Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
If your '87 has a Ford-style solenoid on the fender, the starter can't stay engaged without it. Some starters with a solenoid mounted to the side that makes the electrical connection and engage the starter drive can get themselves locked into engagement, but only if something else goes wrong in the starter.
My first guess would be that you got a poor quality solenoid, but here's a test. Start it and if the starter keeps running, administer a tap to the solenoid and see if it drops out.
Then do it again but disconnect the battery to stop the starter. Then reconnect the battery, without the tap, and see if the starter starts cranking.
Then do it one more time but just pull the one or two small wires off the solenoid.
If the solenoid contacts are welding themselves together, nothing you do with the electrics will correct the problem, but giving it a rap should disengage it whether the battery is connected or not.
If the starter does not re-engage after disconnecting the battery, we know that the problem is electrical in nature. If pulling the small wires off the solenoid shuts off the starter, we know that current is getting to the solenoid coil when it shouldn't be.
And one more thing; could it be that the starter is staying engaged but the motor isn't actually running, its just being spun by the engine? In that case, disconnecting the battery is killing the engine, and when it stops the starter disengages. If that's what's happening, your problem is indeed a bad starter, or at least, bad starter drive.
Last edited by Jim_Lou; 09-28-2008 at 04:28 PM.