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intermittent no crank, 5.4 f150

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by R3Dside, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    I have an intermittent no crank symptom.... Really sucks as my back up plower is my quad and its just a hassle loading onto sites, not to mentions takes much longer to plow!

    So as to the truck, (no prior symptoms to having hard starts or anything) had it in the car wash after the first major plow event.... Parked it in the driveway and next time I went out, it didnt even try to crank. All lights/radio/power works, just no crank. I replaced the starter relay, being that it could have been stuck, and it was old, a $25 part was any easy test/upgrade, but that changed nothing... Still no crank. So I then realized that it needed a new battery to starter positive cable (old one frayed out horribly) Installed a new one, with even larger gauge and it fired right up. So I parked it out to the other side of the driveway and they next day, (planning on getting some plowing work out of it finally... again no crank? any ideas?
    btw, what I've ruled out (to the best of my ability)
    Battery, brand new interstate 850 cca
    starter relay (on firewall, ford style) just replaced (and worked with new on on)
    I doubt its the ignition, since it has been operating fine.
    Battery main ground is not corroded at all, connection is fine
    S-terminal is recently replaced and works just fine
    B-terminal (bat + to starter) is brand new and connected great.

    Possible culprit being
    -Starter, (could be intermittently not trying to crank at all)
    -Neutral Safety Switch (or trans range sensor) Not sure how to test, but when its not cranking, it acts as it would if it was left in drive. Although moving the gearshift around through the gears while cranking did NOT help it to crank.

    Again, any ideas? Any insight is greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  2. deckboys

    deckboys Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    ive got a truck kinda like yours.. when the problems happens have you tried putting the truck in neutral? maybe its the saftey switch, just something to try
     
  3. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    Thanks for the response (its nice to see another F150 that can plow!)
    I had just edited my original post, and yes I tried that, did not help. When its not cranking, its as nothing will help it to. And when it is, nothing will make it not crank! lol
     
  4. matts27

    matts27 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 138

    Does the solenoid "click" pull in? Being that its a new part I would think its okay but start there. If it pulls in or "clicks" then the starter could be toast due to the low current it was receiving from the found bad positive cable. I'm assuming the motor still has good grounds to it from the frame and the battery to the frame?

    Matt
     
  5. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Its the starter mine did it for awhile then it finally gave it up. replace it and be done with it.
     
  6. 07PSDCREW

    07PSDCREW Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    I agree with KGR...probly a bad starter. If it does it again soon, have someone hold the key to crank position and tap on starter with a hammer or other object. Also, if your 2000 is equipped with a PATS key, be sure the red indicator light isnt flashing fast, that would indicate an issue with the key.
     
  7. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    Matt- Yes there is a click, but not the "click click click" as when the battery is dead. Just one click
    (I am assuming that is the Starter Relay (on the firewall) making that single click?)

    KGR- I was wondering whether starters were known to do that, I had never heard of such intermittent behavior, from them. Makes sense, does it just "sieze up" for a few hours, gets cold? And later is fine?

    PSDCREW- What is the PATS system, in my extensive reading online about this topic, I had come across that a few times, is it just the theft system? or the chipped key?

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  8. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    btw, it has great ground, but could the starter really die from lack or sufficient current? Its not as if I starved it with a extended crank time, it either tried and fired or didnt try... I just am wondering if the low current could really have adverse affects of the starters life.



    And wouldn't the back and forth of plowing wear on the trans range sensor/neutral safety switch? Anyone know how to test those?
     
  9. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Mine worked fine. Never had an issue. Then blew the trans on the truck. And it had to come off and i figured maybe they dropped the starter or something. and it just shook something on the inside. I think its like a dead or burnt spot in the windings. From to many starts and stop. but when it stops in that spot it just dose nothing. But I know for a fact that it happens cause its what mine did. And I was back to normal no more need for prayers on snowy mornings
     
  10. 07PSDCREW

    07PSDCREW Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    Passive anti theft system.....If you have a fat black key than you have it.. Next time its dead......grab a basic test light and probe the "S" terminal while someone turns the key. If you get it to light than its not the neutral safety switch. it would be a bad starter motor. If you dont get the light than I would look and check the circuit prior to the starter. I did an F150 a few days ago with same issue and it was the PCM not giving ground to starter relay via a faulty PATS Module
     
  11. hatefulmechanic

    hatefulmechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Just to add a bit of info, if there is a problem in the PATS system, the red SECURITY light will flash when trying to crank. Being an 01 model it could or couldn't have the system.

    Most likely the solenoid on the starter is going out, we replace quite a few of them and if most replacement units come with an upgraded solenoid you need to change the plug for.

    Down and dirty test is to have someone hold the key to the crank position when it will not crank, and frail the starter with a BFH. If it fires up, ya need a starter.
     
  12. ADMSWELDING

    ADMSWELDING Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    Pull the plug on neutral safety switch/tran range selector look for corrosion.Next time no crank pull on off couple times see if it starts.I have replaced mine and pigtail on my f-350 before had same symptoms.Bought starter/soloniod on firewall then found the issue.:realmad:
     
  13. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,972

    get a test light and leave it in the truck..when its doing the click click. take one end on the s terminal,,and the pinpoint to neg batt. jump back in tk and try again. if you see the test light light. its the starter
    you can also try to jump the solenoind,,take a jumper wire from batt pos, and touch it to the small s term. thats simulating you turning the key
    the park, n switch. they usually go out all the way,,,usually
     
  14. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    Well I went ahead and put in a starter and had also bought the neutral safety switch/trans range sensor. It was starting the entire day before and after the starter install so a complete solution is not yet conclusive, as to what was the problem. So I'm going to hang on to the sensor until I know if it needs it or not, but so far it's working. The start install was definitely not fun, but it could have been worse. At least it's running, although still on eggshells until I can trust it again.
    Thanks to all who helped out. I think, and hope my problem is fully solved.
     
  15. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    when you pulled the starter was the bendix still good or just loose and floppin around. did u try the oldstarter with a battery charger or some jumper cables
     
  16. matts27

    matts27 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 138

    Yes, if the cable was frayed, missing strands, connections badly corroded the starter could take a beating. A starter is a high current motor, try turning an engine with good compression with a 1/2" drive ratchet on the flywheel and you'll see how much torque is required to spin the crank. This is why manufacturers typically recommend a short cranking cycle, 15 seconds or so. The heat will build in the supply cable causing voltage drop and thus causing an increased demand for current (amps). That's why most parts stores sell upgraded/ larger awg sized positive and negative cable leads.
    Last time I had my amp probe on a small block the in-rush current amps were 250+ at initial crank.
    Also, the starter is so low to the ground and has a pretty hard life, takes a lot of abuse and I've always classified a starter as a wear item that eventually will fail.
    Hope the starter swap works out for you and this is the last of your problems, take care.

    Matt
     
  17. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    First of all, please excuse my poor verbal skills. This fancy iPhone typing has been making me forget and misspell words.
    KGR- not sure what you mean about the bendix, but all connections were tight including battery main ground (mounts to starter mounting bolt/engine) and my recently added new main battery + to starter wire (old one was in horrible shape, although that was not the entire problem, as a few no cranks existed after changing just that)

    Also I did not bench test the starter as it was working the entire day before, (was lucky enough to be able to move the truck into the garage for warmth and its been getting down their lately, about 25 degrees :0 )

    Matt- your explanation of the starter and its tendencies is very thorough, and makes sense. I entirely follow your initial point of low current essentially destroying the starter. Also the new B-terminal/ batt + to starter is now a much larger guage and the ground (was) about to be upgraded to a massive 1 or 2 guage, but my wire ran about 3" too short :0 well back to TSC for another return!
    It started again another 3 times today so faith in my truck is resurfacing. And after 193k a starter is nowhere near out of the question, so it's good to know most all the starting system is new now (battery>relay>cables>starter). One less thing to worry about now, and now to refocus on plowing! Thanks again all!
     
  18. thesnowman269

    thesnowman269 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    dead spot on the starter. i have the same truck but a 99 its happened more times then i can count. took one to napa, told them it had a dead spot. got it tested worked fine. they did not believe me told me to put it back on the truck and that i was nuts put it back on the truck. didnt work. took it back got a new one. put the new one on and i have not had a problem since
     
  19. thesnowman269

    thesnowman269 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    pats started in 99. select super dutys are the only trucks i know of to not have pats
     
  20. hatefulmechanic

    hatefulmechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Quite a few all the way to 03-04 did not have PATS on them, even some of the F150's and Exploders were not PATS.


    It's simple to check using an IDS, and PATS can be disabled using an IDS as well. Several of my fleet customers have requested this to be done, since they have 20-30 keys for the trucks floating around and it is much, much cheaper to cut a key than it is for them to have me program all the keys to match.