Engine won't stop when key is turned off


I have a 1988 Ford F-150 that intermittenly cannot be turned off by the key and at the same time you can hear the starter still running. You have to remove the ground from the battery for it to stop. Three solanods(spell) and 9 months later I still have the same problem. Today was the 3rd solanod(spell) but the same thing happened. So I removed the ground cable but this time when I re-attached the ground cable the engin tryed to start on its own. Scared the hxx out of me.


Heres how it works. With the transmission in Park or neutral voltage flows from the “start” terminal of the ignition switch, thru the Park safety switch & to the starter RELAY on the wire with the rubber boot.

Does it stop cranking if you shift to drive or reverse???

If it does the problem is most likely a short in the ignition switch.

BTW, the starter relay connects the battery to the starter solenoid which is part of the starter.


Thanks for the reply ‘87 ranger’. The F-150 has a 4 speed. And the engine still trys to start when it’s in gear … I just tryed it.

Question: If the ignition switch is bad is this something I can replace myself or should I take it to a Ford dealer. I’ve had this truck since new and it’s my baby.

Thanks for the help.


I’m sure that you’ve heard that old saying “A quick look at a wiring diagram is worth 37,000 words”

Heres how it works:

The ignition switch connects to the clutch safety switch which connects to the starter relay which connects to the starter solenoid.

From your desription the ignition switch is not the problem.

Looks like there is a cross with battery in the wiring between the clutch safety switch & the starter relay or between starter relay & the starter solenoid.
Solution: fix the wiring

Or the solenoid is not releasing & letting the starter gear pull back from the flywheel.
Solution, replace the starter

Yeah I really like my 87 Ranger also, I also bought it new & it seems to be nicely broken in now with 230,000 miles on it & ready to go another 230K.

It still pulls my boat or Compact Jr. travel trailer just fine.

Good luck with the fix & hope this helps.