Skip to main content

Hi Guys, I'm looking for a little help. I have been having some starting issues with my new Pantera. Starting cold was not a problem, but when warm or hot it would turn over very slowly...sometimes not starting for a few minutes. The battery has a full charge is newer. I went out yesterday to start it and nothing but a single click from the starter. I have cleaned all of the contacts (Grounds) at the ZF, Battery and starter but still nothing but a click. The starter is also fairly new being a high torque starter. Is it time to replace the starter? Also are some starters better than others. Should I replace it with what was in the car (DB Electric #3223)? Any Other ideas?
Thanks Mike
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The single click you now hear is the solenoid pulling-in, but there's not enough battery to turn the engine via the starter motor. That is a classic low-battery scenario. The way the starter's performance slowly worsened makes me question the battery or the charging system.

Have you measured the battery to be certain it is fully charged? A new battery cannot remain fully charged if the charging system (alternator) isn't working properly. A healthy battery will measure 12.6 to 13.2 volts across the terminals. When the car is running you should measure 13.6 volts (mechanical voltage regulator) to 14 volts (solid state regulator) across the battery terminals.

You say that the starter has been replaced with a DB electrical unit. Do you still have the original solenoid mounted on the firewall? If so, then that may be dodgy or the jumper from that to the DB may be loose.

When replacing the Ford starter with one like the DB, that has an internal solenoid, there is a small gauge jumper that is connected to the firewall mounted solenoid to the starter mounted solenoid. That small gauge wire might be the problem. The jumper might also be very short in length at the starter itself, connecting the big wire to the small terminal.
When the starter just clicks & the motor refuses to turn over there are two possible methods for doing some home trouble shooting at that point:

(1) As John suggests, hook up a volt meter & observe what the voltage does when you try to start the motor: If the voltage drops very low suspect the battery because the starter motor is getting all the amps the battery can supply but its not enough. If the voltage changes very little suspect the starter or solenoid because the battery's current isn't flowing to the starter motor.

(2) Disconnect the ground cable from the Pantera's battery, hook up jumper cables from another running car, one to the battery + terminal, another to a chassis ground on the Pantera. If the Pantera starts this indicates the battery is bad; if the motor still refuses to turn-over its the starter or solenoid.

Remember a bad battery may indicate a bad charging system.

As far as I know all mini-starters are designed like a GM starter wherein the solenoid performs the duty of the starting relay. Therefore as Dave mentions when a mini-starter is installed in a Ford the chassis mounted starting relay is normally bypassed. This is easily accomplished by landing the cable to the starter on the same starter relay stud as the cable from the battery. This turns the pair of cables into one continuous cable from the battery to the starter motor.


Last edited by George P
I've seen batteries read 12. something volts and when you look at the percentage of charge they have is something like half.

It could be you have one bad cell in the battery.

That usually shows as a battery that won't hold a charge over 11.5 to 11.8 volts or so but these things aren't high tech devices.

Nothing for nothing either but the Pantera is one of the...not better cars for quality of chassis grounding. I've also had rebuilt Ford starters that if you put them on the bench and test them with a full battery will jump. When you put them in the car, they don't have enough power to turn over a hot engine.

I use a Titlton race starter in some of my cars. So far that thing has not created problems, and turns the engines like a catagory 5 tornado every time.
Just a note to all.
i had, what I thought to be a drainage issue on my battery. I thought that there was a load draining it. I searched and searched getting crazy readings on the ammeter. I had the battery tested at the local auto store and it checked out good.
It even led me to replace a perfectly good alternator, which caused even more issues.
Bottom line is the alternator guy told me to try a known good battery. I told him I had it tested and it was good. He told me that the tests weren't always accurate.
He was right. I put in a new battery and all my problems were solved.No more drainage of the battery. Electrical gremlins can be a bitch. Its not always black and white. Electrical theory on paper doesn't always apply in real life.
Link copied to your clipboard.