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Fuel pump or ignition coil?

I was sitting in a drive through line, and my 2002 Ford F-150 started spitting, sputtering and then died. I restarted it several times, not getting anything but the spitting and sputtering again and then nothing else. I was told by a friend it HAD to be the fuel pump, now I am being told it HAS to be the ignition coil. I am confused and would like someone who knows about auto mechanics to let me know something. My friend is a shade-tree mechanic and now I am not certain I trust his judgement. Any help would be great.

(edit Never mind)

@drovane99 it could be the coil pack if you have a V6. If you have a V8, you have COP coil on plug ignition system. In other words, one coil per plug.
I am a professional mechanic and I’ve replaced several fuel pumps on Ford trucks exactly like yours.
Connect a fuel pressure gauge to your fuel rail. It’s on the passenger side, pretty far back, near the firewall.
But first, check that the inertia fuel cutoff switch hasn’t tripped. It’s inside the cab, on the right kickpanel side. There’s a small plastic panel in front of it that needs to be removed first. Once you have the panel off, you’ll see the cutoff switch. Make sure the red button hasn’t popped up.
Push the red button down. If it won’t go down, that means it hasn’t tripped.

Personally, I’m leaning toward the fuel pump.
Are you pretty handy? Do you have a multimeter, or at least a test light? If you do, I’d suggest you make sure the fuel pump’s getting voltage.

How many miles?
What engine?
Is the fuel filter up to date?

4.2 liter V6 engine, over 200k miles, I have had the truck a year come March, and I have only had one other issue with it, the heater core and I managed to fix that one myself. I found and pressed the fuel cutoff switch, it DID go down. I have a fuel filter, just haven’t switched it out as of yet, the plastic tool sold to me broke and I went back earlier today to get the metal one. That was going to be the first thing I changed out.

I forgot to mention, on Jan 4th of this year, I was sitting at a stop light, completely stopped, when the truck revved up on it’s own, the accelerator apparently became stuck open all the way. I rear ended a honda hybrid, causing minor damage to both, no injuries. Could this have caused the issues now? and if the inertia fuel cutoff switch was tripped, what could have caused it?

Inertia fuel switch cuts off the gas flow, so that is not the problem for running into the honda. I know my 93 was a rust bucket.

It sounds like a problem with Idle Air Control valve. This controls the engine idle speed anytime the accelerator is released.

If you can get the engine to idle while it’s up to temperature, take the handle of a screwdriver and tap on the IAC valve. If this causes the engine idle speed to change replace the IAC valve.


I know the inertia fuel cutoff switch didn’t cause me to rear end the honda. The plastic cover that covers the accelerator cable was bent causing the accelerator to be opened, I took off that cover and have had no more issues with the accelerator at all.

@drovane99 here’s some info that might help. If you physically hit the inertial fuel shutoff switch, it will trip. So a large shock might theoretically also trip the switch. I said theoretically because I don’t purposefully try these scenarios out.

Good luck with that fuel filter.
For good measure, I’d clean the throttle body. A dirty throttle body, along with a bad IAC valve, could cause a rough idle, stalling, etc.

Thank you all for your input. At this time, my truck will turn over but not start, so will be changing the fuel filter first, then trying to start it, then the fuel pump (if it doesn’t start) in the morning and will let you know that results. I need my truck soon as possible, no truck, no job for me. again, I thank you all.

@drovane99 have you already checked if the fuel pump is getting voltage? You should be able to do this at the fuel pump cutoff switch. I believe the big red wire sends voltage directly to the pump, but I may be wrong.
Here’s another idea: remove the air intake tube, prop the butterfy open and spray carb cleaner directly into the throttle. If it briefly starts, the fuel pump is most likely faulty. But definitely replace that fuel filter first. Wouldn’t want to replace the pump if the real problem is a clogged filter.

By the way, if you do replace the pump, get the whole “sender” assembly with the float, not just the pump.

Good luck!

Update: I changed the filter and it was NASTY the stuff that came out, solid black. We sprayed starter fluid and it started until it died again. My neighbor is supposed to help me drop the tank and change the pump and and assembly.

@drovane99 Good. Sounds like you’re on the right track.

2002…your ready for new fuel filters, start there you need them anyway