2012 Ford Explorer - won't crank / battery is good - Ford Explorer Forum - Forums for Ford Explorer Enthusiasts
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:10 AM   #1
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2012 Ford Explorer - won't crank / battery is good

I have a 2012 Ford Explorer which I bought new in 2012. It has approx. 91,000 miles on it. A few weeks ago, I started having issues with the windshield wipers not turning off when switched off. I got that fixed and it appears they switched wiper control / arm. I think they might have had to remove the steering wheel to do so because now if I make a hard turn to the left I have noticed some scrubbing in the steering wheel. Yesterday I went to leave and the car wouldnít crank. So, I had my neighbor come jumpstart the car, drove it a parts store thinking I needed a battery but the battery checked out ok. The guy said the connections and wires were fine and it wasnít my battery. I was able to turn the car off and crank it back up. Went a few places in town and was able to crank it back up each time. After approximately 4 hours, went to go somewhere and it was dead again. This time it was parked in my garage. This morning I went out to put it in neutral to push it out of the garage to have my neighbor jump it again and I was unable to shift it into neutral or press the brake down. I had my dad come look and after searching on youtube we found how to manually switch it into neutral by the switch hidden on the bottom of the compartment where the navigation card and USB ports are. We were able to push it out the garage and again was able to jump it off perfectly. Took it back to the parts store and battery was checked again showing it was fine.

Not sure if the windshield wiper switch being replaced has anything to do with the crank issue now. After it is jumped off it runs perfect for a few hours but I know in the morning it will be dead again and when it is dead it is completely dead, locks donít work, lights donít come on, keyless doesnít work, trunk lift gate wonít open, etc.

No lights on the dash have come on suggesting any problem. Any ideas what this could be? Thanks for your help!

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Old 03-11-2018, 02:19 PM   #2
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I would have taken it back to the place that did the wiper stalk immediately as they messed something up. Not sure exactly what "scrubbing"means but any new noise or sensation means something inside, like wiring, is rubbing and will wear away the insulation and short out or break eventually.

It was probably the column they had to partially dismantle.

How old is the battery? At first I thought there was a vehicle problem, possibly related to the security key sensor in the column (if it is still there as it used to be), BUT with it starting from a jump, it is your battery low one way or another.

Either it holds a charge and something is discharging it excessively, or your alternator isn't putting charge into it, or it can't hold the charge meaning the battery itself is bad, or possibly the battery terminals or cable to ground connection is corroded and jump starting put the jumper cables in a spot that went around the corroded connection.

You should get a multimeter and measure the battery voltage when it won't crank.

I am not understanding what you mean by unable to shift it into neutral or press the brake down. Do you mean the shifter was stuck and would not move, or that it moved but did not go into neutral?

What do you mean by press the brake, you cannot make it move with your foot? If the brake pedal has gotten jammed up somehow, there may be an interlock that prevents shifting gears including out of park. This seems like a separate issue to the battery issue.

Once you figure out if the battery voltage is low you can go from there. If not low you have a connection problem. If low you have a bad battery or alternator.

How old is the battery? If it's the original it is definitely at the end of its expected lifespan by now.

FYI Ford put some group 59 batteries in these at the Factory but a group 65 battery will fit without the battery blanket/wrap around it (which is too small if it came originally on the group 59 battery). The group 65 has a higher capacity to price ratio so a better value as well as having more cranking amps and all else equal, should have a longer life in the same application/environment.

If something electrical in the vehicle is causing excessive parasitic drain, more than a few tens of milliamps after it has sat for about 45 minutes or more (without touching it, do not open the hood, doors, use the remote, nothing for 45 minutes so the hood must be opened ahead of time), then you can use a multimeter to compete the battery cable to battery terminal circuit WHILE you disconnect the cable to get a battery drain current reading.

With that reading you can pull each fuse one at a time to see which circuit has a problem and gets rid of the excessive drain, but again you cannot open doors, etc, to do this or it will reset the sleep timer (battery saver circuit) and you won't get a valid parasitic drain reading, will be hundreds of milliamps instead of a few dozen.

I would start with having the steering issue fixed, not only because it needs it before more damage is done, but also because of the possibility that there is already a wire in there shorting out to drain the battery, which can only get worse as the wire further degrades, "if" that's the problem. Even if it isn't, there should be no new scrubbing noise.

You can also take the alternator to some auto parts stores and have them test that. Call ahead, some stores have the tester and some don't. You can test it yourself with a high amperage capable multimeter or ammeter but most people do not have one capable of as high a potential current as needed and measuring alternator voltage is not a straight forward approach now that this generation uses a smart charging scheme which varies alternator duty cycle... used to be that you would expect an alternator to be putting out around 14.4V continuously while the engine was running but on newer vehicles it can bounce around between 12.6V battery voltage and 14.something volts.

If this is your only vehicle and a newer battery, that you are certain is good (I would not trust what the test already done indicated "yet"), then it seems you do have a parasitic drain. Until it is resolved you can disconnect the battery any time it will sit for several hours. That would also be a good time to measure battery voltage right before disconnecting it, then right before reconnecting it. Battery voltage should not drop much at all with it disconnected. If it does more than say 1/10th of a volt, it is likely the battery is bad.
Please post your vehicle year/model/engine/(n)WD in help topics.

'98 Explorer XLT 4L SOHC 4WD
'14 Explorer XLT 3.5L NA AWD
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