1991 Ford F-150 click but no start


Asked by Mar 01, 2017 at 05:01 PM about the 1991 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat 4WD LB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Every time I turn the key to start my truck, all I get is a click. I have looked at
other forums and stuff, but I've only been able to figure out that it's either my
battery, wiring, solenoid, or starter. I took my battery to Walmart to get it
tested and they said it was good. Is there any way to isolate the problem so
that I know it's either the solenoid, starter, or wiring.

21 Answers


Try jumping the solenoid up on the fender, that is if it is not on the starter. Jump the battery cable stud to the small wire stud. If It don't kick in then possibly the solenoid. Then jump between the 2 big studs. If the starter is good it will kick in.


You can also try tapping on starter with a hammer and have someone starting vehicle at the same time if vehicle starts replace starter.


I tried attaching the positive wire directly to the other end of the solenoid, but that only shot sparks. I also got my dad to start the truck while I used a hammer to hit the starter. I checked all the wire connections and they seemed fine. Any Ideas?

1 people found this helpful.

Try tapping on the starter not the solenoid.


I did, still nothing. Was using a rubber mallet.


No use a metal hammer like a ball pean or regular carpenters hammer.


There looks to be a starter relay that two wires run to from the solenoid on the fender. That doesn't look to healthy. Try cleaning up those two wires, relay and wire connectors look all rusty.


And yea, you were hooking a positive to a negative with that wire. Can't do that. So Its jumping between the small terminal to the big terminal with the protective cap on it. That should energize the starter. Thats what we want to see if it is a starter problem or that relay or solenoid.


And that is a fuse-able link on that red smaller wire, that black casing. It looks like it comes apart, there would be a fuse in there. Check that out also.


I understand what you mean by "big terminal with cap on it," but what do you mean by small terminal? Do you mean the one marked in blue? Also, I cleaned up the two smaller red wires connecting to the fender. When I used multimeter to measure from the black wire on the solenoid to the red wire on the battery, it gave us an output. Does this mean anything? Thanks a lot!


The small wire you now have plugged back in, not the one circled in blue, the wire on top. And yes you would get a reading across the red wire circled in red and the black wire circled in blue, you should read battery voltage across those two. That does not mean anything.


Ok, so when I connect the top to the one that was capped, all I get is the same click I get when I turn the key to start the truck.


Ok here, do this. Since that is the old style starter, the cable running to the starter is a positive cable. That runs up to that solenoid. There is no power there at the moment. It is not a live wire, so hook up a jumper cable to the post of the starter first. Make sure the clamp does not touch any metal part, only the post the cable is attached too. Take the other end of the jumper cable and touch it to the positive on the battery. Either the starter will work or it will not, indicating if the starter works or not. If this is a standard transmission, make sure it is in neutral.

3 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

Thank you so much! It started. So I need to replace the solenoid. Going to head down to the auto parts store and pick it up!


Super! Good to hear it!

Thank Rowefast, your answer just got me out of being stuck. Had nothing when turning key then intermittent clicking when trying to start, so just pursued that the started was stuck, so was going to just take off for repair. Did a google and found this post. So just connected a jump lead to the starter stud, then the other end to battery positive for a second, instant start Well first time I forgot to turn the ignition key on. Thought it was the transmission for a while as it was stuck in park on a hill, but fine when started. Went to the local auto spares and just found a replacement solenoid, not stock but modified the fixing bracket and worked a treat. Thanks


Glad you got-er fixed Highonlife.

I have the same problem. Started my truck and heard a crackling sound. Turned it off and now it only clicks when I try to start it. Got a new solenoid and nothing.... any ideas?


It might be that you need to replace your starter... Try following Rowefast’s solution so you can isolate your issue. Either you have a bad starter, or your solenoid is improperly connected.

I bought a new starter and a Haynes Manuel . I've verified that the solenoid is hooked up right. I also tried jumping the 2 big studs on the silinoid like suggested but nothing happened. So O'Day I'm going to try to change the starter. I bought a new one last night. I say try because BOTH of the bolts are stripped!!!

Well got the bolt out. The nut on the top snapped. Like the whole post and all.

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