engine will not start


Old 03-28-10, 08:22 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5
engine will not start

I am working on a 1999 Ford F350 with V-10,auto,4x4.

First the shafts for the auto shifter,in the steering column broke.(replaced both).
Then it had a hard time starting,would only start in neutral.(replaced neutral safety switch).Put a ODB-II tester and got the code.
Also now I am not getting any codes on the tester.
Now the engine will not start at all.I will just crank over,but not fire.
Removed hose from filter,had fuel squirt out.
Tested fuel pressure-while cranking the pressure went to 39 psi.
Tried a couple squirts starting fluid,in the air cleaner tube,just turned over a little faster,but still not starting.

I live 600 miles from the nearest mechanic,so I have to try and figure this out,any ideas on what to look for?

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Old 03-28-10, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
First check all fuses, and I mean ALL fuses! (Because you have been doing electrical work.)

And many times what you have been doing is the source of the problem. A fuse blown, a connector left disconnected, etc.

Look in your owner's manual and it should say where all the fuse boxes are located. There can sometimes be 3. Under hood, driver's side, and passenger side.

Check one fuse at a time, then replace it, then check the next. Then you will be sure to put each fuse back where it belongs. How to test fuses...
Testing fuses Page

Also check the battery voltage with a multimeter.

A fully charged battery would read 12.65 volts or higher. Use DC volts 20 on the meter.

The battery should read 12 something volts with just the ignition on (not started).

Electronic things like an engine computer will not work with a low battery. If the battery is low, charge it. Be sure the battery terminals are clean as well.

Then if you can't find anything in that area, do the following tests...

Check the basics, Fuel, Spark, Air.

Fuel: While someone is turning the key to start, have someone else spray starting fluid into the throttle body (just a light spray - two seconds). If you get a response, then this is a fuel problem.

Spark: Remove a spark plug and place the side screw portion against a piece of body metal or engine metal (grounded to battery negative/ground). Then watch as someone turns the key to start. See if there is spark. Advanced spark testing is to use a spark testing tool which would typically have a gap of .25 inch. You should see a crisp blue spark. This is a larger gap than a spark plug and tests that the coil is producing a high enough voltage. (Good spark as opposed to weak spark.)

Air: Slightly press on the accelerator while trying to start. Normally the throttle is completely closed and the IAC (Idle Air Control) valve adjusts to admit air into the engine. By pressing slightly on the accelerator, you are bypassing the IAC valve and allowing air to enter the engine.

Combination test: While someone slightly presses on the accelerator and turns the key to start, have someone else spray starting fluid into the throttle body.
Old 03-29-10, 06:41 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5
I did check the fuses-

one under the hood- a 10 amp fuse was blown -

replaced it and truck started fine, but quit 5 miles later.

checked all fuses- had new ones and replaced everyone under dash and hood,except big fuses-I moved all those and looked at them(took all out and exchanged places with same size fuse).All fuses looked fine.

I have charged the battery-it was new 4 months ago.

Will try and look at Fuel,Air, and Spark next.

Have the Hayes manual,ODB-II tester,Ohm meter,Fuel pressure gauge and ordered a Spark tester.Hope to get it checked out,just need the weather to get better.

Thanks for the help.
Old 03-29-10, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Check that 10 amp fuse again. And check every inch of wire on that circuit.

Sometimes a wire can rub against a sharp metal object and ground out. Then this blows the fuse.

And if that same circuit goes to something like the engine computer, then your vehicle will not run.

So far as what all is on a particular circuit, it is pretty much impossible to trace wires on a modern vehicle because they have them all wrapped up and hidden.

So you pretty much need to get the factory service manual set of books, then use the electrical diagrams manual to find what all is on a particular circuit. Then use a multimeter to see if those things are getting power. And check the wiring for that circuit.

You want to be sure everything is getting power. Especially the engine computer.

(You can order a factory service manual set of books from helminc.com)

How to use a multimeter...
how to use a multimeter on a car - Google Search
Old 04-04-10, 09:24 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5
still no start

I finally got to look at truck,due to weather and work.

Checked battery with Multimeter,it was low-due to long cold snap,charged for awhile,till it check out at 12.65 volts at battery.
Put charger on engine start and tried-still no start.
Did the same plus sprayed starting fluid in air cleaner body-still no start.
Checked two different plugs ,with Spark Checker,they both had weak yellow spark (slow but steady while cranking),but not a strong blue spark.
Checked all fuses again and they where all okay.
Still no code on OBD reader.
Did not get to check wires closely,but the looked okay at a glance.
Any idea what would cause weak spark?with no OBD code?
Thanks for any help.
Old 04-04-10, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
I suspect the battery from what you said. As in possibly not enough charge...

The battery should stay around 12 volts with just the ignition on (not started, not starting).

This places an electrical load on the battery. And if it can stay around 12 volts, this means it has "muscle"!

But if it drops down below that, try charging overnight or try jump starting and see if the sparks get better.

If the battery is too low when starting, the computer gizmos will not work.

If the battery is good, then I would suspect a coil as being bad if there is not a good spark. (Or poor/loose electrical connections to the coil.)

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