My Truck doesn't start, no crank

60

Asked by Mar 14, 2016 at 04:10 PM about the 2003 Ford F-150 XL Stepside SB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I can only start My truck when I jump start it from the starter solenoid with a screw driver. Other than that when I put my key in the ignition, everything comes on even the chimes still it won't turn over or crank. engine runs fine when I jump start the Starter solenoid

69 Answers

76,335

There is probably not voltage getting thew to the small wire on the solenoid on the fender. Last one I worked on it was the neutral safety switch. But it could be the ignition switch also. Just have to do some checking.

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60

Thanks Seen that wire. I had some reserve about changing the ignition switch, If I am not messing with the tumbler, would I still need to re-program my key? I'll start with the small wire and trace it from there to see if I have a break some where then I'll switch out the neutral switch and If I don't have to re-program the key, then the Ignition Switch, I'll let you know what happens. Again thanks for the response

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,335

One more thing would be the starter relay in the fuse box.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
60

Starter relay. got it thanks again. that would be another thing I can check before hitting the Ignition switch. Just gotta find which on it is thanks again

21,120

If your vehicle is equipped with a solenoid relay on the fender well, near the battery, check to make sure it is operating properly. The "net" will have a video on how to check.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
60

Howzit OJ No my solenoid relay is on my fire wall, just bought a brand new one and installed it 2 days ago. However maybe I have been using the wrong word to describe it , I've been calling it a starter solenoid and others have been calling it solenoid relay or starter relay but I have a picture of it. Maybe my solenoid is on the fender wall like you said

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,335

Thats the small wire I was referring to, check to see if 12V is at that wire when the key is turned to the start position. I guess the parts stores call that the starter relay. There is also the one in the fuse box.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
21,120

You indicated you can jump the solenoid relay with a screwdriver and the vehicle will start. Well, that would indicate the starter is good. If, as Rowenfast posted, check for 12 volts at the small wire on the relay when someone turns the ignition to the start position. I would suspect there will not be twelve volts present. Meaning the secondary circuit (electromagnet) within solenoid relay is not being energized to close the circuit allowing the voltage to pass through down to the starter. If that is the case, begin back-tracking the small wire to find a short, broken wire, etc.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
60

Thanks Guys , Gonna check on that when I am done work here, Appreciate the help. I'll post here if that solves the problem Hoping I get to post good news

60

Okay guys I changed out the ignition switch and that wasn't the problem. I bought a multi meter and a test light then realized, I am embarrassed to say that I don't know how to use it. Maybe my question should be how to use a multimeter

21,120

OK. Remove the small wire from the solenoid relay on the firewall. Set the meter to DC volts. Stick the red wire from the meter into the female slot on the wire you disconnected. Ground the black wire. Have someone turn the ignition to start. Check the meter, it should read 12 volts. If you do not get voltage, the relay will not work. It is nothing more than an electro magnet which switches a high amperage circuit with a low amperage switch. If you are getting 12 volts, then the problem has to be with the relay. The net will show you how to check the relay.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
60

Wooohoo Thanks again, Brother, slowly the process of elimination is working, can I do the same when I check the relays in the fuse box?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,335

Remember the neutral safety switch. Thanks OJ, I'm gonna be out in my garage...

60

Oh that's right the Neutral Safety switch, Forgot about that. Thanks

21,120

Checking relays is simple, most relays have the pins numbered right next to it. They are all numbered the same from brand to brand. Check out the video on how to check one, it's wordy to type out, and a video would probably be two minutes, with pictures and movies to boot.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
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Thanks OJ. Will do

60

Howzit gang. Okay I tested the little wire with the test light and the light went on. Then I put the multimeter on. Red in the female black on the fire wall at 20 VDC then at 200 VDc no movement. So I am now going to change the neutral switch. Would that be the next step?

60

Sad to report it wasn't the neutral switch. Just changed it. Any suggestions?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,335

Something is not making sense here...you jump the relay on the fender well between the two big post and the starter works. You have tested for voltage on the small wire and there is. That starter should work. Question...when you turn the key to start, do you hear the relay on the fender well? The problem has to be from that point forward. Something not allowing power to, or at the starter. So I suggest for the day to take out the starter and clean up the mounting surfaces for the starter. I have seen Fords do this, not all the time but it does happen where the grounding of the starter is not good. Also clean up both ends of the battery cables, and any other ground wires in that area.

21,120

As rowenfast stated, something not making sense. If you can jump the relay on the fender, then the starter is good. If you have voltage at the signal wire (small) but it does not operate the solenoid, it would indicate the solenoid relay is bad, it's just a switch. All I can think of is the solenoid grounds itself to the fender well via the mounting bolts. Check the ground.

21,120

Let's narrow this thing down. Take a piece of romex wire and run it from the positive side of the battery to the small post on relay you pictured. Touch it for just a second with the key in the ignition in the "on" position. If the engine turns, the solenoid relay is good and the problem is between the electrical signal wire and the ignition key.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
21,120

Make sure the shift selector is in park when you do this for an automatic, or have someone in the vehicle with their foot on the clutch and in neutral if a manual transmission.

76,335

You know you may be on to something here on that relay not having a good ground to the fender wall. There would be no circuit for the contact to activate to come up to make contact inside to the two big post. There is a coil in there to energize to pull up the contact to the two post. There are only power lines running to that relay, the only ground is when you bolt it onto the fender well. Try cleaning up the fender well and the mounting surface where the bolts go threw.

60

Sorry guys just got back there is no voltage coming out of the little wire again. It has become intermittent. So I started to check other wires like that on the truck and my test light didn't go on as well. I've been tracing that little wire to the ignition switch to the ignition switch.. gave up at about 1 Am. Gonna go at it again. I somehow lost power to my power windows. Just bought a brand new battery. Maybe it's because I took off the ignition switch when I was tracing that small wire

60

Sorry neutral safety switch to ignition switch

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

@ rowefast. OK will do

76,335

Also move those switches around, I think they are adjustable so you can hit the sweet spot to make it work.

60

Fyi. When I tested the lower bolt on the solenoid with the test light, the light turns on. When I test the upper bolt no light. I also tested the mounting bolts. No light also. Going to clean the firewall where the bolts are mounted too.

76,335

Ya, one of those wires are live, the other big wire is not, the one running to the starter. Your like worked cause you made a circuit to ground.

60

Check this out guys. Next to my ignition switch, I have some sort of device that looks like a GPS. Its called a PTE-2 pass time. Now I traced that little wire to the fuse box. From the fusebox to the ignition switch should be a red and light blue wire which I found in the cabin but not connected. It was cut and capped. Now that same colored wire is coming out of the ignition switch and spliced into a blue wire which is connected to the device. Should I cut that wire? And splice it to the other wire that is capped? I am no electrician but I think this might do it. Thoughts

76,335

Boy, this is hard to answer for me, why is that there? Did someone install that? And what is a PTE-2, what is it for? And had the vehicle ben running with this device? You must be pretty familiar with the wiring by now, maybe look up a wiring diagram for the ignition switch? And are there any other wires running to this PTE-2 other than that blue wire connected to the red & blue wire? questions, questions questions....

21,120

A PTE-2 is a GPS devise used by auto dealers, places like Hertz Car Rental, and lenders to locate vehicles. It can probably kill the engine and be rendered inoperable is things like monthly car payments are not made. Check the net, you'll probably find a more complete explanation.

60

OJ Yes that's exactly what it is, It disabled my truck, When I got this truck which by the way I only paid $125.00 from an auction, the only problem it had was that I needed to change the steering column and get it started, initially I thought it was a steal. So 3 months later and $800.00. Come to find out this is what has been disabling my truck. So I believe I have to go see a locksmith or something to get the codes. I tried reconnecting the the wires but that didn't work. gonna surf the net and see what I come up with. Hey at least I got brand new parts for the truck. LOL

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@ Rowefast Yes there are other wires running thru it. but I just cut the blue wire and reconnected it to the starter wire, but apparently after research I didn't need to do that. Jumped the gun on that one

76,335

I never had to deal with GPS, when I do not know something I'll investigate things first. Get this thing running and still a deal for ya.

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Yes sir My Brother, all You guys are awesome. in any normal cases the truck would've been running, Doing the research as well. Big Thanks for all of your help

60

Howzit Gang. Okay This is an update so far. The little wire that had no power, now has power surging through. However not the 12v that I needed but there is life in that wire. My truck still doesn't crank but it clicks and makes some kind of noise. never did that before. when I tried to jumpstart it from the starter solenoid(Relay) it wouldn't start. Had to charge from another battery. but it's clicking now. I don't know if that's a good sign. The neutral switch is in park, ignition switch looks good, it's brand new. so do you guys think it's the wiring? I connected the same color wires coming wire from the wire cluster to the wires coming from the ignition switch.

21,120

If the solenoid relay is clicking, usually that is a sign the battery is weak. When you jumped the solenoid did the engine crank as it suppose to, just not start? Or did it crank slowly? If slowly, again, it could be a weak battery. By cranking, I mean the engine turns via the starter. Is the solenoid relay new? If not, check the .net on how to check a Ford relay.

60

ya the battery was weak after I charged the battery the car was able to jumpstart from the solenoid. I am thinking the same thing to with replacing the starter relay in the fuse box.

60

Hey guys check this out. I had power to that little wire (starter wire) I found out the name of the wire. I disconnected the neutral switch and no power to the starter power. So I know now that there is no broken connection between the starter solenoid and the neutral switch. So I went to start the engine and lost power. And what could be the problem?

21,120

Did you attempt what I suggested? Run a wire from the positive side of a good battery to the post where the small wire attaches to the solenoid relay. After connecting the wire to the battery, just touch the other end of the wire to the solenoid relay post for a second and the starter should work. If the battery is good, and all you get is a clicking noise from the relay, then the relay is defective or not grounded properly.

60

No I haven't, Does it need to be a romex wire? or it doesn't matter what type of wire?. If it has to be a romex wire then I go get one after work and try it. The Battery is brand new just purchased it last week.. But First thing when I get home I'll do that. Thanks Brother

60

Howzit OJ, Just making sure I am on the right page with you. in the picture that is what I am running the wire too?

21,120

Don't use some light wire light speaker wire of 22 gauge of something like that. A long enough piece of 12 gauge wire will work. Pick up a few feet at the local hardware store. Probably about thirty cents a foot.

21,120

That looks like it. If it is a ford truck in the photo, and one of the heavy wires run down to the starter, that is it. Remove the small wire before you make the contact with the post.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

Will do, Thanks Bro

76,335

Hey, we know that big heavy wire that runs from the relay to the starter works as jahmen jumped between the two big post on the relay...one big wire runs from the battery to the relay, the other big wire runs down to the starter. I thought you were going to run the power from the battery to the small wire location to see if it works. The small wire runs from the ignition switch to the relay...unless I am missing something...

60

Yes, Right after work I am headed home and gonna run a wire from the Positive terminal on the battery to the part where the small wire connects to see if the engine starts. or cranks .

76,335

Just make sure your battery is fully charged.

60

Roget that will do

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@ OJ @Rowefast. Did the wire thing and the truck started

60

Is there supposed to be a ground wire coming from the ignition switch?

60

Is there supposed to be a ground wire coming from the ignition switch? Now there's clicking noises coming from the fuse box inside the cabin. After about 5 mind after we take the keys out it stops

60

Battery doesn't seem to hold any power.like it's draining

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I jumped the battery from another car and the truck starts, I let it run for about 15 mind shut it off and it started again. Chheeeeehuuu. @OJ@Rowefast. Couldn't have done it without you guys. Thank you Big time Much Alohs

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

Much Aloha

76,335

So far so good, I hope this stays this way. Doesn't sound like you are out of the woods yet tho. 5 min. of clicking from the fuse box, that should not happen when the key is in the off position. And you can't have the battery draining, indicates a parasitic draw on the battery. Is the battery in good shape? At least you are making progress...

21,120

The clicking noise could possibly be the AC vent door actuator located under the dash. Fords are notorious for having those things go out, and they make a clicking noise. But it should not be powered once the key is off. Since you have a multi-meter, checking for the parasitic draw is quite simple in locating the offending circuit. Check for videos on the net.

21,120

Keep in mind, if there is a parasitic draw, depending on the offending circuit and the power which is being drawn, that could be your entire problem with the no start condition. We now know everything is good from relay to the starter.

60

Will do.MY truck now starts on it's own. However the Horn is out. Got no power to the Horn. Fuses and relays are good although, my Air bag light is blinking. Would that be an indicator to change my clock spring?

76,335

You find somewhere who could read Air Bag Codes to see for sure. Not all scanners can read Air Bag Codes, but if you are in my neck of the woods, I could do it for you. lol.

60

That would be a long swim LOL

21,120

A blinking air-bag light is usually an indication a sensor associated with the mechanism is out, not receiving power, or the signal portion of the circuit is out. I would suspect the power end as there seems to be a lot of electrical distribution problems with the vehicle. Check around the vehicle and under the dash for blind electrician work which may have been performed by the previous owner. A complete schematic of the electrical wiring for the vehicle, to include color coded wire, would probably be helpful to you in the future.

60

Howzit OJ, My engine runs cherry. Went around my truck to look for electrical issues. I believe now that the last thing I need to do is to change my Fuel Pump. My truck died out and would just crank but no turn over. When I hit the gas tank it turned over, only once. So I am assuming it is the Fuel pump. I had someone turn the key to on and didn't hear the whrrring sound in the tank. On another note. In my passenger side kick panel there is an inertia switch I believe that's what it's called, Anyways there is a button on the top of that switch to reset something maybe the pump. The switch is pressed in therefore cannot be pressed or is that what it supposed to be in the down position. Just wondering

21,120

The switch you are speaking of is to stop the flow of gasoline to the engine in the event of a crash. It usually pops out when defective and usually stays pushed in when ok.. It can be bypassed like any other switch. Before you begin spending money on a fuel pump and going through the hassle of removing the fuel tank, invest in a twenty buck fuel pressure gauge and check the pressure from right under the hood. There is a valve in a convenient place just for that purpose.

60

Thanks OJ. I'll go and do that, If I am not Mistaken I thing I seen A valve stem looking thing on my fuel rail. I believe they call it a Schrader valve. it was supposed to have a cap on it but it did not. but yes I'll do that

Hey everyone... K. Hill here...im having almost identical problems with my 99 f150 as above. .first things first, im no mechanic! Lol...im a mom trying to get things done. Before I go into a lengthy explanation of what im dealing with, i would like to know if the picture above is accurate? Or, should the large wire from my firewall go to the top post and the large wire to my altenator be attached to my bottom post? I dont have a hanes book, and the dealorship hasnt contacted me back yet so that i may check the wiring

If you are hearing a clicking behind your fuse box on drivers side of the dash on your 1998 f-150 then chances are that you need a replacement Body Control Module. If you go to the salvage yard they run about 30 dollars. Be advised there are 2 different ones. One for 2 wheel drive and one for 4 wheel drive. I would advise you to get one from the salvage yard due to the fact that if it isn't the problem you are only out around 30 dollars and places like Oriellys and Auto Zone wont give refunds on electrical parts. Not to mention the cost of a remanufactured one from them run around 140 to 250 each.

I gotta ask what is that thing where the vaccum line connector that has the 2 inside diameter connector that's under neath the battery in the picture calledhttps://static5.cargurus.com/images/s ite/2016/03/15/13/49/pic- 1338100967203355637-200x200.jpeg

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