How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask jrloar Your Own Question
jrloar, ASE Master Cert
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 306
Experience:  ASE Master Certification
Type Your Car Question Here...
jrloar is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Ford F-150 5.8L 125K miles: After sitting idle for approx

This answer was rated:

After sitting idle for approx 3 weeks, about 3 weeks ago a 1995 Ford 5.8L V8 with approx. 125000 miles failed to start. Preliminary analysis indicated an ignition problem. This was a new experience for this truck. It always started easily in the past. Since the ignition parts were all original equipment, is was decided to replace the distributor with a new (rebuilt) unit, install a new coil and a new modulator (on this vehicle the modulator is mounted on the driver's side front fender). The repair was successful and the engine started. Last week, after sitting idle since the last repair, the truck again failed to start. Again, it was an ignition problem. The parts house checked the modulator and found it was faulty. Also, they weren't sure about the coil. So, we installed a new modulator and coil. When the starter engaged, the engine wanted to (almost did) start but, then nothing. The ignition was dead. When not in use, the battery is maintained with a trickle charger and when this most recent incident occurred was checked and found to be producing 13.02 Volts with 728 CCA at 68 Deg. F. So, what did we miss? Have a good day.
Can I ask why you say it is the ignition and not a fuel problem? Have you tried spraying fuel in the intake while trying to start? I just have to ask simple questions to eliminate them...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, tried "Quick Start" and nothing. Not even a peep. Also, when the ignition switch is on, we have power to the primary circuit of the coil, both in and out to ground. Lastly, there is a small spark when we reconnect the battery ground cable. Have a good day.

Have you actually checked your voltages at the coil? Can you run a hot wire directly to the coil from the battery and see if that makes a difference? It sounds to me like you have got some faulty replacement parts. This is one year before they were truly computer controller. You basically have a system that is supplied a power it should work on its own. The only possibility I can think of if it is a vehicle problem is that the rectifier is bad and you have AC voltage on the system and it is burning up you electronics... I have seen new parts be bad. An example. I had a coil pack go bad on my VW and went to the parts store to get a replacement, replaced it in the parking lot and before I made it home it went bad. I went back and got another and have not had a problem since and that was 3 months ago.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, we can hot wire the coil by removing the coil connector and running a positive lead from the battery with the negative side connected to ground. Is this what you mean? The coil was supposedly checked by the supply house (as was the modulator) to make sure they were in spec. When we turned the ignition switch on, both ends of the coil's primary circuit powered the test light brightly which implied no issue.


When we last installed the newest coil, newest modulator and tried to start the engine, it almost started and then nothing. Our impression was that the modulatory had been cooked. Do you have any simple way(s) of checking &/or bypassing the modulator to see if that helps?

Are you referring to the rectifier in the alternator? If that part was faulty wouldn't it have a negative effect on the battery, or the lighting or something else? How can we check the rectifier?


Your comments seem to imply that there is no other control, electronic or electrical device which could have any effect on the ignition system; meaning, if the distributor, coil and modulator are within spec. the system should work. No further discussion needed. Correct?

the positive wire to coil is correct. It is almost imposable to "cook" ignition components like you are referring to. Yes the alternator. You would check that with an AC voltmeter just like checking DC voltage. The ignition system only has the coil, electronic controls, and distributer. Then cap wires and plugs. Simple system...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Per your instructions, we hot wired the coil. After removing the connector, we attached the positive to positive & negative to ground. Nothing occurred other than the engine turning over. What do you think?


When should we expect a response?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Per your instructions, we hot wired the coil but, nothing. What do you think?

You only hook a positive. The ground is controlled by the distributer. This is how it sparks. So the only wire you can hook up it a direct positive. Try doing it that way...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your interest. I tried the "Hot Wire" procedure you suggested and still nothing.


When we started this conversation, I noted having previously replaced the truck's modulator, coil and distributor (including a new cap, rotor and secondary wire) at which time the truck started as normal. Approx. 3 weeks later after sitting idle for that time, the engine again wouldn't start.


After trying your most recent "Hot Wire" coil suggestion, I installed another rebuilt distributor (with the same new cap, rotor and secondary wire). The engine started immediately as if nothing had ever happened. It will be interesting to see if history repeats itself.


Just between you and me, why would a distributor fail from inactivity? During the time the truck was idle, the only external input was a 15 volt trickle charger installed to keep the battery from being consumed by all of the electrical loads generally found in modern vehicles. What am I missing?


Have a good day.

There is no reason other than the fact that a new item can be bad. I gave you my coil pack issue so it happens. I just hope that was the problem. I don't see what else it could have been...
jrloar, ASE Master Cert
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 306
Experience: ASE Master Certification
jrloar and 6 other Car Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • I would (and have) recommend your site to others I was quite satisfied with the quality of the information received, the professional with whom I interacted, and the quick response time. Thanks, and be sure that I'll be back whenever I need a question answered in a hurry. Stephanie P Elm City, NC
< Previous | Next >
  • I would (and have) recommend your site to others I was quite satisfied with the quality of the information received, the professional with whom I interacted, and the quick response time. Thanks, and be sure that I'll be back whenever I need a question answered in a hurry. Stephanie P Elm City, NC
  • used your service this weekend with "Trecers" help. thank you ,thank you, thank you. replaced an A/C fan motor. Local Auto Zone had part. $15.00 "tracer" fee and $40.00 for parts, I saved several hundreds of dollers at a shop. i will recommend you and use you in the future. David L. Richmond, TX
  • 9 dollars, 2 hours of my time, and I drove away. Your diagnosis was right on the mark. Thank you so much. Phil Marysville, CA
  • Lurch. Thank you very much. I had real doubts about this website but your promptness of response, quick followup and to the point answer with picture was incredible. Charles Walnut Creek, CA
  • As a single woman, I really appreciate an excellent and affordable opinion.
    Thank you Geordie, I will not hesitate to contact justanswer in the future!
    Sue Charleston, WV
  • Another great insight to what may be the problem. I will have my mechanic take a look at it tomorrow. Thanks again, do indeed know your stuff. Jim Castleberry, FL
  • Excellent reply, and also very quick. Really sounds like the Expert knows what he is talking about. I will be back to use your service when I need more help with my RV. Dutch USA

Meet The Experts:

  • Chris (aka-Moose)

    Chris (aka-Moose)


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 years of experience
< Last | Next >
  • Chris (aka-Moose)'s Avatar

    Chris (aka-Moose)


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 years of experience
  • Ted G.'s Avatar

    Ted G.

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    20 years auto repair experience, ASE Master Tech, Mechanical Failure consultant, Expert Witness
  • George H.'s Avatar

    George H.

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    ASE Master Tech 15+ yrs, AAS Automotive Technology, Factory trained Asian specialist
  • GM Tech (Cam)'s Avatar

    GM Tech (Cam)

    Auto Service Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    GM Grand Master Technician 2007. 14 years experience.
  • Amedee's Avatar


    Former ASE Master Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
  • Jerry's Avatar


    Master Mechanic

    Satisfied Customers:

    ASE master, 30+ years. All makes and models. Trouble shooter, shop forman, service manager
  • Richard's Avatar


    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    12 years Ford Lincoln/Mercury Jaguar dealership as a technician and shop foreman reparing all makes