No Start- Dash lights flicker, loud buzz / jackhammer sound when key turned [Video] - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:17 AM
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No Start- Dash lights flicker, loud buzz / jackhammer sound when key turned [Video]

My truck was starting great, then suddenly one warm afternoon a few days ago, I tried to start it up and when I turned the key all I got was a loud buzz / jackhammer type sound. The sound seems like it's coming from the passenger side of the engine compartment, but I can't verify that.

I thought it may be a dead battery issue, so I hooked up a charger and gave the dual batteries a full charge. Tried again and same issue. After trying to start 3 or 4 times to try and get a better idea of where the buzz was coming from, the dash lights (and "key in ignition" ping sound) started flickering, as though they had a bad electrical connection maybe?

Here's what I'm experiencing now with the dash lights flicker and the jackhammer sound at the end as I turn the key...


I thought it might be a dead spot in the starter but as I researched more, these symptoms don't seem consistent with what I've found.

I've attached the Starting circuit wiring diagram, which is helpful, but I'm not sure where any of this is located, so it's tough to trace the wiring to trouble shoot.

Any ideas on where to start looking? Dead relay? Shorted wiring? Starter after all?

Thanks,
Matt
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File Type: pdf Starting Circuit.pdf (39.6 KB, 75 views)
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:33 AM
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did you check the starter relay?
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:47 AM
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I have not, but I would love to! Problem is, I don't know where it's located. Could you offer advice on where to find it in a 2001 E-350 Van? Once I know what I'm looking for, I'm familiar with how to test relays.

(As a little background, I've grown into an amateur mechanic out of necessity since I've had this van. I have no legitimate training in automechanics, but I'm an electrical engineer, so I have a solid background in trouble shooting. I can usually solve most issues on this van myself, but sometimes need help isolating/locating the problem since I don't have any shop experience.)

Thanks Ray!
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:55 AM
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I've found a great resource on troubleshooting no-crank issues on PSDs here:

POWERSTROKEHELP.COM - The Information Source for Ford Power Stroke Diesel Owners

I'm going through this now. Hopefully this'll narrow down my potential issues.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Caraway View Post
did you check the starter relay?
It looks like the starter relay (aka starter solenoid) is bolted to the inside of the passenger side of the engine compartment just above the battery. I'll be testing this.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:07 AM
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OK, coupla things, First - that guy on POWERSTROKEHELP (Bill Hewitt) is well know here as a complete IDIOT

I'm not saying his information is worthless, he's got some helpful videos, BUT at the same time, he's also got some pretty ridiculous theories & misinformation so, just be careful with him...


Second, I'd closely monitor your voltage during this whole process and see if it's not a simple battery/connector issue.

Third, check those Fusible Links you see in your .pdf, here's my thread about them-> POTENTIAL ELECTRICAL CORROSION if your truck is like mine......

Let us know
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoRalPh View Post
OK, coupla things, First - that guy on POWERSTROKEHELP (Bill Hewitt) is well know here as a complete IDIOT

I'm not saying his information is worthless, he's got some helpful videos, BUT at the same time, he's also got some pretty ridiculous theories & misinformation so, just be careful with him...


Second, I'd closely monitor your voltage during this whole process and see if it's not a simple battery/connector issue.

Third, check those Fusible Links you see in your .pdf, here's my thread about them-> POTENTIAL ELECTRICAL CORROSION if your truck is like mine......

Let us know
Thanks for all the great advice NoRalph. That's disappointing to hear Bill Hewitt isn't so well respected- I thought I found a real gold mine of information when I found his site. But, respected or not, you're right that he does have some pretty useful info.

I was just able to look at the link to the thread you posted regarding the high current link connection that corroded on your truck. Some of what you described there may contribute to what I'm seeing. Here's what I found out about my erratic electrical problem...

My van has a "Power Distribution Box" in the engine compartment that contain high amperage fuses (20-60A) and several relays. I found that when I turn the key to power the accessories and get the flickering dash lights, the relays in this Power Distribution box are going NUTS! See here:


I was able to reproduce this behavior in an individual, otherwise functional, relay by gently touching it with a 12V lead, thereby making a weak connection to terminal 85 with terminal 86 grounded:


So I'm thinking that there is a weak wiring connection between the battery and the power to this box which seems to distribute power to the accessories.

At one point while I was fidgeting around in the Power Distribution box and checking the connections, the flickering dash lights problem stopped and everything seemed to be working properly. I tried to start the vehicle again (which was my original problem) and I got the same loud buzz / jackhammer sound. After that attempt, the flickering dash lights were back again.

Can anyone offer advice on how to troubleshoot the electrical symptoms I'm seeing here? Is there a sensor or voltage regulator that may be causing every relay in the Power Distribution box to sound like a round of applause?

Once I get this power gremlin fixed, I can get back to tracing why I can't get my engine to crank.

Thanks!

Last edited by MattMose; 04-21-2011 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:53 PM
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It definitely sound like you have a current issue. Bad Ground or Supply.

Start with the basics, Know your batteries are good and that Both ends of each cable are Clean/Tight/Greased. Then, all your Ground Straps should look the same. Next, those Fusible Links and any other 12v Supplies along the route and connections or splices.

If there is a bad connection somewhere and it is actually effecting static voltage (often it's not) then it's easier to trace but, again, sounds like stuffs being under supplied
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:27 PM
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Send a message via Skype™ to ToMang07
Man, it sounds like you and I are having a very similar problem...

What is THIS Sound? Truck Won't Start.

I went to NAPA tonight and determined my batteries are bad, I am having them test my alternator tomorrow, as well as having Advance auto test my batteries AND alternator tomorrow, as well.

If the batteries still register dead, I will be installing Die Hards...hopefully the alternator checks out OK.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:15 PM
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Sorry to hear we're in the same boat ToMang. Thanks for posting though- we can try to work through this together.

I'm thinking about backing up and starting at square 1 (which unfortunately is going to mean opening my wallet). My batteries are about 3-4 years old at this point and since they are a potential culprit, I'm just going to break down and get 2 fresh, clean, new batteries. If I'm lucky, that may just solve the problem... If I'm not lucky, well, I needed to replace these soon anyway.

While I'm swapping out the batteries, I'm going to clean and test all the terminals. At the very least this will eliminate one potential problem.
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