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Old 10-26-2007, 12:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am having a difficult problem to diagnose and hope somebody else may have already seen this and solved it. I have a 2000 Taurus, DOHC V6, auto trans, that has a problem with something occasionally shutting off power to the fuel pump. The problem doesn't consistently happen, and only occurs after the car has been shut off and restarted, sometimes weeks between incidents. I will start the car and drive about 45 seconds and the engine dies. After this occurs, I can tell that the fuel pump is not running when I turn on the ignition switch (there is no short "runup" of the pump as there normally is). If the vehicle is left to sit for 30+ minutes, something apparently "resets" and the fuel pump can be heard to run when the ignition is turned on and the vehicle starts normally. The car doesn't die if it makes it past the initial minute of operation and has never died driving long distance. It only happens right after initial startup (power is actually probably interrupted before the car even starts), if it's going to happen at all. It occurs regardless of fuel level, ambient temperature, vehicle temperature or anything else. I have replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump relay and plan to replace the inertia switch (just in case). I am 99% certain that it can't be a bad fuel pump, as a fuel pump would malfunction more than once every few weeks and would not likely reset itself after a 30 minute rest. There are no diagnostic codes and mechanics are baffled. The Ford dealer has no clue what is happening.

What could occasionally interrupt power to the fuel pump and reset itself after a short time? Is there a computer control or other electronics that are tied to the fuel pump operation and could temporarily have a glitch?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 10-26-2007, 12:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks like you looked in all the right places.

I would go back and double check the fuel cut off switch in the trunk. Take the trunk liner off and look at the connector to the actual switch. Also check the switch itself and make sure it isn't tripped or stuck.

Check battery connections, fuses etc..

And there is still that tiny chance you have a bad fuel pump.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply.
I spoke with a very experienced mechanic at a Ford dealership back home in KS (after again being stranded today for 1 hr), and he thinks its the PCM relay, which he said would cut off power to the fuel pump relay if not working properly. This makes sense to me, so I replaced it and will see if the problem still exists. I did several start/drive/stop/start tests and haven't had the problem yet. According to him, a bad fuel pump would seize after heating up for a while and not within 30 seconds of starting the car. My problem always occurs within less than a 45 seconds of starting the car and starting to drive off, indicating that it is losing fuel pressure due to the pump shutting off and then running out of gas. If this indeed solves the problem, I will post again to confirm so that anybody who has a similar problem will be able to reference my solution.
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Old 10-26-2007, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not necessarily. I just replaced a failing fuel pump with exactly that symptom in a 2000 Crown Vic. Car would stall maybe 30-40 seconds after starting, then a few minutes later could re-start and run fine the rest of the day. Went on like that for months, only did it sporadically. Eventually it failed totally, but when it did, it was about 40 seconds after being started following being parked for 2 hours. But that's just one possibility, you very well could have solved the problem already.

I am not familiar with the 2000 fuel pump electrical system on your car, but on older model Taurus' there is a power relay module on the upper left radiator saddle which among other things controls the fuel pump. When the radiator heats it up after you have been parked for awhile following driving, the relay fails to turn the fuel pump on. I cured this by re-flowing the solder joints to the relays inside. But as I say, this module may not apply to your car.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the response. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's fixed. I haven't had the problem occur again.........yet. I'll know for sure after a couple weeks of driving.
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Old 11-03-2007, 08:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Please keep us informed, I've been having exactly the same problem with my wifes 2000 taurus w/90,000 miles. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure this out.
Thanks, Rich
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Please keep us informed, I've been having exactly the same problem with my wifes 2000 taurus w/90,000 miles. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure this out.
Thanks, Rich
[/b]
I may have fixed the problem, but only time will tell. After replacing both the fuel pump relay and the PCM relay (located in fuse box near radiator), I still had the engine die (twice) due to fuel pump shut-off about 30 seconds after starting the engine and driving away. However, this time I only had to wait a few minutes to restart instead of 30 minutes or more as before, so I thought I might be on the right track. I then folded some fine grit sand paper (wet/dry type) and sanded the inside of the two large pin receptacles for these two relays in the fuse box (These are the power supply connections for the fuel pump and likely have discoloration on the pins of your relays from the heat.) Before re-inserting the relays, I lightly coated all pins with dielectric grease to try and get the best possible connection. After several test runs and about a week of normal driving, I haven't had a recurrence of my problem since doing this, but I'll be more confident it's fixed after a few more weeks without incident.

My theory is that the oxidizing or "glazing" effect caused by the current flow through the relay connectors over several years (evidenced by the discoloration on the relay pins) was providing enough resistance to keep the relay turn-on voltage just low enough that the relay wasn't always able to fully activate and provide a constant source of power for the fuel pump. Ideally, one should probably replace the connectors in the fuse box altogether, but this may not be a simple task. If this has indeed solved the problem, then I may look into full replacement of the connectors.

I hope this helps!
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My bet is it isn't fixed yet. Relays are usually either good or bad. I have had problems with the inertia switch in the trunk only working some times. If not that then either the fuel pump itself or the wiring to it in the tank.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, I gained a little more experience with the problem today as it happened while out shopping. This time I was lucky enough to duplicate the problem a couple times after returning home, and did a little troubleshooting with the voltmeter. I replaced the inertial switch and still had the problem, so I checked for voltage at the connector to the inertia switch. I don't have a schematic for the car, but I think the power for the fuel pump runs directly from the inertia switch (someone please correct me if they know differently). Anyway, with the fuel pump audibly working and no apparent problem with the car, I turned on the ignition and checked for voltage at the inertia switch connecton and as expected, I had power. I was then able to get the car to stall after restarting a few times, and duplicated the problem of the fuel pump apparently not running. I then checked the voltage again at the inertia switch and again, there WAS voltage present. To verify that the problem still existed at that moment, I plugged the connector back to the switch and tried to start the car and was unable (there was also no sound from the fuel pump). I then checked the voltage again at the inertia switch and verified that voltage was still present. After a while, the car started again and I could hear the fuel pump come on after stopping the engine and turning on the ignition. So...... unless someone has a better suggestion, I'm now fairly convinced that it probably IS the fuel pump, despite my previous denial to accept it. If there is power being supplied to the pump at the inertia switch, then most likely the pump has some kind of problem during initial startup, correct? Anyway, I don't feel quite as reluctant to replace the pump now, since it seems more likely to be the culprit. I just didn't want to spend the money to replace it without some degree of confidence that it was the true cause.

Any comments based on this new information would be appreciated.

One more question...... At this point I'd say it is the fuel pump or an electrical connection to the pump at the tank as SHOZ123 suggests. Any bad electrical connections in this area would require removing the tank, I'm sure, so does anyone have any suggestions on what to look for so it can be prevented from recurring upon re-assembly?
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you get the entire module it will include upgraded wiring. If not you can crimp the female spade connector or give the male spade connects a bit of a twist.

If you get the entire module it will include upgraded wiring. If not you can crimp the female spade connector or give the male spade connects a bit of a twist.
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