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  #1  
Old 08-07-2009, 11:55 PM
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Angry F-150 mystery...help!

My trusty F-150 has developed a mysterious ailment that has me and my mechanic stumped. After replacing the alternator and battery a couple of months ago I began to have starting problems. Without warning, or any apparent reason I would turn the key and a weak rrrrrr that sounds like a dead/dying battery, not enough juice to actually turn over the V-6 followed by a buzzing sound. Now when this happens I just roll a few feet and pop the clutch and she fires right up...if you are parked somewhere that one guy can hump a 4,000 lb truck to roll. Once it starts it restarts and runs just fine all day.

Here is the weird part. I pop the clutch, truck starts right up. If I immediately shut it down and then turn the key it cranks right over like a new battery. No way ten or fifteen seconds of running recharged the suspect battery, right? I'm thinking a problem with the solenoid or starter, bad ground, broken wire; any one of which could create my intermittent starting problem. Mechanic says they all check out fine.

Next he says the original factory stereo is bad, has a short and is pulling the battery down. Disconnect the stereo and the current drain disappears. Replace the stereo and everything is fine for two weeks then three days in a row we are back to the same old won't start in the morning. Today he did a full slow recharge on the battery, system tested everything and found no problem. He's keeping it overnight to see how it checks out in the morning. What the hell is going on with my truck???
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:04 AM
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How old is the truck?
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:06 AM
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Check the battery grounds at the starter and frame.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:15 AM
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M1, it is a 1998 with 97K miles. Mickey, I suspect you may be right. I'll make sure the mechanic has checked the grounds. Thanks! This truck has been just about trouble free from day one but must admit I am enjoying the new stereo (...anybody want a bunch of old cassette tapes?) (o;
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:24 AM
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Capt. Steve:

I was going to blame the solenoid on the starter but my money is on the stereo/radio. The short has to be fixed or the battery will be killed eventually. You could hook up a Battery Tender but then you'd only be putting a Band-Aid on the problem although the truck would start reliably every morning, lol.

If you can get a factory radio from the boneyard, I think that would be a good investment.

HTH,

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Old 08-08-2009, 01:02 AM
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I've found similar problems with Fords before. and the culprit was the ground cable. on one the cable was newly replaced with a bad cable, i soldered the end on it and it never missed a beat after that.
usually they are just dirty, corroded or loose.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:04 AM
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As mentioned, clean and secure all the battery connections. Also all the grounds from the battery to the body and block. And the jumper from body to block.

I suspect the starter solenoid. Just worked on one a little newer than yours, and the intermittent nature of the failure made it tough to find.

If your battery cables look the least bit distressed, replace both of them with high quality cables. They can fail internally and cause all sorts of problems. At 10 years of age, I would give them a looksee.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m1gunner View Post
I suspect the starter solenoid. Just worked on one a little newer than yours, and the intermittent nature of the failure made it tough to find.
+1 - I've never known anybody with a Ford that didn't eventually have trouble with the starter solenoid. Your issue sounds just like every one I've seen.....intermittent, with that same buzzing sound. Fords have had that trouble since the 60's.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:38 AM
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could be a solenoid, but check the starter relay first. see if there is another relay in the fuse box of the same part number on it and switch them. say a window wiper or something, see if with the relay switched the wiper screws up too. just a thought i work on international trucks all day.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:15 AM
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I had a Ford truck that was doing the exact same thing; almost drove me crazy. I finally found the problem though. In the nose of the starter housing there is a bronze bushing that your bendix shaft rides in. After so many miles the bushing becomes worn and can actually work loose causing it to bind on the shaft. After you "push it off" to start it, it forces the bushing back into place and everything is concentric again. Then you drive it all day, get it hot, and it expands and "fills it's own gap" so to speak. Then you bring it home, let it sit over night and it cools down (shrinks) and it's loose again. As soon as you hit the ignition the next morning it binds again. And the whole process starts all over.
Maybe that's your problem. Good luck with it.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:27 AM
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The "buzz" sounds like the starter gear spinning without engaging the flywheel. If that was covered sorry for the dupe. Put a starter in it and eliminate that. Good thing it's stick shift. I've had similar probs in all makes of cars and trucks. Is there a lamp like the glove box or underhood light staying on all the time?
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:39 AM
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If any temporary repair cable ends have been installed, start there and replace the cables with Ford parts. Load test the battery to rule that out, and check again for drains. The ignition requires very little current draw in a bump start, 8 or 9 volts will run the system but may not close the solenoid. There used to be a problem at the starter solenoid trigger wire, and replacement starters required a new terminal be installed. Most Ford issues involve cables/cable ends/ or battery posts. Universal ends are not adequate, acid migrates down the cable and makes a solder repair iffy and a good solder job still requires a mechanical crimp which most installers are unable to make. If your battery leaks acid, adding new cables is futile.
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:28 AM
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Either a bad connection somewhere or a bad starter is my bet.

I'd check the connections (grounds) when it won't start one day, and if it's good, then I'd put in a starter.
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:04 PM
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Wow! Gentlemen thank you for all of the good info. My suspicions had run with the bad ground crowd. Anyway...yesterday they decided that the battery had been weakened charge wise from all of the problems and put a long slow - hopefully full charge into it. Then they did the full run up of diagnostics and everything checked out fine. No unexplained current draw, full factory specs on the charge rate, voltage etc.. They kept it overnight and got the same results later this morning, pronounced it healed and sent me on my way ....no charge (pun intended).

I am still not convinced they have fixed anything but will see what happens. The story by Phillips7609 sounds awfully close to what is happening under my hood. Hmmmmmm, I'll keep everyone posted but it will be a couple of weeks before I know anything as we are leaving for a week of RV'n in the White Mountains in my buddies RV. I should have come here with my questions in the first place. You guys are the best. Thanks again one and all!
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:59 AM
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If battery voltage is falling while sitting, your mechanic needs to do a systems voltage drop test. This will pinpoint any drains on the entire electrical system.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:13 AM
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It won't help you find the problem, but you could unhook the battery cable during your trip. If for some reason the battery goes dead with it unhooked, the battery may have some internal problem. It is hard on a battery to sit discharged, and before this is over the battery may fail and not be the cause.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:31 PM
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I can't count the times or the dollars I've spent in my life on electrical issues and after replacing or fixing tons of other stuff had it turn out to be the ground or the negative battery cable.

My father, now deceased told me once ALWAYS check the negative battery cable and the ground first. Even if the cable LOOKS great it well may be carroded inside.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:40 PM
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Angry

The saga continues.... The shop sent me home, pronounced my truck healed and the next day I left on a weeks vacation. I come home and it fires right up and runs like a top all day. Next morning, same old BS. I printed a copy of Phillips7609's post and went back this morning. "Gentlemen, today we are going to try something different" I explained. "Today, you are going to listen to the symptoms and read this while you are at it. It is NOT a battery problem or it would not restart after I pop the clutch!"

Their mechanic concurred and tomorrow morning they are replacing the starter/solenoid. By dropping it off tonight I hope they can replicate the problem in the morning. Arrrrrg! this is getting old. On a happier note I took a chance, (it always seems to start all day long once I get it going in the morning), and towed my new camp trailer 80 miles, up and down some pretty serious hills, round trip to get the trailer inspected and the new license plate issued. Truck and trailer performed just fine. Stay tuned for further updates...
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:52 PM
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After this is over, replace your mechanics they probably won't be in business much longer anyway. Not being a smart a$$, this should have been a simply diagnosis.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:54 PM
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Replace the starter and solenoid (if solenoid is mounted on the starter) If the 98 is like the older fords with a fender mounted solenoid then try replacing just the solenoid first and check the flywheel for damage. I carry spare solenoids for my CJ (ford fender mount). They are cheap enough. And my winch also uses 4 of them.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:58 PM
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Over the years I've experienced the same problems. The quickest way to resolve it is to ask the mechanic what is the most expensive thing that could be causing the problem - that will solve the problem.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cass View Post
Over the years I've experienced the same problems. The quickest way to resolve it is to ask the mechanic what is the most expensive thing that could be causing the problem - that will solve the problem.
LMAO!!! Thank you, I needed that. I may yet fire the mechanics but so far they haven't charged me didley. I think they are trying but will yield a better result when they start listening. I told them weeks ago that I had a starter problem and on the upside I really enjoy the new stereo. (o;
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:03 AM
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From your description, it sounds to me typically like the solenoid. One thing you might try ...when the truck won't start, rather than pop the clutch to start it, instead disconnect the positive battery cable, then reconnect it. If the truck then starts up, it's the solenoid. The solenoid can stick intermittently without engaging the fly wheel, but disconnecting the battery will allow the solenoid to drop back down. You may have to repeat this battery disconnect several times if the solenoid is sticking repeatedly, but if the truck finally starts this way, then it is the solenoid that is bad.
As long as you are hearing the "buzzing" sound, and then it eventually starts, I would bet it's not the battery or battery connections, since the battery will start the truck after you pop the clutch & then turn it off & restart it. A short in the ground cable is possible, but not likely from your description of the problem. Just my $ 0.02 worth !!
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:20 PM
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A digital voltmeter that can capture the max voltage reading makes trouble shooting this problem MUCH easier.

First, check that starter ground is good all the way to negative terminal of battery. If not, repair or replace cable.

Check MIN voltage across battery while cranking. If voltage drops much below 10, battery is either low or defective. Charge and load test battery, and replace if below spec.

When the truck is not starting, capture the max voltages at 1. the input to the relay, 2. the relay output, and 3. each of the two terminals at the starter.

If battery voltage (at least 10 while cranking) is getting all the way to both starter terminals, replace starter.
If voltage is low at the large starter terminal, repair or replace cable.
If voltage is low at the small starter terminal and good at the relay output, repair or replace wire.
If voltage is good at the relay input but low at the output, replace relay.
If voltage is low at the relay input, it is a switch or wire problem.

I cured one Chevy truck that had a loose ground connection, an internally corroded primary battery cable, and a newly installed rebuilt starter that was intermittent (defective). The owner had been getting stalled all over town and was about ready to sell the truck.
When there are multiple problems, a systematic approach saves some screaming and cussing.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:38 PM
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It just keeps getting better and better....After more than 2 months of screwing around with my truck I fired the local garage/mechanics and broke down and took it to the Ford dealer. The dealer guys rolled their eyes and uttered a few less than kind comments about the locals inability to diagnose, let alone fix the problem.

I left the truck at the dealership and two days later they called. Your (after market), car alarm is the source of the draw. Now it was installed on the truck when I bought it new, so how it was "after market" escapes me but I digress... I asked "did you thoroughly check for any other sources of the draw or just stop when you found the alarm system problem? They assured me the alarm was the only problem. I had them disconnect the alarm system, everyone ignores them anyway, and I drove off, minus $131 diagnostic fee. Five days later the same problem returned only this time the battery was completely dead and it could not be started by popping the clutch.

Back to the dealer where my truck remains after 14 days. They called me last week and said they had invested more than ten hours of troubleshooting and that the draw was caused by the ABS computer module ($900), and that replacement would solve all of my problems. I authorized the work and waited 6 days for the part to arrive. They called today and said they had completed the install but I still had a 4 volt draw and they would continue to work on it. I am about ready to have them put the old module back in and drive it to another dealer and try again.

Arrrrg! Eleven trouble free years and now this nonsense! Anybody got any clue what the hell is wrong with this truck and why no one can find it???
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:31 PM
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Have you searched some of the F 150 sites for similar problems from other owners? There is a lot of good information posted about various truck problems on the web. I have found answers to truck problems in less than an hour of searching. Here is a link to a similar problem. The answer is out there somewhere.

Bruce

Battery drain - power door lock fuse - F150online Forums
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:08 AM
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"I'm blown away by the number of relays in this electrical system!"

The best quote from the above link.

Finding a short like this is tedius and very time consuming. In an industry where the equipment is mission critical and the equipment can not be replaced, it must be repaired, funds are available to diagnose and fix the problem.

In the consumer market, no one is willing to pay for this type of work, so you will not find a skilled and experienced mechanic at a dealership or private garage that does this type of work.

I have worked on electrical systems where a component that would fit in a small tacklebox costs more than $50,000, when a problem on one of those system cropped up, we fixed it, no need to ask the owner first.

I have also worked in both private garages and dealerships on cars and trucks. I would never even pop the hood on a problem like yours without a complete wiring diagram in my lap (not on a danged computer screen), and a deposit (as in downpayment) from the customer for 20 hours labor to just start work on it. It would be only done on a time and materials basis, using a timeclock to punch on and off the job. I expect to get paid for all my time on the job, no matter if a fix is ever found or not.

Hardly any car owner would agree to these terms, but I have bills to pay just like everyone else, and this is how I earn my pay.

IMHO this sums up the "why" no one can fix it.

You will have more luck fixing it yourself, using mechanic forums as mentioned above. My experience with Ford elect systems leads me to believe that once you start having problems, get ready for more and start carrying a fire extinguisher.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:46 AM
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Was this problem occuring prior to replacing the battery and alternator? Could it be a defective alternator? Something internal in the alternator draining the battery?

Assuming it's not the alternator but something else that's draining the battery then try this process of elimination. And the best part is this is not going to cost you a cent, unlike where dealers start yanking and replacing parts without any clue if the part really needs to be replaced.

Go to the fuse/relay box and pull every fuse or relay for any non critical electrical accessory or device that you can possibly do without such as cigarette lighter, wipers, defroster, dash lights, blower, fog lights, power windows, power locks, power seats, etc... you get the idea, and see if the problem goes away. (Take notes on what fuse/relay goes where, also take a picture with a digital camera if you have one) If the problem does go away, next gradually starting adding the fuses or relays back in, one by one and see which one makes the problem come back. Once you have the device/component isolated then begins the task of finding where in the wiring, circuitry to the device or if the device itself is the problem. This might be time consuming, but at least once the problem area is isolated it minimizes the guess work.

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:01 AM
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Ghosts in the machine. Had a similar sit-rep at a deceased
friends house this weekend. Went to help the Widow with a freaky gas log insert problem. I got it working , went out to start the bike, LOUD click. Nothing, call for a ride and my tools, try again. Bingo, rode all day with no problems.
Some of this stuff ya just can't explain. And I am capable of just letting it be........
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:29 AM
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I would consider pulling each fuse and taking a reading with a meter to see which circuit is drawing power when everything is shut down. You may have to disconnect some lights or other accessories but it is the one line at a time process of elimination. It's not easy and it takes some time but the more you learn the more likely it is you will isolate the power drain. The starter, battery and solenoid are the easy finds. The rest could be almost any electrical switch,motor,light or sensor in the vehicle. Good luck as sometimes it is luck which leads to a fast resolution.

Bruce
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Lee M View Post
I would consider pulling each fuse and taking a reading with a meter to see which circuit is drawing power when everything is shut down. You may have to disconnect some lights or other accessories but it is the one line at a time process of elimination. It's not easy and it takes some time but the more you learn the more likely it is you will isolate the power drain. The starter, battery and solenoid are the easy finds. The rest could be almost any electrical switch,motor,light or sensor in the vehicle. Good luck as sometimes it is luck which leads to a fast resolution.

Bruce
That's how you check for parasitic draw and I'm gonna guess that the dealership has done that, I sure hope so anyway.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:11 AM
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You might want to mention the possibility of a damaged ring gear to your mechanic. It happens.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:34 PM
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Talking Wish me luck!

The wizards at Oracle Ford (our local dealership, no kidding), have pronounced my truck to be healed. Can I get an "Amen?" They decided the old ABS module was not defective, (can I get a $900 hallelujah"?) it merely had some bad connections which caused the parasitic draw and which they had allegedly repaired. It was reinstalled yesterday and (again "allegedly") has passed four separate tests without a failure. They said they had about 15 hours in the guess and fix so tje bill for $205 did not offend me. I reserve the right to change that opinion if it won't start in the(morning. (o;

We are going camping tomorrow, pulling our new camp trailer and carrying a jump start gizmo just for good measure. A sincere thank you to everyone for all of your input.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:01 PM
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Talking All good things must come to an end

And so it is with this nightmare. When last I left you breathless readers no one could figure out what the problem with my truck was. Most agreed it was some sort of parasitic voltage draw. Well three days after the "healing" by the dealer and miles form nowhere while camping, the same old BS. Dead battery, so dead it would not take a jump or pop of the clutch. I jury rigged my deep cycle battery off the trailer to get home from the mountain and back to the shop it went.

My conversation with the service adviser was a tad terse (but no profanity). I told him to have the mechanic that was going to work on the truck this time call me so I could give him as much relevant info as possible. Of course he did not do that and three days later, as in 24 billable hours at $100 per, the mechanic does call. When I told him the problems started 2 weeks after the alternator was installed he freaked. "That has to be the problem" he exclaimed. Sure enough it was generating a 4 amp draw. Everyone kept checking the alternator for output, which was fine but not for a draw. Arrrrrrg!

Dealer puts on a new alternator and replaces the battery that is once again fried and all is well for ten days. Dealer presents me with a bill for $1300 for an alternator and the battery they fried. In a subsequent meeting with the owner of the dealership I manage to carve $700 off of the bill for their transgressions.

Head out camping once again and while trying to merge onto I-10 the alternator fails completely, truck shuts down and we nearly get killed just getting off the freeway. Wife says the truck has got to go and I have no argument. Tow the truck and trailer home, the truck back to the dealer where they find another defective alternator, their eat.

I now have a new, to me, 2006 F-150 (Certified Pre-owned, as in very clean), and the dealer has my old truck in trade. I got $2500 in trade which is about what I had put into it over the last 6 months but did well on the price of the new truck. Never had a V-8 before and the 5.4L is a beast. I love the new truck and to be able to put this nightmare behind me is a major relief.

"THANK YOU" to one and all who contributed so much good advice and support. May you never walk/drive down this road. (o; I'll post a pic of the new truck soon, but now it is time for a brewksi!

I
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:18 PM
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~Steve

Thanks for the update....I've been laying awake nights wondering how this was all going to turn out.

Brian~
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:41 PM
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Brian, With 34 replies, mostly of nice folks trying to help a brother out, I felt the need for closure. Hope it doesn't keep you awake any longer.
Yahoo, I got me a new truck! (o;
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:44 PM
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Congrats on the new truck , glad the nightmare is over for you.

1 piece of advice on that 5.4 , assuming it has relatively low miles unscrew all the sparkplugs , add a dab of anti-seize to the threads of each and screw them back in. When the aftermarket makes a kit to repair stripped plug holes and calls it the "Ford 5.4l plug thread repair kit", that's a big hint that some PM is called for. A big part of the problem is the plugs actually last 100,000 miles these days , so by the time you get to them they are really seized.

Ray
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:20 AM
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Caseydog, Wow, thanks for a valuable tip. I'm on it tomorrow. Anybody else out there have any thoughts, good or bad, on the 5.4L Ford? I hope, but doubt, I can keep my foot out of it, especially after all the years driving the 4.2L V-6...but what a ride. (o;
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:30 AM
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Anybody else out there have any thoughts, good or bad, on the 5.4L Ford?
It's a great motor, but what Ray says about the spark plugs is Gospel. It's not just that the plugs last a long time, it's also because the spark plugs are fairly deeply recessed in the OHC heads and unwanted debris and moisture collect in the recess. That's the way it is on my 6.8, and I think the 5.4 is of similar construction. I didn't know about the issue when I got my 6.8 nine years ago and when I finally got around to changing the plugs it was a pain in the rump.

Brian~

Last edited by M28; 10-22-2009 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:16 PM
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Well here is the new truck, 2006 F-150 Supercrew Cab, 5.4L V-8 with all the bells and whistles with the Aliner ready to fold down and roll. The new truck is rated to tow 8,600 lbs and the Aliner is a whopping 995 lbs so now I can bring even more beer, ammunition, golf clubs, firewood etc.. (o;




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Old 10-23-2009, 07:11 PM
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Congrats on the new truck , glad the nightmare is over for you.

1 piece of advice on that 5.4 , assuming it has relatively low miles unscrew all the sparkplugs , add a dab of anti-seize to the threads of each and screw them back in. When the aftermarket makes a kit to repair stripped plug holes and calls it the "Ford 5.4l plug thread repair kit", that's a big hint that some PM is called for. A big part of the problem is the plugs actually last 100,000 miles these days , so by the time you get to them they are really seized.

Ray
And take them out VERY slowly! I recently did a tune up on a 5.4L and MAN those puppies were in TIGHT! They creaked ALL THE WAY OUT! BTW, you'll need a special spark plug socket and I hope you're flexible.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:07 AM
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Default Late addition to this thread - comments on 5.4L

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Caseydog, Wow, thanks for a valuable tip. I'm on it tomorrow. Anybody else out there have any thoughts, good or bad, on the 5.4L Ford? I hope, but doubt, I can keep my foot out of it, especially after all the years driving the 4.2L V-6...but what a ride. (o;
I am reading this post much later - June 2013 - but as I am a FORD man and LOVE the F-150s, I can't resist adding my extreme pleasure over the 5.4L V-8. I purchased a 2001 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat in 2002 (after my '97 F-150 - my favorite truck ever - was taken from me by an 18-wheeler). The 2001 had just about 30K miles on it and was very clean - purchased at a dealer. I take good care of my vehicles and (don't ask me why) when my oldest son began driving, this became his truck. It's now at Penn State (son is a senior), and the truck is approaching 210K miles! It still runs and sounds like a champ!!! We use ONLY full synthetic oil and have changed the oil every 3K miles, and take care of anything that breaks/fails - so other than a few minor quirks the truck is still a great ride. I would not hesitate to get another 5.4L except for the gas mileage. My 'next' truck will have the new 3.5L EcoBoost engine...
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:14 AM
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Since this was dredged up from Davy Jones Locker,I just went through this with my 02 Suburban. The final fix, you may ask, was $1.59 replacement for the stripped side terminal battery bolt in the negative cable. So no, it is not always the most expensive thing.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:06 PM
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Default Hard/easy problems

Darn, I got into this too late and you solved the basic problem. (Lift the radiator cap and drive a new car under it).

I wanted to reminisce. In the 1950s I had a car that died at stop signs. Everything was fine until everything would just go dead - even headlights and dash. I would look at it and wiggle everything and it would start.

Finally one night I pulled forward on battery terminal and the lights came on. I hammered a nail in the battery in the proper place to tighten it forward and all was fine.

On another occasion a friend of my brother was stuck with his new car not starting. I took my volt/ohm meter along and battery was fine. So I took resistance readings on terminals to see if it obviously needed cleaning - nope. Finally I tried to read across the cable end to cable where it was a clamp on end. Bingo no reading. We unbolted the cable end and it was really corroded in there.

I was betting you had a dirty cable where it clamps to the end piece. But then you did not say if it was side terminals. They can get corroded inside and you need to unbolt the cable and pry the rubber cable-end-cover off to even see the corrosion.

Go find your old truck and check it out with a volt-ohm-meter just for laughs.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:12 PM
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Battery cables can go bad and cause similar problems and it is very difficult to diagnose. They can and sometimes do get a weak spot in them. So if you still have not found the problem you might try replacing them.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:14 PM
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I have found a alarm system can do things you wouldnt think possible to a truck!
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:29 PM
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Another zombie thread.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:04 PM
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About three months ago my 2001 silverado quit. I had it towed to the chev dealer. We both thought it was the starter. Had a new one put in, they called me to come and get it. Fired it up to leave, a bad sound. Left it, they called me back the next day. Found out the karr alarm I had installed many years ago when I bought it new had somehow caused the problem. They took it off and I have been good. The service manager even said that somehow it affected at what speeds the auto transmission would shift. I now notice a huge differance. There are large long climbs between where I live at cedar city and st george utah. I drive it once or twice a week. I use the cruise control and now see that the truck on the same stretchs will go much farther up a hill before it downshifts on the sane road. There are certain points on the freeway where I knew it always downshifted and now it either wont downshift at them or go much farther before it does. The way it was it would downshift from drive down to third but then soon downshift to 2nd and I would have to be quick to tap the brake as the engine would be screaming. Now that seldom happens. It was a add on car alarm and the brand was "karr alarm". I cant tell you how or why it can affect the transmission technally speaking doesnt make sense to me either, but the service tech said it did, and I can tell it did! I also own a 2,000 gmc sierra with the bigger engine. If I ever buy another truck I will get the bigger engine option. In my experiance the smaller engine gives little or no better gas mileage and has less noticable power big time in the mountains here. Both trucks are the extra cab short beds.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:10 PM
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Buy a Chevy. Problem solved.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:55 PM
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Default Need a 1950s back up vehicle

My last super reliable vehicle was my 1975 ford van. It has solid state ignition so no ignition points to replace.

Later my wifeís 1978 Dodge Saint Regis had me worried until I found out the only thing that big computer did was advance the spark. If the computer was to fail you would have a lot less power but you still could get home. So when it finally died and I could not find the problem I took the thermoquad carburetor apart about 4 times because of a rumor the foam carburetor floats sometimes soak up gas and get heavy. My brother (who had spent many hours working on cars with our mechanic father) kept asking me if I had taken the distributor cap off yet. I kept telling him there is nothing in there but a rotor. Finally I took the distributor cap off and it looked like very corroded battery cables in there? (I never figured that out) Cleaned it out and it was back on the road.

But then all the safety features and smog stuff invaded our tranquility. One guy hit a bump on the way over the mountains to Reno and his car went dead. He had a big towing bill to Reno. In his trunk was an accident fuel-pump cut-off button he needed to push. Electric fuel pumps could cause car fires in accidents where keys were not turned off. So any hard bump cut off the fuel. (Never buy any vehicles made in the 1980ís).
Another guy could drive about one block then his car would die. He could then start it and drive another block. He had one broken spark plug wire. The raw gas that went into exhaust tripped the sensor sending a signal to the carburetor to thin out the mixture. When that failed it would signal to thin out more, until his car starved out in about a block.

Everyone needs a 1936 Chevrolet in the garage for emergencies. 1950s were even better.
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