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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 02-04-2012, 01:56 PM
William McCoy William McCoy is offline
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Ignition Switch Re-Install & Solenoid Assistance Needed

Hey Guys--

So here's the deal. I was having the dreaded 'Stuck Starter' issue. Thanks to FTE, I was able to pinpoint the issue to the solenoid and the Ignition Switch on the steering column.

I've replaced the solenoid 3x now. The local Ford Dealer said they no longer carry the solenoid for this truck (1984 F150, 302, 2Bl, 4x4). ???

After the 2nd solenoid replacement, I was told it could be the ignition switch-- so I replaced that. Still doing the same thing. ???

So then, I heard it could be, yet, another solenoid. So, I went to the Ford Delear-- no dice. They don't carry the 4 post Motorcraft part. ???

I then went to Napa and spoke to a Ford guy there who swears by his products (the guy is retired from the Ford plant here in Norfolk so I tend to trust him over the 19 year olds at the Aftermarket stores).

I put the solenoid back on and nothing would happen. I mean-- NOTHING. No crank, no sounds, nodda.

It's been about 15 years since I had to work on my own car and replace one of these things so it's HIGHLY likely that I screwed something up in the process.

I have the four post solenoid-- the only thing I was wondering about was the small wire with the big round eyelet-- which stud does that go on? I know where the small Starter wire goes (the red one with the boot)-- this is the only other small wire. At first, I had it on the starter side of the solenoid. That's when nothing happened. I then moved it to the battery side and viola! things started happening. So far, so good. I went to crank it over and it did-- and then kept going. I had to pop the positive cable off again.

So, I decided to experiment a little. I loosened the ignition switch on the column and started to slide it around a bit to see if that was the problem. While sliding it on the column, the starter engaged but while doing so, I found that the key cylinder is tight and doesn't kick back like it should. I had to manually pull the key back, hard, to the lock position but the starter still kept going again. I am about to pull my hair out!

It seems that no matter what I do-- it keeps turning over.

So big question: Is it POSSIBLE that it is the ignition switch after all? Reading my Hanes manual (which is a waste of money, btw) all it tells me is to keep the Ignition Switch "locked" until after it's installed. WTF does that mean? Did I , by chance, unlock it while installing it and thereby continued the same problem I was having in the first place???

IS a special way to install an Ignition Switch after it's been removed or can you just stick it on the starting rod, tighten up the nuts a bit, find the middle, and then tighten it?

I know this is long-- and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. ANY help is appreciated!!!!

Bill
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:37 PM
Lazy K Lazy K is offline
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Sorry to hear of the problems. This is the page for `87-`96 trucks, might be better going one line down on the main page and posting there.
However, one of the light gauge wires should be a push-on connector and this should be the exciter wire from the ign switch, you need to see if there is 12v at it after the key is turned to start and back to run. If there is not then when the starter is running if you pull it off of the fender mounted relay the starter should stop running.
On the three post relays there is one wire on one of the big posts going to the starter solenoid, all other wires go to the other big post except the push-on exciter wire which goes to the small post. Unfortunately I don`t know about the four post relay.
Good luck.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:06 PM
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tjc transport tjc transport is offline
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with the battery disconnected, turn the key to accessory position, and loosen the ignition switch on the column.
push the switch all the way to the firewall till you for resistance, but don't force it. snug the switch up.
try the switch in all positions, key off that key comes out. on, then to start and see that you have spring tension in start.
this will give you a starting point for switch adjustment.


wiring should be small wire from ignition switch to the terminal with S on it.
there is an ignition wire, that goes to the small I terminal.
large wire from starter to large lug on solenoid.
all other wires plus positive battery wire to other large lug.

Click the image to open in full size.

if you hook the starter and ignition wires up wrong you will know, the starter will engage as soon as you turn the key to run position.
this is easy to fix, just switch position of the two wires on the small solenoid terminals.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:06 PM
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