Sunday, August 8, 2010

'98 Ford F-150 won't start

Last Tuesday I went out to start my truck, turned the key and nothing. Lights all on on the dash, but no clicking or anything when I turned the key.

I learned a few things about how to troubleshoot the problem in the process, here's what I learned, i.e. what I'll do next time:
  1. Battery terminals? Battery terminals get corroded and end up with weak connections. If they look corroded, clean them (google is your friend here).
  2. Dead battery? Get your battery checked out. They go bad every few years, so this is a common problem.
In this case I learned that it wasn't the battery, so here's where it gets interesting.
  1. Bad starter? To check your starter, connect the two big terminals on the ignition solenoid with a screwdriver:
    (Watch out for sparks close to the battery.) If the starter turns over (acts like it wants to start), you know the starter's good.
  2. Bad ignition solenoid? To check the solenoid, disconnect the rubber coated solenoid wire off the solenoid (small wire attached in the center above the main terminals), then take a length of wire (#12 or bigger, maybe a coat hangar?) and connect the positive (+, red) post on the battery to that solenoid terminal. If it tries to start, your solenoid is good.
My solenoid was fine, so on to the ignition switch itself.
  1. Bad connection in the ignition switch? There's a hole underneath the ignition switch on the steering column that leads to the release pin.
    If you push that pin up (with a pen or coat hangar) while you turn the key to the "on" position the whole ignition mechanism will turn and then you can pull it out. Check the electric connections on the sides and make sure they're not loose/broken.
In my case, I pulled out the ignition switch then reseated it and the truck starts fine now. Loose connection in there I suppose.

I'm sure there are other things that can go wrong, but hopefully that'll help someone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bryan,

We just wanted to tell you
THANK YOU! for your post!!!!

It saved us and really helped trouble shoot starting problems!

Thanks so much!

Mark & Denise

(your friends in the faith in Utah)

:) so funny when we saw your description said LDS :)

Does anyone read this thing?

views since Feb. 9, 2008