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Old 10-11-2016, 01:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Atascadero, CA
Posts: 162
2003 7.3 Starting issues. Questions

Hi guys, my 2003 e350 with 7.3 has had intermittent starting issues over the last year or so.

Basically it sounds like the starter bendix pops out but not far enough and makes a terrible screeching noise. Or like the starter is spinning but not engaging. Not sure which.

I've done a lot of research over the last year that lead me in a couple directions. Here's what's already been done keeping in mind I only drive the van 6000 mile or less a year;

1. Replaced flex plate with new ford part. There were slightly damaged teeth in 4 locations. I had cleaned them up with a dremel but problem persisted. I needed some tranny work so had them replace flexplate while it was out. This seemed to fix the problem but it returned within a few weeks.

2. Dual starter batteries were 4 years old so I replaced both (as recommended). I had read that weak batteries could be the culperate and they were due anyway. This made no difference.

3. This is where my questions lies. I'm going to replace the starter since I read that weak batteries can kill starters/brushes and I've never replace the starter. There are two types of starters available, both 2 bolt design, the original ford style and the denson or nippodenson style that is larger.

Does anyone know if the larger denson style will fit without modification? I ask because what info I can find is that F series trucks may require cross member modification. This thing is Japanese made so I have to order it.

Opinions about what the problem could be are appreciated, or if you've exerpienced
something similar I'd love your take.

Thank you


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Old 10-11-2016, 06:18 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cotati, CA
Posts: 39
I am very interested to see if you fix this since I have the same issue. I have a 1998 7.3. I have had the issue since I bought the van used a few years ago. Only happens once in awhile. Maybe every 15-20 starts. Maybe even less. Horrible sound when it happens. Especially worrisome when it happens a few times in a row.

I replaced my starter. It did have a worn bendix but the problem did come back.

I also searched this problem and found lots of other people have had the same problem. Some said they replaced just about everything under warranty at the time and never solved the problem.

One said a possible grounding issue. I did beef up my grounds slightly and it seemed to help but the problem is still there.

I was going to try new battery cables all around (bigger gauge as well). I think I need new battery cables anyway.

Good luck. I will be watching this thread.

1998 E350 4x4 7.3l Club Wagon Chateau with SMB top
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:00 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Atascadero, CA
Posts: 162
Well took the leap and replaced the starter with a denson style. The new one is literally twice as big as the one I pulled out, which had no identifiable markings.

As far as fitment, it fit but just barely and the ground and 12v cables barely reached also.

I've driven 1300 miles since the install with no starting issues yet. It also cranks about 2-3 times as fast, which sounds a little unnerving at first.

Time will tell I suppose
Home Built Camper Van - 2003 EB 15 Passenger, 7.3 PSD, Ujoint 6" Lift, 35x12.50x17E BFG AT KO2 , MSD High Top, Hand Made Interior
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