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How to Troubleshoot an F-250 Truck That Will Not Start

by Dwight Malone

The Ford F-250 pickup is a strong truck. It's equipped with an eight-cylinder engine and comes in a variety of trim lines. But if it doesn't start, it is just a strong truck you can't use. Whether yours has two-wheel or four-wheel drive, a crew cab or a regular cab, the steps for troubleshooting an F-250 that won't start are the same because the basic mechanics of the truck are the same.

Clear out a possible flooded engine. If you have cranked the engine twice and your truck hasn't started, press the accelerator to the floor and turn the key to the start position. By pressing the accelerator, you will shut off the fuel supply and this will clear out any excess fuel if your F-250 is flooded.

Check the gas. Adding a few gallons. If there is an electrical issue with either the fuel gauge on the dashboard or in the sending unit, you will get a false reading on the fuel gauge though the tank may actually be empty. Attempt to start your F-250 again once you have added fuel. If you have actually run out of fuel, you will need to cycle the ignition between the on and off position a few times to allow the fuel pump enough time to get fuel to the engine. Also, you will need to crank the engine for a longer period of time after running out of fuel than you would during normal start-ups.

Reset the fuel pump shut-off switch, especially if the truck has received a sudden jolt, such as during an accident. This is one of the safety features of the F-250 to prevent a fuel spill or fire during accidents. To access the switch, open the passenger door and take off the access panel. With the ignition in the off position, press the reset button on the switch. Attempt to restart your F-250.

Check the connections on the battery terminals to make sure you have a good, solid connection. The battery is in the engine compartment, directly behind the headlight on the driver's side. Tighten the terminals with an adjustable wrench if necessary. If there is excessive corrosion on the terminals, clean it off with a wire brush and try to start your truck again.

Use a spark plug wrench to remove all eight spark plugs, one at a time, and inspect the tips. A spark plug that's dirty or has a broken tip will not provide enough spark to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber. If necessary, replace the spark plugs. Ford recommends replacing the spark plugs every 100,000 miles.

Change the fuel filter to ensure you are getting adequate fuel pressure. Ford recommends changing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles. The fuel filter is located in a metal cylinder on the top side of the engine compartment. To access it, you'll need to remove the plastic cover that is held on with two bolts. Once you have changed the fuel filter, attach a fuel pressure gauge to the fuel line. Crank the engine and have someone else take the reading, which should be 30 to 45 PSI. If the reading is lower, the fuel pump has failed and should be replaced.

Tip

  • If your F-250 is equipped with the optional block heater, Ford suggests plugging it in at least three hours before starting the vehicle if the outside temperature is -10 F or colder. The block heater will warm the engine compartment, the battery and the fuel and make it easier to start your F-250.

Items you will need

About the Author

Dwight Malone is a journalist who has worked for various Chicago-area newspapers, including the "Chicago Tribune" and "Naperville Sun." He has been a writer, editor and graphic designer since 2000. Malone studied journalism at Eastern Illinois University.

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