I was starting a 1989 F-150 XLT without a clutch to put around on farm, now I buggerd up my ignition system


Asked by Jul 29, 2013 at 05:36 AM about the 1989 Ford F-150 XLT Standard Cab LB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Bought a 1989 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat. Former owner had bypassed ignition on steering wheel and put in a start switch. Hydraulic Line to clutch (bell housing) is not seated inside bell housing so cant use clutch. I have been cheating and starting in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in gear and this worked fine as long as I was always facing a small slope or facing down hill. I use the truck to put around a small farm and to drive 3-4 miles to fish. It would be nice to be able to take it to town 10 miles away but cant as if I have to stop I'm depending on starting in 1st putting to a hill, turning engine off, putting it in 3rd and cross my fingers as I restart. So no this thing isn't town capable and is a menace to society.
Where do I start? to clarify my ranting here goes: (1) started on power from battery and starter for forward momentum to get engine running and truck moving.
(2) Played my last hand doing this as 3 days ago truck said no more and now the dash lights that come on indicating power so I can hit the bypass switch and roll wont come on.
(3) I ransacked my steering wheel trying to study and did some things to the ignition actuator rod that wasn't real nice. I can use my hands to push the actuator rod forward or back and about every 50 try's I get the dash lights to come on and buzz, then I try to hit the bypass start switch and it just goes click (more of a thunk) somewhere in the hood.

(4) Where should I start? I don't care how ugly this thing is I just want it to run so I can drive it 2 miles to a friends garage to fix the hydraulic clutch line and replace clutch fluid reservoir (looks like a plastic brake master cylinder). Nobody is going to steal this thing so don't mind if I have to use a screwdriver to crank it. I just cant get it to start.
Battery is good and putting out volts. I think I did more hurting to my ugly baby by rat fingering the steering wheel. Is it the solenoid? starter? or I just hosed the ignition assembly?

Any ideas out there? I sure could use a hand cause I be poor but I'm proud and man I have been without wheels 8 months (job loss, bankruptcy, woman splitting) you know the deal folks but all this is just stuff life throws at you what I can't handle is my clunky rusted truck not being able to get me to my fishing hole or the little store 6 miles away. Hepp me Hepp me.

4 Answers


I have a brand new 92 ford, need some superficial work. less than 60,000 mile on power train 4x4 ,the works, for get'n somewhwhere. oh yea, and back

I sure gotta hand it to you, more information than we usually get and that is helpful. Ok battery good? But you say putting out volts, but is it at least 13.5 volts, and 300 (CCA Cold Cranking Amps?) Over 5 years old? I did find schematics but will do no good to post because of all the changes made to the ignition. I suggest double check battery, to those specs, good ground to frame/chassis/engine block from battery, no corrosion, then if all is well next is starter solenoid and starter. The solenoid on a 1989 is on the fenderwell, jump the two biggest posts with jumper cable (I use uninsulated channellock pliers) and if it starts, or even just cranks, the the solenoid is bad. If not, starter. Jump with cables, you might have to connect two together to make it long enough, from positive battery directly to big lug stud on starter, if nothing happens starter is bad

Best Answer

PS I sure do know how that happens.......one minute you have a house and the next day no house no car no money but still a good guy and proud of it. ...... geeez you are also not asking for anything unreasonable..a truck to get you to the fishin' hole and market. You didn't ask about the clutch do I assume you have that part covered


Well sort of, buddy of a buddy has a lift and we can get under there and really look at that metal line going into the bell housing from the plastic clutch fluid reservoir. The clutch, flywheel etc. feels solid so I haven't rubbed it out yet... but I know I better stop driving it without clutch fluid. I have plans to replace that old dry rotted clutch reservoir but right now that is task priority # 2 getting it started is task # 1. Thanks for the info, I'm going to work through your suggestions this a.m. once it's daylight. I probably used to do this stuff when I was a poor soldier with a beater car...then I got some promotions and started going with a new truck every 2 years (military easy credit madness). This things a rag but solid as a rock, cried like a baby after I rat fingered the steering wheel ...got it all back in though after I relaxed and left it alone for one day. I'll make a post later and let you know how the solenoid/starter tests go. Thanks for the reminder about ground wires and just thanks for knocking the rust out of a former slave to the bank for a $36,000 pickup. I like the gasoline and exhaust smell better on a truck I have the title to versus another $560 truck payment.

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