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Old 12-30-2006, 18:10   #1 (permalink)
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My F250 won't start

I have a 1991 F250 7.3L Diesel that has decided to stop starting... hopefully, someone here can make some suggestions. When I try to start the truck, the solenoid clicks once and then everything electrical dies. I had the starter bench tested at AutoZone and they say that it is fine, as are the batteries (tested also). I connect the two battery wires to the solenoid and leave it hanging rather than connecting it the fly wheel... one solenoid click and nothing. I replaced the stupid "Ford" solenoid on the fender of the truck (I don't know why Ford insists on two solenoids but that can be for another post) - one click solenoid and nothing. I took a jumper cable and went between the + post of one battery and the corresponding post on the starter's solenoid... this time I get one solenoid click, a few (5-6) cranks and then nothing. The wire on the jumper cable heats up and starts melting the plastic sheath (I think if it was heavy enough gauge that jumping the battery to the solenoid would work). My dad tells me to check all the cable connections (+/- wires)... I checked and cleaned all the (+) connections with a wire wheel on a grinder or sandpaper so they are all clean (bare metal). I didn't check or clean the engine or frame grounds because I think that if I had a ground issue, my battery to starter solenoid jumping would produce the same results as without the jumping... I did nothing to the ground when I run the jumper cable. My next option is to replace the battery cables... I call Ford and they want $300 for the cables (are you f-ing kidding me? I understand copper is expensive but how does the dealership justify that price?), AutoZone wants $110... note about the cable; the (-) cables are pretty standard, the (+) cable is connected to the left-hand battery, runs to the right-hand battery, and then splits. From here, one wire (16 gauge) goes to the "Ford" fender solenoid and then goes to the starter solenoid; the other wire (4 gauge) goes to another post on the starter solenoid. I am going to wait until Tuesday to see how much a battery shop can make the cable for me, but before I do that, am I missing something that I can check or change? Could my jumper between the (+) on one terminal to the starter solenoid really work if I had a ground issue? Again, when I do this, all the battery wires are connected as they would be from the dealership. I generally drive the truck to tow my boat only; this all happened when I took it for a drive (ran about 20 min) and then turned it off outside of a store... hasn't started since.
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Old 12-30-2006, 20:07   #2 (permalink)
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Re: My F250 won't start

Most likely cause is a bad connection. You said you did all the positive cables, but you need to do the neg. cables as well. The wires can also be bad under the insulation. It could also be either solenoid,(you can by pass the solenoid for test purposes). Don't forget... it is possible to get bad parts even though they are new
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Old 01-09-2007, 19:36   #3 (permalink)
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Re: My F250 won't start

South side diagnosis ,Hook both clamps of a set of good jumper cables to the negative battery post (the battery post that has the thickest negative cable running to the block)Next attach both opposite sides of the jumper cables to the cast metal mounting boss of the starter body ( both cables should be used to provide sufficient amperage ground path)Now turn the friggin key to crank,If It cranks now ,your problem is ground related.If the battery explodes or your jumper cables melt ,you shouldn't have listened to me ,but it worked on the Southside though.
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Old 01-29-2007, 22:22   #4 (permalink)
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Re: My F250 won't start

I took a jumper cable and went between the + post of one battery and the corresponding post on the starter's solenoid... this time I get one solenoid click, a few (5-6) cranks and then nothing. The wire on the jumper cable heats up and starts melting the plastic sheath (I think if it was heavy enough gauge that jumping the battery to the solenoid would work). My dad tells me to check all the cable connections (+/- wires)... I checked and cleaned all the (+) connections with a wire wheel on a grinder or sandpaper so they are all clean (bare metal). I didn't check or clean the engine or frame grounds because I think that if I had a ground issue, my battery to starter solenoid jumping would produce the same results as without the jumping... I did nothing to the ground when I run the jumper cable. My next option is to replace the battery cables

Dude you have a short! I assume when you jumped your starting system all was still connected? Battery cables are ez to check for short, you have other issues man, stay the course.
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:32   #5 (permalink)
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Re: My F250 won't start

Perform a voltage drop test of cable connections (Half volt drop OK)if cleaning both sides of the negative cable assy at engine side and battery post don't resolve.(shiny clean ,tight bolts and block attachement points too for both cable and starter bellhousing mounting area and between bellhousing ,plate and engine.checked OK?If ground cable is attached to a bracket versus directly to the block a current flow reduction issue could occur between them.Don't forget the smaller wire that melted could now have a connection issue or require replacement.
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Old 01-31-2007, 14:50   #6 (permalink)
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Re: My F250 won't start

Thanks for everyone's help. I had a new set of (+) cables made for $60 and that solved the problem.
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