Starter engages in the run position

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Starter engages in the run position

Postby hollandaises » Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:30 pm

My starter engages immediately when the key is turned to the running position and will not stop running unless the key is removed. I was adjusting the points with the engine warmed up so I did not notice the issue until the engine was running, as I had turned the key immediately to the cranking position. The engine ran for about 20-30 seconds with the starter motor also energized and cranking.

With the key in the RUN position, the small wire to the starter relay/solenoid "S" terminal on the inner fender is receiving 12 volts. With the key in the OFF position, the wire is not energized. Sounds like a faulty ignition switch to me. Is there any additional diagnosis to be done, and should I be concerned about the starter and flywheel? Also, what is the best method to remove the old tumbler from the starter switch without damaging it and install it on the new switch?
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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby papawayne » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:38 am

In the mean time, you may be able to back the ignition switch off just enough to disengage the starter. I had to do this with a brand new ignition switch once. Wayne
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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby Dan Szwarc » Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:35 am

The tumbler should have a hole for a 1/16” drill bit to remove it. Put the bit in backwards, push hard, turn the key counter-clockwise then pull and it should come out.

Verify these o strict ions in your shop manual.
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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby action » Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:37 am

Verify the starter relay is wired correctly.

The two small wires on the relay are as follows
Red/blue wire from ignition switch is on the "S" terminal
The brown wire goes to the coil and is on the "I" terminal

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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby TonyC » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:22 pm

Assuming the wiring is in order, verification of which of course is the first step, I'd say that either the ignition switch or the starter relay is defective. Dan is right about removal of the lock cylinder; do that, then try the switch again with a flat-head screwdriver. If it still engages the starter without being turned to START first, turn it off and drop the lower housing to examine the switch. If you notice any scorching at or near the wire-harness attachment, or if the shell feels loose at the seam where it's assembled, then get a new ignition switch (another sign of possible switch failure is if your temp light does not come on in the START position; it's supposed to, then go out when the key is released to RUN position). If that switch is in order, then it's likely the starter relay is defective and needs replacement. Once, about 2005, I had turned the switch off, and the engine still kept running as though I hadn't touched the key. All the ignition components were still energized with the key off, which I traced to that relay. Replacing it cured the problem.

Starter relays are cheap and easy to find in any parts store. Ignition switches, not so much, although I do remember Pep Boys used to sell them a long time ago. But you also have online options to find new ignition switches, and they don't necessarily have to be Lincoln-specific NOS (which will run high prices if you find one). That switch was a rather general-app Ford item back then, one of the very few items on these cars that were of generic Ford design. Just verify its overall design is the same as yours, swap it in, and that should be it. Remember there is a chrome bezel that holds the switch in place in the lower housing. It's that shiny ring with three slots around its circumference. You need to loosen that to get the switch out, and screw it onto the new switch to hold it in place.

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Last edited by TonyC on Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby hollandaises » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:25 pm

A new ignition switch resolved the issue. Since the solenoid/relay was very new I have left it and will keep a spare on hand. I had been using a remote starter switch shortly before the issue occurred so It might have somehow shorted or overstressed the switch, or it may have been a coincidence.
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Re: Starter engages in the run position

Postby TonyC » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:29 pm

Or it may have just been good-ol' Father Time taking his toll on the ignition switch. I didn't know your starter relay was already new; on the other hand, that time I had that wonky issue with ignition still energized with the key off, that relay wasn't that old. But, very glad to see a new switch fixed your problem. It's good when crazy-looking problems have simple solutions.

Wish I had that luck with the ongoing problem I'm having...

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