Q: Having a starter issue and I have done all the troubleshooting to know it's the starter. 1997 Ford F150

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Trying to start the truck I get a click! I checked at the firewall battery fuse panel and then at the firewall starter/ignition solenoid and then at the starter itself ! I'm getting power to all those points. The battery is putting out 14 volts. I've arc started it several times at the starter solenoid. I tried having someone sit in the truck and turn the key to the cranking position while it tap the starter but I found out that didn't work but what does work is instead of tapping the starter , all I have to do is touch the front plate with a metal rod and it fires right up! There's a little bolt that is slightly lose but I can't seem to tighten it on the front of the starter but as soon as there is contact on the front plate, it fires right up! I don't know if I need to replace the starter or what! I've never heard of this happening and It's not jammed or anything so I was wondering if you knew what to do about this? Thank you

My car has 298000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there - I suspect the "bolt" you mention is on the starter solenoid, which has burned contacts. This means that you can measure voltage to the solenoid, but there is not enough current through the solenoid contacts to kick the starter motor. Jumping it adds enough current to overcome the resistance of the burned contacts. I recommend replacing the starter assembly by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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