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Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 9:34 AM

I have an unusual situation with a 1993 Ford Taurus, 110Kmiles, that has me a bit puzzled. Ordinarily it has be a reliable car. Recently, I have had an occasional problem that if it does not immediately start, it will not start unless I open and close the hood. Then it will start right up.

Since my wife and I want to trade it for a new model car, I do not want to invest in any mechanic bills. However I am curious what might be causing the problem.

(BTW, anyone want to buy a used Taurus?)

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#1

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 9:40 AM

Any serious engineer would immediately design an automatic device to open and close the hood.

Maybe opening the hood allows the gremlin to escape .

Sorry not much help

Del

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 10:56 AM

I resent your implication that I am a serious engineer! Further more, this will (hopefully) be a formerly owned automobile, therefore my query is more from a curiousity than practical point of view.

Perhaps if I just removed the hood, the gremlin would know it cannot hide???

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#2

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 9:48 AM

Not enough information.

When it refuses to start, will the engine crank when the key is turned?

If the engine turns, does it try to start (i.e., sputters)?

How many times do you try to start it before you open the hood?

If it does not start, have you tried simply waiting about 1 minute (the time it takes to get out, pop the hood, close it, and try to start it again?

I tend to think that it is not the hood opening and closing that does it, but the pause in time.

If it isn't the pause in time, then you might have an intermittent connection with a fuse or relay. You could open the hood, slowly so you don't cause a mechanical vibration, then try tapping on the fuse box lightly and see if that works.

I've seen cars with failing DME relays that control the fuel pump. Taping the top of the relay can sometimes free them up for awhile.

Without more information everything is a wild ass guess.

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#3

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 10:41 AM

My guess right off hand would be a loose ground. You really didn't give much information about the car not starting.

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 11:00 AM

Interesting that serious guesses are electrical connection issues solved be vibration re-setting the connection.

Engine cranks well at all times, but if it does not fire immediately, it will not fire until hood is opened and closed. That is as far as I have investigated. Since the current fix is simple and still works I am reluctant to spend much time or money with further investigation. Since my wife is pestering me to by a Honda FIT, I do not want to spend much time or money, yet.

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/12/2008 12:13 AM

Here's an item you may want to look at. There is a multiple wire ground harness which attaches to one point, with a small screw, on the radiator cradle (the sheetmetal running between the fenders, to which the radiator, a/c condenser, etc.) attaches.

There are several wires in this harness, with one ring terminal. These are attached to important circuits (computer, FI, etc). This harness is very prone to connection problems, and can cause a no-start. Engine may crank over, but not start. Opening and closing the hood can cause a temporary "fix" and allow a start.

Check this harness, the condition of the wires, connector, and any related splices in this harness. Go back up the harness a good ways to verify condition.

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#25
In reply to #14

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/12/2008 9:11 AM

I'll take a quick look after work, but the engine does turn over fine even when not starting.

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#31
In reply to #25

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/12/2008 9:50 AM

I'm not a car expert, but I've found that usually when a car turns over but doesn't start, it's not an electrical problem, but it may be a fuel problem. Does the 1993 Taurus have a fuel filter that may be clogged, or something along that line?

Good luck,

Bluezone

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#5

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 10:57 AM

Does it only start if YOU open/close the hood? I'm concerned that if it's some knack that only you posess then the wife may make you and the car a package deal at the trade-in. Be forewarned.

I'll sort of 2nd Anonymous Hero on this one. You have an intermittent connection somewheres. I'm a little more reluctant to think it's a relay, since in my limited experience relay woes are more than "occasional" in frequency.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 11:03 AM

I did not realize my "special" talent at hood opening! Is this a career opportunity I can exploit, ah I mean develop for career enhancement?

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#16
In reply to #7

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/12/2008 2:03 AM

You could run AAA road calls.

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#8

Re: Weird starting problem/solution

08/11/2008 11:12 AM

I agree with the loose connection theory. Although the gremlin theory also works. Either way, I would get rid of the thing rather than spending hours/weeks/days looking for the mysterious. Especially if you don't want to pay a mechanic to look for it.

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#9

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 8:59 PM

Sounds like it may have the original starter, it isn't unheard of...
and the brushes are worn down to the point where they occasionally don't make contact, because of insufficient spring tension due to their short length.

I wish I had a dime for every time I "bumped" the starter with the lug wrench until
I had the time to replace it!

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#10

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 11:20 PM

Not enough info for an informed guess. It sounds like an electrical problem, or could be caused by vibration. But it might be caused by years of use with to many keys on the ring, if thats the case, it may have worn the ignition Try taking out the key and reinserting it. If that doesn't work, get a gremlin trap or sell the gremlin with the car.

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#11

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 11:25 PM

Other than the previous excellent suggestions , i can only include that ; do you have a aftermarket or factory installed anti theft or remote start system ? If so you need to look at the pin switches that are pushed down as the hood closes . These switches are simple on/off contact switches that are mounted in such a way as to be forced down with contact with the hood as it is shut down. Look for them along the outside edge of the hood as it meets the car body when closing the hood. If you find one that is sticky or tight , give it a shot of pen.oil and work it to loosen it up. How much cheaper is that .

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#12

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 11:47 PM

Suggest the next time the vehicle refuses to start pop the hood and try to locate the fuel pump relay. (Since you failed to identify engine type, I'll guess it is a 6 cylinder.) From Wiki... they say the fuel pump relay is here... "The fuel pump relay can be found under the cooling fan guard, on the driver's side of the car. It's a black box, less than two inches thick and perhaps eight inches long, and it's bolted to the top of the frame that holds the cooling fan, parallel to the frame."

Try tapping on the relay, then try to start before closing the hood. I suspect it is not the opening and closing of the hood that joggles the relay, but is just the hood closure that does it. If tapping the relay causes the engine to start, then you have found the defect (STICKING RELAY), and can replace same for an easy fix.

Please post back with the solution. Thanks.

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#13

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/11/2008 11:51 PM

Hello Ried

I would suggest you try what Anonymous Hero says here:

"If it isn't the pause in time, then you might have an intermittent connection with a fuse or relay. You could open the hood, slowly so you don't cause a mechanical vibration, then try tapping on the fuse box lightly and see if that works."

Keep us informed

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#15

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 12:31 AM

If your Taurus is typical of most automobiles, then the battery is in the forward part of the engine compartment attached to one of the two fender wells.

That area is the one that sees the most vibration when the hood is slammed shut.

I'm inclined to agree with some others that the problem is likely caused by a loose terminal cable at the battery.

Or, acid has accumulated on the terminals causing corrosion and a high enough resistance at the connections to prevent the starter from turning.

Were it my car, I'd remove the terminals from the battery and soak them in a cup of water with baking soda mixed in. Do not put that mix onto the battery itself. Should any drip down inside and into the lead acid, it will neutralize the acid and you may as well toss the battery.

Clean the terminal posts on the battery with a good stiff steel bristle brush, reinstall the cables and tighten well, being careful not to put any side loads on the posts when tightening the bolts.

That should do it.

L. J.

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#24
In reply to #15

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:10 AM

engine turns over fine, but doesn't seem to want to fire.

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#35
In reply to #24

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 11:27 AM

Since the car turns over you can eliminate any ground issues. Also ignore any starter comments

Check to see if you have spark at the plugs when you crank it. If you don't have spark at the plugs, (if this year has a distributor) look at the distributor and check if you get spark to the distributor from the ignition coil. If it does not have a distributor check to see if you have voltage at the ignition pack.

If you have spark at all these locations then there maybe a fuel issue

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#17

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 4:55 AM

Are you opening the hood, then turning over the car with the hood open ? Could it be an air issue ? Maybe it allows you to pull more air in and change the ratio to fuel ? Do you smell gas or know that fuel is not an issue (carb vs fuel injection) ?

If it is fuel injection, does it start when you floor the gas pedal, fooling the car into thinking there is a super rich fuel ratio ?

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#26
In reply to #17

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:14 AM

No.

maybe, I do suspect something gets stuck in wrong position and is jarred when hood is shut.

Don't smell gas

Pedal position seems to make no difference when gremlin raises its head.

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#29
In reply to #26

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:21 AM

This may be a stupid comment because I don't know the vehicle or it's layout.

I had a car once which suffered bad starting & running and I only found the problem after working on it late one dark night when I noticed arcing between the HT lead and another component. After I clipped the HT leads into position to ensure that they were clear of any other parts I had no more problems.

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#18

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 6:14 AM

look like to me you have a loose wire check that i have that car too a 94

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#19

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 7:11 AM

Lots of good suggestions, does it start with the hood open or only after you close it again? Have you tried opening the hood & jiggling the alarm pin switch/battery connections/fuse box then starting.

Must be something loose or possibly corroded but tracking the item down is a hit or miss affair.

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#20

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 7:19 AM

My son bought last year Ford Feista Diesel model. He is very happy with performance also it gives him good milage around 22 Km/liter. I am from Mumbai India.

Suresh Sharma.

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#21

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 7:21 AM

Simplest solution is to trade it in on the FIT and let the Honda dealership's mechanics figure out what's wrong with it so they can unload it at auction. True, it's well-aged, but that's low mileage for the vintage, so you might get enough on the trade to make that a better option than paying for a fix and selling it yourself. What are you out to ask about it?

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#27
In reply to #21

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:16 AM

I would be happy with $500. When can you drive up to IL to pick up?

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#40
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 1:33 PM

Ermm...not "what are you asking for it", but "what are you out to ask about it" - ask the DEALER, that is! So if you'd take 500 shin plasters for it, and the Honda dealer would offer 1K (or even the 500) as a trade-in, you'd be ahead to cut your input losses and drive away from it. If you really HAVE to know what was wrong, ask them in a week after they fixed it for resale...

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 2:15 PM

Dealer doesn't care (much) what he pays me for the Ford, as long as he makes a profit on the Honda. He would be glad to offer me $5,000 if the Honda rolls out the door at $25,000.

In practical terms, I would be happier with $500 for the Ford, and pay $15,00 for the Honda. However, based on sales tax revenue, the Governor of Illinois would not be as happy with this deal.

My dad always said "It's not how much you get for the old car that matters, it's the difference in price rolling out the door."

By the way, the dealer will probably not fix, but send the car out to auction.

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#22

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 8:37 AM

It sounds like an MGB I had once. Fuel pump contacts were corroded and decided to give me trouble headed down I-75. I had to open and slam my door all the way to Atlanta. It would pump up and run for a few miles, then sputter until I slammed the door again. Needless to say I got a few strange looks from the other motorists.

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#23

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:04 AM

Hello Ried, any progress ?, bunch of good suggestions.....

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:19 AM

Things have been too busy to spend any time under the hood. I do appreciate all the responses though, it is enlightening. Thanks to all who responded.

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#30

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 9:43 AM

If cleaning the battery terminals doesn't work, replace the starter relay.

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#32

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 10:11 AM

You appear to have a Taurus with an early form of Windows from Microsoft, opening and closing the hood is the same as Alt-Ctrl-Del on a PC.

You are just rebooting, or rehooding or even better retrunking? (The boot of a British car is the trunk on a US car! Some cars have the engine in the back....) the processor.....

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#33
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 11:03 AM

Ah, yes it is a 1993 taurus so it could be running windows 3.1

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 12:31 PM

So is there a way to change to a Linux OS???

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#34

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 11:10 AM

Ried, Please check the contacts for the hood electrics for dirt. Normally a bit of lubricant is used to keep the contacts from corroding. The lubricant will draw dirt that can interfere with a contact closing until you repolish it by opening and closing the hood. Contrarily, if the contact is too clean and thus corroding overnight or in a high moisture atmosphere, cleaning the contact carefully and putting a TINY amount of petroleum jelly or wheel bearing grease on the contact would keep the corrosion at bay.

This problem is something simple and mechanical in my opinion. A mechanic might not find it. But you have a vested interest in doing so. Good luck, Heidi

BTW, if you are in SF Bay area, I will gladly take your taurus.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 11:34 AM

Heidi, I think that with some many puzzled spectators, Ried is committed to solve the problem before he does the trade for the Honda and share that information with us.

It is simple, just not obvious.

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#39
In reply to #36

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 12:35 PM

I don't know if I'm committed to solving the problem, opr passing on the information to the next owner.

BTW the rear electric window do not work either!

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#38
In reply to #34

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 12:33 PM

Illinois, sorry.

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#42

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 2:33 PM

Read # 15 carefully, He is right on the mark. The only thing I have to add is the place I currently work previously had an 86 Ford LTD that did the same thing. And the people that used it did the very same thing. After lots of searching the problem was the ground for the fuel pump. It is located on the negative battery terminal. The wire is black in color, and 12 gauge. About six inches from the post there is a quick disconnect that had become corroded. After the connection was replaced we drove it till retirement. Thanks for the laugh and another good memory. I hope this time next year this story is a funny memory for you.

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#45
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 6:13 PM

This gremlin is odd enough that the only thing I can do is laugh! So far it has not cost anything but the inconvinience of raising and closing the hood once or twice a week.

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#46
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 6:05 AM

Oh good grief! Better hang on to that car - how many other things do you have/know that can make you laugh twice a week?

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#47
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 10:30 AM

Besides, Ried will have the time to find out what loose beneath the hood

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#43

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 3:40 PM

definitely electrical. start with battery connections and leads checking for play and/or corrosion. also check coil pack/edis/distributor (what ever your car has) connections as they can be finicky and are subject to wear. with 110k you are probably due for a tune up anyway.

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#44
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Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/12/2008 6:00 PM

It isn't the 110k miles as much as the 16 years of age on metal, finishes, rubber, plastic, insulation, etc. The engine is pretty decent for the age, but everything else shows its age! The car needs someone with time and TLC to keep it going another 16 years.

I understand what most posters are saying about electrical glitches, but I am more inclined to think some mechanical hangup that needs lubrication and/or adjustment.

I did (finally) talk to my favorite shop, and the service writer was amazed at my fix. He is listing the car for someone interested in cheap wheels or a project car. They have been servicing it for about 10 years now and know more about the car than I do!

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#48
In reply to #44

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 2:08 PM

Okay... that's it! If you, now, after all of our suggestions in trying to help troubleshoot your vehicle, sell the car before knowing what causes the no-start problem, we're done offering free advice. In the future we will need a deposit before providing any help.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 3:42 PM

Or at least you gotta buy the beer...

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 4:14 PM

What!!! only a beer... I settle for a 8 oz Omaha stake.

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/13/2008 5:33 PM

Ried Ried Ried you have to fix the car

Or tomorrow it won't start

You got plenty of solutions

Go ahead with the execution

CR4 for answers waits

Too many we are, not eight

If you don't want to fix the car

You got to take us to the bar

A lot of beers we are going to drink

As penalty for the long wait

The whole bill you are gonna have to pay

Ried chorus sings

OHHH... 93 Ford T what have you done !!!!

Gremlin, Gremlin get out of there you bastards !!!!

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/14/2008 7:20 AM

ROFLMSAO!!! Paul Simon is sweating bullets...

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#53

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/15/2008 2:56 PM

Since the battery tray is located near the front, I would suspect that slamming the hood it temporarily reestablishing a loose/faulty battery cable connection. Check these at both ends of each cable and clean/tighten as needed. Also check/tighten battery hold down to prevent battery movement.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/15/2008 8:21 PM

Hey Friend, he gave up, don't worry about more suggestions...

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/15/2008 10:30 PM

DID NOT!!!!

I have been some what distracted. And plans have changed somewhat since the original post.

I did get a replacement vehicle. But I also still have the Ford.

The dealer did not offer much for trade (and actually offered more of a discount for NOT trading), and my sister-in-law is desperate for cheap wheels. She has offered to buy it, so it stays in the family. I will want to let her and my father-in-law know what to look for to fix the problem. One problem is this post will take 15 pages to print!

Stay tuned for further developments!

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/15/2008 11:32 PM

Dear Ried:

We wish the best for you.We are happy you got a good deal and someone of the family is going to get the benefice of having the Ford T, but I want you to know that we are happier Thant anybody else, since the Ford T is going to be in the family neighborhood and "we are going to have a chance to know what's wrong with the car", so your sister in law won't have to cycle the hood twice a week.

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#57
In reply to #55

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/16/2008 6:04 AM

Offered you a better deal to NOT trade it in? What a flivver! Sis-in-law p1$$ed you off pretty bad, didn't she?

At least if you don't get the problem figured out, it's not impossible to deal with!

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#58

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/16/2008 6:12 AM

Reid,

I just thought of something I should have thought of before. But first we need to know one thing about your car:

Has the TFI-IV (thick-film-integrated 4) ignition module ever been replaced on your '93 Ford?

Although I'd be surprised if it has not, if such is the case then your problem may well be with the module. That module, while an excellent performer, had a well publicised design flaw leading to premature failures, which Ford was never really able to pinpoint; but which resulted in module failures in most Fords in which these were used, including 1993 models. These failures resulted in class action lawsuits around the country which (the most of which) were joined to and settled by the case litigated in California. The California consent order provided for reimbursement of module replacement part & labor plus certain other qualifying expenses. I'll say more about how the settlement relates to your Taurus in a moment, but first some thoughts about the no-start failure mode (if can be called that) that you are seeing.

In settling the dispute, Ford did so denying any design fault...probably due in part to the inability to establish any persistent failure mechanism...or even a common failure mode. When the module failed at about 60K miles on my pickup it was only after a fairly long previous period of somewhat erratic and inexplicable symptoms--symptoms which I can only guess were actually related to the ultimate total module failure and permanent no-start condition:

  • Momentary cutouts while driving at freeway speeds (these were so occasional and of such short duration, they were deemed more a nuisance (or cause for profane outburst) than a serious problem. Also, no simultaneous symptom, state of maintenance, or ambient condition was ever able to be associated with the cutouts...try as I may.
  • Otherwise engine performance that was nominal in all respects and in all conditions.
  • Several temporary refusals to start, followed after only several seconds or so (maybe as much as a minute) of wait time by successful ignition and run on re-attempted start. (If there was ever an occasion upon which I opened and shut the hood between start failure and re-start success, I don't recall.) It was only shortly after the "crazy start" problem presented that...
  • The final, permanent failure manifested when the engine started seemingly normally on initial try, but just as quickly stalled (at idle)...never to be successfully (out waited and) started again...until (after towing) the mechanic installed a new module along with new reluctor (aka, coil).

How might this experience relate to your problems? For one, even though opening and closing the hood would seem to suggest a cause-effect relationship with hood operation, it could just as well be indicative of a "wait time" between no-start and yes-start during which the hood was opened or closed...where the wait time is what actually "solved" (for a time) the no-start problem. (This is not to say that slamming the hood might not also have "jogged" the module...somehow.)

So I would suggest that a good course of action would be to leave the car at a good shop and request diagnostics be run. If memory serves, it was not that expensive...about $90, give or take. If the module turns up defective, expect additional, replacement charges at around $350 (+/- $50) (again per recollection from around 1997)...with mine, module replacement included a new coil at recommendation of the shop...just for good measure; meaning: although a new module would almost certainly have worked with the old reluctor, ... might as well pay the small extra amount for coil during the module replacement rather than pay the tear down labor charges all over again if the aged coil needs replacement in the future. (The shop's selling point was a bit sweeter, however: they claimed in effect that new modules and new coils just "go together" much better...who could resist.

If my experience is any indicator, a Ford owner would expect to get resolution that is permanent, by replacement of an OEM TFI-IV ignition module. After mine was replaced, all symptoms, including the hesitation problems, have been totally banished...for some 40-45K more miles...and on a vehicle that just keeps on humming along flawlessly in its 21'st year.

As to your getting any reimbursement under any consent order, although it won't hurt to ask, I am doubtful your Taurus would qualify..even under court orders still in affect, if any. But having to pay (considering what you'd gain in return) should not be a source of distress anyway...given that the mileage on your car already exceeds the (national) 100,000-mile, implied limited warranty on US vehicles. (You could think of yourself as being unlucky that the module didn't fail sooner, but also lucky that it lasted so long!) Coincidentally I seem to remember, that in the Class Action settlement it was stipulated that cars with 100k+ would not qualify for reimbursement.

Oh, one more thing...about when it would be best for you to look into the module matter. When speaking about diagnostics above, I should have emphasized that the module was "totally failed" when the no-start diagnostics service was performed. I cannot say, however, that such testing would have implicated the module when it was still in the failing, but not fully failed, condition. So the question for you would be: whether to continue as you've been doing until that final failure (that final no-start) before ordering diagnostics...or to do the diagnostics now in expectation of (and hoping to avert consequences of) the final failure. May I suggest that you inquire of a good tech whether or not their diagnostics can isolate an intermittently failing module...and do so without without fail? If they can't guarantee it, then it might be best to wait and have the tow truck waiting in the wings (so to speak). Or, if the module is, indeed, the original...then $500 give or take might not be too much to pay for troubleshooting your problem "by replacement" (i.e., without diagnostics)! In any event, if the module's the problem--and I now strongly suspect it is--my experience would seem to say it won't be long before your no-start condition becomes irreversible...by any number of hood closings.

Hope this was all clear enough...and helps solve your (family's) problem.

PS: Here's something about the modules; I didn't read it yet:

TFI info There's lots of other info on the Web, too: keywords Ford TFI-4 (or IV).

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/17/2008 1:03 AM

You would encourage the OP to spend $500 because your car, and many other cars had defective TFI modules, before checking for loose battery cables and ground wires? Ford had a high percentage of electric fuel pumps fail. might as well replace the fuel pump. Transmissions were poor on these also. Throw one of them in as well. Catalytic converters don't last much more than 100,000 miles. Where do you call it quits?

Diagnosis is the answer.

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/17/2008 7:15 AM

A very witty put down, to be sure; but, unfortunately, a put down of its writer, not of its intended object—also, an example of the loss of deductive and inductive TS&R (trouble shoot and repair) skill that has accompanied the growth of computer-based (human-out-of-the loop) diagnostics over the last few decades. To further illuminate what was already said in this thread starter, a few expository points to enhance reading comprehension for all viewers...

  • Troubleshooting by replacement is a standard, widely accepted diagnostics approach, and has been so increasingly for quite some time. Moreover, the increased use of that technique has gone hand in hand, both, with the use of electronic control circuitry in place of mechanical switching subsystems and the increased reliance on high-cost diagnostics capital. In many circumstances, whether by manufacturer design, or by repairer intuition, "fault diagnostics by replacement" confers significant advantage, especially cost advantage.
    • Caveat: While it is true that, when employed by manufacturers and repair service departments, such cost advantages will often not be passed on to the customer, a sufficiently informed, astute customer can often "maneuver" so as to benefit nonetheless:
      • By the way he "deals" with a service provider when ordering services
      • By performing the replacement part purchase and installation labor himself
        • (for example, installing an Ford-owner-purchased module probably cuts the price to half or less than paying a shop for its purchase, markup, and installation)
      • By a combination of self help and service provider help
        • (for example, self installing a module and purchasing a minor tune up to verify its final calibration)
  • Bob, you made the point that, even if "many other cars had defective [factory installed] TFI-IV modules," that would always be insufficient...to justify (or risk) diagnostics by replacement. One must question, however, if you would hold that same opinion in conjunction with the truer premise: that mostin fact, virtually all—factory-installed TFI-IV modules have [or will] require replacement to correct premature engine-run failures.
    • You might also have been more circumspect (before deriding what had been reasonable advice) had you also considered, that the symptoms described in the OP have been shown (in uncounted thousands of cases) to be those most consistent with ignition module failures in Fords.
      • Caveat: The other component failure that will cause symptoms similar to (but still a bit different from) those described in the OP—a failure the correction of which Bob's advice (to pay extra for "diagnosis" no matter what) is not possible to avoid—is that of the TPS (throttle position sensor). While fault isolation, as well as replacement alignment, of that component requires the use of test equipment available only to commercial auto service facilities, TPS flaws typically are accompanied by latching of "Check Engine" fault codes, which is not the case with dying or failed TFI-IV modules. These facts notwithstanding, and apart from subtle differences between module and TPS failure symptoms, it can be possible in some circumstances to intuitively/inductively eliminate a TPS fault:
        • Like the TFI-IV, TPS's have been shown to be prone to premature failure in some mid-eighties to mid-nineties Ford models; and, as often as not, in cases of TFI-IV module failure the TPS will have already have failed at some prior time and been replaced, under original limited warranty or otherwise. Likewise, factory-installed TFI and TPS components have in common that, once replaced with "dealer" or after market parts, those components are reliable, such that engine symptoms are highly unlikely to recur during the usable life of the vehicle. The upshot of this is:
          • That owner service records or remembrance of prior TPS replacement will serve as a fairly reliable "diagnostic" implicating the ignition module as the cause of engine failure...especially in combination with other drive-ability symptoms indicative of intermittent or permanent ignition module failure.
  • Finally, only a less-than-careful reading of my post could have led to an insinuation (by derisive resort to generalized examples)—whether that it showed an intention to refute or diminish anything posted by anyone else, or that it recommended dispensing with preliminary visual or quick-test inspections—or have failed to note the careful choice of word intended to prevent any such impression.
    • Clearly, one would hope that a simple inspection or test/tweak might reveal some minor or lesser flaw presenting the same symptoms as ignition module impending failure in OPer's Taurus. Similarly, one might hope that opening and closing a hood is other than highly unlikely to repair, or diagnose, an engine no-start condition in any car; but for me and everyone I've known it would be a first. (And it seemed less than courteous to simply ask Ried if he had tried cranking the engine with the hood left open...for what good, if any, that would have been worth!)

So, now that that is hopefully cleared up: I also hope it was obvious enough, that when I said my money's on module failure, I was only trying, based on experience, to point out where Ried's troubleshooting efforts are likely, in my judgment, to end up; and to provide some pointers as to how he might get there as painlessly as possible.

Bob, no doubt your response was well intended in its own way; but it is worth noting that over haste in throwing in one's counterpoint, especially when done so disparagingly, can have the unintended consequence (to the very person sought to be helped) of diluting (at best) or poisoning (at worst) what might otherwise have been a thread containing just the answer that was needed. Better, sometimes, to simply hold back...until it becomes unmistakably clear that more "help" won't turn out to be...harmful.

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#62
In reply to #60

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/17/2008 1:50 PM

I commend you on a very well written reply to my post.

I personally have to interact with all of the members of my work place in a rather odd way. I am charged with repairing their work vehicles, but choose not to repair their personal vehicles. I hear many stories from some of them. Some real horror stories. "My car would not start. The shop replaced the starter, battery and alternator. The car was dead again the next day."

Most problems in a vehicle can be diagnosed by some means. The no start the op has would be relatively quickly narrowed by a few simple tests. Open hood, check for spark. If spark, disconnect any of the injector wire connectors and check for voltage across the terminals . If there is a pulsing voltage signal, check for fuel pressure at the under hood test port.

I just find it wrong for "mechanics" to just throw parts at a problem. The pattern on this forum is for people to tell us all how the problem they had was fixed. That is all well and good, but if you read some of the topics that have come across CR4 in the automotive section, you will see that if a person would have followed the suggestions that came in from all of the well intentioned posters, The expenses would have been well beyond practical. Go back and look at the Cavalier not starting, the recent RV problem and way back the Ford pick up with the rattle.

I have no way of knowing what is wrong with the Taurus. at this point you are probably correct. More Taurus vehicles have stopped running from the TFI, than anything else. BUT, not everything that ever stopped a Taurus was a TFI module.

I have tried to stop the people here from guessing. I will be the first to admit that substitution is sometimes a necessary part of diagnosis. But even there it comes in two forms.

1) I don't know what is causing your problem. Of the possible parts that cause your problem this one is the cheapest one. Lets try this first.

2) I don't know what is causing this problem. Lets change the most expensive one first. If the customer pays for that repair, and it doesn't work any of the other repairs will be cheaper and easier so if the customer is upset, we can be good guys and do the repair for free, or reduced price.

This is happening every day. Repair facilities do not get paid for diagnosing the problem, only for fixing it. (the exception to this is computer troubleshooting)

If you spent two hours trying to find the reason for a dead battery after a long weekend only to find that a cigarette lighter had stuck in the "in" position. What would you charge that customer? What would you tell the customer had been wrong with their car? I have all the confidence that you would tell the customer the truth and have a laugh about it and it would be over.

But what about the shop owner that has a salary to cover, an electric bill, insurance and all of the other fixed costs? Would he pull the alternator, paint it and guarantee it for the next 90 days?

All I have tried to do was help to eliminate CR4 members, and some guests, mrom having to spend money needlessly. I am sorry if you feel that I was too "witty". I was only trying to make a point. It seems that I have hit it . Again Thank you for your reply. It shows you also care.

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#61
In reply to #59

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/17/2008 7:29 AM

100K CATs? and more? Please tell which make and model. I'm in the market for a new car and would certainly want to check that one out.

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#63
In reply to #61

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/30/2008 10:00 AM

When do you replace catylitic converters? I never have and have had a couple of vehicles beyond 100K.

Any way, I am off now to deliver the Ford to my sister in law and father-in-law for their fun and amusement. Wish me luck!

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/30/2008 7:45 PM

You replace them soon after overheating them from fuel contaminants, or after using leaded fuel. Another time is after you have physical damage to the cat-con.

Enjoy your trip. It is written that the longest journey begins with the first stumble from the Ford.

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#67
In reply to #64

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/01/2008 10:30 PM

Well, I am back from delivering the Taurus to my sister/father-in-law. And lived to tell about it.

First, the slow coolant leak became quite rapid during the trip, ended up adding 3 gallons of water over the 250 mile trip. A 3/4" heater hose had cracked, and was one of the first things we replaced at my father-in-laws.

I did give my father-in-law the 24 page print out of this post, and he was very impressed with the breadth of responses received. You guys get a high rating in his book!

He did go after the ground connection at the battery, in addition to cleaning and retightening two multi-wire ring connecters grounded to sheet metal near the battery bracket. He does intend to go after the quick connection for what looks like two #12 wires by the fan shroud also. His interest was also piqued with the mention of the TFI module issues.

I had not experienced any starting issues for a week before delivery and so far I have heard of none since delivery.

Anyway, my sister-in-law is pleased as punch, thinks she got a great deal, and is undeterred by both headlights going out one her first drive home. The headlights have leaked water and need to be either repaired or replaced before replacing the bulbs within the lights. She thinks she can get together a shopping list of parts and go junkyard diving for replacements off or dead Taurus's.

So far everyone is "Living happily ever after!"

Thanks everyone! Time for a beer to celebrate.

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#69
In reply to #67

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/01/2008 11:04 PM

"I had not experienced any starting issues for a week before delivery and so far I have heard of none since delivery."

So all it needed was to have the hood slammed good?

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#70
In reply to #69

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/01/2008 11:08 PM

Maybe it wanted attention and to be loved. Maybe it missed a tender touch. Maybe it needed a kind home to get out of its depression.

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#73
In reply to #67

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/04/2008 8:19 PM

Eureka!...maybe.

Your father-in-law might well remember the days of sealed beam headlight lamps, after they went halogen, up until these were phased out starting around 1992. I recall—back in the day—driving the Baltimore beltway to work when pavement renovation was going on...lots of little bits of gravel being thrown up here and there. On arrival home at dusk one day I noticed a very small hole in the front of a headlight lamp—on the passenger side, I still remember. Since the light still seemed to function normally, I didn't give it further thought...deciding to defer replacement until the lamp failed. Over the ensuing weeks I began having inexplicable "battery" problems exactly identical to what you described for the Taurus. Unable to pinpoint any cause—all systems seemed normal except when they weren't—I was resigned to carrying jumper cables, having them in the ready to bum a boost at a moment's notice. Then one day, serendipitously you might say, I decided to go ahead and replace that halogen lamp—it being the only obvious "electrical" defect. The replacement proved to be both the diagnosis and the repair for the battery overdischarge problem. As I learned shortly after, any breach of hermeticity in a halogen lamp will cause it to draw abnormally high current; even more than any alternator can sustain without rapid battery depletion. After that (yes the '87 pickup is still running fine) I always carry a spare lamp, against the possibility of headlamp road damage; and the problem has never recurred...without rapid repair before a dead-battery/no-start problem rears its ugly head.

So it could well be that water in the Taurus' headlamp housing eventual led to heat related fracturing or disengagement of a lamp (or maybe something else), where even the smallest opening can lead to leakage.

As to the chemistry/physics behind this problem with halogen lamps, maybe someone else can enlighten us? One wonders as well whether such problems once so common with halogen sealed beams might not have played a part, aside from styling and aside from a push by Japanese mfrs, in the move to housing-enclosed headlight lamps.

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#74
In reply to #73

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/04/2008 8:22 PM

Oh yes, the vehicle in question was a Ford. The original alternator went on to serve an additional 20 years before finally giving up in 2007.

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#76
In reply to #73

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/04/2008 11:04 PM

Maybe not. Even though the current battery is 6 years old, the engine turns over fine, it just does not fire all the time. This is not a battery problem. And the 93 Taurus has the housing enclosed headlight lamps, not sealed beam.

Anyway, my FIY did call today to report he did get an occurance of the starting problem. Also an over-heating issue my sister in law had. And complained about loose steering. And asked about the brakes. (What did they expect for a 16 yr old car???) He did comment the engine runs very well, when it does start!

I will talk to my regular repair shop tomorrow to get a print out of service they have performed and mail it to FIY for info.

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#82
In reply to #76

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/06/2008 5:32 AM

Thanks Reid. My Ford is 21 years now; with no issues (except that crappy stuff Ford calls body paint). Here's one of those overheat problems (and solutions) that is commonly overlooked in older cars. I'll explain how I discovered it in my Ford...you can take it from there.

During the first ten years or so since purchased new, I always noticed on the temp gauge that the gauge registered towards cool, never reaching the midrange (needle level) point except under heavy load in rather hot weather. By about the vehicle's 12 year, I began noticing that the engine was running hotter, at level and even above on the temp gauge. There was never boil over or anything else dastardly, so I assumed this was normal due to age/wear-and-tear. Then about a year ago, the radiator sprung a small seam leak and needed replacement. Now, whenever I do a cooling system flush and replenishment (that's every two years and also includes T'stat replacement and use only of distilled water), I also make it a habit to blow/hose/pick clean the radiator fins facing forward through the grill. But when I removed the failed radiator and was able to see the fins on the back (facing the engine and concealed/obstructed from cleaning by the fan shroud), I observed lots of buildup between those fins...enough so that no light could penetrate...enough so that little if any air was able to make it through the radiator to blow through the engine compartment. (I also observed heat stress fracturing in the fan hub, which I attributed as another result of inadequate air flow over the fan due to air blockage through the radiator.) Anyhow, after the new radiator with its pristine cooling fins was installed, the temp gauge went right back to registering just how it had when the vehicle was new. In the year since then, it has yet to reach the level, midrange temp, in fact, even when driving in temperatures well above 100F. From this lesson, I resolved to make a new habit, at the bi-annual cooling system service, of also detaching the radiator at the top; leaning it, and blowing/hosing from the rear to clean out any otherwise inaccessible deposits on the back fins. Subsequently I spoke to a dealership service manager who advised my that this problem is quite common and the correction even more commonly overlooked; and that the dealership performs just that kind of cleaning...

Hope this helps at least a little with your cooling system problem.

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#83
In reply to #82

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/06/2008 5:57 AM

Good info, thanks! Older cars ('50's - '60's) like I grew up learning to drive had pretty well exposed radiators, and it was easy to hose off the rear side if it ever looked nasty. I don't recall this ever being much of a problem, though. Newer cars have shrouds that enclose the rear side to where you can't see the fins, and I wonder if this doesn't trap crap that used to just blow off? I'm gonna start checking mine more often, though!

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#84
In reply to #82

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/06/2008 10:05 AM

Good post, my father-i-law is very familiar with these issues, but a reminder never hurts.

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#86
In reply to #82

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/07/2008 1:58 PM

You are absolutely correct with this. As automakers are increasingly using ductwork to bring air flow to radiators, the ability to remove debris is getting harder.

This problem is also present in the other heat exchangers on vehicles. Ever notice less air flow from your heater, or air conditioner. Same problem. These are usually harder to get to than a radiator. One additional note on heating problems. If you are seeing damp spots on your radiator from slow losses of any fluid, clean the location and stop the leak. Even a slow seepage that does not seem like a problem, is allowing dust, sand and anything else in the air to stick to the area. This will also block airflow if it is a heat exchanger.

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#87
In reply to #86

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/07/2008 9:14 PM

I've noticed in our current vehicles that Toyota abd Subaru have "Cabin Air Filters" for the interior HVAC systems. This is a great idea, and I am surprised no one considered providing this many years ago.

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#89
In reply to #82

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/08/2008 5:09 AM

I drove V8 Rovers for many years, one of these had the fan come loose whilst driving & it cut a circular swathe through the bottom RH corner of the radiator, a triangular area about 8" wide from memory. I 'fixed' this by taking the radiator out & pouring epoxy resin over the area from both sides, it cured the big leak but substantially reduced the effective cooling area. There was no difference in the temperature the engine ran at.

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#90
In reply to #89

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/08/2008 6:13 AM

I'm not sure I get your point. Presumably it was the radiator tank that was injured. Heat radiation from the (liquid in the) tank is comparatively insignificant. If the patch also covered and obstructed part of the cooling fins and tubing, it could be that what seemed to be "no difference" in coolant temperature was actually a result of a viscous fan clutch remaining engaged and compensating for reduced cooling air flow through radiator. Typically, that is not an optimal situation...in the fan's or the engine's best interest.

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#91
In reply to #90

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/08/2008 6:41 AM

No, it was the radiator fins that were damaged but reducing the cooling area seemed to make no difference. The car had a viscous fan coupling but that only induces slip at high revs when the airflow due to forward speed is enough to provide cooling, it does not compensate for any increase in temperature.

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#98
In reply to #91

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/12/2008 5:49 AM

Thanks for clarifying, Nigh. Mine was just a suggestion as to a possibility.

Your interior radiator fin gouge and repair is different and distinctive from my situation. While part of your interior grid was obstructed, the rest—and the front/exterior fins—were open for passage of fresh air. No doubt, there is "redundancy" of surface area that permits of continued cooling without discernible change in engine temp gauge. And this would explain why a change was not noticeable to you.

In my Ford's situation, the front fins were fully unobstructed, but the rear fins closest to engine and fan were totally obstructed. (Air could flow halfway into, but not through, the radiator.) The fresh air flowing in over the front fins, and back out in the direction it came from, was sufficient to prevent catastrophic overheat (at the moderate speeds and short distances I typically drive). However, because no air at all could penetrate through the interior fins, the only air available to the fan was heated, more or less static, air within the engine compartment. What fresh air there was would have come from beneath the car...but air typically flows out beneath the engine, not in. This, together (in the absence of direct flow through the radiator) with abnormal, turbulent flow characteristics (which, in addition to heat, probably contributed to stress fracturing in the 5-blade plastic fan), resulted in a sufficient diminishment of (coolant and engine) cooling so that the operating engine temp remained elevated above "normal" on the gauge...until the radiator replacement.

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#78
In reply to #73

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/04/2008 11:35 PM

"any breach of hermeticity in a halogen lamp will cause it to draw abnormally high current; even more than any alternator can sustain without rapid battery depletion"

I would have thought that the headlight circuit breaker would have caused a flashing headlight as was common on older Fords. Another current protection device that should have prevented this is the fusible link protecting the alternator charging circuit.

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#79
In reply to #78

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/06/2008 4:27 AM

It is a common misconception to think of an alternator as a battery charging device. A nominally-adequate-output alternator will supply (foremost) the total load demand (ignition, lights, accessories) of the operating vehicle. What's left (residual alternator output) then supplies re-charging current to battery. Normally (e.g., when headlights are drawing current normally), alternator output is more than enough to supply all loads, then recharge the battery, and have output capacity to spare. It's only when there's no output to spare (or less) due to abnormal loading, that the battery gets short shrifted as to the alternator output.

Case in point: with a healthy battery, if an engine starts up quickly consuming relatively little battery charge, then the excess alternator output (over and above output supplying engine and electrical loads) will be sufficient to bring battery to full charge (to bring battery to full resistance) within a relatively small number of miles. However, if, say, the engine had to be cranked persistently, such that significant battery discharge occurred before ignition and run, then it would be much longer--perhaps many miles of driving--before the residual alternator output was able to bring the battery to full charge again. So it could be said that battery charging off an alternator is a function of time relative to battery discharge state while alternator is running.

In the case described for my Ford with sealed beam halogen lamps, because of excessive draw from the broken lamp filament (because of loss of lamp sealing) the alternator would function normally, trying to supply current at nominal 12V for the headlight circuit in addition to engine and other consumers. There would be no reason for any breaker to break (and, without short to ground in the alternator output, no reason for an inline fuse to blow). It would simply be a matter of there not being sufficient total alternator output so that there was residual current enough for battery recharge...or if any residual current...not enough so that sufficent time of driving permitted the battery to gain charge fast enough. It could be said--expressing it another way--that in the competition for use of alternator output, the headlights were using so much that the battery would eventually lose the race...recharghing, if at all, to a lesser and lesser degree with each mile the car was operated with the headlights on.

Hope this makes sense.

Again, I am hoping there is a lighting device expert who can say just how the halogen serves to reduce current draw of an incandescent; why lamp hermiticity is necessary to prevent drawing above normal current.

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#81
In reply to #79

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/06/2008 4:59 AM

Correction to para. 3 of post 79:

Reads: broken lamp filament

Should read: punctured lamp's (intact) filament

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#85
In reply to #79

Re: Weird Starting Problem/Strange headlights

09/07/2008 1:45 PM

"because of excessive draw from the broken lamp filament (because of loss of lamp sealing)"

"There would be no reason for any breaker to break (and, without short to ground in the alternator output, no reason for an inline fuse to blow). "

The headlight circuit on Fords is protected by a circuit breaker, built into the switch itself. That breaker is designed to not allow any current beyond what is needed for the headlights to operate when used on the high beams. If your fractured lens was causing the halogen lamp to use additional current, the circuit breaker should have opened , then closed repeatedly as long as there was more current passing through the headlight switch. That "auto reset" style breaker is very similar to the flashers used to make your turn signal lights flash. The current for the circuit is passed across a bi-metallic strip that heats and expands at different rates. This causes the strip to bend, which then moves the end of the strip away from it's contact end. As the connection is broken, current stops, the strip cools down, and returns to original location. As the strip returns the contacts pass current again and the series repeats. The higher the current, the hotter the strip gets. The hotter the strip gets, the longer before the current flows again.

If your fractured lamp was using additional current, the circuit breaker should have made your headlights turn on and off when used.

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#65
In reply to #63

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/31/2008 12:45 PM

Hello Ried, good luck to you man ....and if you get to know what's wrong with the T please inform.

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#68
In reply to #65

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/01/2008 10:33 PM

Commentors 14 and 42 are top of the heap, special mention to 58, and OKs for 3, 8 and 15.

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#66
In reply to #63

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

08/31/2008 8:41 PM

I suppose it would depend on how stringent one's state emissions limits are. Typically a new-car CAT is good for about 65K, give or take; and after market for perhaps 10-20K, and accordingly priced. However, running with an exhausted CAT, other than emissions, typically does not impede overall vehicle performance noticeably if at all; it's just like the CATs were not there. If 100K-plus (and till functioning as required) is attained on an originally equipped CAT (or CATs), more likely than not it's because the miles were accumulated very quickly...lots of highway miles in a short period of time.

Anyway, good luck with it.

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#71
In reply to #63

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/02/2008 9:20 AM

If you have one replaced at a dealership or service station, they are required to hold it for a certain period of time (EPA regulation). I do not know how this would apply to a do-it-to-yourself project, however. Best of fortune to your sis-in-law!

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#72
In reply to #71

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/02/2008 10:22 AM

Except in California, catalytic converters and powertrain control modules are warrantied for 8 years, or 80,000 miles.

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#75
In reply to #72

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/04/2008 8:59 PM

Bob, can you provide some authentication? Or is this perhaps something you've heard. I'm not saying it isn't true; only that as a 17-year Calif. resident I've never heard of it; and would anticipate a lot of furious people when they find out they've been cheated. If the 80K CAT warranty is in fact the case, it would

  1. Mean that after market replacement CATS are exempt, or are prohibitively expensive.
  2. Apply only on a depletion-pro-rata basis, where the warranty replacement CAT would not be free...only less costly than paying full price...possibly as expensive as full price for an after market CAT.

Another thing argues against the 80K CAT rule. A typical vehicle with 80,000 original miles would be approaching its 7th year of service and beyond...and have passed the normal 5-year depreciation phase at which many new car buyers elect to replace their old cars with new. Because ongoing state fleet replacement provides one important avenue towards the goal of minimized noxious emissions, it hardly stands to reason that the state would also mandate a warranty that has the effect of encouraging cars to be driven longer before replacement.

Another thing...today car's certified for California emissions are essentially the same as Federal EPA certified's sold throughout the country, the only distinction being a slight difference—increasingly little or no difference in recent years—in factory ECA (computer) calibration. There are no other differences, such as with hardware components, that I am aware of.

As to "power train modules"...not sure what you mean by that. Can you elaborate?

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#77
In reply to #75

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/04/2008 11:30 PM

The information came directly from the warranty information booklets that I had at work. One was a 2000 Chevrolet. The other was a Ford, but i do not remember the year. The books did have a different warranty time for California vehicles (less ), Medium duty trucks, and Diesel engines. Have you looked in the warranty booklets that came with your vehicle? If you want, I will try to copy the pages in question, and fax or email them to you.

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#80
In reply to #77

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/06/2008 4:51 AM

Bob, thanks. Yes, if it's not too much bother, I would be very much interested, largely from a legal standpoint, in seeing the Ford or other late model warranty info...if you want send it PM on CR4 (or PM me and I can give you an email address). Because I have not recently purchased a late model car, I haven't seen recent warranties. Older models, as I recall from my own owner manual, did not state a specific warranty for the CATs. However, all passenger vehicles in all states carry an implied (Federal and, hence, State) warranty of 100K miles on drive train and regulatory 50K unconditional on emission systems. Since warranties (unless imposed by law) are always for the purpose of protecting the seller (mfr), then I'm led to suspect that the manufacturer's publishing of a CAT warranty came about as a result of court judgments against the manufacturers. Anyway, looking at the wording and seeing any escape clauses (such as protate provisions) in the CAT warranties should tell be fairly well what's going on. This will also be helpful since a new vehicle purchase is in my plans within the next year or two.

Again, thanks for the updated information...most appreciated.

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#88
In reply to #80

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/07/2008 9:39 PM

If Ike behaves himself, I will back at work Monday. I will copy the warranty book page for you.

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#92

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 11:09 AM

Thanks to all who posted on this thread.

My wife got a letter from her sister. She is happy with her "new" wheels, and says my father-in-law is enjoying the tinlkering to get everything fixed up to his standards.

I would guess he did take the time to check wiring connections, as I have not heard of any more starting problems.

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#93
In reply to #92

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 12:37 PM

I've been sneaking over there and slamming the hood every day.

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#94
In reply to #93

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 4:18 PM

What a gentleman!!!

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#95
In reply to #94

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 8:06 PM

Hello Ried,

This have been one of the post I have enjoied and learnd the most in the car mechanic field, besides it did has a happy end. Everybody is happy.

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#96
In reply to #95

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 10:05 PM

It was well worth the time for me too. The way it started I would not have guessed an electrical issue, especially with grounding. However, in the end ground connections appeared to have been the culprit.

And I got a chuckle or two out of it in the process! Can't beat that.

PS: Stop being anonymous, and join the forum. It is great to get to know who the players are.

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#97
In reply to #96

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/11/2008 11:25 PM

Hey, Ried,

It was well worth the time for me too. The way it started I would not have guessed an electrical issue, especially with grounding. However, in the end ground connections appeared to have been the culprit.

I may have missed a post or two, so just how did you arrive at the conclusion that a bad ground was causing the no-start condition? Thanks.

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#99
In reply to #97

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/12/2008 8:38 AM

See post #14. Not a bad ground, but bad ground connection. Near the battery there are 3 ring terminals making ground connections to the sheet metal frame. One ring terminal with two wire seems to be the main culprit. I don't know exactly which component they ground, and I don't own the car anymore to check it out. My father-in-law did clean these connections and the problem seems to have disappeared.

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#100
In reply to #99

Re: Weird Starting Problem/ Solution

09/12/2008 11:28 AM

This is "standarded"; author of post #14. Ford used for many years a unique grounding system for the ignition system, fuel injection (both the supply circuits; fuel pump, etc. and the delivery system; injectors, etc.), ECM input/outputs, so forth.

A main component of this are the grounds, as Reid describes, on the sheet metal frame. These are VERY prone to failures and intermittent problems. I have seen rust, acidic corrosion (even several inches up into the harness), metal eaten away (wire and connectors), stripped screw holes, and insulation decay.

Also, a lot of the Fords use a special splice connector in these harnesses which is also prone to a lot of the previously mentioned problems.

It is possible (I have done it) to wiggle and pull on these harnesses and make the engine stumble and stall. Vibration and jolts will cause this as well.

Really, a very common problem on these vehicles.

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