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#2499299 - 01/19/12 02:45 PM Car Cranks, Won't Start
InvalidUserID Offline


Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 741
Loc: Bay Area, CA
So on my girlfriend's 2001 V6 Mustang, she's been having starting issues.

It started a few weeks ago, the car will crank fine but won't start. After trying 3-4 times, I tried her spare key and it worked. Thought it was just the key.

A few days ago, she said it wouldn't start at work. Same thing: cranks but won't start. She finally got it to start after a few tries. I had her take my car, and I tried her car next morning and it started right up. A few hours later, we tried to move it and it cranked but wouldn't start.

So:

- Battery is less than a year old, 12.5V
- Alternator puts out 14.2V
- Car seems to start fine in the morning/first start, but won't afterwards/2nd start.
- I'm pretty sure I can hear the fuel pump when turning the key to "ON".
- Distributor-less system

What should I be looking for?
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#2499305 - 01/19/12 02:51 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
Donald Online   content


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 19210
Loc: Upstate NY
I would spray in a little starter fluid the next time it does not start. That will give you a clue as to spark or fuel.

Is it spinning over (based upon sound) at the right speed to start? Or really laboring?

Spark plug condition? Pull a plug or two and have a look?

Bad fuel?

Any CEL?
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#2499310 - 01/19/12 02:55 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
mechanicx Offline


Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 8576
Loc: Ohio
Assuming you do hear the fuel pump run, check for spark when you get crank and no start.

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#2499320 - 01/19/12 03:05 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
InvalidUserID Offline


Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 741
Loc: Bay Area, CA
No CEL, I plugged in my scanner anyways, nothing.

Cranking fine and strong, sounds normal.

I think I can eliminate bad fuel as it's been about 2-3 tanks since the last starting issue.

Last time I checked the plugs, they looked normal. The car runs perfectly fine, it's just having starting issues right now.

I'm hoping the fact that it starts fine the first time but has a hard time hours after can help narrow it down.
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- '97 4.0 Grand Cherokee
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#2499325 - 01/19/12 03:10 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
Quest Offline


Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 7362
Loc: beaver land EH?
remember the fundamentals:

fuel, air and spark.

Q.
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#2499332 - 01/19/12 03:20 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
InvalidUserID Offline


Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 741
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Well, just tried to start it after letting it sit overnight, first attempt sounded like it almost turned over. 2nd and 3rd attempt it just cranks.

I had my scanner hooked up, before the first attempt, scanner showed fuel pressure at 42 and 0 after trying to start it. Fuel System 1 is "OPEN", don't know if that is normal or if that data helps.

I should add: 130,000 miles, all original parts (fuel pump, alternator/starter).


Edited by InvalidUserID (01/19/12 03:20 PM)
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#2499359 - 01/19/12 03:54 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: Quest]
45ACP Offline


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Dallas Texas
Originally Posted By: Quest
remember the fundamentals:

fuel, air and spark.

Q.


You are in fact correct, but have been through this on a few cars and found that air is largely redundant (if it wont start with the intake manifold off, its likely something else and not at lack for "air.")

So, again, while correct, its techically "fuel, (air,) spark, and compression."

Blowed head gasket = less compression = can make car hard to start, sometimes takes ~10 minutes for compression to build.

Crank-no-start condition could be many things, but prime suspect is always fuel (starter fluid in intake manifold is good indicator, if it starts it should run for a couple seconds. Firsthand experience bore this out to diagnose Fuel Pump, next step is to take line off at back of engine to see if fuel comes up) and second suspect is spark/crank.

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#2499362 - 01/19/12 03:57 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
45ACP Offline


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Dallas Texas
Two things this sounds like, and what it "could be" since i have had a car that behaved similar:

Your fuel pump could be dying a slow death, and not putting out enough pressure to start the car reliably, every time. Pressure has to "build".

Very unlikely you have a head gasket (compression) issue. You would know if you did.

This would explain intermittent starts, as well as taking some time to start, then wanting to start then not starting. If it starts some minutes after it "anted to start" then "just cranks," it could be a dying but not yet deal fuel pump. They can last for some time in a marginal state. Had it happen on two vehicles, exactly that.

Quote:

I'm hoping the fact that it starts fine the first time but has a hard time hours after can help narrow it down.


It might not be, but im thinking more and ore the fuel pump is in the way out (and is good enough to give good pressure readings "sometimes." They do that. It fools the diagnostic test...) Mine made a "hiccup" on the highway and i thought the car was going to stall, it held up for a month or so. Changed fuel pump? .. ran and started as new. 2cents

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#2499380 - 01/19/12 04:11 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 31365
Loc: ME
Could be an anti theft issue. IDK if the key is related at all like it is on some GMs. You'd have a blinky light on the dash most likely.

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#2499384 - 01/19/12 04:16 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: eljefino]
thr_wedge Offline


Registered: 11/22/07
Posts: 276
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Could be an anti theft issue. IDK if the key is related at all like it is on some GMs. You'd have a blinky light on the dash most likely.


I was thinking the same thing.

Does the spare key always work?

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#2499385 - 01/19/12 04:16 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: eljefino]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 11906
Loc: NE,Ohio
usually with the ford anti-theft it doesnt crank at all? at least the older ford system.
and you get a solid light.. at least thats what it did with my ranger with the PATS system.

+3600 marginal fuel pump.


doubt its a head gasket.. and I'm not sure how a head gasket could make it take 10min to get compression? you have a fresh compression cycle 5? times a second?

I would verify spark during the no start condition then go to the fuel system.


Edited by Rand (01/19/12 04:18 PM)
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#2499387 - 01/19/12 04:19 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: 45ACP]
Warstud Offline


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 4651
Loc: MIchigan
Originally Posted By: 45ACP
Your fuel pump could be dying a slow death, and not putting out enough pressure to start the car reliably, every time. Pressure has to "build".


Sounds like it to me.

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#2499459 - 01/19/12 05:49 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
toneydoc Offline


Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 1579
Loc: War Eagle
How old is the fuel filter? I had a car refuse to crank due to bad fuel filter.
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#2499461 - 01/19/12 05:51 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: Rand]
45ACP Offline


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Dallas Texas
Originally Posted By: Rand
doubt its a head gasket.. and I'm not sure how a head gasket could make it take 10min to get compression? you have a fresh compression cycle 5? times a second?



Offtopic, but.. I doubt it is a HG issue as well. What i was referring to that when i had a car with a slowly failing head gasket, something with either the loss of compression in one/more cylinders or the exhaust gas gettin where it wasnt made the car crank slowly and not start, then require waiting for it to build enough compression to fire and run. (Similar to starting a car with 20W-50 when its freezing out, slow engine revolution and wont fire. Something was impeding it. Then it turns faster some minutes later.) Eventually the engine did fail by dropping a valve. Before that i had absolute milkshake oil twice, and was tough to start the car and smoke would come out the tailpipe. It died a slow death and almost almost left me on the side of the highway, and the cars last ride was a 0 to ~60MPH acceleratio full of sputtering that took a good two minutes, black/grey smoke behind me the whole time. It dropped its valve roughly 6 starts later, 12 hours later that night... on the other side of the same highway. So, it can impact engine starting. HG was supect, but the cylinder had a valve shaped hole in it upon disassembly.

If the head gasket were to have a slow leak that was getting bigger but not large enough to be full-on obvious and masked by cold weather i.e. smoke signale etc etc and was in fact a small leak, it could be beginning to affect compression enough to inhibit starting due to what was leaked where. I dont think that is happening here, but was a thought. Bubbling coolant sometimes wont bubble enough to be seen and the antifreeze smell of the exhaust and plume can be attributed to cold weather. Just my 2cents

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#2499462 - 01/19/12 05:53 PM Re: Car Cranks, Won't Start [Re: InvalidUserID]
45ACP Offline


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Dallas Texas
Hey, OP.. is that distributor cap on tight? That could be your issue right there as well! Spark-related. Could be as simple as tightening two screws, if you can move the cap with your hand that could be your issue right there. Had that happen too whistle

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