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Old 08-23-2010, 08:35 PM
BrotherGrymm BrotherGrymm is offline
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Any suggestions for my truck's problem?

I have a 1997 Ford F-350 Crew Cab with a 5.8L V8 in it. It has a problem starting sometimes, in a very intermittent way. Generally it starts just fine, but sometimes it will not. It either just makes a clicking noise, or sometimes it does a very short almost turn-over (Like, a half-second, no where near a full turn). Sometimes beating on the starter works, sometimes jumping the solenoid (Really it's a starter relay, on the sidewall of the engine compartment, but everyone I talk to calls it a solenoid) will work when I jump the two poles together. If I let the truck sit for 15-30 minutes after an unsuccessful attempt at starting, it will start right up. However, letting it sit for several hours after parking it (IE for that thing called sleep, or that thing more annoyingly called work) does not seem to guarantee a smooth start, as it will sometimes have problems first thing in the morning or when I am ready to go home.

However, I have already replaced the Starter Relay, and the Starter. The problem is still there. The battery is nearly brand new and tests at 780+ Cold Cranking Amps even when it is having trouble starting.

I've been under the truck a couple times with someone trying to crank it at night, and have seen a few sparks falling down from somewhere up close to the alternator (I cannot recreate these sparks while I am looking down at the alternator, though.) I also noticed that when I am having trouble starting it, after a number of attempted cranks, a small puff of smoke will appear from somewhere behind the alternator. I've followed where it comes from as best I can, and the smoke originates from a small space between the engine block and the air pump (About 5-6 inches below the alternator) I could not tell if that was where the sparks had come from, since it was daylight and I could not see any sparks.

I have a feeling there may be more than one problem here, one with the smoke/sparks, and one with the starting issue. I'm not entirely sure, as I would have to clarify that I am not exactly mechanically inclined (You might ask me sometime how many gallons of oil a 1972 Datsun Pickup takes...) but I'm good intentioned, and willing to work on things if I can.

Things I have replaced:
Starter (w/ Solenoid attached)
Starter Relay (The Solenoid thing in the engine compartment)

Things I have checked:
Wires (Can't find any bare spots of anything)
Connections (Cleaned Corrosion off battery poles and cables
Battery (Tested at least 5-6 times at Advance Auto, four different locations.)
Alternator (Tested at Advance Auto multiple times)

Things I haven't had the knowledge/time to check:
Neutral Safety Switch? (Don't ask...)
Ignition Switch?
Anything not listed above?!

If anyone has suggestions (Or lives in the Roanoke area and would like to volunteer their time for a great cause (My sanity, or the small bit I still possess)) I would be very appreciative. For the record, the truck runs GREAT when it is running. The engine is in very good shape (Which makes me question whether it is the original engine, since it has 317k miles on it, and the engine purrs wonderfully.) although it is the right engine for the truck.

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain a Hayes or Chilton manual for the truck. I have tried Advance, NAPA, and the Library. Everyone has manuals for F-150 and F-250, or F-350 of a different era. The F-250 manual for that year only goes up to a 5.3L V8, not 5.8L (Or the 7.3L Big Block I wish it had.)
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:18 PM
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Check the battery (neg) where it attaches to the engine block for a clean, tight connection. Won't get down that way for a couple of months yet. I've sometimes run a 6 volt cable - thicker gauge wire- and ground it right at the starter. From your description. I'd check the ground first.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:17 PM
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how about the battery cables themselves?

don't worry too much about the hayes manuals...i gott run to a meeting in a few, but tonight bump this thread and i will look for my saved link to some online manuals i have. i think gassers are in there too.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:23 PM
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Might have a manual for that truck, not sure, I'll have to check tomorrow.

As far as your issue, I would check the ground as suggested. Check where it actually grounds to the truck, make sure there is no corrosion, use a wire brush to clean the mating surfaces. I really doubt that is your issue but it's worth a shot.

Wish you lived closer, I'd love to take a crack at that one.

If you are looking for a manual I would certainly recommend online, anywhere from Amazon, eBay to Barnes and Noble. If you have to buy it in a store, try a book store, that's where I bought my almost useless Chilton's manual.

Oh and by the way, how many quarts of oil does a 72' Datsun take?
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomcat7742 View Post
As far as your issue, I would check the ground as suggested. Check where it actually grounds to the truck, make sure there is no corrosion, use a wire brush to clean the mating surfaces. I really doubt that is your issue but it's worth a shot.
i use baking soda dissolved in water to get corrosion...on battery terminals anyway...plus wire brush. an even that was barely enough to kinda get the cummins cleaned up lol

1996 Bronco/F-Series Workshop Manual is the manual i was thinking of earlier...i don't have a direct link for any other model years though. most of my good stuff with parts numbers an such is diesel-specific. sorry if it's an early 97, maybe that manual will help a little bit
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1996 F250 XLT 7.3L PSD SC/LB 4x4, auto, 4.10s, 4" suspension lift on 37" Goodyear Wrangler MTs, 6637 air filter, 208k+ mi and counting

Plotting: stacks, gauges, tw chip, cat/muffler delete, and more that won't fit
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:37 PM
BrotherGrymm BrotherGrymm is offline
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I've checked the battery cables pretty well and cleaned the corrosion of the battery cables, I checked where the ground goes to the frame (It screws on behind the Starter Relay) and cleaned off that end of the wire. I've checked pretty much every end that could have corrosion on it, and cleaned them with a wire brush.

Uhmmm, a '72 Datsun pickup takes about 3 gallons of oil until you can see it from the top Not sure how much it had in the first place.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:44 PM
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hmmm...unless corrosion got down inside (something mentioned to me when i had starting issues)

if starter, battery, cables, etc all check out ok, to me the logical next place to look would be ignition switch...yes?
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1996 F250 XLT 7.3L PSD SC/LB 4x4, auto, 4.10s, 4" suspension lift on 37" Goodyear Wrangler MTs, 6637 air filter, 208k+ mi and counting

Plotting: stacks, gauges, tw chip, cat/muffler delete, and more that won't fit
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:54 PM
BrotherGrymm BrotherGrymm is offline
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hmmm...unless corrosion got down inside (something mentioned to me when i had starting issues)

if starter, battery, cables, etc all check out ok, to me the logical next place to look would be ignition switch...yes?
Perhaps...Not sure if I am looking at the switch on the column, or looking for a small box somewhere else, though. I can't afford to just start replacing everything in the entire ignition system, either. I replaced the two things that were the likeliest problems (Turns out they weren't, though) and by this point I really just have to work out the problem before buying new parts.

The link for that manual does have gasser links, but the links appear to be bad Which sucks because it seemed to be exactly what I needed.

EDIT:

Also, I don't believe that corrosion would have worked it's way down there, since the cables never really had a lot of corrosion to begin with (I cleaned them with warm water and a wire brush, but there was not much on there.)
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:33 PM
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I would say that the next place to check is in the ignition system.

Do you have a multimeter? If so you can usually check electrical components to see if they are good or bad without simply just replacing them. I am not an expert on it or anything, usually just go to my Dad for anything electrical. He's been in electronics for over 30 years, so it's like going to the electrical bible.

I will make sure to check to see if I have that book tomorrow. I have all my repair manuals at my inlaws right now, was doing some repair work in their garage and just never brought them home.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:52 PM
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just rememmber if you see corrosion on outside it has traveled inside the wire coating and traveled farther through wire then you think... this will cause resistence in the wire an could cause intermittant issues
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:25 PM
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Sorry bro, don't have anything on your truck.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherGrymm View Post
I've been under the truck a couple times with someone trying to crank it at night, and have seen a few sparks falling down from somewhere up close to the alternator (I cannot recreate these sparks while I am looking down at the alternator, though.) I also noticed that when I am having trouble starting it, after a number of attempted cranks, a small puff of smoke will appear from somewhere behind the alternator. I've followed where it comes from as best I can, and the smoke originates from a small space between the engine block and the air pump (About 5-6 inches below the alternator) I could not tell if that was where the sparks had come from, since it was daylight and I could not see any sparks.
Uh, that's bad. . .

Sparks -> Smoke -> Engine Compartment Fire

I think the alternator harness plug is on the underside of the case, in the rear. . .which would be above the air pump. . .something in the plug itself could be intermittently shorting to the alternator housing, or just dirty or corroded. It would still charge and read normal if nothing was touching, but the positive line goes to the battery and could intermittently short to ground which wouldn't let you start and could generate smoke and sparks. . .

At least I think so. . .my Br4N3 HerTz
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:50 PM
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