5 degrees truck would not start, started when air temperature was 35 degrees

Vehicle: 1997 4x2 Ford F-150, 4.2, 6 Cylinder, 110K miles, Recent (1 week ago) oil change, brand new battery. Overall condition is very good considering age.

Problem: The air temperature was about 5 degrees & my truck would not start. When I turned the key there was no engine response or “dead battery clicking sound”; the battery was only 1 week old. I confirmed battery power (headlights, radio, wipers) all checked out. Adjusted steering column automatic transmission shifter in a few positions (drive, neutral reverse), reinserted key, still no response from the engine. Two days latter air temperature was about 35 degrees & bright sun, turned key, engine briefly (1-2 seconds) had a “didn’t want to start sound”, heard one loud “pop” or “backfire” sound from under the engine hood (I didn’t notice any black or blue smoke from exhaust pipe) and then the engine turned over and ran normally. Ran the truck for 15 mins and has since been working fine.

Could this have been any of the following: frozen fuel line, fuel injector, starter, alternator, etc.? Should I use dry gas when temperature becomes “arctic?” I have been hearing varying answers and right/wrong types of dry gas. Also varying opinions on types of dry gas to use.

Trying to figure one common point for 2 totally different problems is a tough one. If your fuel line were frozen, the engine still should crank, I can only think of 1 item that possibly could be related to both, since you have a new battery I would think those connections are good, I would look at cleaning the battery cable ground connection on probably the engine block. As far as dry gas I assume you mean heet, or sea foam, heet is cheaper, but a dose of sea foam could help clean the injectors etc., and act as a stabilizer, sea fome is always in my gas for the boat, but would think it an unnecessary expense to always use it in a vehicle.

Why is battery new? Just due based on age? You had NO starting issues prior to battery change?

When I turned the key there was no engine response or “dead battery clicking sound”

That problem typically falls in two areas:

  1. In the ignition key circuit that feeds the relay, where insufficient voltage is getting to the relay.
  2. In the battery-to-relay-to-starter_solenoid-to-starter circuit.

Can you check for the voltage drops in the two circuits when it happens again?