3.8 5 speed will not start

Tom Meyers

New Member
This is my first post here. I bought my daughter a 3.8 5 speed with 200K miles for her first car. She has had it for about a year and it has been mostly trouble free in that time. The car sat for about 2 weeks while we were away over the Christmas break and now the car will not start.

  • It has electric, all normal lights work in the car
  • When you turn the ignition all electric seems to cut off. It will not attempt to start and seems completely dead
  • When you remove the key all electric seems to return until you turn the ignition again
It doesn't seem to be the battery connection as the lights and power seats work.
It doesn't seem to be the starter as there is no click and all electric seems to go dead at ignition.

Any ideas or have you seen similar symtoms? I plan on putting a code reader on it after work to see if that turns up anything.
Thanks in advance.


Active Member
Possible bad ignition switch.

Possible bad clutch switch/neutral safety switch.

Possible bad starter.

Possible bad starter relay.

There are a few tests you can do, easiest test would be to check the neutral safety switch for proper function. You could unplug it and jump the connector with a piece of wire. That switch could prevent the starter from engaging.

One way to test the ignition switch without crawling up under the steering column is by testing power at the starter relay. I dont have a wiring diagram in front of me at the moment to tell you which pins go to what, but there are only 4 pins and should be pretty easy to figure out which pins should have 12v power and which go to ground. The starter relay is in the fuse panel next to the battery in the engine bay.

If the ignition switch and relay are okay, then you'd probably have to crawl under the front of the car and test the starter solenoid wire for power with the ignition switch turned to crank. If the solenoid wire has power then you have a bad starter.


Active Member
You could check the battery ground. Make sure it is good, tight, and clean. Also, verify the battery has a good charge, and if possible do a load test. I daily drive my Mustang, and mine sat for about 10-12 days. When I cranked it this morning the engine barley tuned over, but did start. I was close though, I thought I was going to have to get the battery jumper out.


Tom Meyers

New Member
Thanks guys. I'm fairly certain it isn't the battery as it just goes dark when you turn the ignition. No attempt to even start. I did buy am ignition relay and a starter relay as they were relatively inexpensive and I can return them if they don't work or one does. I think the ignition relay makes the most sense as the issue occurs as soon as you turn the key. That or maybe a ground. I'll search this page for the wiring diagram for that.

Tom Meyers

New Member
Yes. When I checked it again and started to test the electrical currents I found the battery was good. Then when to try to start it and noticed the theft light was flashing. Did some research on that and learned that leaving the ground off for 10 minutes can sometimes reset this. I tried it and it worked. One of those times you get extremely lucky! Thank you for your help!!!