Taurus SE 2004 - No Start / Little start then putters and dies. - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Taurus SE 2004 - No Start / Little start then putters and dies.

Hi TCAA,

I am new here, but have been lurking here for a few days to understand why my 2004 Taurus SE (Vulcan) with 85K miles won't start. Since this is my first post, I'll try my best to describe the issue as well as what I have tried so far.

Problem:- Car won't start. It cranks (started is about a year old, batter also a year old), sometimes it sounds like it wants to start and would sputter for maybe a second before dying. The problem appeared out of the blue. I drove it in the night just fine, no issues whatsoever, come back to start it in the morning and no go.

Things I have tried so far based on what I read in forums here:-
- KOEO test - I turned key to ON with engine OFF several times. I can hear the fuel pump priming each of those times. But no start when I then turn it all the way.
- Checked inertia switch, it is pressed down all the way.
- Fuel filter is 1.5 years old so haven't done much with that yet.
- Checked gas, also added 1.5 gallons (it was at 60 miles to E before I added some more)
- Depressed gas pedal halfway, pumped it a few times, depressed it all the way, and still won't start.
- Unplugged IAC power plug, no start.
- Unplugged MAF sensor power plug, no start.
- Held open throttle plate halfway and then tried starting, no go.
- Bought an OBD scanner, and it throws no codes, also marks Fuel system as OK.

So basically, the only thing I haven't tried at this point based on suggestions already mentioned in this forum is measuring fuel pressure using a gauge. I plan on renting a fuel pressure gauge and hopefully learn about where to attach that thing to measure fuel pressure this Friday evening.

Any help on what the next steps should be would be really appreciated cause I have pretty much run out of ideas and might just have to get it towed to a mechanic this weekend. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by taurus_Gen4; 01-10-2019 at 11:41 AM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 01:10 PM
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I would pull a front plug and look for dry or gas flooded. If flooded, pedal to the floor then crank until it runs. Been there recently on '03. Mine cranked ~3 full seconds then started but failed to run up to speed for 1-2 more seconds and lots of smoke, then ok.
If plug is dry, you are getting no fuel to the cylinders.
-chart-
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 02:08 PM
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It will never start with the gas pedal to the floor, as this disables the fuel injectors. Foot to the floor during crank is flood clear mode. Pumping the gas does exactly nothing on a EFI engine.

Of course it wont start with the IAC unplugged! This tests nothing.

Have you checked for spark? If your scan tool shows PIDS, monitor the RPM PID during cranking and see if the PCM is getting a signal from the CKP. Also check the fuel pressure PID. Because you hear the pump running does not mean the fuel rail is getting fuel at the correct pressure.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @chartmaker and @JeffK. I doubt my cheapo scanner does PIDS. I will try the other tests and report back here in a day or two. Any suggestions on a capable scanner/scanning software that is not too expensive?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 04:26 PM
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Forscan (free download) and an ELM327 around $25 on Ebay or Amazon.
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05 Taurus SEL Duratec - my daily driver
04 Taurus SES Duratec - wifes car - TOTALED
06 Taurus SE Vulcan - wifes new ride
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter car
Toy #1 - 86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner) - LOTS of mods
Toy #2 - 88 Tbird Turbo Coupe - LOTS of mods
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. So I ran some more tests tonight. I got an ignition tester and the two plug wires I tested had spark on crank. Then I pulled those two plugs as well, and they were dirty (see pics). Not wet, but dryish, black, sooty deposit (carbon). I then performed the "resistance over center electrode" test and "continuity test" on one of the spark plugs with my multimeter and it failed both of them. I then cleaned it good, and it passed the resistance test (recording 9Kohm) and also passed the continuity test. I have also ordered the ELM327 and should be able to do more once it arrives tomorrow.

So since the plug was dry (I have no idea how "wet" it should have looked after 2-3 cranks) does that more or less confirm fuel is not getting to the engine? Or, are the plugs just not producing a spark because of being dirty and I need to clean all of them? Thanks again for the help!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 06:26 AM
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Not clear what you mean by a resistance test on the spark plugs??

Plugs are so cheap just replace them if you suspect an issue.

After several no start cranks, the plugs should look pretty darn soaked with gas, assuming you removed at least the first one within a couple minutes of of the crank no start episodes.

Those spots on the ceramic insulators near the tips look like the plugs have been subjected to so pretty serious detonation.

05 Taurus SEL Duratec - my daily driver
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06 Taurus SE Vulcan - wifes new ride
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter car
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, I was thinking of replacing the spark plugs. I will try to do that this weekend. And the resistance tests were just what's mentioned here:- How to Check Spark Plug Resistance? [Archive] - VAF Forums, I think I saw a video on youtube on how to exactly perform it. I should also be able to check that fuel pressure PID once my ELM arrives.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taurus_Gen4 View Post
Yep, I was thinking of replacing the spark plugs. I will try to do that this weekend. And the resistance tests were just what's mentioned here:- How to Check Spark Plug Resistance? [Archive] - VAF Forums, I think I saw a video on youtube on how to exactly perform it. I should also be able to check that fuel pressure PID once my ELM arrives.
Pic of what I think a clean running set of plugs should look like at their end of life. Gap starting to open up but car running perfect.


On the ones in the your pic, no sign of fuel flooding so you no start is likely, "no fuel". Start and die is sign of injectors working but no new fuel pressure to make it run. So: fuel pump is not running/pumping.


Checking resistance on plugs is useless. You need new plugs as maintenance, not part of the non start issue.


-chart-
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Last edited by chartmaker; 01-11-2019 at 10:39 AM.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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I am suspecting the fuel pump as well at this point. And sorry I did not mention this, but these are not original spark plugs, they were replaced at the 75K service, so have about 10K on them. I will run the fuel pressure test this evening and hopefully get more confirmation on a bad fuel pump.
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