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URGENT--Need Help. Truck wont start.

Old 10-29-2007, 09:59 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4
Default URGENT--Need Help. Truck wont start.

I have a 1981 F350 on propane that wont even turn over. I have completely explored the propane part of the equation and have ruled it out. My problem is definitely electrical.

It all started when I went to put my camper on for hunting. Everything worked just fine. No problems. At this point. I got the camper on (and btw it has no electrical dependence on the truck other than marker lights). I went in the house to get my electrical tester and out of curiosity I tested the battery and it was at like 9volts. So I thought "crap, before I go out I should charge it up." When I charge it up, I disconnect the battery completely. So I did. I put the charger on it (2amp slow charge) and kept working with caulking the camper and working in the back. A day later I came back and hooked everything back up. This is where it all started.

The moment I hooked everything back up I noticed that instead of the cab dome light being bright and beautiful,it was dull. Long story short, I found with the voltmeter that the moment I touched the terminals to the posts, the battery would start at 12.5 volts and then the numbers on the screen would scroll down to about 3 volts! Something was instantly stealing 9 volts of the fresh battery! Keep in mind that everything was fine before I charged the battery. Now, to be fair, the truck has had charging issues in the past. I went to the internet and started thinking that the only thing that could draw that much wattage would be the starter soleniod (the one on the fire wall by the battery next to the voltage regulator). I went to Checker and bought a new alternator and voltage regulator b/c of the charging issues. I also bought a couple new soleniods. The one on the truck was original. So I went home and installed all the new parts.

The voltage meter showed a constant 12.5volts when everything was hooked up, and I thoght I solved the problem. I jumped in the cab and the light was bright! I then turned the key and click click click click. The Soleniod was clicking. I then opened the door to get out and check it out and noticed the dome light in the cab was dim again! ?!?!?!? The battery again showed 3 volts. hummmmm So I then put the charger on the battery and put it to 75amp jump start to throw some power through the system. I jumped in the cab and the dome light was bright. I did this to rule out a crappy battery. Lots of power, the engine should turn over right? no. The soleniod just clicks faster. I then was really puzzled. I unhooked the charger and went back to the drawing table. I then went and bought a new duraspark ignition unit. That didn't change anything. I then bought a new ignition switch that mounts on the steeering wheel colum. Nothing. I then thought, disconnect all the accessories. I pulled the radio and all it's components. I then disconnected the spotlights. I essentially disconnected everything (non original equipment) that might be grounding out. Nothing. Same problem. I am now in a position that I have NO CLUE what is happning. Something is seriously screwed up.

I then thought. It might be the starter. So I did the classic "skip the soleniod" trick with two screwdrivers and sent 12.5 volts directly to the starter. The result was nothing buta little smoke action at the soleniod. Do I now go out and drop 200 bucks on a starter??? Or would I be back in the same place I am now?

ANY HELP would be much appreciated.

Old 10-30-2007, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 43
Default RE: URGENT--Need Help. Truck wont start.

If you pull your starter, you can get it tested at any parts store (Pepboys, Advanced, Autozone, Napa, Checker, etc) before you buy a new one. I'm surprised you didn't have your alternator tested before you purchased a new one.

Have you had your battery tested?

It sounds like you have a bad starter, at least to me. You should also check your battery cables and make sure you have a good ground.
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