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Old 12-28-2012, 05:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Won't start, gas smell in oil

Hello All and thanks in advance for any help,

I have an '03 Taurus with the 3.0 OHV. Here's the full story;

Last summer I replaced the plugs, battery and starter but not the plug wires. Tuesday I drove home from work in the snowstorm sloshing through ice and snow for about 6 miles. Wednesday morning I went to leave and the car wouldn't start. It cranked over well but just wouldn't fire up. I was thinking the plug wires were the culprit.

I planned on getting those after work and installing them but decided to ask my nephew whom works at a Ford dealership if I might be on the right track. He said his master tech didn't think so and that it sounded like a MAF sensor or cold temp sensor. Therefore I didn't get the wires and put those on. When I got home I checked the oil and it smelled like gas. I also noticed my coolant reservoir was almost empty. So I guess I'm wondering what ideas you all have as to what could be wrong? Did I just flood it trying to start it and that is why I smell gas? Could it be the plug wires or something like a sensor? What about the coolant? I hope that's unrelated. The car never overheated, no check engine light and never ran rough. It just wouldn't start yesterday.

Any help or ideas is much appreciated.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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How much did you crank it?
Unburned gas will go through the rings into the oil. Change the oil.
Could just be flooded. Hold the gas pedal to the floor and crank some, then release and try it. In case the IAC is stuck, try cranking with the gas pedal just slightly depressed.
It could be a bad ECT if it was unusually cold, or if it just happened to go out.

Few years ago I plowed through some snow to get home and left the car in the street while I shoveled the driveway. The car started to spit antifreeze because there was snow stuck in the radiator fans.
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I cranked on it quite a bit I will get to changing the oil and try your suggestions. If I am able to start the car doing what you said should I go ahead and replace those two parts or can I test them? Looking back I did smell antifreeze either that day when I got home or the next morning.
So wires probably aren't the problem, huh?

Sorry I'm such a noob
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the engine will not start with your foot off of the pedal but will start if you press down a little, odds are you need a IAC.

As for the ECT, I advocate getting a scan tool. You can see the temperature reported to the PCM on it. The ECT is cheap but many things can cause flooding. A decent scan tool not only reads codes but can tell you what all of the sensors are reporting. They are indispensable for a quick diagnosis.

BTW, remember to never leave the battery uncharged. That shortens its life and an uncharged battery can freeze.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Before you start throwing parts at this problem, check for code(s) and see if there is anything and go from there. If there is nothing, check for spark, have you done so yet? If there's no spark, it's still going to inject fuel into the cylinder regardless. Also if the car was flooded after trying to start it and it sat this long, you can try starting it again. Hold your foot to the floor while cranking. The second it fires up (if it even will) let go of the throttle. Once you verify it runs, then change the oil and filter.

But first things first, start with checking the basics such as codes, spark, I assume you have fuel if you're getting it in the oil, but fuel pressure is something else to check. Remember no matter how advance and engine is, it still requires the basics to run.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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^+1.......fuel, air, spark, compression.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well it fired right up the next time I tried and drove fine. The next day it cranked a few times, I stopped and tried again and it fired right up. Took it to the local goodyear for an oil change and to have them check it out and they found nothing wrong. Drove fine the next two and a half days then this morning wouldn't start. I took my wifes truck to work and she tried it 5 hrs later and voila, fired right up. Drove about 15 miles with 3 stop and starts during that. Great each time.
I just went out to start it and just got cranking. Pressed the gas down a bit and it started only now it sputtered and almost stalled until i gave it some gas. This went on about 10 seconds until it finally evened out and idled normally.(This is the first this has happened.)
Is my next step the IAC mentioned above or ??????

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Take the IAC off and also take the intake hose off and look at the throttle plate. If either looks dirty, you should clean them first.

When the engine is warmed up (with all electrical accessories turned off), it should idle about 500 RPM when you unplug the IAC. If it dies, then your throttle plate is dirty or somebody messed with it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree. Check throttle plate and IAC. Usually a sign of a dirty or sticking plate when the motor will start right up if you give it some gas.

Behlinla, doesn't the IAC use magnets to control the throttle plate? I thought I heard that somewhere, can't remember.


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Old 01-03-2013, 11:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Sam, IAC and throttle plate are independent of each other. The IAC does not control the throttle plate, it provides a variable "leak" around the throttle plate. IAC is controlled by a 40 Hz 12 V PWM (variable duty cycle square wave) signal from the PCM. The higher the duty cycle, farther the IAC solenoid is open = the more air that bypasses the throttle plate to the engine. The only thing that moves the throttle plate is the throttle cable. In the "early days" of EFI (80s thru mid 90s), there was a throttle stop screw that could be adjusted to control the base idle (IAC electrically disconnected) just like in the very old days of carbs. These days, closed throttle plate position is not adjustable, which is why it is important to have the small gap between the closed throttle plate and the TB completely clear of carbon buildup, etc.
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