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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an'03 Escape Limited AWD, V6 , with about 85000 miles on it. I have had an intermittent starting issue, and after viewing this site changed the IAC.Tha t did not help.

Seems to only happen after it is driven then left to sit for about 6 hours. The starter cranks good and strong, but it will not fire up. When you let go of the key after cranking, you can hear a large pffffft type sound. Usually it will then start on the second or third time. Seems worse in warm weather. With winter coming, I am worried the battery will not be able to crank long enough to start.

It has been to the shop and has no codes. I have not noticed the antitheft blinking when the problem occurs. I left the it at the shop for four day, and they could not reproduce (of course).

Anybody have any ideas as to what I can try? Thanks in advance!!
 

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Welcome to E-C!! I'm sure somebody will chime in and give you some advice. :)
 

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When you start the vehicle, a couple of things come into play. The starter has to turn the engine over, which sounds like it's happening. The ignition system has to provide the spark, and the fuel system has to deliver the fuel.

Try this. Put the key in and turn it to the "run" position. That's where the dash lights come on. But DON'T start the engine. Leave it there for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat that 4 or 5 times.

Then start the engine. Did it start right away or did it start the same as usual?

What you're doing there when you put the key in "run" is priming the fuel pump and building fuel pressure in the fuel rail. If it starts right away, you're probably getting not enough fuel pressure.

I'm heading in this direction first because of the pfffft sound you described. Makes me think the fuel system is relieving pressure.
 

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What Four_Eyes said...to begin with.
Then other issues come to play, like when was the last time you checked or changed your spark-plugs .How are your vaccum hoses etc.
As an advice to save money and frustration in the future, if someone suggests a remedy do not take it as a certainty unless it is accompanied by some means of pinpointing checks.
Also, this is the time in the Northern atmosphere when temperatures change drastically and condensation helps surface all kinds of electric and electronic mishaps on our vehicles.
Please keep us posted with your progress.
 

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Where do you live? In a hot climate. I'm thinking that you might be getting some vapor lock going on with your gas in the fuel line/or rail. Try what foureye said. It could be the fuel pressure, but 75K isn't enough miles imo to pickle the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the help, I will try to reply to everybody's excellent points.

There is no vacuum leaks, and the plugs were pulled out and are like brand new.

As far as the "turn key on/off" thing goes, it is almost impossible to tell if this helps as the problem is so intermittent. I have done this process several times and it has started right away. Problem is, it has started most times without this process.

My climate is harsh, I am in the north. The problem seemed to happen more when it was warm outside.

The pump seems to be working, as you can hear the noise when you hesitate from ACC to start position. It has no other drivability issues that would be indicative of a pump problem. It runs like a dream. tons of power, no misses or hiccups.

I went through all 34 pages here as well as the competing forum and there are a few others who seem to have this mysterious problem, and of course if they did solve it, they did not post the solution. A few say that they just live with it.

I have been considering the crank sensor as well, but I hate to throw parts at it unless I have to.

Again, thanks for all of your opinions, I would love to know what is wrong with this. I do not want to sell it to somebody else, because that is just not fair. Probably how I ended up with it....
 

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Honestly, I had this same situation with my Saturn. It left me stranded at BJ's Wholesale Club and shortly after, I bought my Escape. Anyway, same conditions, same result. Very intermittent. At $23 +/- for a crank sensor it's not too much of a risk. All else fails, you can clean any dirt off of it and return it...... :whistle:
 

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Good point on the crank sensor. Check the wiring harnesses and connectors on the crankshaft position sensor and the camshaft position sensor. If the wiring and connectors are good, it could be that one of the sensors is the cause.
 

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I'd certainly think of doing the crank sensor, or any other low dollar d-i-y things before hauling it in. If you take it to a shop, they are going to want to replicate the problem, and if it's intermittent that isn't going to happen...

So, yes to the sensor, wiring connections... like the ignition switch. Sometimes the contacts get worn and need replacing. Especially if it's had a heavy set of keys hanging there and been driven over rough roads.
 

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Just went through something similar to this twice in the past year. 2 Tauruses (or would that be Taurii???) that I deal with (a '98 and an '02 - both with the Duratec) exhibited similar behavior. Tried many of the cheaper fixes on both of them, but in the end it was the fuel pump going out on both of them. One had 64k miles (the '02) and the other had 155k. What I learned is that you can't predict when the pump will go as it works great and then it doesn't work. If my '02 Escape exhibits these symptoms I will replace the fuel pump and move on. Not cheap, but no sense getting stranded!
 

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I have same problem, I Just live with it :( I think it is getting flooded. as if i crank it again and sometimes hit the gas as its starting to (help it) i get smell of gas.
 

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micmar07 said:
I have same problem, I Just live with it :( I think it is getting flooded. as if i crank it again and sometimes hit the gas as its starting to (help it) i get smell of gas.
Your description dear micmarO7 indicates injector problems due to some clogging mainly.
It is not advisable to hit the gas pedal when starting under these conditions.Instead, before even you start turning the ignition key step on the throttle pedal all the way to the floor, then turn the ignition key and you release the pedal slowly after the engine has started.
 

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...As for the original colt45's starting problem what really baffles me is the fact that after the car starts it drives perfectly and with no other issues.Shouldn't a crancshaft or camshaft positioning sensor malfunctioning would mess up with the perfect timing while driving?
Without buing anything I would clean thoroughly the intake air system from the filter pipe to the carburation mechanism, making sure the cock baterfly moves freely and closes tight when released.I wish I could be of more help.
 

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Yeah, that's why I was thinking it could be a harness or connector problem. If he has a faulty CPS or CKPS, he'd be misfiring all the time, even have the engine shut-down. But even the connector/harness is a best guess (based on symptoms).
 

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Four_Eyes said:
Yeah, that's why I was thinking it could be a harness or connector problem. If he has a faulty CPS or CKPS, he'd be misfiring all the time, even have the engine shut-down. But even the connector/harness is a best guess (based on symptoms).
I agree and hope that soon the problem is resolved with an accompanying note.
 

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minnesotaart said:
Just went through something similar to this twice in the past year. 2 Tauruses (or would that be Taurii???) that I deal with (a '98 and an '02 - both with the Duratec) exhibited similar behavior. Tried many of the cheaper fixes on both of them, but in the end it was the fuel pump going out on both of them. One had 64k miles (the '02) and the other had 155k. What I learned is that you can't predict when the pump will go as it works great and then it doesn't work. If my '02 Escape exhibits these symptoms I will replace the fuel pump and move on. Not cheap, but no sense getting stranded!
That is the same exact problem i had with my taurus and it caused me to be stranded on the highway and i had to have it towed to a shop. My taurus had 146k on it. It was also intermittent and i still could smell gas every time i attempted to start it after waiting a few seconds with the ignition on to "prime" the pump.
and yes it is "Taurii" :)
 

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Mine drives just fine also. just when starting.

SUVord said:
...As for the original colt45's starting problem what really baffles me is the fact that after the car starts it drives perfectly and with no other issues.Shouldn't a crancshaft or camshaft positioning sensor malfunctioning would mess up with the perfect timing while driving?
Without buing anything I would clean thoroughly the intake air system from the filter pipe to the carburation mechanism, making sure the cock baterfly moves freely and closes tight when released.I wish I could be of more help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Back to the shop again yesterday. Now just for an added bonus, my airbag light came on on t he way to the shop. The mechanic could not help but laugh. Now I need a new airbag too. As well, half of my radio controls aren't working. Found that yesterday when I was changing the clock.

There is an ignition code showing that may be causing the no start issue, but he is not sure. He is going to call some of his friends at the Ford dealer where he worked for 15 years and see what they say. He really does not want to throw parts at it, that is not the way he does things.

I do not have the heart to sell this or trade it as I would feel bad for the new owner. A sad as it is, I may just part it out and see if I can get some of my money back.

Thanks folks for your ideas, I will see my mechanic agian in a few days for the airbag and radio and will mention to him what you folks said.

All in all, I am pretty disappointed in Ford. The replacement for this vehicle will not be a Ford product. Not to say anybody is better, but I just can't pay them again after this nightmare.
 

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Starting issues....airbag light....non-functional radio controls. Hmmm....kinda make me think electrical gremlins.

What's the general condition of your battery? Sometimes a weak or faulty battery can cause several seemingly non-related issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Battery is three months old and I had it load tested. Perfect.

Decided to start shopping for a new vehicle, but still not sure what to do with this one. I just can't sell it to some poor sap, I know how that feels.
 
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