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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks,

Stock with 130,000 miles. I have replaced my starter 3 times in the last 3.5 years and it just left me stranded again. The first 3 times the starter has tested bad. I went through 3 from O'Reilly and now 1 from Napa (yet to be tested). I suspect it will test bad. I found a TSB for 99-03 vehicles but nothing for the 6.0. Any thoughts?

Jeremy
 

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My original starter is still in the truck at 217k miles. Stick w/ motorcraft. Get a 6.4L starter if you want quicker starts.
 

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Bad?? -- like in the same type of failure, or each different?

The "test" that you get at the auto parts store is suspect at best

without an actual load placed on the starter output, there is no way to accurately tell if it is outputting proper torque

Battery condition, cable connections(both ends) are key in starter performance

Over using a starter to the point it gets heated is problematic

As @bismic stated about his miles, I will second with 160k on the original -- I am thinking there is another problem with your truck
Not trying to be harsh, just going off experience -- that seems like a lot of "bad" starters for one truck
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
My original starter is still in the truck at 217k miles. Stick w/ motorcraft. Get a 6.4L starter if you want quicker starts.
The original motorcraft starter failed around 125k.

Bad?? -- like in the same type of failure, or each different?

The "test" that you get at the auto parts store is suspect at best

without an actual load placed on the starter output, there is no way to accurately tell if it is outputting proper torque

Battery condition, cable connections(both ends) are key in starter performance

Over using a starter to the point it gets heated is problematic

As @bismic stated about his miles, I will second with 160k on the original -- I am thinking there is another problem with your truck
Not trying to be harsh, just going off experience -- that seems like a lot of "bad" starters for one truck
Each time it was tested at the auto parts store;the solenoid activates but the starter motor doesn't spin. I have been able to start the truck each time by tapping on it with a hammer. Whether they test with a load or not isn't something I haven't paid attention to. I completely agree that something else is going on with the truck and I am tired of replacing starters.

Given the failure I am inclined to believe the no start condition is caused by worn brushes. Given then number of starters I have gone through, I think I can eliminate any internal (starter) issues that could be present, which leaves me with the truck. Overheating is usually due to excessive cranking but the truck fires within the first few seconds. The other condition that I can think of to cause worn brushes due to an external (truck) issue is a failure to disengage once the engine is running. I would like to believe that is something that would be audible and I would have noticed it but there is quite a bit of engine noise. I am going to test for that condition following the same logic as TSB 03-20-5.

If there are any suggestions I am all ears. Thanks for the input!
 

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Have the starters been reman? Brushes don’t engage or disengage. They’re typically sprung against the armature. Also, if tapping on the solenoid kicks it, there’s your problem area. Have you tried starting with a screwdriver?

I have to agree with @Hydro. Check batteries, make sure connections are tight, and most likely look over the cable. Look for obvious breaks and corrosion. Feel and lightly “bend” the cable to check for broken wires in the cable, specifically at the connectors.

OR

Take your meter and read the voltage going to the solenoid. Check the resistance through the cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Have the starters been reman? Brushes don’t engage or disengage. They’re typically sprung against the armature. Also, if tapping on the solenoid kicks it, there’s your problem area. Have you tried starting with a screwdriver?

I have to agree with @Hydro. Check batteries, make sure connections are tight, and most likely look over the cable. Look for obvious breaks and corrosion. Feel and lightly “bend” the cable to check for broken wires in the cable, specifically at the connectors.

OR

Take your meter and read the voltage going to the solenoid. Check the resistance through the cable.
The ones from O Reilly were reman but the most recent from Napa was not. I realize brushes don't engage/disengage but the starter clutch does. I should have clarified that I can hear the solenoid engage and to start I tap on the motor housing, not the solenoid. I'll grab my meter and measure voltage at the starter.
 

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Back in the day, you could "tap" on a series wound starter to jar the brushes against the armature

-- but with todays permanent magnet motors, that is a good way to bust up the magnets

Really without taking the starter apart to see what is failing -- everything is just a guess
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Back in the day, you could "tap" on a series wound starter to jar the brushes against the armature

-- but with todays permanent magnet motors, that is a good way to bust up the magnets

Really without taking the starter apart to see what is failing -- everything is just a guess
I agree. I'll grab some pictures of what I find inside when I get it apart.

Once you've checked there wiring as mentioned above, get one of these.

You have not had good luck with starters on your 6.0, but you are the exception. Check all of the wiring and put a quality unit on it and you'll must probably fix the issue.
Thanks for the link. I'll have to see what I find.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Took me a while to get back to this. Pulled apart the old starter and found some pretty gnarly wear between the brushes and the commutator. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a reason for the wear. Chalk is up to poor parts I guess. I plan to periodically check the line in to the solenoid to see if there is an intermittent short that would cause the starter to remain engaged. Thanks for the help everyone.
 
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