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Hi everyone, Im Josh and Im new here. Ive been searching online for the passed couple of days and cant find anyone with my problem. I have a 1997 Ford F350 7.3l Diesel Reg Cab XL. I bought it without license plate lights(didnt think to check for this). I mean the harness was missing. I purchased some and was going to run them off the taillights.

Little back story, the truck had a utility body and was removed and had a standard 8ft bed installed. probably why I was missing the license plate light harness. Also to note i installed led lights in the headlights. Anyways, I have a harness underneath, near the spare tire. I wanted to to see what was getting power. With the engine off and the lights on. I started testing the plugs. one went to the towing(4pin plug) one went to(i assume was for the license plate lights) one was for the taillights and brake lights. So i checked the the one i think went to the LPI, it was two wire connector coming off the taillight harness. Nothing. Then I unplugged the taillights and brake lights plug. Using the test light, I went to test one of the prongs and my hand slipped and i made contact with two out of the 6 prongs and there was a small spark, like an arc. I didnt think any of it, because i was still getting power from each one. I plug the connectors back and noticed i dont have any lights in the rear. Then realized I dont have any lights in the front. The only thing that seemed to be working was the blinkers, except when I use the hazards, the front passenger blinker lights up.

I test the fuses, find out the fuse going into the exterior lamps etc was blown, I replaced it. No change. Tested all the fuses under the hood, All good. Used a multi-meter, measure voltage on all the fuses, and they were good. Used the meter on the rear plug I arced and the reading are low, by a whole voltage. I unplugged my LEDs and used the stock bulbs, they came back on but barely.

Now for the strange part, for some reason I thought if I started the motor, it would solve my issue lol well... Once the motor was running, I press the brake, engine dies, I restart the motor, try pulling the switch for the lights, engine dies. Only time they do work, is i have the engine revved up to 1500rpms for a min, i cant press the brake, turn the lights on and engine stays running. Few things i noticed was my drivers side headlight was far dimmer than the passengers. and my engine wasnt warmed up but my alternator was hot to the touch. My headers and block were still cold. I ran a test using tool, cant remember the name, basically hooks up to one of your batteries, I used my passenger one. Run the motor at 1500rpm and let it do its thing. comes back to replace the diode in the alternator or basically replace the alternator. I dont think thats the issue because before i created this mess. the truck ran mint, no issues.

Most of my grounds except for one on the block looks corroded. I only could find one ground from the rear harness to the frame. near the spare tire. I took that off and cleaned it up with a wire brush. I looked around the plug, inside the plug and I dont see any burns or wires melted. Also engine off/key off, if the left turn signal is on, the brake light on the dash comes on and if I press the brake pedal, my left headlight turns on. I also cant start the truck with the brake pedal pressed or with the lights turned on. Just having the lights on and the key turned on/engine off. the check engine light comes out and the "wait to start" doesnt appear.

My theory is a short or a ground issue or wires melted and they are arcing. Is the ground in the rear suppose to be the only ground found on the beds side, plenty on the cab side.

Thanks for reading, I hope someone can help.
 

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As this thread progresses, we'll need to review your truck info, so it needs to appear with each of your posts. So read the caption of this diagram, and put EVERY detail into your signature:

(click this text)


Pics would help, too, so follow that link in the caption, and add several so we can see what ground points you're talking about, and their conditions. It would also help to see the battery terminals, and any other underhood or underbody wiring.

You mentioned testing the underhood fuses (PDB), but not the dash fuses. Check them against this:

(click this text)


The parking light circuit on Fords is always a simple Brown wire, but the trailer marker circuit is Br/Wh from the PDB to the 7-pin connector.

(click this text)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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Ive checked all fuses under the dash and under the hood and these are all the ground wires i could find.

I did some testing, with the rear taillight harness disconnected from the main. I can press the brake pedal without killing the engine, but the same results as before for activating the light switch, motor dies.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think it goes without saying I probably need to replace my wire terminals, even tightening them up as much as I can, I can still move them. I also noticed the person that owned the truck before me said he replaced the rear fuel tank. When I was under the truck trying to take some of the harness out to inspect it. the plug that i would assume controls the the rear fuel pump(its 2 wire plug. He bypassed the plugged and instead shrink wrapped the plugs together. Ill get a pic of that in a little bit. Inspecting the harness from the rear bumper to the front of the rear fuel tank, I didnt see any problems. some wear on two wires but no exposure. I just want add, everything was working as it should before I touched it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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heres a pic of the bypass switch i mentioned earlier.
 

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That's a connector - not a switch. And only the level sender wires are connected - not pump (which I don't think these trucks have anyway - probably why the other 2 wires aren't connected).

If you meant "battery terminal" - yes, they look pretty bad. But not "wire terminals" in all the other pics - those just need to be unbolted, cleaned (AND the surfaces they mount against), greased with XG12, and re-installed tightly. These show & describe how I replaced mine:

(click this text)


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Obviously, the Right positive is the hardest to do, and the most-critical to do correctly.

The fuse you're checking in an early pic is bad, despite the green LED. Since you have no description for each pic, I wasn't sure if you realized that's a fail. I'm not sure what the 8-pin round connector is or why you're showing it. The first one is the trailer adapter ground to the frame, and that frame looks pretty nasty. Are those old hitch receiver bolts rust-welded into it? How did it get so badly mangled, and an unused hole punched in it? All the flaking frame paint/undercoating, and all the oil on the Left block ground suggest that you should spend some quality time under there with a pressure washer next time the weather is reasonable. When the water dries, apply a few cans of rubberized undercoating to the frame, and find the engine leak.

(click this text)
 

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Thank you for the corrections and the detailed step by step on replacing the battery terminals.

The fuse I was testing was replaced and looks intact when I pulled it out. Ill change it out again and see what happens. I was showing the 8 pin connector, because that is what plugs into my taillight harness and where i arced it. Why im in this mess lol. I was shoeing it to show, at least to me, nothing looks burnt.

Honestly Im not sure. I literally bought this truck over a month ago. The guy went crazy with the undercoating and I knew he was hiding things. Even so, I bought because of the low miles and it was owned by a college for most of its life(maintaince guy drove it). Could be all bs, who knows. I know that the frame is rust as hell and theres rot and the radiator support needs to be replaced and i noticed a rot hole in the floor near the 4x4 shift linkage, which im in the process of cutting out and welding a new floor or just a piece of metal. Like you said, next spring I plan on taking the bed off and sanding blasting the frame and undercoating it. Needs a little tlc but one step at a time haha.

Ill start replacing the terminals and cleaning the grounds, ill post pics.

Thanks again
 
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