Had to have my truck towed last night

MarkieMark

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'08 Ford F-150, Intermittent no start/no crank. Right?
Could be one of I think 5 engine options or so, but I doubt it makes any difference at this point. 4.2 and 4.6L are common, followed closely by the 5.4L Then the other options.

And I am assuming there is no third party/aftermarket security system installed...
(If so, back up)

Intermittents are a constant thing in my world. "It always works for the mechanic" is a thing.
A couple of things come to mind, IE: where I would start if that repair order landed in my in-box. (Assuming the problem wasn't currently readily reproducible)
Many Fords up into the range of that year had a fairly common issue with the wire between the relay and starter getting hot, damaged, loose at the starter. Many times requiring splicing in a new pigtail/connector. So the first thing I would do is carefully examine the small wire at the starter for signs of looseness/getting hot. Of course I'd check the other related connections while I was at it.
Next I would proceed to attempting to reproduce by copying the sequence of events the customer described, which sounds like a "hot soak" condition. In other words, get the vehicle hot, shut it off and let it sit a short period and try to start it.
This can become tedious and time consuming, but the fact is, if it is working, it is very difficult to accurately diagnose. everything is likely to test perfectly fine.
So lets say I have had the vehicle 2 days, tried to reproduce it many times to no avail. We have to decide- Gamble on an educated guess based on experience?

It could be a number of things. There were a couple of good guesses and several very bad ones in the replies so far.
In my experience, based on having worked on hundreds of similar vehicles and the OP's description so far, likelihood of a failing starter is at the top of my list. Followed perhaps by the starter relay (In the central junction box, under hood)

Ford starter relay.png


Followed closely by a possible worn/intermittent ignition switch.

Battery isn't likely based on the description.

While the Neutral position switch can of course cause a no-crank, the fact that you thought to fiddle with the shifter, and it made no difference, and that the tow truck driver fiddled with it and it made no difference, and it started at the shop (possibly after a cool down cycle) tells me that is unlikely.

One last possibility is the Powertrain control module, which in this case "gives permission" for the relay to operate, but that would be a last guess/worst case kind of approach IMO, only after ruling out all other usual suspects.

Many of the other suggestions offered in the thread here like crank sensor, fuel pump, etc. would result in a crank/no start, so I can rule those out.
The suggestion it has to do with the "evaporation device" (??) is simply wrong either way, since it has no effect on starting- cranking or not.

Just some food for thought from someone who has been through this stuff a few times!
 

teletail

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2008 F150. Everything on the dash lit up as normal with the key in, but not so much as a click. No check engine light. I have had the truck going on 8 years and have never replaced the starter, so it might be worth spending an afternoon on that.

Part of me feels pretty stupid and the other part wonders if/when it will happen again. I imagine it would be pretty hard it to track down something intermittent.
I had a ‘72 Plymouth Duster with an intermittent starting problem. Sometimes when cold, sometimes when hot. I had it to 5 or 6 mechanics and they all found the problem, until next time it wouldn’t start. I put in over $1,000 and that was in the 70’s when $1,000 was a ton of money. I finally got rid of it. My father said I should have kept it because I’d replaced so many parts it was almost new again.
 

MickM

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I had a Honda Civic with an intermittent headlight problem. Understandably, this was a real PITA, as it's tough to drive at night with no headlights.

Took it into the Honda dealership two times, they couldn't find it. The guy actually said, "I guess it's just one of those things."

Thanks, buddy.
Likely a bad dimmer switch. I had the same problem in a '72 New Yorker.
 

Preacher

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My old '73 chevy would start without a key in the ignition. One day did not get the keys out of my pocket and I just turned the switch and it started. The key was just there for show :)
 

boris bubbanov

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I had a ‘72 Plymouth Duster with an intermittent starting problem. Sometimes when cold, sometimes when hot. I had it to 5 or 6 mechanics and they all found the problem, until next time it wouldn’t start. I put in over $1,000 and that was in the 70’s when $1,000 was a ton of money. I finally got rid of it. My father said I should have kept it because I’d replaced so many parts it was almost new again.
Your Dad would've been wrong.

I had a '72 Demon (same car, different front clip) and a '69 Dart (sedan version, super similar) and never had any of the issues you described. When the Dart wouldn't start one time, I popped the hood and.....someone had stolen the battery. Otherwise they were tough as nails, and I kept using them for years, decades because the Mopars made later on were not worth a darn.

Both my cars stayed clear of road salt. Could be corrosion was your issue?
 

boris bubbanov

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I think Markie Mark is on the right trail, but there's so many things it can be, and on another make and model, it might be the crankshaft position sensor or perhaps what happened to me earlier this year.

S-2000 running like new, only 43,000 miles on it and I go in to get the updated sticker for the license plate. I come out, press the starter button.....nothing. Turns out there's two 2 dollar plastic grommets in the clutch pedal assembly and both failed and this disabled the neutral safety switch. The kind guys at AAA could have flatbedded me, but they saw I was a car guy and they suggested a push start would get me home and sure enough it did. So, I haven't used up my 2022 tow with AAA and it is still there should I need it later on.
 

Paul G.

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Did you mechanic do a scan to see any stored errors? An '08 means pretty much everything goes through the ECU, and errors should be triggered and stored until cleared.
 

getbent

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my groovy beater 2010 ford edge had this exact problem. I replaced the harness from the battery to the ground. like 250.00 from Ford. Solved. I tried 10 different temporary fixes and had it die and when the AAA guy came to jump it and it wouldn't jump, he was on the phone to get a wrecker and I just reached in and shook the daylights out of the whole harness... and it fired up!

Got online, ordered the part. spent 3 hours replacing it. no more problem.
 

boris bubbanov

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Did you mechanic do a scan to see any stored errors? An '08 means pretty much everything goes through the ECU, and errors should be triggered and stored until cleared.
Good point, but 2 things I keep seeing:

1) Not every malfunction triggers a code or medley of codes; and

2) Some of these codes (such as P 1110) can still be any one of a dozen things not right.

Maybe someday a P 0106 will always be the same part needing R + R. But not yet, and maybe not ever.

And hasn't anyone noticed, shops don't have oscilloscopes laying around anymore?. An electric pump could be on the verge of failure, but the code only knows Binary. Working, not working.
 

wacolo

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Welp. It just happened again. So I would say it is definitely an issue with something heating up. It started fine at the mechanics the next morning. It started fine that afternoon after sitting. It started fine this morning after sitting at my house. End it was fine when I started it at work today. Odds are if I sit here long enough it will probably start. But who knows how long that will take 😡
 

ReverendRevolver

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I was ready to buy a new fuel pump last year, had my vehicle towed to a dealership, couldn't start it, and issue wasn't under warranty.

Tow driver on the way back raised it a little higher than needed, sat it back down, it started right up.
Apparently the pump in the tank needed sloshed a bit instead of just submerged?
No problem ever since, and that driver saved me either $90 or $400 (depending on which pump) and several hours of cursing at whoever designed my car.

I wish you luck.
 

teletail

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Your Dad would've been wrong.

I had a '72 Demon (same car, different front clip) and a '69 Dart (sedan version, super similar) and never had any of the issues you described. When the Dart wouldn't start one time, I popped the hood and.....someone had stolen the battery. Otherwise they were tough as nails, and I kept using them for years, decades because the Mopars made later on were not worth a darn.

Both my cars stayed clear of road salt. Could be corrosion was your issue?
I doubt it was corrosion just because there was no rust anywhere on the car. I was not exaggerating about taking it to 5 or 6 mechanics. I forget what a couple of them were supposed to be specialists in, but I remember each time tgey replaced something and said it was fixed and it wasn’t.

I’m with you on Mopars. That’s all we had growing up, and they were all bulletproof except that one.
 

wacolo

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OK. It is the starter.

The tow truck driver showed up and asked what it was doing. I explained and said maybe the starter, etc etc. He pulled out a mallet and about the third whack it cranked up. And despite my efforts he would not take any cash from me. So, if you are broke down in Chattanooga I can highly recommend Broomes Wrecker Service. I was going to start by replacing the starter this weekend. Hopefully this will take care of it. I do appreciate everyones interest and input!
 

telemnemonics

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I had my XC70 towed for "no oil pressure" a few weeks ago and same deal, mechanic said its fine nothing wrong.
 

fender4life

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Man, this bring back a old story from the 80s when i got a job as a tile setter's helper and was all set to learn the trade. I was hired to bring his supplies to him at the job site each day then watch and learn the rest of the day. The guy that owned the business had an old truck that was what i would bring the supplies with and one day it stalled out and would not start. No cell phones back then so i couldn't call. After 30 minutes it finally started but i was late to the job site. Happened 2 other times and the owner told me to bring it to his mechanic which i did. Mechanic worked on it about an hour then said it was fixed then off i went.
Next morning same thing, this time stuck on the side of the road for 45 minutes. Got home that nite and the phone rings and it's the owner who starts yelling at me and tells me he knows i was lying because the mechanic fixed it and told me he believes i was probably doing something like going to friends houses or something like that and hanging out then lying about why i was late to the job site. Yeah, right. So he fires me right there on the phone. I only wish to this day that i could know what went thru his idiot head when the next driver he hired has the same issue and he realizes he's an ahole and that i knew he was the whole time he's yelling at me on the phone. Moron.
Well, sorry about the story but it's a good'n and related to your issues so there ya go...
 

MarkieMark

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I think Markie Mark is on the right trail, but there's so many things it can be, and on another make and model, it might be the crankshaft position sensor or perhaps what happened to me earlier this year.

S-2000 running like new, only 43,000 miles on it and I go in to get the updated sticker for the license plate. I come out, press the starter button.....nothing. Turns out there's two 2 dollar plastic grommets in the clutch pedal assembly and both failed and this disabled the neutral safety switch. The kind guys at AAA could have flatbedded me, but they saw I was a car guy and they suggested a push start would get me home and sure enough it did. So, I haven't used up my 2022 tow with AAA and it is still there should I need it later on.
Gonna still disagree on the crank sensor.
Logic: The sensor does nothing unless the engine is turning. The symptom is a "no-crank"
A crank sensor failure would be a "cranks, no start symptom" or possibly stalling, cutting off, sometimes resulting in a cranks-no start until after sitting (cooling off)

A crank sensor will not cause a no-crank condition.

The "clutch inhibit" problem on your Honda is common on several models.
While the described problem on the OP's F150 led me to believe it was an automatic trans, there are similar problems on other manual transmission vehicles, such as a worn rubber stopper that causes the clutch inhibit switch plunger to not get pushed in far enough, or of course the possibility of a failed switch, but this didn't appear to be relevant.

Did you mechanic do a scan to see any stored errors? An '08 means pretty much everything goes through the ECU, and errors should be triggered and stored until cleared.
While I always scan for stored codes (In all modules) on any diagnostic job, I have found it to be of little relevance on "no-crank" diagnosis.
And as @boris bubbanov stated in another reply, they are just clues.

I was ready to buy a new fuel pump last year, had my vehicle towed to a dealership, couldn't start it, and issue wasn't under warranty.

Tow driver on the way back raised it a little higher than needed, sat it back down, it started right up.
Apparently the pump in the tank needed sloshed a bit instead of just submerged?
No problem ever since, and that driver saved me either $90 or $400 (depending on which pump) and several hours of cursing at whoever designed my car.

I wish you luck.
Although this is unrelated to a "no-crank" condition, I thought I would clear this up for anyone interested.
Electric fuel pumps are basically electric motors and.. Well lets come back to that after pointing out that a common "high tech" test for a suspected fuel pump when you have a "cranks-no start" symptom- Smack the bottom of the fuel tank right under the fuel pump with a big rubber mallet a couple of times while an assistant cranks the starter. If it suddenly starts, bingo- estimate a fuel pump.
And as a side note- fuel pump failure varies a lot for a lot of reasons. Some are more prone to failing sooner than others. Some rarely fail.
One common accelerant is people who consistently run the tank level very low.
Submerged pump runs cooler.
You have been warned. :cool:

OK, back to the starter. (And other electric motors)
There are two primary causes for intermittent failure as they wear. Starter solenoid contacts wear and fail to transfer the necessary current to run the starter. The click you hear may be the solenoid engaging, but the motor fails to run due to insufficient current.
The other common failure is motor brushes that are worn down so short that the springs that apply the pressure against the commutator have insufficient pressure to insure sufficient contact. This causes the frequently described "dead spot" or "Flat spot" you sometimes hear described. It is neither. It is simply a worn and intermittent starter.
Hey guess what, another high tech diagnosis tool! Have an assistant hold the key in the start position and whack the starter (Often using a long pry bar or extension for access)
If it suddenly cranks, congratulations, you need a starter.

Now you know the rest of the story...:)

Cranks- no start? Now we might blow the dust off the oscilloscope... or other fancy tech diagnostic tools.
 

Preacher

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My old 1973 Chevy Pickup would just eat starters over time. There was a design flaw where the header from the engine was routed right down almost against the starter/solenoid which would heat it up really well. I got pretty good at replacing those units even in the dark (every 18 months or so I had to replace a starter) and it paid to get the two year warranty from Autozone. I actually helped a friend who had a '76 that threw a starter, there was a heat shield installed on his to protect it.

What I found out was that the bearings would heat up, bind and eventually not allow the shaft of the starter to spin. I had a friend who helped me once when it would not start fix it to at least get me home. He went to his car, got a 5 pound sledge hammer and whacked the starter three times. I turned the key and it fired up. So from then on in my automotive tool box there was one of these.

1653070782093.png
 

Lowerleftcoast

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I hope the starter is the last of the trouble.

Where I worked, the Ford products all had trouble. Every single one. Most of them had transmission trouble at 30k miles, One threw rod. One needed a valve job at 15k. It was always something and then more somethings. It got to the point where we all used the phrase...
*Friends don't let friends drive Ford.*
 




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