intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittently)

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intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittently)

Postby Skywoulf - May 16th, 2020, 12:59 pm

2006 Escape Xlt V6 4x4

turn the key on everything works as it should. turn the key one more position to start, and nothing. no clicking, just complete and utter silence. however once in awhile it might just decide to crank and start. then unless i hold my foot on the throttle it will idle down after coming out of the cold start 1k idle it will drop rpms and die.

1. fuses and wiring/ connections. checked and all good.
2. brand new from the dealer IAC.
3. starter relay replaced with new known good relay.
4. ignition switch replaces with a new known good switch (the electrical one, the key lock tumbler cylinder is a known good.)
5. transmission range sensor checked, and is a known good
6. brand new grp 40 battery (first thing i replaced)

diagnostic results so far: i am getting no signal to energize the starter relay. (bypass the relay at the socket and engine cranks every time)
the simplified starting circuit diagram in the Haynes manual shows the starter relay energizing circuit coming in hot from the known good components, passing through the relay energizing coil and continuing on through the "starter Relay Diode" before passing on to unidentified (something) at the PCM.
i have no idea if the PCM signal that completes the circuit is a switched ground, or what as i can find no info on the entire internet about the PCM signal to the starter relay.

so 2 issues.
1 no starting crank.
2 upon a successful start the idle issue.
i believe in the KISS concept. (Keep It Simple Soldier)
i first need to get the car to reliably crank from the key, then i can worry about the idle issue. car has been to the dealer 2 times in 2 weeks for diagnoses, and has them stumped as well.

HELP!
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby bangster - May 16th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Try wiggling the shifter and/or starting in neutral?
When you say you jumped the relay did you just put 12v (from pin 30?) to pin 87 and the starter works, or did you use 12v and ground on 85 and 86 to energize the relay?
I had a Ford starter go bad similar to this. Eventually it would start, but it took many tries. The block the wiring connects on the solenoid was broken. I replaced the solenoid, but it jumping the relay you get 100% start all the time, is before the solenoid.
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 17th, 2020, 9:20 am

first of all, thank you for the chart.
to answer your question, i used a jumper wire to plug in to the holes for pin 30, and 87 in the relay socket. cranked every time. test light (first try) multimeter (second try) with an assistant to turn the key checking current presence in holes for pins 85, 86 produced no result. i was only looking for something brief to tell me current was flowing between those 2 points.
your other question about the tranny shift range selector, i answered in my first post. did an in vehicle (because i didnt want to get it out of alignment) and i have current flow in both park and neutral. (no wiggling required)

my next step is to do a continuity check on the wire(s) from the relay socket back to the PCM and (find)and check the PCM to ground portion of the circuit. right now the main suspects are the starter relay diode (non serviceable according to the manual) and the PCM unless there are other components the manual doesn't mention like perhaps a second starter relay back of the in-the-car fuse panel (think i saw a reference to that somewhere, not sure).
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby bangster - May 17th, 2020, 11:30 am

For the coil side of the starter relay you should get 12v on pin 85 with key in start position and TRS in neutral or park. The PCM grounds the other side (pin 86) with logic I am guessing for PATS/Securilock. From your other replies to other posts this is working right, you get the proper indicators when going to Run and Start. I am not all that familiar with how the Escape incorporates PATS, but in the Crown Vics when putting in a CVPI PCM you have to ground that pin since it doesn't have PATS. I think you can cut the problem down in half again maybe (unless it is at the TRS or before...even if you have replaced it, there can be a wiring issue, it can be out of adjustment) by seeing if it is the logic from the PCM or the powered switched side of the relay.

I watched my neighbor go through hell with a similar issue and they never simply tried moving around the shifter. They had someone come over and pull the starter (and instead of removing it initially, they actually messed up and took apart the solenoid and motor and removed it in pieces), it tested fine, could turn over engine with crank pulley, battery had good voltage, swapped around the relay with the AC relay. Followed all the fuses (they blew one removing the starter) and finally used a light on the trigger on the relay and found it wasn't getting power. I took my turn at turning the key while someone else watched, and I decided to push the button and shift it through the gears and push it forward into park, and it started. I think they planned on replacing the TSR (it is in the center console in that particular vehicle) because they couldn't remember to check the shifter, but I think it got wrecked before they got to it.
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 17th, 2020, 12:07 pm

the dealer also mentioned wiggling the gear shift in neutral and park. this has absolutely no effect. i get good electric flow through the transmission range sensor in both park and neutral (from pin 4 to pin 9 on the trs) when set with the gearshift in both park and neutral. and no current flow in R,D,2,and 1. (i could always try a pin 85 straight to ground test bypassing the PCM and diode however i am not sure that would tell me anything i dont already know.) since the signal from the TRS ALSO goes to the PCM (as well as the starter relay) there is a risk of causing damage that way.

you have furnished me with the information about the relay to PCM side of the circuit, so i can check that but i still dont know where the PCM gets its path back to ground completing the loop back to the battery. (which is really backwards considering power flow goes from the battery - to +)
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 17th, 2020, 6:27 pm

bit of background. at my building, you are not allowed to work on your car (due cause for eviction). also any vehicle that sits too long and has been deemed as broken down will be towed at owners expense (cause for a write-up (3 write-ups is due cause for eviction)).

so i pulled a really DICK move. first i put my meter on pin 85 at the relay socket, had an assistant turn the key and got a reading of 0.08 on a 20V scale. (THERE IS MY PROBLEM!) then i put the key in the run position, jumper-wired the socket pins 30, & 87 started and ran by the third revolution of the starter motor. (engine turned over three times and started). had to tie my throttle open a tad just to keep it from stalling (did this first idles between 1 - 1.5k) and drove it around the block. (hopefully it kicked me some codes will check tomorrow) had to do this to park in a different parking place so the car wouldn't get towed. (visual proof it is not broken down when fact it is.) so now my radio has quit working telling me that either the jump off, or reinserting the starter relay when the system was hot has shorted something else out. (i have had issues with the radio for the past 4 years, not being able to adjust the volume and so on so perhaps this just pushed it over the edge and into the grave.)

i have noticed on several occasions that the battery junction box separates (like the top comes off). it has 3 clips that i can find. has anyone separated this before? if so what did you find? possible place to find corroded connections? also i did find through searching that there is a run/start relay on the back of the in-cabin fuse panel. ) (GEM Module?) of course it is impossible to get at without taking apart the center console and removing the fuse panel. this relay is not shown on any of the wiring diagrams i am able to find for the starter circuit.

it is listed as K2 start/run relay on the back side of the "smart junction box"
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 18th, 2020, 2:34 pm

update:

was at wits end. on the one hand everything checked out as working correctly, on the other hand nothing worked at all. so i had a bunch of removable Micky Mouse things i had done just so i could move the car under its own power from parking place to parking place. (like tying the throttle open, and using the jumper wire to get it started.) so with all these temp fixes i thought i would run the codes again just for grins and giggles. well at this time forscan had a zillion DTCs for sensors being out of range. funny thing though every error code had at the bottom of it "refer to PCM" or some such.
now i knew somehow that the fix was something simple and that i was over looking it but i could not for the life of me figure out what i might have overlooked.so i go down this morning, remove all my temp repairs (the micky mouse stuff) and was about ready to pull the PCM as everything was pointing to that being the issue and on a whim i thought lets see if this does anything.....

so using forscan i cleared all DTCs, and reset the PCM. car has been starting and running fine all day now. it even idles correctly now.

still dont know the cause, but it is "Apparently" fixed until it happens again. we shall see what happens tomorrow.
i still have a few DTCs of course, 02 heater circuit on all 4 02 sensors, a purge system fault, and an EGR stuck open fault. and of course the 4 codes i get from my GEM. (looking into that replacement next, $$$$$) all in all though this is less than half the codes i was getting before. will just have to wait and see which codes come back over time.
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 19th, 2020, 1:54 pm

went down to start it this morning, and it was back to its old tricks. only 1 time out of 5 starts did it actually start from the key. i am considering installing a push button start (read wired remote start) in the cabin to bypass the relay for those times the key wont do it. only issue i have with this is that it is a band aid, and not a fix. not to mention this bypasses ALL of the safety features and allows the starter motor to run whenever someone pushes the button. i can foresee all kinds of problems with that. (car theft, running the battery down by a malicious person, car starting in gear causing bodily and/or property damage and so on.) used to run a motorcycle that way, wired up a pigtail to bypass a faulty ign switch and it was "plug and pray".

so i am thinking out loud here and am open to any suggestions. on the + side, got my wipers, radio, and cigarette lighter working again.

oh and does anyone know what the K2 starter relay on the back of the smart junction box does with regards to the starting circuit? it isn't on ANY of my circuit diagrams.
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Skywoulf
 
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby vpasla1 - May 19th, 2020, 3:18 pm

If you're going to do a wired start, you can always add a killswitch to at least reduce the risk of issues. However, like you said, it would just be a bandaid solution.
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Re: intermittent starting problems (only starts intermittent

Postby Skywoulf - May 19th, 2020, 10:12 pm

well dropped a $20 bullet on a band-aid. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RRY4GD2/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 this will allow me to break the circuit (only live when turned on) with the toggle, and the button completes the circuit when pressed bypassing the relay (will be connected to pins 30, 87) for use when the key doesn't do the job. this way i can leave the relay in the BJB, for when the key does decide to work. i will wire it up like this:
hot runs to the toggle when turned on light illuminates, then runs to the button. momentary contact when button is pressed and back to cold on relay completing the circuit. for use toggle must be on, and button pressed. close the cage, toggle gets turned off breaking the circuit light goes out, button does nothing.

at least this is what i hope to accomplish. this bypasses the starter relay energizing circuit (which is not getting the voltage it should) bit still engages the switched side of the relay circuit. as i said. a temp band-aid. i will have to fabricate a way to mount this however so i am not putting holes in my dash.
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Skywoulf
 
Posts: 101
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