1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks
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I have a 95 F-150 that occasionaly doesn't like to start. When you turn the key it will just click once. I have replaced the battery, battery cable ends, starter, and starter solenoid with no luck. Problem got better after replacing the starter with a NAPA one but then returned months later. I can always get the truck to start by moving the key from ACC to Start several times in a row.
More recently it has started a thing where it cranks strongly but won't start. Usually after 5 or 10 tries it will start. I do hear the fuel pump run when I turn the key. The weird thing is this problem never happens at the same time as the "click" problem.
Yesterday it cranked and cranked but wouldn't start. I disconnected the negative battery cable and connected it back up, then got the clicking problem, after a few clicking tries it cranked and started right up.
I can't help but think I've got an electrical problem of some sort. Once the truck starts it runs strong and hasn't ever quit on me on the road (yet.) What sort of electrical issue could result in the "click" when trying to start and the condition of it cranking but not firing up?
I did pull codes and got a code 121, which means closed throttle voltage higher or lower than expected. If there's a TPS problem I could see how this could maybe figure into the no firing up problem, but not the clicking problem.
I take it your lights stay on during the click from the starter relay.
If so you may need to cut the spade terminal off the small red wire going to the starter Solenoid from the starter relay and crimp a new on one. This happens a lot with this spade causing the one click.
Make sure your ground cable from the NEG post of the battery goes to the block and not just the frame. The frame is not a ground for the truck, it is just used if you pull a trailer.
The cranking and not starting is unrelated to the click and requires you to find out if you have spark, the injectors are firing, you have fuel pressure, a good body and computer grounds.
The one piece ground cable, from factory, goes from the neg battery terminal to the frame then to the block. What you want to do is run a long cable from the battery straight to the block, and a short one from the block to the frame. The two cables i showed are 48" and 19" long.
The only tough part of this job is getting to the block bolt. I'll find some pics of both the block and frame grounding point and post em up.
I had a very similar problem when I first bought my truck and the problem turned out to be the ground on the passenger fender between the starter relay and the battery. Took me three days, but cleaning up that ground solved the problem.
__________________ Todd - Hockey Dad
1999 f150 sc/lb 2wd 4.2 331,000kms and counting
Thanks for the advice, I think I'm gonna just start going through connections and cleaning them, I'm sure after 15 years there are quite a few dirty connections. Will also replace the grounds.
My "cranking but not starting" problem still persists. I've found that when I turn the key to Acc, I can hear the fuel pump run for a second. But when it doesn't start, if I keep turning the key Off then to Acc eventually the pump runs for a sec, then pauses, then runs again. Once it does that the truck starts fine. I'm thinking maybe fuel pump relay or fuel filter?
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