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2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On

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Jan 18, 2017, 12:43 AM

Post #1 of 9 (593 views)
2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Hello all,

I have an issue I've never seen before. There was a post back in '09 that Mr. Greenleaf put a considerable amount of work into, and I read the whole thing. Now I'll tell my story and see if anyone can assist.

Get a call from the kid who says that the car is dead. I head there and it seems that he tried to jump it using a friend's car. He got sparks and smoking from his 2 attempts, so he stopped. SWEARS, that he did not reverse the polarity on the cables.

I got there, got in and cranked it over a couple of revolutions before the battery got tired, and then was able to hook up cables and start it right up, but the instrument cluster and radio were out. I told him to drive it around a bit to recharge the battery and bring it home. Gets it home, it shuts down and restarts no problem. Head inside for dinner.

Come out later to check for a blown fuse (which I found... instrument cluster fuse), but the battery was dead again. This time when I went to attach the cables, the motor started to turn over on it's own, but the keys were still in my pocket.

After dismissing the one friend that suggested a priest for the exorcism of the possessed car, I did some checking on other things...such as bad relays, other fuses that might be out of sorts, etc. But nothing else checked out.

I'm looking at the ignition switch as the potential culprit, especially since it blew out the fuse and that also controls the cluster and the radio. I'm thinking that the ign switch also gives the fuel pump the ok to pressurize the fuel system, and the coils to spark, etc., and that's not happening.

There was a great deal of chatter on the other thread about a short from the trigger wire to the power source, and although that may be possible if something loosened up while the kid slid off the road a few weeks ago in a snowstorm into the woods, I wouldn't think so just cause of the location of the starter / solenoid combo. It's above the tranny and buried in a sea of cooling lines. The area leading to the contacts looks intact.

The other option was that there was something wrong internally in the starter. Not sure what the opinions here will be, but I will try to provide as much info as possible.

Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jan 18, 2017, 2:50 AM

Post #2 of 9 (588 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Still here sport. Let's begin with how to avoid ever using jumper cables again. Most are totally inadequate for a totally "dead" battery and the reason lousy cables and connections could smoke away unable to overcome a battery that dead is close to jumping a pipe wrench.

Worse - there's been plenty of cold areas so a dead battery is very likely to be ruined as without a charge the freeze, crack or short inside which is a good reason not to jump start a vehicle with another vehicle even with better cables - get a jumper box and a battery charger.

Next: Don't allow a vehicle to try to charge up a dead battery. It's working many times harder on the charging system than ever intended but will keep trying till wires are hot and alternator almost glows before it fails.

Fine - it got some charge, went around the block and restarted and left for a while and found dead again. No real surprise.

It's been crunched on underside off the road so add that to variables of problems and reasons how this could crank without trigger wire energized or maybe it is?

Starter probably tried again while unwitnessed and as low voltage is trying before a solenoid can just flutter got super hot which seems contrary but low voltage makes heat vs proper power delivered. Solenoid could have stuck then released and stuck again now.

IDK - Need a point to begin. I'd get a known good fully charged battery if only temporary to use AFTER checking for heat damage, trauma damage from the off road adventure. Use care and be ready for last hook up to next battery to unhook it immediately if it just cranks again.

Need to also know if this has a remote starter and if aftermarket or if they made it OE and did it work as a problem spot now either way.

Need to start somewhere. This leaves lots or searching to focus on the cause and what will need fixing,


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jan 18, 2017, 4:34 AM

Post #3 of 9 (581 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

He got sparks and smoking from his 2 attempts, so he stopped. SWEARS, that he did not reverse the polarity on the cables.

I don't know if I believe that.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.


Jan 18, 2017, 8:46 AM

Post #4 of 9 (571 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Ok....thanks for all the info, Tom. Let's get into this a little further. When he lost it on the road and slid off, he wedged himself very nicely between boulder and a tree, not striking either, but the sign he took out whacked the windshield enough to shatter it. So I replaced the windshield after taking it down to my local repair shop and having them give it the 'once over' to make sure there was no serious damage. (in the process telling me it needed control arms [ball joints, not bent...that I also did). So the moral of this paragraph is that the car should be generally 'trauma free' other than having a new driver driving it. Because the starter and associated wiring is up over the tranny, there were no outside affectors able to get at it. vibration could be the issue there.

Next, the car was purchased used and had what looks to be a remote start / alarm system installed that was inoperative when the car was bought. The dealer had no clue how to use it, and when I looked it up on line, it didn't work either according to the remote starter manufacturer's instructions. It ran. I needed basic transportation that I could afford. Done deal.

I noticed when I got in the car last night to try to move it, that there was a low, fast-pulsing hum coming from the electronics in the dash. So even with the key off, there's power going to that area somehow. at this point I disconnected the battery completely for the night.

This morning, I pulled the battery and rather than charge it here, the wife is going to run it down to the auto parts store while I'm at work and they will charge it. I know rapid charge is no substitute for trickle charge, but right now, I just need something to use that has more than 11.4v in it.

The low (v) heating up the starter solenoid and causing the switch to stay open is an interesting theory I hadn't thought of. I can't see the leads on the starter cause of all the crap in the way, and working in a lopsided driveway in the rain and 30 degree weather is no fun...but tonight after work, I'll be out there at 7pm getting back to it with a charged battery and a new inst cluster fuse.

Who knows...maybe it will work fine when I hook it up this time....until next time. LOL

Ok...gave you all the info I currently have. Thanks again.

And a PS to our other poster...yeah. I'm tending to not believe him either...most 17 year olds will attempt to CYA before coming clean or admitting that they might not have known exactly what they were doing.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jan 18, 2017, 9:21 AM

Post #5 of 9 (565 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

OK - Look back his user name is Hammer Time we also just call HT for short.

So it did have an aftermarket thing cutting into wiring that failed like most do. It's the hacking up that wiring and putting that back to OE grade again concerns me still all about this even if not the issue now it is on lots of vehicles that put that junk in.

Also unsure if this was reverse polarity jumped! I don't know of a certain ONE way that makes for trouble but sure does. A split second you might get away with but when wire smokes - cables of crappy jumpers or the vehicle something sure was wrong.

This buzzing noise? Can you find what the item is at least and what it goes to? Possible relay for something? No, it shouldn't be doing that proving wiring has a problem either the jump starting gone wrong, accident I'll call that, or from that aftermarket crap not totally removed and repaired cut wires that are there to make it run unattended!

See what happens and what results you get on the battery. Hey - while here - fast charging isn't my choice but on a good battery should take it. To me, "trickle" can mean 1 amp but personally use about 10 amp not more for ordinary charging off vehicle,



Jan 18, 2017, 12:43 PM

Post #6 of 9 (560 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Ok. Meeting break. I will check into what I can. Battery is back from auto parts store...charged and solid. I'll test it again when I get home to see if it's held the charge.

Keep you all apprised. Thanks.


Jan 20, 2017, 1:40 AM

Post #7 of 9 (540 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Hey there. So, now that I know I need to futz with this remote start, this project has been relegated to the weekend. I just don't have the time during the work week to get it done. Just didn't want you to think that I forgot about the thread.



Jan 22, 2017, 11:58 AM

Post #8 of 9 (499 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Hi everyone.

Thanks for reading along. I worked on the Escape yesterday. Fully armed with a freshly charged battery, an ignition switch at the ready and completely resigned to either have to replace the starter, or spend endless hours trying to remove the after-market remote start without disabling some essential component of the vehicles operation.

What I DID do before I put the battery back in to put it to the test was to take a dowel and give the starter and solenoid both some gentle taps. Just in case the Bendix gear was stuck or some other nonsense that I wasn't aware of inside the starter / solenoid. Then I put the battery back in.

To my surprise, the car did not crank. I started her up...everything seemed normal. I installed the fresh instrument cluster fuse. Gauges and everything else worked fine. Battery holding a charge...all SEEMS well.

The concern that I have now did the battery die in the first place? Wondering if I'm not getting all the information from the kid. Maybe he left the lights on all day....who knows. Only other thing I can think of is if the starter area got really wet somehow..but it's very shielded. Or some other component got wet, as I removed the splash shields to do the control arms and haven't put them back yet.

But until it happens again, I will consider myself ridiculously lucky and move on.

Thank you everyone for your assistance with troubleshooting. Lots of good opinions and advice, and I will keep it in my head for future headaches.


Feb 7, 2017, 7:07 PM

Post #9 of 9 (457 views)
Re: 2006 Escape XLT Starter Cranks when Jumper Cables Hooked On Sign In

Hey everyone. So, new developments. The car has done this thing a few more times where it won't start and got it to run each time. The stepson informs me after that the dash indicator lights are staying on and so now it's really leading me to believe that it's the remote start that is giving the problem. He THEN informs me that the new windshield that was put in is dripping on his pant leg when he's using the truck. Then I realized that this problem surfaced after getting the windshield done, and only happened on days that it was raining.

I finally got to investigate this thing in the rain and armed with new information, it's looking like the water is running down the A-pillar and somehow getting into the dash, getting the wires wet. So now, I'm fairly sure that it is a short due to moisture on the electronics. He's coming to look at the windshield on Thursday if we don't have 2 feet of snow.

Not much to comment on from anyone, but I thought I'd give you another update since you all put so much thought and comment into it. Thanks.

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