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Old 01-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default intermittent no start, low coolant light, O/D lockup buck

2001 Ford Taurus 3.0 Duratec, 118000 miles

Slight miss/buck at 40 in O/D for past few months with very low load. Thought it might be torque converter lock up problem, but car runs/ran fine and with mileage figured drive till it drops tranny out of it. Only does this in O/D. Could be a miss, but feels like TC lock up issue. NOT a coilpack problem, had this before, much different.

Sometimes when cold will idle high for about 10 seconds, then calms.

Has had a Low Coolant light that comes/goes. Coolant level is fine. No overheat even during hot summer we just had. Light would simply come on and stay on, then turn off and stay off, then turn on again.

3 weeks ago I pull into a gas station 100 miles from home. 1/4 tank. Put $20 in it to get home. Went to start it, no start. Motor spins and spins. Let it set for a minute, tried it, stayed on key for 30 seconds, started. Ran fine for another 500 miles with plenty of starts. Dismissed it as oddball thing.

1 week ago I go to get gas, car won't restart. I was close to home, called my wife to bring my truck with tow rope etc. Right before hooking up, tried car again after sitting 20 minutes, started immediately, drove home.

Today stop at walgreens. back in car. no start. let it sit 3.5 hours, still no start, long attempts with starter. another 2 hours, no start, long attempts with starter. 3 more hours, starts in 5 seconds. drive it home, back into driveway, shut it off. no start. 2 minutes later it starts immediately.

No engine codes. No missing at idle. No wierd sounds, no vac leaks. I tapped crank/cam sensors, jiggled all wiring, tapped map/tps sensors...no changes. purrs. Fuel pump sounds like it should.

I was thinking a crank sensor or fuel pump, but am not sure. Don't want to go throwing parts at it.

TIA

Tony
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You should read my new no-start guide: Why won’t my car start? - Comprehensive No-Start Troubleshooting Guide

Sounds like it may be a fuel pump issue. Perform the fuel pump key cycling tests as indicated.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree it sounds fuel pump related. The symptom at 40mph you said is low load. You sure it's not high load? That's a common way for a misfire to start even without the PCM picking it up. When you go up a hill at 40mph with the TC locked do you get that misfire feeling?


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Old 01-07-2013, 09:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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did read it. comprehensive, good job

can hear fuel pump. don't have a in line gauge, but will be getting one today along with a new filter just to rule it out even though it's only 20000 miles old.

buck/misfire is at LOW load and under 50 only. don't have any real hills here, I'm in Houston. No other gear, O/D only.

At WOT this bull still runs very very strong.

I've read the low coolant light is a common problem and is a sensor in the tank. For $150+ I'll live with the light. Have ruled out that this would be causing any driveability problems.

What is puzzling to me is the buck/bump in O/D...assuming the no start and this are related it would be a fuel pump, but at WOT if pump is weak car should be starving for fuel not running fine???

I'm stumped and don't want to start throwing parts at it. Fuel pump expensive and dropping tank no fun.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So the fuel pump was starting on subsequent key cycles every time?

You may have two problems here. The problem with the fuel pumps is usually that they don't want to start spinning when you start the car. One the pump starts and is running, then it works just fine the rest of the time the car is on (WOT and all).

When the car shifts into overdrive and you're going 45-50 MPH it's actually a fairly-high load situation. Engine load has more to do with the engine vacuum than whether you have the pedal down or not. If you have a scan tool you can actually look at the calculated load value. High load means you're squeezing a lot of air into the cylinders, and it also means the spark requires more energy to fire. So usually it indicates that you have a weak coil or worn spark plugs (an ignition problem). You should try to test the coil if you can get to it. Watch the cylinder drop video in the Misfire Guide.

When was the last time the plugs were changed? What kind of plugs?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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roughly 20k on the plug change, motorcraft since I had heard so many problems with other plugs. i'm sure it's not a coilpack. I've only been down that road once with the bull, but my '01 5.4 F150 eats coils. big difference in the way it acts with a coilpack problem vs this.

initially the 45mphish buck is what lead me to the possible crank sensor issue.

didn't get a pressure gauge today, will have to do it this weekend.

went to start it in the driveway this pm and sure enough, no start. i plan to leave it alone until I can get the gauge. even though i can hear the pump i'm curious if the pressure is up. the car sits alot. my wife has a job from the house so the car doesn't get driven as much as it should. i think the sitting may have messed with the fuel pump, the ethanol in the gas is BAD news for fuel systems.

starting to lean toward dropping the tank. has anyone tried to access from the top by cutting a access hole?
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If it was a crank sensor you would most likely have a code or see your tachometer fluctuate when it does it.

I think somebody did get to the pump by cutting a hole below the rear seat. You'll have to do a search. It's more risky though!
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Tony, google: sho phoenix project, then click on "maintenance" for the fuel pump access door tutorial with pics and measurements.
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