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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 35843
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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Ford F 150 2004 Ford F150 wont start. Actually stopped running

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2004 Ford F150 won't start. Actually stopped running while driving. Acted like battery was dying, stuttering, dinging, Flashing "check guages" which it does when it stalls. Tow truck driver tried a jump but no change. One click with each turn of the key. Towed home, checked, Cables and clamp were very corroded. cleaned up, charged for a while and it almost started. Turned over a few times, but wore battery down before got it started. Charged again, replaced cable clamp, now nothing happens at all. Replaced starter last night, no change! (180.00 and too much time) Have heard about a possible relay, but no idea where it is, what it is, how much it is. Please help.
Hello and Welcome to Justanswer,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am here to try and assist your with your question.

You do have a relay in the interior fuse panel but before you replace anymore parts let start with checking the 2 fuses in the interior fuse panel. The 2 to check F2-102 and the F2-101 . If they check ok, have a helper hold the key in the start position and see if you have 12 volts at the starter on the small start wire.

Here is the starter relay location.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you ron for such a quick response. Am I doing just a visual check on the two fuses, or do I need to use an ohm meter or something? I'm headed out to find them now, but I will check back in a few minutes to see if there is a specific way you want me to check them.


Thanks again.





Its best to use a ohm meter or a test light.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.



Both fuses good with ohm meter. To check the voltage do I touch the post (small wire) with one lead (red) and ground the other lead?

Yes ground the test light and touch the terminal with the key in the crank position.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


I checked the smaller of the wires and it was getting a little over 12v. Nothing but a single click still. I jumped the old starter last night and it did spin. I replaced it anyway but just thought I should mention that to you. So both fuses check out with an ohm and there is at least 12v at the smaller post when key is cranked and held. Next?

You need 12 volts on both the small crank wire and the large battery wire, do you have it on both?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


don't know if it matters, but I got a little smoke when we held the key in crank position for a few seconds?? I didn't check the large post, but I will right now.

Stand by..........


Need to see if both post have 12 volts .
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes on the second post. It actually reads higher when first grounded, drops to about 12 when the key cranks.
If you have 12 volts on both both posts the starter should crank , try jumping the small post to the large post.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Did that last night with the old starter, in park it spun, in nuetral it still only spun, did not engage. With the new starter the problem appears to be the same???
Is should spin and engage does it?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I need to work on my terminology. I crossed the two posts that have wires coming from off the starter, it sounds like the same click when I turn the key. Then I crossed the large post with the post that has only a wire showing between starter components and then it spins. When we say engage, do we mean it turns the motor? Cuz it does not turn the motor, or grind or anything like that. Just the whirring or winding sound from spinning. Hope I'm making sense Ron. Note: I tried pulling up on the gear shift and turning the key, and it actually tried to turn, sounding like a weak battery? Just for a second, and I couldn't get it to repeat no matter what I did with shifter. But that is the first time I got any reaction since after I first charged it when it was towed back, and it tried to start until I ran out of juice. The battery checked out good at an autozone, but I'm wondering.


I have to thank you again for such quick responses. I really appreciate it.

This sure sounds like a connection issue to me, are you sure the new ends you replaced at the battery are making a good connection, its hard to believe both starter are bad, go back and recheck them at the battery. If you have good voltage at the large starter wire on the starter and your getting good voltage at the small start wire it should start.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

the cables were pretty bad, but there is a new clamp, and they appeared secure. I just poured some baking soda/water over them and one is soaking. I was moving the shifter around again and got reaction, not a full turn over, but more than a click. This has to be a clue, right?


I have to go pick up a truck right now because I have a route that has to be covered to morrow. I will reattach the cables when I return and try again. Can you give me a couple of steps to try this afternoon/evening. A sort of try this, if this, then this. I will be working on this truck into the wee hours of the morning as long as I have something to try and I certainly don't expect you to spend a whole day/night with me. So as much as you can squeeze into a couple of paragraphs, I 'll try them all and if you are available I'll update all along the way in case something gives you another idea.


Thank you for all your help, I'l be back at it in about 2 hours.



If its attempting to spin its eaither the connection or the battery is dead. Start with making sure you have a fully charged battery and clean and tight connections. You need battery voltage on both starter posts while cranking, if you can get that it will start. I would also have the alternator test once you get it started.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Good morning Ron,


I woke up this morning to this horrilbe thought in my head: It's out of oil! Checked it and barely a dark tip on the stick. Now I don't know if that could explain the slow stall while driving, but I'm not sure the driver (my son) would have noticed any particular guages or warnings. Besides the fact that it's obviously dangerous to run that low on oil, does this explain the symptoms in your experience? It did try to turn over 1 time after a charge, but could that be when it siezed up? Am I dealing with 2 problems ( 1 if you count stupidity as the single cause) I've added oil but I didn't want to do anything else without talking to you. Assuming it's the engine that is siezed, what can I do to see if it's salvageable? If I try to free it by turning it by hand, which direction do I turn it? What kind of tool will I need to try and turn it and I am even on the right track here?



That though crossed my mind yesterday as well when you said it had power on both post at the starter, It is very likely seized, Take a break bar and at the front crank pulley and see if you can turn it, you will need to turn it clockwise. If it dosnt turn then its seized and most likely your looking at replacing the motor as it very likely destroyed the crankshaft.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I can barely turn it. I need to make sure I'm using the right sized socket or I'm going to strip the head. I was using an 18mm but shouldn't there be a standard size socket for a Ford?


So if it's barely turning, any tricks to loosening things up enough to get it to turn with the starter, and hope it will run however horribly? Can I overfill with oil on a very temporary basis? Any way to splash oil if I can't get it to run?

The 18 mm should work ok, unfortunately its not likely going to free up as the damage has been done with running it with no oil
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ron, Thank you for all your help. I wish it could have had a happier ending but I am confident that if there had been any other problem you would have had me back on the road by now.


Maybe one last description of what I'm hoping to accomplish here. Do I want to turn the engine several revolutions? Do I turn it a tiny bit and try the key each time? When I finally determine that it's not going to break free for me, what is the next step? How do I decide whether to have this engine rebuilt, buy a junkyard motor, rebuild? new? Any last words of advice?


I am accepting the answer now and I will put some extra on for you. You have been great to work with. I like the last guy, and you have been head and shoulders above him. If there is any place to comment on your work, I will be sure to put in an excellent reference.


Thanks again.



You can keep trying to turn it by hand but its not likely going to work because the bearing are very likely burned and have damaged the crank. The only way to know the extent of the damage would be a tear down and its is usually cheaper to replace the engine with eaither a rebuilt or a good running used one. I to wish thing had come out better , I hate bring bad news, You are always allowed to leave feedback upon completion. I am here every day and if I can help you in the future you can request me. Thank you for the kind words as well.
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