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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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  #1  
Old 10-30-2013, 04:08 PM
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94 F-250 Starting Issue

Hello Fellow Ford owners,

I have a 1994 F-250 XLT with a 5.8 351W. It has a strange starting issue and I need some experienced guidance.

Normally the truck starts, runs and operates great, however; in some instances, such as today, when I turn the ignition the normal gauges light up, I hear the fuel pump engage, and overall the truck seems to be operating normally. But when I turn the key to the start position i just hear a faint clicking. After a few more cycles, the dash lights become extremely faint and the headlights will not come on. So, I attempt to jump it, however same result. Even the lights are faint. I personally suspect either a grounding problem, or the ignition switch itself.

Now everyone and there brother who sees me with the hood up runs over and immediately starts making suggestions as if they have maintained the truck their whole life. Some are sure the battery is dead, others the alternator has quit, one misguided man even said i needed to tighten my belt because it was not turning the alternator. HA! I would probably hear it if my belt was slipping.

So here are the new parts in the system (within the last month)
-alternator
-negative ground cable (however it was a generic one from autozone and required a bit of modifying to match the old Ford one.)

I have also tested the battery with a volt meter and it reads 12 volts as it should.

Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

Thanks,
WhiteTiger
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:23 PM
broke vet broke vet is offline
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Do you hear a single emphatic "KLIK" or a repetitive series of smaller clicks that approach a "buzz" sound?

My '94 F150 got to the point it was giving me a "KLIK" periodically, but would sometimes start if I kept trying the key (and would sometimes send me diving under the passenger side to slide the quick disconnect on and off the 1/4" flag terminal on the starter solenoid to scrape off enough grunge to allow current to flow.) Ultimately, I replaced the starter when the quick disconnect got too dirty to clean up. When I replaced the starter I discovered Ford did a service change that replaced the quick disconnect with a conventional stud and ring terminal.

I'm not saying that is the problem with your truck, but it would certainly be worth eliminating as a possibility.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:35 PM
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I think you are on the right track with the grounding theory. However, I'm certainly not a mechanic but that's where I would look. Another thing to try is to load test the battery. They will test out at 12 volts with a voltmeter but a load test checks how well the battery works.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:37 PM
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Mine is a series of clicks. It happens at the first try. Then through more cycles of the key it grows fainter with the dash lights. What is strange about this whole thing is every time except for today right as i'm about to give up and call for a ride home or for my dad to come tow me (that's a last resort because he drives a Chevy) she decides to fire right up as if nothing happened. Its frustrating and does nothing for trouble shooting.

To an outside observer, it would seem to be my battery but I know that
1) my battery reads 12v
2) hooking up a good battery with jumper cables does nothing
3) if it was the battery it would not randomly start after 15 minutes of using power to cycle the truck test lights and so forth.

Also i have been playing with the headlight switch because it is also new, along with the connector, and one time when I attempted to start it I randomly pulled the lights on and the truck started. However when this is going down they are dim and grow dimmer the longer I try. I have not looked at a wiring diagram but is the headlight switch somehow routed through the ignition switch?

I feel like im just thinking and typing but I truly am puzzled. My best guess is a worn ignition switch, or perhaps when we put the new negative ground on it has somehow come loose.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:26 PM
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So you hit the key and battery's high. The starter pulls in . . . and battery voltage takes a nosedive. The starter releases, battery voltage comes most of the way back up, starter reengages. Repeat until battery is depleted.

I'll assume the starter solenoid and relay are good. If they were bad the battery voltage wouldn't be dropping the way it seems to be. That leaves the starter as a possible culprit. Can you borrow a clamp-on ammeter to check the starter current draw?
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broke vet View Post
So you hit the key and battery's high. The starter pulls in . . . and battery voltage takes a nosedive. The starter releases, battery voltage comes most of the way back up, starter reengages. Repeat until battery is depleted.

I'll assume the starter solenoid and relay are good. If they were bad the battery voltage wouldn't be dropping the way it seems to be. That leaves the starter as a possible culprit. Can you borrow a clamp-on ammeter to check the starter current draw?

+1 to this post, starter is the most likely cause of the problem based on what you've stated so far.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:44 PM
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Check the small groun from the neg side of battery to the fender well. I helped a bud of mine with a no power prob and it got him back to goin. Just a thought.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:48 PM
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A bad connection at the battery or solenoid will cause the rapid clicking.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:20 PM
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Update based on what I just did:

Checked the negative ground cable (it is new) to make sure it was still tight in the places we attached it. It is.

Tried jumping with negative grounded on the alternator- Lights on but same noise from starter. Its not a series of clicking really its a long groan then if i keep it engaged it starts to click.

I also checked the resistance between the neg on the battery and the fender and it was minimum.

Tried jumping with neg on neg battery post. same.

Crawled under and tapped on the starter solenoid and same.

I have a mechanic who is strongly pushing that I need to replace the ignition switch. His reasoning is that if it were a starter problem I would be not be experiencing this problem in such random increments of several weeks. The last time this happened was about a week ago but after trying everything I could think of (Popped the clutch, jump, played with the headlight switch, tightened and loosened the battery cables) it would not start. Then when I gave up and said "who wants to take me home" I realized that I had left the window down. I went in to roll it down and turned the key and to my surprise the lights came on and she fired right up. I rushed home expecting it to die, but it ran just fine for the next week! In fact it has had a squeak for a while and i took the belt off to find it was the alternator, so I replaced it as a precaution a few days ago. She has been running fine until today.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:34 PM
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Another interesting thing is that I checked the battery voltage while the battery seemed to be "low" and it read normal. 12.6V which in my experience is plenty to start the truck.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:32 PM
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My '94 F150 had two #4 or #2 cables coming from the positive battery post. One went to the relay on the fender, where it was connected to the fusible links and other power feeds; the other went to the solenoid on the starter. Classically, Ford used the fender relay to deliver starting current to the starter; on my '94 and '92 both it just switches solenoid power to the starter solenoid. Classically, a Ford starter receiving power would start to spin, depending upon inertia to extend the starter drive, sometimes using a pole shoe to extend the starter drive and engage the flywheel; on both of my trucks the solenoid on the starter extends the starter drive and, once it is engaged with the flywheel, connects battery power to the starter's windings.

When you replaced the ground wire, did you examine the hot lead as well? Your speaking of the lights going dim after you try to start the vehicle has me wondering if the positive post is dirty or corroded or if the bolt on the fender relay is loose, dirty, or corroded.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:09 PM
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You need to check voltage under load, as in while holding the key in the crank position. Check on the battery terminals then on the starter terminal and engine block.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:09 PM
 
 
 
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