No start, relay clicking, loose negative ground - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:51 PM
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No start, relay clicking, loose negative ground

This summer my batteries were not staying charged and I ended up replacing my alternator. The truck was running great until I went on my annual hunting trip last week. On Wednesday morning the truck was cranking very slowly, so we hooked up another PSD and jumped it. While driving home, I stopped twice for gas, and it started just fine both times.

The third time I stopped for gas, it was cranking slowly and then stopped cranking. I turn the key and all the dash lights up. WTS goes on, then off. I turn the key: CLICK. Dash goes dead.

I go look at the batteries and the negative ground cable around the driver's side battery is loose on the terminal. I move it slightly and I hear the chime inside my cab. Dash lights are back on. Hop in, turn the key: CLICK. Dash lights off. Fiddle with negative ground again. Dash lights on. Turn key: CLICK. dash lights off. Repeat until insane.

With jumper cables running from another car, instead of one click and a dead dash, the fender-mounted starer relay clicks rapidly when I turn the key.

I try jumping across the relay with a screwdriver. CLICK.

I pulled the starter completely off the truck and put power to it. Plunger pops out and spins just fine.

I also charged both batteries in the house, kept them warm, and then put them back in the truck and get the same problem. I've had the problem before I bought the new alternator and was always able to jump start it. I was even able to jump it Wednesday morning. But now I can't jump it.

Right now I'm looking at that loose negative wire. I've got a bolt through the clamp but for some reason it won't tighten the radius around the terminal post. Is this bad ground causing the problem?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:31 PM
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I think your starter is bad and drawing to much amperage. My dads truck just got done doing this. Yeah it will pop out and spin with no load on it but with a load its probably burnt. Have it tested
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuck15 View Post
I think your starter is bad and drawing to much amperage. My dads truck just got done doing this. Yeah it will pop out and spin with no load on it but with a load its probably burnt. Have it tested
Thanks. Can I test the amperage with my multimeter? If so, what is the normal reading?
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:53 PM
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An ammeter has to go in series with the circuit, and our starters draw REAL high current (thus the two batteries). The current draw of the starter would literally have to go through the meter and its probe wires. No way any hand-held multimeter or its probes would handle that.

I'd also load test both batteries, each isolated from one another. It could be that with that one bad ground, the other battery has been doing an undue share of the starting load, and you may have two batteries with different strengths now. That _might_ only be solved by two new batteries.

And yeah, that loose ground is DEF a problem. Have you tried shoving the terminal down further on the post before tightening it? If it still won't tighten down, I'd just replace that cable.
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:20 AM
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If its a battery ground you can replace the end of it. I have done it a million times and it worked fine. But most certainly that ground is PART of the issue. Id deal with it then see where it gets you. But for all the time it takes to pull the starter and test it its a worth while thing with winter coming
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:10 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies.

UPDATE: Saturday morning I met my buddy to change spark plugs and coils on his Super Duty gasser. (Piece of cake. Didn't even have to open the valve covers like we do.)

Then he drove us back up to Idaho Springs where my truck was sitting for three days. I bought a new starter relay for $19 and driver's side negative battery cable for $29. The worst case scenario was to use his truck to tow mine to speed and pop the clutch.

I put the starter back on (tested good), and then got under the block to take off the old ground cable. It was caked with an oil/dirt layer that I brushed off with a wire brush and mostly onto my face. After unbolting the cable, I brushed the contact point on the block, and then put the new cable on.

I put the relay back on and reattached all battery cables. Turned the key and heard the flywheel lurch. "Good sign" I said to my friend, and then hooked his truck up to give the batteries some juice.

One thing I noticed was that I didn't see the usual voltage drop when first turning the key that tells you the glow plugs are warming up. I cycled the keys a few times and just see the voltage go up to one spot without the slight drop. Okay, recheck GPR cables are all tight. Still no voltage drop.

Not sure what's going on, but I just want to get the damn thing home. So I unplugged the GPR and sprayed some PSD crack cocaine into the air box. Cranked her up and she came to life. Checked charging voltage and getting 14, so it seems good.

I got home and turned it off, and then started it up again. No problem, but the block was warm. Will try again tonight after it has been sitting. Not sure if the GPR is bad now, or the plugs themselves. I just changed them last winter and I've always been diligently careful about unplugging GPR when using starter fluid.
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