2001 F150 starts one day, won't start another


Asked by Jan 24, 2014 at 08:58 PM about the 2001 Ford F-150 XLT Extended Cab SB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Truck won't start, but cranks.  80,000 miles; battery replaced 1/2013; fuel filter and instrument panel/module/core return in 6/2012.  started fine until 12/2013.  Replaced instrument panel again and PCM assembly in 12/2013;  same problem again.    Starter fluid helps one time, next time doesn't.   Tow to dealership, then truck starts.  
Doesn't seem to have any specific cause.  Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

23 Answers


You need to see if it is not firing or not getting fuel. Take the air filter cover off and spay some starting fluid in it and see if it runs for a second.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

If using the starting fluid, as Tuff said, gets it to run for a few seconds sometimes but not others sounds like you have a problem with the ignition and fuel systems. When starting fluid gets it to kick you've got spark but no fuel. But when it won't kick you've got no spark and possibly no fuel either. HTH. -Jim

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

when engine kicks, won't stay running; next time it kicks will stay running with starting fluid. Been doing some other research which leads me to believe it may be fuel pump driver module or anti theft mechanism. Is the fuel pump driver module and fuel pump control module same beast? Thanks for your quick replies.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

I don't think it's an anti-theft system problem. If it were it either wouldn't run at all or it would run for like 10 minutes then shut down and not restart. Not sure on the driver module and control module question though. HTH. - Jim

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Now we know it's fuel. 1) Remove the gas cap and put your ear close to the fuel filler tube. Then engage the key and put it in the start position. Of course, you should be able to hear the fuel pump for a few seconds. 2) Open the power junction box under the hood and listen for "clicking" at the PCM and fuel pump relays. Have someone engage the key to the start position. And 3) put a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel line (schrader valve) and check for pressure. If fuel pump is working 4) Install a noid light in one of the injector plug ins and see if it flashes when cranking.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I know better than to say this but here it goes. A loose or dirty frame or motor ground (negative cable) can cause all sorts of weird issues like this.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Oh, dandy please don't go there.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.




1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Does not pertain to this question but just sharing an issue. Would you believe I fought a no turn no start issue all day today. I did all the normal stuff. Checked/charged battery, cleaned all connections battery and frame and motor. Tried to jump start and tried another good battery still no turn no start. Was only getting .2 volts to the solenoid when key in start position. Then I noticed that the tilt steering wheel was not locked down. Locking mech was pulled down so tilt was unlocked. I pulled the locking mech up to lock steering wheel and BOOM it fired right up. No issues since. So after today and that car I guess anything is possible.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Sounds like you get some of the good ones like me.


check fuel pump drive module.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Thank you all for your answers/suggestions. Truck was repaired. Fuel pump replaced. So far so good. Thanks again.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

thank you all for the tips. I removed the air filter and sprayed starting fluid in there as directed. When i turn the key to start the truck, it started to fire up and then went back to its trying to get started mode. I tried these steps three times but the same thing happened. BLUF, still won't start. any other tricks

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Had problems with mine just spinning but wouldn't start, was fuel pump relay


I tryed the starter fluid it started and stayed running untell i turned it off but it had a problem still high idle and wont shift when i turned the truck off it would not start again what could cause that

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have a ? My 85 f150 turns over, doesn't get spark, and just replaced igniting coil. Any thoughts?


I have a 2001 F150 with starting issues. I have replaced the starter, starter solenoid, fuel pump, fuel pump relay, fuel filter, and cylinder temp sensor. Still having starting issues. Yesterday I replaced the fuel pump relay, Today I went to start it and all I got was rapid fire clicking. With the key in the start position, there was a lot of relay type clicking. I was able to start it by crossing the solenoid, but not what I want to do. Thoughts, suggestions???? On the verge of scrapping the truck.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

2001 F150..... turns over but will not start if left outside in dampness.... put electric heater in the cab and it starts right up the next day! What's the issue? Thoughts?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

2001 f150 lightning. Not a starter or battery issue. Ran all sorts of fuel system tests. Replaced ignite coil, alternator, battery, all the basics. Won't start only after it's been run (like after driving it to the gym and I go to leave, won't start). No explanation. Get it towed and it starts right up (done that twice now). Something about being bounced around on the flatbed tow truck must do it. Thoughts???

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

Also, someone mentioned anti-theft. That's engaged locked up on me recently.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Had the same problem turned over but would not start, I turned the heat switch to off (it was left on) then it finally started. I had done many other things to change all switches I could think of as well. After each I tried to start it. There must be a marginal contact somewhere in the ignition system. I turned on the key and turned the wheel. Turned of the key then locked the wheel by turning it. None seemed to work until I noticed the heat switch was not off. Finally it started. Persistence payed off.

It has happened again at least three times since last month. At least by changing instrument settings and turning the wheel I have been able to eventually get it to start but this is looking more and more like a bad ignition contact to me. I want this fixed once and for good. How ??? to proceed.

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