-start, no-crank condition. The problem was traced to the ignition terminal connection on the starter’s solenoid. Ford finally came out with a conversion kit that remedied the problem. It is Ford part number 6U2Z-14S411-NA, discussed in Technical Service Bulletin 06-19-14 dated Oct. 2, 2006.
The ignition terminal connection on the solenoid is the smaller of the two electrical connections to the starter. It is usually red and it attaches to the solenoid via a push-on, pull-off connection called a male spade connection. This connection is the primary source of starter problems because it corrodes easily, causing the connection to fail.
The Ford Motor Company has produced a conversion kit that converts the spade-type connection to an eyelet/post-type connection. This will solve the problem. Another alternative is to replace the entire starter assembly with a new or rebuilt unit that already has the newer connection built in. That is the course of action I recommend.
Replacing the starter is a simple task. There are only two bolts that hold the starter in place. Then there is a nut on the solenoid that must be removed to disconnect the main power lead. Finally, there is a smaller electrical wire that must also be disconnected from the solenoid.
Always disconnect the negative lead on the battery before attempting any repairs on a starter (or alternator, etc.).
Do NOT buy a replacement starter or a starter solenoid that uses the male spade connection, since the older type of connection will begin causing problems in as little as a year.