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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
192,852 miles.

I pushed down on the wiring harness when reattaching the (now) somewhat shorter "H" hose. Thought this could be a problem, so I then ran the "H" hose UNDER the harness (which seemed better). Any chance I could've broken a wire in the harness? I didn't move it very much at all, but those wires have been drying out for 13 years now. The car started right up afterward repairing the hose, but suddenly stopped after idling for about 5-7 minutes ... then it wouldn't start again for at least 15 minutes when it "caught" and idled for about 1 minute. Hasn't started again since.

Besides the usual P0430 and P1131 codes, I noticed two other codes: P1744 and P0340. Don't know if they just showed up today or if they've been there a while. My guess is it's the latter because I once saw P1744 about 7+ years ago and it was due to the cooling system not cooling the tranny fluid sufficiently (which is what has been happening again lately with the coolant leaking out of the "H" hose ... and the Degas tank before that). Temp gauge has been running past mid-scale at idle ... an indication of low fluid, and I've been filling as needed to prevent overheating until this weekend when I finally installed a new "T" on the "H" hose (it was leaking at the molded "T").

P0340 I saw pop up about a year ago during very cold weather. I wouldn't doubt that the damn magnet on the sensor has once again fallen into the synchro like it did 8+ years ago, but would this cause a no-start condition? I wouldn't think so...

The car cranks plenty strong. Just won't "catch" and start. Up until today and the hose job, it had been running fine. Even drove it this morning about 10 miles. Could I have a coincidental fuel pump failure? Seems TOO coincidental, doesn't it?
 

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192,852 miles.

I pushed down on the wiring harness when reattaching the (now) somewhat shorter "H" hose. Thought this could be a problem, so I then ran the "H" hose UNDER the harness (which seemed better). Any chance I could've broken a wire in the harness? I didn't move it very much at all, but those wires have been drying out for 13 years now. The car started right up afterward repairing the hose, but suddenly stopped after idling for about 5-7 minutes ... then it wouldn't start again for at least 15 minutes when it "caught" and idled for about 1 minute. Hasn't started again since.

Besides the usual P0430 and P1131 codes, I noticed two other codes: P1744 and P0340. Don't know if they just showed up today or if they've been there a while. My guess is it's the latter because I once saw P1744 about 7+ years ago and it was due to the cooling system not cooling the tranny fluid sufficiently (which is what has been happening again lately with the coolant leaking out of the "H" hose ... and the Degas tank before that). Temp gauge has been running past mid-scale at idle ... an indication of low fluid, and I've been filling as needed to prevent overheating until this weekend when I finally installed a new "T" on the "H" hose (it was leaking at the molded "T").

P0340 I saw pop up about a year ago during very cold weather. I wouldn't doubt that the damn magnet on the sensor has once again fallen into the synchro like it did 8+ years ago, but would this cause a no-start condition? I wouldn't think so...

The car cranks plenty strong. Just won't "catch" and start. Up until today and the hose job, it had been running fine. Even drove it this morning about 10 miles. Could I have a coincidental fuel pump failure? Seems TOO coincidental, doesn't it?
Not trying to oversimplify, but, from your symptoms, I gotta ask how old is your fuel filter. I had a similar prob years back, and a new fuel filter solved it. Pump gas has a lot more particulate crap floating around in it these days vs. back in the day when we had carbs and you could run dirtier gas vs. now fuel injected. Sounds like you're not getting fuel though. I'd check there first....

Edit: It's all coincidental when our mileage gets that high, isn't it???
Engine should still fire in default setting with no synchro signal, IIRC.
 

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Car will start and run with a bad cmp (camshaft position sensor), but run like crap because it affects fuel injector timing. If you disturbed the ckp (crankshaft position sensor) or soaked it with coolant, car will crank but not start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dan,

It's the factory-original fuel filter, I believe. I could check my records, but I don't remember ever changing it. But that would be REALLY coincidental because now we're saying I only had ONE more crank left after the hose job and the filter then became totally obstructed. My mitsubishi went 13 years and over 250,000 on its original fuel filter. When it reached the point where it would crank forever but never start, I finally broke down and replaced it because it was the cheapest thing I could try. Didn't fix it. It was either the fuel pump or (more likely) the computer - which was spewing several new codes, all unrelated. No resolution there. Hope this one doesn't have the same outcome.

Sheila,

That's interesting ... Crankshaft Position Sensor... I'll have to look into that. But I didn't soak anything because the coolant level was low when I pulled the "H" hose off - almost NO coolant came out! And before reattaching the hose, I backflushed my heater core (a routine maintenance item with this vehicle), but again - no splashing occurred there, either. Wouldn't that throw some kind of code on the computer?

But one other thing I forgot to mention that I wanted to add because it might be relevant:

I bought a new car about three weeks ago, and so the Taurus has been relegated to weekend-only duty lately. For several weeks prior, however, it often seemed to be driving itself in the 40-60 band. I could take my foot off the pedal (without cruise engaged) and it would hold speed on any road that was mostly flat. I was thinking I had a stuck throttle that was going to need some attention. Then, since driving it on weekends-only, it had been high-idling at startup.
Could these symptoms mean the fuel pressure regulator was going and has now failed?
 

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For several weeks prior, however, it often seemed to be driving itself in the 40-60 band. I could take my foot off the pedal (without cruise engaged) and it would hold speed on any road that was mostly flat. I was thinking I had a stuck throttle that was going to need some attention. Then, since driving it on weekends-only, it had been high-idling at startup.
Could these symptoms mean the fuel pressure regulator was going and has now failed?
That sounds more like the idle Air Control valve sticking open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
WJC:

Can the IAC be cleaned, or is it just usually replaced?

Sheila:

So the Crankshaft Position Sensor is sometimes changed purely on a hunch? My Crankshaft Position Sensor is still original from the factory. On the other hand, I've changed the Camshaft Position Sensor (and he damaged synchro underneath) both once. Looks like I'll be at least changing those two again soon...
 

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^ Should be stored if a code has been set. Get it read. Its just that if the engine is cranking but not starting, cel wont be illuminated. Check eng. lt. will appear for a few secs. with key in the on position, extinguish while cranking and reappear when running if a code is set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I DID read the codes right after I drove the car about 10 miles in the morning, reinstalled the repaired hose, then ran it 5 minutes at idle checking for leaks. No crankshaft code was on the computer (just the 4 mentioned previously).

And, of course, now the car won't start so no more codes will be set.

I won't be able to get back to this until the weekend...
 

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A scan tool that will show the RPM PID would help isolate a faulty CKP. RPM PID should show cranking RPM if the CKP and its wiring are operating correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Idle thoughts while I wait until the weekend to get back to the '97 Taurus wagon:

I STILL can't believe this no-start problem isn't SOMEHOW related to repairing/re-installing that stupid hose!

I had to remove the throttle linkage bracket from the engine to reach a hose clamp directly below: two bolts to remove the plastic cover, then 2 more bolts to remove the bracket. I didn't tamper with the throttle wire at all; just laid the bracket with the wire still attached to the side momentarily.
Could THIS have caused a starting issue somehow??? There was also a hose coming from the oil cap to the throttle body accordian hose that I temporarily removed, but it got reconnected with the throttle linkage bracket/cover.

Jeff_K:

Well, my code reader only reads codes (Actron). I got it back in 2000 when the Taurus had it's first problem (VSS). I HAVE considered buying one of those laptop programs that would provide more useful information. Can you recommend one that would show the RPM PID? I had been looking at Auto-Tap and Elm-compatible software (or devices).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Finally got back to the Taurus today and I'm embarrassed to report that the problem APPEARED to be battery-related!

I have a drum full of Taurus parts from a 'donor' sedan I bought a year ago to fix the front-end damage on my wagon. I had pulled out the coil box, the CrankShaft position sensor and others in anticipation of doing some quick substitutions to try to find the problem, but before starting that, I looked down at the battery and it LOOKED very clean to me, but just to make sure, I pulled off each connector and cleaned with baking soda/water mix, re-attached, and P-R-E-S-T-O, the car started right up first try!

Questions:

1.) There was just a tiny dusting of orangey-ness on the fastening bolt at one end and the crimped wire at the other on the NEG terminal. The inside contacting surface and post were both clean and clear (the POS terminal was clean all-around). The NEG terminal is one of those bulky lead replacement heads from Advance that bolts down on both ends. The original sheet-metal "loop"-style connector corroded off a year or so ago. Should I replace this head with another "loop"-style connector? I chose the replacement I did because I thought it would be easier to install and would give a more positive contact, but maybe it's more prone to corrosion or "false contacts"???

2.) How can a car crank so strongly, not start, and the solution be the battery terminal(s) ... when the terminals appear to be clean??? I always thought battery-related issues were manifested by VERY SLOW CRANK or NO CRANK AT ALL (and either a bad battery or corroded connections or both)! Not something that looked like a fuel-delivery or spark problem.

3.) The repaired "H" hose with the inserted plastic "T" - which was the start of all this - appears to be dry ... no more leaks. However, I heard a sizzling sound coming from the cap on the coolant recovery tank (degas). Is this normal? I don't remember ever hearing this in the past? Could the cap be leaking?

NOTE: I did not spray carb-cleaner into the throttle body to prove it was a fuel-related problem because there was a sticker on the TB saying NOT to do this. Is this because the cleaner would loosen the built-up carbon which would then get sucked into the combustion chamber (possibly fouling something up in there?)
 

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Maybe the problem isn't the clamp surface but the wire bundle itself. The strands can corrode and break, and it isn't always visible without stripping back the insulation a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Could be, but the (heavily-stranded) NEG wire is clearly visible and fully exposed where it is crushed by the bolted-down bracket. Looks perfectly fine, but maybe it isn't? When I originally put this replacement head on about a year or more ago I thought it looked solid. I think a strand or two cracked and fell off, but there was STILL a thick bundle remaining and it clamped down clean and tight. I Drove it for about 8 months without a problem until one day (out of the blue) the car wouldn't crank AT ALL. Since the battery was almost 7 years old (longest I'd ever owned a battery) and the charging system wasn't indicating any failures, I just assumed it was the battery and I bought a new one. The car then started and ran OK for a few more days, but then once again - it wouldn't crank AT ALL. Jiggling the wires while turning the key revealed it was the NEG cable. Resetting the crimped wire at the terminal head fixed the problem (even though it didn't LOOK to be a problem).

That's why I'm thinking maybe I should just get rid of this lead replacement head (and maybe the entire NEG cable, too). One thing I noticed while cleaning the NEG post and terminal was there really wasn't any sparking when I tapped the terminal head to the post. After cleaning, there was a LITTLE, but it still seemed weak. Maybe the terminal head has poor conductivity? Or maybe it's the cable itself?

Something tells me this is going to be happening again in the future...
 
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