When I depress the clutch on my 2003 7.3L diesel Superduty the starter motor engages and starts the engine. The starter also engages when I depress the clutch when the engine is running.

This is a new problem after an idiot tried to steal the truck and obviously did not know how to drive a stick or start a diesel. Appears he ripped out the clutch position switch (who knows why) and tried to start the truck without using glow plugs. Ran the truck into a wall by cranking the starter which blew the starter fuse.

I replaced the fuse and neutral switch and checked the starter. The ignition switch was new before the incident and seems unharmed (the key was in the truck).

Any ideas what else could be the problem?

I can start the truck by depressing the clutch and drive if I remove the starter relay or fuse until I need to start it again. I also noticed the radio always thinks the ignition switch is in the on position even if the key is not there.

  • 1
    Wow, that REALLY sux! Sounds like they tried to hotwire it and got things totally messed up. I'd double check to ensure no wires are cross under the dash, especially where the clutch switch is concerned. Feb 25, 2017 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


It sounds like they tried to force the ignition and broke the ignition switch. I would try replacing the ignition and see if that solves your problem.

  • I removed the ignition switch completely today and the truck still starts without any switch or key
    – Frank Ward
    Feb 27, 2017 at 2:06

Based on what you've noted, and your comment on another answer, it sounds like they bypassed the ignition switch entirely, and just directly connected power to the ignition and starter relays. I'd check for botched wires under the dash.

The clutch neutral safety switch keeps the starter from running if the clutch isn't pressed, so that the vehicle isn't accidentally started in gear (and roll off/stall/destroy the starter because the parking brake was on/etc.). I assume (this is entirely opinion-based), that the thief gave up trying to start the truck, and decided to just rip out the clutch neutral safety switch, so that the starter could be used to propel the vehicle.

  • I think you are correct. So far I can't find where they crossed the wires. Is it possible they just fried something (burned insulation off wires)?
    – Frank Ward
    Feb 28, 2017 at 22:37

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