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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.

So I have a 2004 Ford Taurus SES. Sometimes I can get in and it'll start right up. Other times I turn the key over and just get a single click and nothing else. When it does this, it takes anywhere from 2-8 tries to get it to start. When it finally starts, it does so very quickly just like normal. Once or twice the gauges went haywire for a second after starting, but this is not normal.

So I popped the hood and found the positive terminal on the battery very corroded. Using a terminal cleaner, baking soda, and water, I cleaned it up pretty nicely. That day it started beautifully all day. The next day, I'm back to the random no-starts.

I recently had some other work done to it, replacing tires/alignment/oil change etc, so I asked the guys to diagnose it for me and they say "The computer won't tell us what's wrong unless it's doing it at the time".

Using google, I believe I've narrowed it down to 3 possible culprits:
1: Battery (two years old)
2: Battery cables corroded internally (which I was just gonna go ahead and replace until I found they're special order and will cost around $100)
3: Solenoid (which from what I've read you have to replace the whole starter)

So basically, I'm really hoping to know if my findings seem correct, because I'm definitely not mechanically inclined, and to get any other ideas before I start randomly replacing things. Thank you for your time!
 

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is it a Vulcan or Duratec ? When you turn the key on, do you hear the fuel pump prime every time? If it is the factory starter, it MAY be dying. Has it been replaced before? in my experience factory starter lasted about 8 years, 2nd motorcraft starter about 6. The next time it acts up, try whacking the solenoid with a broom handle.

How old is the battery? you could replace the battery cables yourself much cheaper using thicker gauge wire than factory. Maybe check your grounds as well, battery to chassis, battery to engine block by the starter and engine block to firewall ) I am not sure where that last ground is on a Duratec, but on a vulcan it is a ground strap on the passenger side slightly behind the pulleys.

http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/82-maintenance-repair/174401-why-won-t-my-car-start-comprehensive-no-start-troubleshooting-guide.html

Lot of good info in that thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm I didn't even know there was Vulcan and Duratec, but I found out it's a duratec.

I've never listened for the fuel pump, since it's not cranking I never thought to do that, but I can.

I'm not sure if the starter has been replaced or not, as I bought it with 130k miles on it.

As stated in OP the battery's only going on 2 years.

I do believe the starter is getting stuck after reading through that linked thread. So I will try the tap method.

Thanks for the reply
 

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I would be looking real close at those battery cables. I you have a meter you could do some testing. Starter would be my second suspect.
 

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More than likely the starter. I had the exact same symptoms a few weeks ago. I even had the corroded battery terminal that I thought was the cause. Mine would start fine for days then just a click. If I waited a second it fired right up, until it wouldn't.

It ended being the starter. I've had the new starter in for a few weeks and no more issues.
 

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Replace those cables, then go from there. Cables cleaned of corrosion seem to beg for more of it. No logical explanation for that.....that's just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, so I got the starter replaced (after a huge hassle with Advance Auto Parts, but that's a whole other story) and it seems to be working great again so far. Time will tell.

Thanks all for the additional input.
 

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well thats good. Did you get a bad first one ? I seem to recall someone here got 3 bad starters in a row recently from a part store.
 

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I had the same issues (2004 Taurus) on May 15th, and replaced the starter. Only difference was I saw the solenoid smoke when the wife was trying to start it. Now keep in mind that the starter was only about a year and a half old. It is now July 1st, and the issue has come back. The vehicle will sometimes start with repeated tries or if I tap the solenoid. So I'm gonna try a new one since I have a 1 year warranty. Is there any issues that could cause starters to go bad?
 
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