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Ford F250 wont start...again

I posted this about a yr ago or so, and got some good info but it is doing the same thing again now 12/1/14 …so I thought I’d post it again with some additional info.
I have a 2011 Ford F250 and sometimes it wont start. It wont even try to start (no click or anything). The battery is fine and according to the local ford dealer (who cant figure out the problem) the starter is fine too. The vehicle has been towed to the dealership 3 times, and they either cant figure it out, or it randomly ends up starting for them and they say that they cant figure it out unless it is not working. I’ve tried starting it in Neutral to no avail. Any ideas on what the problem is/or may be would be greatly appreciated.
Here is the additional info: 1) It is a gas engine 2) It seems to only act up in winter (I’m in the U.P. of Michigan) 3) When it is acting up, it seems to me like it is not recognizing that it is in park because even with the key out of the ignition I can still turn the stearing wheel…it doesnt lock out, altho its very difficult to turn. 4) I have gotten it to start B4 by slowly going thru all the gears and back to park several times…but I think that may have been just coincidence or luck.

How did the dealership determine that the starter is OK? Sounds to me like a bad solenoid in the starter. Next time it won’t start, try whacking the starter with a 2x4 block or a hammer. If that helps, you need a new starter.

Anyone just clean the battery connections???

There is a starter relay. Has anyone changed that out?

The fact that the steering wheel doesn’t lock even with the key out makes me suspicious of the ignition switch / lock itself.

In regards to the 3 above posts… jesmed1, I dont know what the Ford dealership did to check the starter, I’m just assuming they knew how. MikeInNH, battery connections are clean. knfenimore, the starter relays were replaced at the dealership in attempt to fix the problem last spring. It hasnt acted up since, but it seems to only do this in the winter…for the last 3 yrs.

Check the fourth post. You might have missed it due to timing of posts.

Im with MY 2 CENTS’s post. Something is not recognizing that you’re in park.

I assume you have an automatic transmission so there should be a neutral safety switch that supplies power to the starter solenoid from the ignition switch. Verify power is getting to the small wire on the starter solenoid when in the START mode and this problem is happening. If 12 volt power isn’t getting to that point suspect the safety switch or the wiring to and from it. The ignition switch is a good suspect also.

What’s up with the drawings no longer displaying?

I’d tackle this by measuring a couple of voltages during attempted cranking. There’s usually two electrical connections at the starter motor. (Finding them can be a challenge, due to the location of the starter motor right at the engine/transmission interface.) One is a big thick wire that comes directly from the battery, either not fuses at all, or a thick fusible link. The other is fused wire, a thinner wire that comes from the dashboard area. That’s the start “signal” which gets voltage (via various circuitry) as a result of turning the key from “on” to “start”. Measure both of these right at the starter motor, with a DVM or analog meter, measuring from the terminal to the starter case. During attempted cranking. If both are above 10.5 volts during attempted cranking, and the starter motor doesn’t crank the engine, the problem is most probably the starter motor is on the fritz. In any event the starter motor will have to come out. If either is below 10.5 volts during attempted cranking, report back here with both measurements.

Note: This can be an awkward measurement to do if you try to do it under the truck. When I’ve done this measurement on my Corolla I made up some long extension wires, so I could put the meter in the passenger seat and watch the meter while I sit in the drivers seat and turn the key to “start”.