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Clicking Sound While Starting Truck


Topic starter

I have a 

1998 ford f150 xlt. 4.6 V8, not triton swapped. 

200k miles

automatic transmission. 


Hi here’s my issue. So for the past month. I’ve been getting a clicking sound while turning the key.  Click. Click click. Then it starts. So I went ahead and bought a battery, cleaned the wiring harness terminals. And still click click. It does this every time I start it. But then it starts up. 

starters 1 1-2 years old. New battery. I need some help. 

5 Answers

It sounds like your starter is going to crater on you. Other than that, you might want to do a voltage drop test on your battery cables to make sure they're OK.

Thanks I will do that.


You have a bum starter.

I forgot to mention. The other day. My neighbor tried jumping me. But even when he did it wouldn’t start.

Like Doc said, it's your starter. The contacts go bad in them and the clicking is a warning, but it may only do that a couple of times. Check to make sure the battery is making a good connection with your cables, and the terminals are clean. If the battery tests good and jump starting doesn't work, it's the starter.

Okay thanks! Oreilly tested the starter and said it’s fine. So I bought

New solenoid, new fuse Starter relay and new battery. Still clicking. I cleaned all wiring and terminals. It started fine all day yesterday. But this morning it’s clicking again. I probably should buy a new starter. Thanks.


Do I need to use that placement or can I put the two grounds in the bolt used to faceend [sic] the starter.

Here's the way Ford did the Ground Cable on those late 1990's F150's.


Here's where that Frame Ground is located (Passenger side rear of upper control arm mounting bracket):


And it wouldn't be unreasonable to speculate that Ford ran the Ground from the Starter mounting bolt (engine ground) to the Frame (frame ground) to save money on cable but I agree with @mmj here, "replace like with like. Don't monkey with the electrics"


Anyhoo, like @chucktobias says, it's time to test for voltage drop. You need to measure "cranking voltage" at the Battery Posts and then "cranking voltage" at the Starter to put to rest what's causing this.

If you're holding above 10.5 volts During Cranking (In your case Key in Start and trying to Crank) at the Battery and it's within a tenth of a volt or 2 at the Starter then you have a bad starter.

I'm going to post a video to show how to do this. You won't take out your starter, he's just putting on a demonstration. You'll do this while Key in Start.

I'll start it at the point where he's doing the test you'll want to do. Multimeter would be set to (DC Volts, 20 volt range) but if you have the time watch the entire video.

(he has his multimeter leads backwards but it doesn't matter)



Topic starter

98 f150


i replaced my ground cables from the battery to the starter. My question is there’s a ground placement on the hub wall near the tire. Passenger front. Do I need to use that placement or can I put the two grounds in the bolt used to faceend the starter. 

Posted by: @edw98f150

can I put the two grounds in the bolt used to faceend the starter. 

replace like with like. Don't monkey with the electrics