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Hello Club Frontier, I have a 2000 lil Red standard cab four banger manual shift with 285,000 miles mostly commuting since bought new.

The reason I signed up is to ask advice on a problem that just happened. I parked as usual but truck wouldn't start. Just a crazy birdlike chirping and faint half buzz from the buzzer. Was able to roll start that time and drove home without any issues. Tried to restart and nothing. No solenoid clicking, no horn, lights, or anything but that shrill tone when the ignition key is turned to start. So yesterday I took apart all the ground connections from the battery to the fenderwell to the engine block and cleaned and dielectric grease treated them all. Battery is like new with 12.8 volts and load tested fine. I was thinking the starter might have gone bad but now I'm starting to think it is the ignition switch or some fusible link or loose connection. All the fuses in the plastic box near the battery are good. Any advice or something I should check? Thank you, lil Red
 

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You checked you fuses in the car too right? kick panel by your left leg while your driving.. You ever changed your fuel filter? Could be plugged all to hell.. Thats an easy fix if so... Can you hear the pump prime when you turn your key to just before start? sounds like a fishtank pump.... If not, it could be the pump...You can always take the line off the filter and aim towards a bucket. Then have someone turn the key... See if its a pumpin hard,..
 

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I'd check the starter; maybe smack it with a rubber mallet and then try to start it.

Ignition switch could be a possibility. I haven't ever looked at the starter on my truck, but do these things have positive and negative cables attached? On other starters, cars, trucks, and even mowers, I've used (CAREFULLY) a very heavy screw driver (with the ignition on and the truck in Neutral with brake on) to touch both negative and positive post on the starter. If there's a wire/switch/fuse/etc. problem, this can bypass a lot of them and also let you know if the starter is working. Be very really careful though, there's a lot of volts down there; enough to melt chunks off of the screwdriver.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Alright I'll check the starter. But the thing that puzzles me is it that I have no emergency hazards or anything electrical working. Does all of that feed through the starter? I load tested the battery was 833 cca and fine. Just a faint current apparently getting through to make that shrill chirp and half buzz.
How does the positive cable run? It leaves the battery and goes into thew main wiring harness towards the starter with one smaller gauge lead going to the fuse panel. So far I'm still stumped. Maybe there is a corroded connection at the starter. Looks like I'll have to drop it to even see them though.

You checked you fuses in the car too right? kick panel by your left leg while your driving.. You ever changed your fuel filter? Could be plugged all to hell.. Thats an easy fix if so... Can you hear the pump prime when you turn your key to just before start? sounds like a fishtank pump.... If not, it could be the pump...You can always take the line off the filter and aim towards a bucket. Then have someone turn the key... See if its a pumpin hard,..
Yes all fuses inside kick panel and under hood are good. The only one I couldn't pull to check is the 80 amp in the center of the fuse panel but it looked good through the "sight glass".
I don't think the fuel filter is causing this electrical delima but yes it was changed several months ago and it was dirty at that time. Thank you.

I'd check the starter; maybe smack it with a rubber mallet and then try to start it.

Ignition switch could be a possibility. I haven't ever looked at the starter on my truck, but do these things have positive and negative cables attached? On other starters, cars, trucks, and even mowers, I've used (CAREFULLY) a very heavy screw driver (with the ignition on and the truck in Neutral with brake on) to touch both negative and positive post on the starter. If there's a wire/switch/fuse/etc. problem, this can bypass a lot of them and also let you know if the starter is working. Be very really careful though, there's a lot of volts down there; enough to melt chunks off of the screwdriver.
I did whack the starter the best I could due to its location I was able to fit the handle of a shop hammer up to it enough for some good blows from the butt end of the hammer. This is the first time other than routine maintenance I've had any trouble with the truck. Except for the annoying oil leak somewhere around the front of the engine. Main seal maybe or valvetrain cover gasket, not sure.

Thanks guys. I'm still working on my problem.

Update; Pulled the starter and had it tested. It was a bit slow but functioned fine and passed the inspection at O'Riellys. Since it was still the original w/ 285,000 miles I went ahead and bought the reman unit and installed it. I just couldn't see putting a 285,000 mile starter back on. But I should have. Still had the same problem. Wouldn't start but the "clicking" sounds were more audible now. Hmmmm?

Then I rolled it back out of the garage to see if it would roll start and it fired right up. Very frustrating. Drove it back into the garage, killed it, and nothing.

About an hour later the wife comes in screaming that the truck is on fire. OMG!!! Well it wasn't a fire but there was smoke coming out of the alternator. Good grief, now what???? I had sprayed Engine Gunk degreaser and rinsed everything off the previous day to make it easier to work on. But it had just ran enough to thoroughly warm up and seemed fine except for NOT starting. Well, before she sprayed it down with PurpleK I got the positive batt cable off and cooled down the alt with water to prevent it from catching on fire. I'm not sure if that was due to the degreasing or some electrical gremlin. Anyway I pulled the alternator and the ignition switch last night. Awaiting those parts to see where I stand now.

Any more advice?
 
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