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97 Ford F150 Wont Turn Over

Been working on this…

Living in Bozeman MT. Tried to start the truck. Just got a solid “Chunk” and nothing else.

Step 1: Checked that all wires looked connected. But unless they shine neon (which they don’t) when not connected I might not see them. Regardless everything looked ok.

Step 2: Battery? Cleaned off battery connections. -> Same noise.

Step 3: Pull out battery and have tested. Guy at Auto Parts store said. “Passed on one failed on two. (this means nothing to me, but he has a device with lights that makes a beeping noise so I believe anything he says.)” “You need a new battery.” Bought said battery -> Same noise.

Step 4: Checked lights. Dash lights, radio, headlights and interior light coming on strong.

Step 5: Have been told by larger strong looking men with grease on hands to replace starter. Removed starter and had it tested at auto parts store. Guy at Auto Parts Store said: “Looks new and is passing.” (again with the lights) -> Put starter back. Same noise.

Step 6: Put truck in Neutral and tried starting -> Same noise. (Not sure why I tried this, but had a dream that might do something so I thought I would give it a try. Yes. It’s true I have only my dreams to guide me now.)

Sounds like something is stuck or jammed. Just one solid strong chunk noise with nothing after. Have called two mechanics. No one is calling back. Would prefer to fix this myself. But don’t know what to do. Could use some help. Am in love with truck and willing to trade boyfriend to get it fixed.

Janie G

I think that what you want to do next - given the “chunk” sound - is put a big socket & breaker bar/cheater pipe on the crankshaft pulley and see whether or not you can turn the engine over by hand. The breaker bar/cheater won’t really be needed if you pull out the spark plugs first. You basically need to find out whether the engine is seized or maybe hydrolocked in some way.

What was the truck doing the last time it was running?

There is a starter solenoid, has it been checked? Either the starter isn’t getting full power, due to faulty soleniod, bad wire, or bad contacts. Or, perhaps the motor itself is locked up. The motor can be locked due to total internal destruction, ie running on with no oil in the crankcase. Or, sometimes the AC compressor locks up and keeps the motor from spinning.

You might be able to tell if the motor is jammed up by getting a really big breaker bar on the crankshaft and see if it will turn at all. Removing the spark plugs should make the motor turn with relative ease. I guess a transmission torque converter could lock up too. You need to see if the motor is locked up. If yes, then why? You can remove the serpentine belt from the AC and see if that is problem with relative ease. Good Luck.

The oil was changed about two months ago. All the fluids were checked and were fine. I want to know more about removing the spark plugs. Do I need to take them completely out? Or can I just disconnect them? Also what is hydrolocked? Thanks for the help.


You would have to take the plugs out completely. You want to have no compression and disconnecting the plugs won’t change the compression.

Hydro-locked is when water gets into the motor somehow. Often it is sucked it the motor when someone drives into a flooded area. There also can be bad head gaskets which can allow water into the cylinder. Air can be compressed, by water can’t be compressed and that “locks” up the motor.

A more likely cause is a missing gear tooth on the flywheel gear. That would explain the non-start and the chunk sound: it would happen during starting when the starter motor gear encounters an empty space on the flywheel. The flywheel is big but it’ gears mesh with the starter motor’s gear, which is small. The starter motor gear turns very fast in order to turn the flywheel a lot slower. If there is a missing tooth in the flywheel, the starter motor gear is going to jam up on the flywheel and stop dead. And that will make a noise like a chunk. The flywheel gear teeth are usually cast metal, which helps the gear’s teeth keep their shape, obviously important for a gear tooth, but which also make the metal much more brittle and subject to breakage.
It would also explain why your mechanic wanted to blame the starter. I think you need a new flywheel.

Talked to my friend who drove the truck last. She said no sounds smoke or sparks came from the engine. It sad for a week after driving about 800 miles. Now it won’t start.

Just got a breaker bar and am trying to take off the band. Maybe try spinning the motor by hand. Thanks.

By the way, if this is a rear wheel drive truck, it’s not that hard at all. I’d say it’s an hour worth of labor.

Check to see if there is any oil on dipstick. Sometimes when friends drive cars/trucks they don’t worry about checking the oil.

Update on the Ford…

  • there is oil on the dipstick

  • Took off the belt and all the components turn freely. Minus the crankshaft. But not sure that is the problem.

  • The starter and soleniod are fine.

Thinking maybe a flywheel? What would be an estimated cost to replace it? Thanks for all the help.


You are not able to turn the crankshaft at all?

Did you remove the spark plugs and then try to turn the crankshaft? If the crank is locked up the flywheel won’t move either. With the spark plugs removed there is no compression and it should be relatively easy to move the crankshaft which moves the pistons and internals of the motor.

You need to figure out why it is locked up? This doesn’t sound good.

I think it is time for a new battery, and clean all connections and check cables for bulges indicating failure. I think "Pull out battery and have tested. Guy at Auto Parts store said. “Passed on one failed on two.” means you need a new battery.

The battery has been replaced and the connections have been cleaned.

Have not tried to disconnect the spark plugs to turn the crankshaft. If my problem is the crakshaft what does that mean for me. What kind of cost am I looking at to fix it?

Am I going to need to replace the engine?

Still think you need to follow UncleTurbo’s advice, and remove (disconnect, yes, then remove) the spark plugs. Then try and turn it with a socket/bar.

Something is stopping it, and you have two options, really: Seized piston/rod or something very bad in the transmission. Did you happen to look in at the flywheel when you pulled the starter?

I’d have a look, but I’m nowhere near…and I have no need for a boyfriend…I don’t want to give my wife one, either. :slight_smile:


If you pull the plugs and can’t rotate the engine by hand with a breaker bar on the crank pulley bolt then you are looking at the need for a new engine.

Thanks for all the help everyone. I am having the truck towed to a mechanic. I feel like I have tested everything I can get my hands on. I think the truck would benefit from a more professional touch. I will make a list of all the things I have checked. So maybe in the long run it will help them diagnose the problem faster. Once I know what it is I will post an update.

Again. Thanks for taking the time to help. I will for the mean time. Keep the boyfriend.

Here is an update for anyone interested. I took the truck to a shop here in bozeman montana. There is antifreeze in the engine causing hydrolocking. That is why the engine is seized. Not sure if there is antifreeze in the oil, but I believe we are looking at putting a new engine in the truck as the answer. Thanks everyone for taking the time to answer the questions.

Nice to see an update, sorry to see you are in for some $$$ to get the truck up and running again. Frankly, there is much more to the story you are NOT hearing from you “friend” who was the last to use the truck. Something was very wrong with the truck before it was “parked” that last time. Perhaps it was run very hard, or severely overheated; but something happened. Trucks don’t hydrolock often. You may never get the true story, but I don’t think too much of your friend. I certainly would advise you not to lend your truck or any vehicle to anyone.

At best your friend is totally clueless about cars and trucks and drove the truck into the ground. Or, they are aware and didn’t care enough about you to stop running the truck before they killed it.