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1973 - 1979 F-100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Dentsides Ford Truck

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Old 09-16-2011, 12:17 PM
I6power I6power is offline
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1978 won't start

My truck has been sitting for quite some time, and I've been giving it the attention it deserves recently. For the first time in a while (over 6 months) I went to start the truck. It won't. When turning the key, there is absolutely no activity whatsoever. The gauges won't activate either. The headlights do however.

I went to trickle charge the battery. My charger, while set on automatic, indicated that the battery was fully charged. This can be deceiving though, because a completely dead battery will read as fully charged. In that scenario, you're supposed to set the charger to manual.

I was about to do that (switch the charger to manual) but I thought it would be wise to check the battery with my meter so that I don't overcharge it. The meter read 12V, perfect.

This was all yesterday. I checked the battery again today (while connected to the truck) and it read 11V.

So what's going on here? Does a completely dead battery deceive my meter as well as my charger? Why is that? Maybe I have a short somewhere (haven't checked that yet, as my battery is being 'funny')? If you were in my shoes what would you do to alleviate this problem?
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:37 PM
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Headlights working! Then clean the battery posts and cables, and connections at the solenoid.

Still don't work? Swap in your spare solenoid... you do carry a $10 spare, right?

Still no joy? Ignition switch or a bad connection somewhere.

Post up your result.
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73 F100 SB, 4x4, 390FE, NP435, NP203,+4 on 35s, 71 F250 LB, 2wd, 360FE, T-18, 70 F100 LB, 2wd, 360FE-EFI, TKO-500, 76K original miles, 01 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat 4x4, 5.4L, 01 PT Cruiser Limited (DD), 71 Pontiac Lemans Sport Convertible, 68 Mustang 200-1v, 65 Mustang 289-4v
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:09 PM
I6power I6power is offline
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I won't be surprised if it's that solenoid. The area around the starter looks like no mans land. I'll take a pic and check it with my meter.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:23 PM
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Whaddya mean "... no mans land"? The solenoid is just a high current switch. The "no-cost" option is simply to clean the battery connections. Sometimes they develop a film and and provide enough juice to power the headlights but are not enough to engage the solenoid.

If yer tepid about it, mark the wires with masking tape, and R & R. Or clean each terminal individually and reconnect before moving on to the next one.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:00 PM
I6power I6power is offline
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I had to stop checking it out. Rain came out of no where and now it's pouring.

By "no mans land" I meant leaves and junk were crammed between the starter solenoid and the block. I'm assuming that's what you're talking about, not the relay, right?

All other connections look clean and tight.

I think I know what it is, maybe I should have put this in the original post. I was checking out my fuses the other day and I (sorta) busted one in the removal process. I went to all my local auto parts stores, bought a fuse puller, but I couldn't find the fuse I need.

I need a little 3 amp fuse. If you look at this link:

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/61...e-lighter.html

and scroll down you'll see the fuse box diagram. I busted fuse #2. Would this explain it? Wouldn't that also explain why my gauges won't activate?
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by I6power View Post
I had to stop checking it out. Rain came out of no where and now it's pouring.

By "no mans land" I meant leaves and junk were crammed between the starter solenoid and the block. I'm assuming that's what you're talking about, not the relay, right?

All other connections look clean and tight.

I think I know what it is, maybe I should have put this in the original post. I was checking out my fuses the other day and I (sorta) busted one in the removal process. I went to all my local auto parts stores, bought a fuse puller, but I couldn't find the fuse I need.

I need a little 3 amp fuse. If you look at this link:

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/61...e-lighter.html

and scroll down you'll see the fuse box diagram. I busted fuse #2. Would this explain it? Wouldn't that also explain why my gauges won't activate?
Fuse #2 is for the instrument and cluster lamps, ashtray, transmission indicator, radio lamp, heater/ac lamp, headlamp, and windshield washer illuminator.

Yeah, I guess you call it relay and I call it a solenoid.....the big black switch that is installed between the battery and the starter...it's mounted on the passenger side inner fender. The connections may look clean but looks can be deceiving. Clean then reseat regardless of how they look.

Here's a test. Turn your ignition system "ON". Test for voltage at the battery post, the left side lug on the relay (solenoid), and the "I" terminal on the relay. Good?

Now attempt to start it. Nothing? Pull the red/blue wire from the relay and check for the voltage signal in that wire from the ignition switch when keyed to Start. Got the signal? Yes? But still no "click" when keyed to Start? = Relay bad.

If the relay clicks but the starter does not engage, then it could be the starter. If that happens (and before buying a new starter) sharply jab the starter with a baseball bat... sometimes it needs a little persuasion/vibration to break it loose... my niece does that on her 4Runner every so often... it's kinda funny seeing her in a nice dress with the hood up and a baseball bat in her hand jabbing at the starter.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:44 PM
I6power I6power is offline
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Ok so I have an update for you:

I was concerned that the battery was sending back faulty readings. One minute it's saying 12 volts, one minute 11, another 6. I had a good connection to my meter each time. So I sent it back to the charger for a 4 hour charge.

While that was happening, I went ahead and scrubbed the terminals on the solenoid with a wire brush. They did look fairly clean. Not 100% shiny, but fairly clean.

After the battery was on the charger I threw it on the truck and she turned over! Didn't start, but it turned over strong.

During this process of pumping the gas pedal and trying to start it, the cable that connects from the gas pedal, to the carb linkage decided to get stuck. I guess 33 years of wear and tear will do that. No biggy.

I've been documenting everything I do to my truck ever since I got a cell phone with a camera. I made a video of it, though I'm having video conversion issues. Once I solve that problem I'll put it on youtube and give you a shout.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:44 PM
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