i have a 1988 ford f150 xlt lariat and when it gets driven for an extended period of time i wont start after i shut it off, any ideas?


Asked by Nov 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM about the 1988 Ford F-150 XLT Extended Cab LB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

13 Answers


Ignition module, distributor pick up coil, ignition coil, ignition switch, just a few things to check, of course they will have to be in failure to find them, but if they have never been replaced then that might be the problem.

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In the 1980's the ignition modules were known to do that when hot so replacing that might solve the problem. It is locate on the Distributor just below the cap area but not under the cap. If the engine turns over but turns real slow or just makes a "URR, URR" sound then it might be the starter getting hot from the exhaust manifold, removing it and replacing it with a remanufactured one might solve the problem too. You could also just wrap some aluminum flashing from Home Depot ,Menards, etc. around the starter with a big hose clamp to act as a heat shield to keep the starter from getting too hot. I would try those two areas first replacing the engine starter and if that doesn't work then the ignition module. Those are the most likely items that have those symptoms. Good luck, Kenny/ MrBlueOval

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Dexter Trump

1988 F150XLT Lariat – When I drove my truck until it got hot, when I shut it off and tried to restart it, the engine would barely turn over and would not start... I replaced: starter, alternator, new serpentine belt, solenoid switch, distributor cap and rotor, electronic control module under distributor, spark plugs and wires, ignition coil, new 1000 CCA battery. Problem; Battery Cables… apparently the copper wire was breaking down inside the lead connection on the end of the cable at the battery posts. Solution; I replace both cables… Negative Cable from battery to block and the Positive Cable from battery to solenoid switch. Follow up; 6 months later still runs like a top!

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I have a 1988 f150 extended cab lariat 5.0 5-spd I've had a problem with it turning off when it wants to sometimes it would fire up right after so I had to replace the fuel pump, ignition control module, steering column, and its still turns off. even my mechanic is puzzled I'm thinking maybe it's the coil pack or possibly ecu but I wonder if the battery cables are worn out I'm not sure if that would cause it to do that. Any info would help thanks

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Dexter Trump

86ford_f150 - Battery cables are cheap and easy to replace. If you had the same type of battery cables I had (lead battery top post connector with copper encased inside the lead) and my cables looked clean on the outside but they were not making good contact on the inside of the lead connector. Because of the bad connection inside the connector it definitely could not carry a load when they got heated up. Just saying, I changed out everything else, and everything you mentioned and still had the same problem. Here it is a year and a half later and my truck is running great still. Make sure you are getting a good ground at the engine block, clean it up, wire brush it, put a new battery cable from there to the battery. 12 volt systems have to have good clean connections or things start to act weird... New Top Post Battery Cables! Worked for me.

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Cuki Castillo

Guys i had the same problem, today i went to go and check to see if i could find the problem. As i looked closely at the solenoid i noticed it had a small crack. As soon as i took it off, it broke in half. Went and bought me a new one and installed it, now truck runs fine, i just drove it 120 miles, turn it off and back on with no problems. Hope this helps someone.


I have 88 Ford f-150 lariat XL 5.0, had this truck about a year now, been driving great & I come home one night & had to go up too store & then truck wouldn't start, no crank, no lights, no dash lights, brake lights, nothing. At first I thought it was my battery, but its good, then thought it was relay, also Good. I'm not getting anything, no fire, no clicking sound, alternator is good too so what could it be now, I have looked all around this truck & can't understand why I have no lights, not even brake lights, what can make everything go dead with battery & alternator good, I'm stuck without my truck, please if anyone can help pin point what is going on feel free to share, thanks


Check your fuselinks, there are some located right at the starter relay on the inner fender on the battery cable side, they may not look blown so really need a test light too check.


TennissShoes Thanks, I did check around those, they seem to be good, I pulled, bent them to see if they were broken or lose, looks ok from what I check, I don't wonna break none if its not broken but I did look over those, now is there anymore fuselinks anywhere else cause if so I need to check out, what else could be problem to make my truck do this, I have never had this to happen, nothing is working, its all dead.


Recheck your battery cables, make absolutely certain that there is no corrosion on either the battery post or cable ends, that black corrosion can fool you, it looks good but in reality it is not, then run a voltage drop test on the main cables just to elemanate a possibility of corrosion inside the cables, if you haven't found the problem yet then you will need to start probing for power in the main harness to see where it is getting lost, there were a few Fords in your time frame that would burn out the main connector block from the engine compartment to body on the drivers side, but I hope that is not the case.


TennissShoe, that's what I have been doing today, I cleaned up battery cables & post now both battery post were black & ground post was nasty as well, after doing all that, it still doesn't have any power, not even a clicking sound, just got a new solenoid switch & new battery cables & still no luck, would ignition module make everything dead & would switch do same, I have a bad switch, but I have to play with it to even get it to unlock to crank, do u think its possible something broke inside switch & that's making everything dead, I don't even have brake lights, omg I sure hope that is not th case but its just my luck tho, I have put some money in this truck since I got it last year, thank you for taking time to give me some ideas, I was talking to Ford motor company but guy said same thing U said about fuseable links & battery cables plus solenoid switch, but no luck, I'm 41 & I normally do my own work on this truck but when it comes to wiring or anything to do with wires, I'm done, can't never figure it out.


TennissShoes, I just looked at ignition module & its broken where I can see inside plus cap & everything is turning, its not surpose to turn, don't know much about this either but don't think its surpose to be lose, so u think this module is my problem, not sure how it got broken, I'm done for the night let me know what you think tomorrow


The ignition switch will not cause even the headlights to quit, they are on a separate circuit all together, you may indeed have an ignition switch problem but that is not your total problem. I still think you have a missing main power circuit that is out of commission or like I stated earlier the connector block that runs through the firewall is burnt. The ignition module on this rig should be an aluminum box mounted on the fender, it has no moving parts it is all electronic, however the distributor has moving parts inside but nothing should be loose. A picture would help me in trying to figure out what your describing.

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