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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning after starting my truck normally, as I went to pull it out of the garage, I noticed the WAIT TO START light came back on. After pulling out of the garage, the engine seemed to experience a split second shutdown, and all the dash lights came back on, as when the key is turned to the ON position prior to starting.

5 minutes later, as I was pulling out onto a main road, I hit the accelerator, and almost immediately, the entire truck shut down - engine, lights, dash lights - basically, a complete power failure - nothing was on, and being that it was so early, I was sitting in my truck in total darkness. As I attempted to turn the key off after shifting back into park, suddenly the electricity began flowing again, and headlights, radio, dash lights all came back on.

I decided not to make the 1 hour trip to work and instead head back home and start trying to trouble shoot.

Any suggestions or ideas on what the heck might be going on?

Thanks.
 

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Well I know the fuel bowl heater can cause those symptoms when it's shorting out. Try unplugging it at the wiring harness on the back of the fuel bowl and see if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So when the fuel bowl heater is shorting out, does that mean I have to replace it completely, or is there something I can look at internally and fix? Also, can I get just the heater element, or do I have to replace the entire fuel bowl assembly?

I'll give it a shot, but the only problem with trying that is I still may not know if I caught the problem until I've driven around for a couple of weeks, incident free. I'm a little concerned with driving around wondering if and when the truck is going to shut down, especially because I have to drive 285 into the mountains every day. If I lose brakes and steering doing a curve at 50 mph, it could make for a messy situation.

So I definitely would like to hear additional suggestions.

I replaced my CPS as a precaution a couple of years ago, and still have the original because it never failed. I assume that when the CPS goes, the electrical system is still functional? And if the wiring harnesses under the valve covers (I have the clips, just haven't put them in yet) are loose, all they would do is cause rough running, etc, but again, not impact the entire electrical system?
 

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Loose connection on the passenger side battery/cable? That happened to me before. I was sitting still in a drive-thru and everything just shutdown. No lights, no power locks/windows, no start, no nothin'. Called david Lott and he said to check the connection on the passenger side battery. Turned out to be loose. Tightened it up and all was right in the world again. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, it was just a little loose - enought that I could swivel it on the battery post, but not sure that it was loose enough to cause that problem, but I tightened it better, so thanks for that advice. Sure would be nice if it was as simple as that.
 

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I assume that when the CPS goes, the electrical system is still functional? And if the wiring harnesses under the valve covers (I have the clips, just haven't put them in yet) are loose, all they would do is cause rough running, etc, but again, not impact the entire electrical system?
Correct, when those fail it doesn't cut the entire electrical system out. However the fuel bowl heater does for some odd reason. Also like Danny said it could be the battery cable has come loose. It seems to me that since the symptoms were ongoing this morning and happening quite often, if you check the battery cable and the fuel bowl heater you should see results quickly. Oh, I forgot.... you have a chip right? Might want to check and see if it's coming loose.

I'm a little concerned with driving around wondering if and when the truck is going to shut down, especially because I have to drive 285 into the mountains every day. If I lose brakes and steering doing a curve at 50 mph, it could make for a messy situation.
I definately wouldn't drive 285 with a truck that's shutting off. That can be scary :eek: I've been on that highway a few times.
 

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Well, it was just a little loose - enought that I could swivel it on the battery post, but not sure that it was loose enough to cause that problem, but I tightened it better, so thanks for that advice. Sure would be nice if it was as simple as that.
Actually that's loose enough to easily cause a problem.

Do you have any rough roads close to your house? Short of driving up curbs, try finding a rough road to test drive your truck and see if it's still having fits.

My truck is kinda bouncy, and when Jody was doing live tuning, the module he had plugged into my PCM kept jarring loose and stalling out my engine. So if you bounce the truck around it's real easy to get electrical shorts to repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I had hoped that those two things might have done it, but when I tried to start it, it just cranked and cranked, but wouldn't start. I plugged the fuel bowl heater back in, then cranked it for a bit, and it finally started. I've checked all the fuses, nothing was blown. Not sure how to check relays other than a straight out replacement?

Went back and unplugged the fuel bowl heater, and was able to start it again. But it's still taking a few extra seconds to fire up once I start cranking it, so something's not quite right. I guess it's possible that the in-valley fuel filter is clogged (I'm at about 10k miles on it), but it's never been an issue since I installed the Dahl filter a few years back, so I'm not really sure the filters are causing a lack of fuel. And I'd assume that the fuel pump would cause drivability issues also, if it was that, not just starting issues.

Fuel mileage the last 2 tanks has been at 16, which is the highest I've ever gotten, and I'm attributing that to different fuel I've been using. To be getting the best mileage I've ever gotten, I have to assume everything else is working fine, and that this is some electrical issue. I have noticed in the last week or two, that the starts are taking longer, and the voltage gauge on the dash drops all the way to 8 before it finally fires up - the other day, I thought the batteries were going to loose power before starting the motor, so I've been prepared to buy new batteries again. But testing shows they're still at 90-95%, and the dash gauge is showing full voltage when driving.
 

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Those voltages starting are really pulling the batteries down, if the gauge is accurate. Might check the voltage at the alternator stud when it is running and compare at the batteries. Low batteries can cause some pretty funny issues with these trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have an Edge Evolution that I can use to pull codes. Problem is, the only code I'm getting is the KAM error, which you get when you disconnect the batteries, and some P1000 error (can't put my hands on my error code list).

So the shutdown this morning seems to have cleared out whatever codes may have come up. I've tried pulling codes another half dozen times between starts, running it up and down the driveway, etc, and still no new codes are coming up.

I'm blowing off work today, but I'm going to attempt to head over to pick up one of our dogs from the overnight hospital - he decided to eat some 'shrooms last evening, so he had to go in and get treated because he was tripping his brains out. Have to drive a bunch of windy mountain roads to get over there. Guess I'll find out soon enough if this little issue is behind me or not. I've still got the fuel bowl heater unplugged for now.

Wish me luck.
 

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Ed, I should be around the house pretty much all weekend plus this afternoon if you need me you have the number.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Tom.

Bob Riley put me in touch with one of his suppliers, who happens to be pretty knowledgeable about automotive electronics. He figures that the symptoms I experienced tie directly to the line or lines that run between the batteries and the main power distribution box, and/or any components that may be in that line. Either a loose or corroded connection. That narrows it down, but it still may be a bit above my trouble shooting abilities, so I may need to talk to Rocky about it. The key is the total loss of electrical power to the entire truck, including the lights. This guy used to be up in the Colorado mountains, and said the mag chloride wreaked havoc on vehicle components in very short order, hence the strong possibility that there's a corroded connection somewhere.
 

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Bob Riley put me in touch with one of his suppliers, who happens to be pretty knowledgeable about automotive electronics. He figures that the symptoms I experienced tie directly to the line or lines that run between the batteries and the main power distribution box, and/or any components that may be in that line. Either a loose or corroded connection. The key is the total loss of electrical power to the entire truck, including the lights.

I.....am.....a GENIOUS!!! J/K! :D Hope that works out for ya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I also called David Lott to get a little more detailed explanation, and he said that if the power from the battery was cut off to the starter solenoid because of a loose connection, it could kill everything, like happened to you and me this morning.

I'm hoping that was it, but I'm not feeling like I've figured this issue out just yet, as I've never had a problem with battery power in the past when a clamp was able to be moved like it was this morning. It seemed to be able to rotate on the post only because I was forcing it, but it is a possibility. Like I said, it would be great if it was as simple as that partially loose connection.

There's an awful lot of electrical connections between the battery and the fuse box, and it'll be a pain to track it down if it's somewhere in there. If I haven't corrected it yet, I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thought I'd give a follow-up to this issue.

Througout the weekend, I continued to have random issues - shifting, engine miss, blinking OD light that would go off on it's own, starting issues, a number of different codes thrown.

It appears all that mess was the result of a failing chip. Truck has run perfectly (well, as perfectly as a 7.3 can when running off the crappy factory programming :D) for a couple of days now. It's not throwing any codes, either.

Jody said that he's seen those sorts of problems with older chips that start failing. The chip is about 4.5 years old now.

Thanks for all the suggestions - at least it gave me a chance to check on a few things and do some additional preventative maintenance, which is always a good thing.
 

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Glad you found it, but how does a chip shut down ALL of the electrical? Just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have no idea. :shrug: The day after I removed the chip, I also cleaned the battery grounds - I'd cleaned the power cables the first day, but that didn't fix anything. It's possible that a faulty ground may have caused the shutdown. Last time I cleaned the batteries, I put dielectric grease on the posts, hoping to keep them cleaner longer. But when the sulfuric acid vents out the top, it turns the dielectric grease into some nasty looking goop, so it's also possible that part of the problem was related to that. It was the first time I'd used the grease on the batteries, but I'm not going to do that again - too messy.

But I noticed an immediate correction of the problems once the chip was pulled. Needless to say, I'm not going to play around with it any more, not even to check and see if it really was the chip, as I don't want to do any permanent damage to the PCM. I've got a new chip coming next month anyway. :redspotdance:

Whatever the problem was, I hope I fixed it. Still running fine, starting right up, and not throwing any codes. I'll be interested to run a few tankfuls on stock programming and see what kind of mileage I get. It'll give me a good baseline to compare once I get the new chip. Man, I hate the factory tranny programming. :lame:
 
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