2000 ford excursion 4x4 v10 won't turn over after driving

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#1
I searched the forums and didn't find anything like the issue I'm having. I thought initially that it was the neutral safety switch (in the transmission sensor on this vehicle), but I checked the alignment of it and it lines up. Thought it might be heating up after driving but drive it until the drivetrain heats up and it's cool to the touch. Doesn't seem like that part gets warm at all, really.

Truck runs fine, when started.

Starts fine after sitting a while or cold. Let it sit running the engine till everything warmed up, still can turn off and start right up. No hesitation or anything. Works just like it should as would expect.

Drive it for about 40 blocks (round trip to the local post office), got back home. No start.

It's not even trying to start. Al the lights work, they're strong - the only thing that happens when I turn the key is that all the idiot lights turn off, also as one would expect. No clicking, no thunking, none of the usual noises one hears when the solenoid or starter are struggling to work. No intermittent noises or behavior. Radio, interior lights, everything operates as expected, no dropouts, flickering, or other unstable behavior. It's like it's just not there from the neck down.

I've let it sit about 15 minutes and same thing - no clicky. If it sits for 30 min or so, starts like a champ - like there's nothing wrong.

I'm perplexed - I got paid so I can get parts but I don't want to keep swapping things out until I find it unless I have to.

Hooked up my OBD tool - nothing showing, no faults pending or logged, nothing unusual in any of the operation that I can see at all.

I just got a subscription to alldata because I'm tired of the hit and miss information and procedures in the regular !$20 books. We bought this rig used but it was in great shape and well maintained - we haven't had any issues until now so I haven't picked up the regular stuff like special little tools and/or any books. But when I logged into alldata there wasn't anything available in the way or troubleshooting or replacement procedures, just when I click a component it takes me to a drawing to show where it is and a description of the component with what seems to be the list price.

I've checked the fuses, all the wiring above and below that I can see or tug on looks really good (one of the reasons we bought it), underneath everything looks tight and not worn, corroded, stressed, abraded, or fragile.

Any advisement anyone can think of is gratefully appreciated.
 
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#2
I liked your first idea, the neutral safety switch. Although it doesn't make a lot of sense that it would not work only when warm, but possible.

But first, you need to see if you are getting 12 volts to the starter solenoid at the small wire when attempting to start. Check with a 12 volt bulb or voltmeter. If not, then work from there and see where the open in the circuit is. Could be starter relay, any wire, ign switch or ???.

Switch out the starter relay with a know good one of the same part #, like the horn or whatever as a free trial.
 
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#3
You need to do the tests Jack suggested, but I would guess that your solenoid (on the starter) fails when hot after a "hot soak". If the starter is original, you are due for replacement.

You might consider fastening an additional wire (temporarily) to the small terminal for easy, remote testing when engine is screamin' hot.
 
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#4
I agree with Danica, in fact I have a permanent wire running to my starter solenoid that I can touch to the positive battery terminal, if ever necessary. Could save a tow or being stranded somewhere.
 
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#5
Any more recent Ford I have driven, besides the neutral safety switch, also has a brake switch that must be closed to enable the starting circuit. Neutral safety switch has two starting positions, P and N, N is easier, can rock the gear shift lever back and forth to see if that helps. Also the ignition switch typically has one separate contact for the starting circuit. Not even familiar with Ford's anti-thief, another part of the equation.

Sure not like the model A were a foot pedal jams two contacts together for starting.

See that Ford finally got away from that crazy positive engagement starter where a pole piece was pulled down first before contact was made, those would rust preventing starter contact. Yours is a permanent magnet geared down starter motor with a solenoid.



But is 13 years old. Heat causes metal to expand, may be just enough break contact. Point contacts are the worse things for these kind of problems, use to be a rule for only sliding contacts. But sliding contacts can also be a problem once that grease dries up.

Could be a two man job, but get by with one voltmeter with 15' long leads on it with alligator clips. Get it hot can check all those closed contacts. Meter should read well less the 0.1 volts across those supposingly closed contacts under load.
 
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#6
Thanks - I already had my Sunday dedicated to troubleshooting this...found some stuff on PAT amongst my searches yesterday and followed up on that, but from the indicators it appears to be behaving normally. It blinks at a slow rate when key is out of ignition, turn it on and it stops. On the upside I found a Youtube video that shows how to set up the key fobs, and we only got one with the truck - it's been on my TODO list for about 3 months to get a second.

Something in the starter itself made more sense as that's the part that gets really hot, as it's down on the tranny directly and seems to take about the same amount of time to heal as the tranny cooling off itself. Actually that was my first thought when it initially nearly left my wife stranded at the gas station - they tried to jump it, etc, and then the shop guy came out and said put it in neutral and it started right up - but it had been sitting during the fueling as well as while they were trying other things, so if this is it that would be a good reason why the problem was masked.

In the past with other vehicles there's been some sort of flaky operation or something as it goes bad - maybe there's a thermal trip buried in there somewhere and it somehow thinks it's getting too hot. But it works so smoothly after sitting... :)

In any case, thank you for the troubleshooting tips. I learn so much more when I ask people to help. Even if it is the solenoid root cause, I may pick up spare relays (in the fusebox and on the engine compartment wall) as it sounds like I can expect more minor electrical components to start fading out.

Everything actually looks original on it. The lot didn't even have time to detail it before I got there - the motor was just a little dusty and there was nothing leaking anywhere.

LOL I guess we really love this truck - it's the best and nicest one I've ever had (and I don't care that it was 12 years old when we bought it). :)

I'll follow up when we solve it.
 

billr

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#7
Add that wire to the solenoid, it will determine if the problem is in the starter or elsewhere very quickly.
 
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#8
Yes. That's the first test after I get done putting breakfast together for the fam - 5 hungry kids...

Also found this - sorry if it's spam - got led to it after I did some checking on starters because I have a feeling that's probably it.

http://www.onlinetechhelp.com/installguides/Str%20Inst%20Instr%20%281%29.pdf

And there are a list of manufacturers on Rock Auto (never heard of them before now, but seem legit - good time to start finding sources for parts if other things might be ready to wear out) does anyone have any comment? The least expensive choice is also a new, not reman, component as well as listing that they're OEM for Ford? Sounds too good to be true, sorta.

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1358096,parttype,4152,a

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1414386&cc=1358096

If we suss this out, it's probably worth the shipping and wait - we finally have three vehicles running at the same time lol. It's half the price of the lowest grade unit at O'Reilly's/Autozone. Haven't checked the local rebuilder chains.

Got to go feed the pups.
 

billr

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#9
I tried to send rmzauner a PM as I don't like to endorse or condemn a vendor here. However, I was advised that "rmzauner cannot receive messages", what's up with that Admin?

I use rockauto regularly and am pleased with their service.
 
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#11
I got busy today and am just now getting under the truck (daylight savings time worked in my favor for a change) :). I was most asking about the part manufacturer but appreciate the feedback on the vendor.

Shipping's only 11 bucks and that still makes it cheaper than the el cheapos at AZ or O'R's (still about 55-60% of cost). But it looks like a heavy duty model from RZ, and I'm more interested in getting quality parts than having this done today. It's just a bonus that the least expensive is also the best looking part - makes the decision simpler.

I'm thinking maybe if I can find heavy enough wire around here it might be a better idea to hook up leads that I can test easily from and reach without getting up into the tight spots as not only will everything be hot under there when the failure condition is induced but juggling the meter will be awkward and getting two sets of arms up into an engine is always a pain.

I think the PM thing might be in my profile settings - I didn't realize it was shut off for other forum members. I'll check that.
 
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#12
Wait a tick - can I check the voltage back up back up at the solenoid relay? I guess that's assuming the cable is good between the relay and the terminal on the starter itself but shouldn't that tell me if the voltage was getting through to the starter?

I mean if that's good I would think that would rule out the rest of the electrical...?

If that is the last part before the starter itself, that is.
 

billr

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#13
Personally, I would go to the extra effort to put the "test wire" right on the starter; otherwise you still have to wonder about the wiring/connectors between the relay and starter.
 
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#15
Hmm, no brake switch, no anti-thief, should be simple enough.

Been rebuilding my own starters for years, growler, diamond tip commutator cutter, and a commutator undercutter are the key tools. But making those commutators so thin today, nothing to repair, so start looking for a new starter. Also getting difficult to buy new brushes.

Solenoid had screws, replace those two contact studs with new ones and reverse that copper disk, now a throwaway tin can that has rust through holes in it. Starter drives were cheap as were new bushings.