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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 1/12/2006 6:13:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2006 5:47:59 PM EST by joecav]
I had to leave my truck in a parking lot tonight. I've got a Ford F-150 (1996) 300 straight six cylinder.
I came out of the store, got in and nothing but a single loud click from under the hood each time I tried the ignition. The click is coming from what I think is the starter relay.

1. I have bright head lights
2. The battery terminals are in good shape

1. The truck is used in a buisness and gets run alot but with few miles
2. The starter seams to be slow to crank when working (like its too weak)
3. The battery is 1 year old but I have a lift that I use constantly (marine battery)

Any ideas with this are greatly appriciated and I have a multi meter and some other equipment for simple diagnostics if needed. The only thing I've tried so far is wacking the starter with no luck but it would'nt surprize me if it were bad anyway. Thanks Joe

ETA It was the starter
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:17:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:17:35 PM EST by pale_pony]

I don'r know about the newer pickups, but I used to have an old International Harvester pu that you had to start with a screwdriver under the hood. Jump the positve battery terminal connection to the ignition input.(?)
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:18:42 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:23:40 PM EST
I just had the exact same problem with my Isuzu. Sounds like your starter solenoid. I replaced the contacts in my solenoid (which were badly worn and pitted from arcing). Works like new now. It cost me about $20 for the contacts and plunger, which beats the hell out of $135 for a whole starter that I didn't need. I don't know what kind of starter your Ford has, but if it's a Nippondenso like the Jap cars, its an easy fix. I'm not familiar with Fords, maybe someone else can shed some light on it.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:24:00 PM EST
A fully charged battery should show 13.5 volts on your mlti meter.
A loud click sounds like the solenoid. A Ford's solenoid is on the fender well.
If the starter sounded like it was dragging earlier you may have a starter motor going out, or gone.
Ford starters are cheaper than one for my Chevy p/u due to the external solenoid.
Check voltage for the battery first, then check all connections between the battery and solenoid through to the starter motor. Make sure the battery terminals are clean and tight. A loose cable end will send 12 volts, but not enough amps to turn the starter.
If the battery is low but relatively new you may need another alternator. That can be checked at an auto pars store- usually for free.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:25:14 PM EST
Sounds like your starter or the solenoid on the starter.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:25:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:30:03 PM EST by joecav]

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
Voltage drop between the battery and starter? bad solenoid? worn out brushes?

I would check the voltage drop between the battery and the starter first, then on the ground. You do have better than 12.4VDC at the battery right.

I'm going out in the morning with some tools and will check the battery voltage but my lift will quit working when I have a bad battery usually. This is the first time I tried using a marine deep cell battery though. Thanks Joe

Thanks for all the help here, I'm going to reread this in the morning and see what I can do. Joe
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:27:23 PM EST
make sure you take a hammer to tap the starter and/or solenoid. TAP, not Beat the shit out of......

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:28:01 PM EST
Make sure all connections are tight, including at the solenoid and starter.
Don't just jiggle them, put a wrench on them.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:29:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:34:18 PM EST by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:33:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
A 96 Ford has a solenoid on the starter and a starter relay on the fender. The loud clicking he is hearing is likely the relay engaging, but the solenoid is not. I am thinking that is the battery was to blame it wouldn't be a single click but a series of clicks, from the solenoid engagin, but the hold-in winding not having enough current to hold the plunger in.

Yes, in the past it is a series of clicks that have indicated a bad battery, this time it is just one solitary click. Joe
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:38:10 PM EST
put truck in park....now try starting again
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:40:13 PM EST
bad connection. Check all contact points . Clean and tighten.......
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:40:38 PM EST
Tap the starter while someone else turns the key. If it starts then your starter sucks.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:41:57 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:48:41 PM EST
Wait...you are using a deep cycle to start your truck?

If that is the case, deep cycle batteries may go too low on juice to get the start up amps (or is it volts???) needed for the engine to turn over.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:54:58 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:59:11 PM EST

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:15:14 PM EST
Starter solenoid and check your GROUND also. Buy an Optima battery and don't look back. It's worth it, especially for what you use it for.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:17:34 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:20:19 PM EST
I have an Optima battery in my Wrangler, and I'll never buy another brand again. The Optima is worth it.
Have you thought about installing 2 batteries- one starter and one deep cycle for the lift? You can install a heavy duty alternator and run both all the time, or buy a switch and only charge the deep cycle when necessary. Someone makes wire harnesses for any need you can imagine, and running 2 batteries is common on Jeeps and other off-road vehicles. Deep cycles are necessary fro running a winch.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:21:43 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:23:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
Deep cycle batteries are typically not capable of producing alot of cranking amps. As I posted a bit earlier it is an issue of the way they are constructed, they have fewer plates in each cell, but the plates are much thicker, this allows them to discharge for a very long time, but not at high amperage levels. Generally the higher a batteries CCAs the lower its reserve capacity (which is its ability to produce a certain amount of amps, for a specific amount of time).

And it's worse for cranking in cold weather.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:32:13 PM EST
FORD in reverse= Driver Returns On Foot

Kidding, kidding, it does sound like a bad solenoid. When you turn the key and you hear the loud click can you hear the starter spinning? If you can it might be a poor ground conection somewhere.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 8:05:12 PM EST
The very first thing is to decide if it's the battery -- or the circuit. You can do this instantly, without tools, and amaze strangers in the parking lot at NAPA.

Just watch the headlights in a handy reflection, or have a friend hit the starter while you watch from the front. If they DIM when the key is turned to 'Start' it's time for a new battery.

If not, it's a problem with something in the circuit. Cables, connections,switch, relay, solenoid, or motor problem.
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