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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I am actually writing on behalf of my neighbor lady who I am trying to help out because her 1998 Taurus 3.0L SOC with 144k miles wont start. She has limited income so I am trying to fix it for her and have her pay for parts only. Last year she had a "mom and pop shop" replace the spark plugs, wires and fuel injectors because they said it needed it because the car started running a little rough. :unsure: Pulled a spark plug and wires and they look fairly new but can't vouch for injectors.

I don't work on cars professionally but have worked on all my own vehicles for the past 30 years and have done just about everything on a car aside from tearing down an AT. This one has me stumped :eek:

Anyway here's what we have so far. She said that the car started running rough and she could smell some burning. She managed to get the car home but it wouldn't start the following day. It sat for a couple weeks before I asked her if her car was broke down.

I checked under the hood and found that the crank sensor wire had rubbed through the insulation at the corner of the block and caused a short. The wires where exposed and the insulation was melted and charred. I replaced the wire and rewrapped it. There where NO blown fuses. The 3 month old battery was also completely dead assuming from the short.

I am not getting any trouble codes on my ODB2 scanner but then again the battery was dead.

I recharged the battery and tried to start the car. It turns over normal but doesn't fire at all. The Haynes manual says that if the crank sensor is bad then the ignition coil pack won't fire at all. I checked the ignition pack with my ohm meter and it checks out fine and within speck. I also have spark on all 6 cylinders with my ignition spark tester.

The fuel pump runs and the inertia switch is pressed but I don't have a fuel pressure gauge to measure pressure. However, when I press in the stem on the schrader valve on the fuel rail while the car is off, fuel squirts out so there must be some pressure.

There seems to be plenty of air coming out of the tailpipe when we turn the engine over so the catalytic converter isn't clogged.

Sprayed starting fluid in the intake at the throttle body several times and this did NOT make a difference when trying to crank the engine. Figure if it wasn't getting fuel then at least with the spray in the intake it would want to start for a few seconds.

So we have good cranking, spark, air and starting fluid at the intake but the engine doesn't want to fire up even for a second.

Plugs and wires are almost new. Ignition coil pack fires on all cylinders. Assume the injectors are ok since they supposedly where replaced last year. Some fuel pressure on the rail and fuel pump runs. Good airflow. Starting fluid in intake didn't start engine.

I've also removed and reconnected all sensor plugs several times to rule out corrosion on the contacts and the Haynes manual says only the crank sensor failure will keep it from starting.

Don't think the timing chain would fail at 144k miles? Low compression wouldn't happen over night?

Any help will be much appreciated by myself and my neighbor.


Thanks and best regards,
Tom
 

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Let's start with the basics. If its got compression, spark and fuel it has to start. We can't do too much to the compression, it is what it is. However spark and fuel we should be able to check. If the health and status of the spark plugs and ignition cables are unknown I would start here. Incorrect plugs and cables will fail over time.

Fuel is a bit more tricky. When was the last time she replaced the fuel filter? You may have to buy a fuel tool to measure the pressure on the fuel rail. Verify it within specifications. You may want to verify the injectors are getting an electrical signal as well. A multi-meter may help in diagnosing the injectors.

This has the look and smell of an F & E problem (Fuel & Electric). Find which system is defective.

Monsoon
 

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I would carefully check the ckp (crankshaft position sensor) wiring from beginning to end. If nothing found, slap on a new $18-20 sensor, or snag one from a self service salvage yard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
First I want to thank you for your quick replies. Please everyone keep em coming

@Monsoon... The plugs and spark plug wires are only a year old and in great shape. Will see about a way to check the injectors with my multimeter and to see if they click with my auto stethoscope but they are also only a year old.

She doesn't know when the fuel filter was replaced but wouldn't it clog over time causing the engine to run rough for a while and not just over 2 days? Also see next paragraph.

I have a good strong spark, compression and good airflow out of the exhaust when we crank so shouldn't the motor want to start when I spray ignition fluid in the intake at the throttle body regardless if the injectors are not functioning or the fuel filter is clogged or completely out of gas which it is not? I tried several times to start the motor with the ignition fluid sprayed directly into the intake with no change in the engine sound when turning over. First couple times I sprayed maybe for 2 or 3 seconds then a little longer maybe 4 or 5 seconds the next few times thinking it might not have enough starting fluid. This was over a period of maybe 5 or six minutes.

@sheila... According to the Haynes manual and another source I read yesterday on line. If the crank sensor or associated wiring was faulty then the ignition would not spark at all. I replaced the burnt wires with automotive 16ga wire and rewrapped it. It has good spark on all six cylinders.

Like I said, it's got me stumped. More starting fluid maybe? I don't want to flood/hydrolock the engine or cause further damage or fire.

I don't want to just throw parts at it that couldn't be returned. If she can't fix it for under $500 then she may as well think about getting another used car for a grand or two.

Regards,
Tom
 

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I would carefully check the ckp (crankshaft position sensor) wiring from beginning to end. If nothing found, slap on a new $18-20 sensor, or snag one from a self service salvage yard.
^ +1 - The ckp can cause you to get spark, just at the wrong time causing your engine not to fire. Though if the ckp sensor is bad I would imagine that the cam synchronizer is too.
 

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Does by chance this vehicle have anti-theft & if so, when you recharged the battery & hooked up the cables, did it set the alarm horn off?????
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No Anti Theft. Will try to do some more diagnosis tomorrow hopefully. Still Scratching my head. :(
 

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^ +1 - The ckp can cause you to get spark, just at the wrong time causing your engine not to fire. Though if the ckp sensor is bad I would imagine that the cam synchronizer is too.
I had to replace my cam sensor on my 02 taurus at about 247500 kms (153000 miles) when it went it was rather sudden a couple of times I could start it then it would just die, start it again and die again. This happened at a gas station close to home when it did start i went straight home and called the mechanic. I had the mechanic put in new spark plugs and wires and intake man gasket when he changed the sensor; total cost was a hair less than $300
 

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i think pats was standard equipment in 98. look for a theft light on the dash. should be solid when you turn the key. if blinking pats is the issue
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First of all I want to thank everyone for your help. This morning I did some more diagnostics on the crank sensor and associated wiring as well as the MAP sensor as suggested. I didn't do any repairs only more trouble shooting and low and behold it started. Why all of a sudden ??? We were both very happy UNTIL!!!

UNTIL... I took the car for a test drive. Got about 2 two miles and I started to smell a little oil burning. Came to a stop and the engine quit and smoke started billowing from under the hood. Opened the hood and *^#(*&@()#&# she had a blown head gasket. Milky oil all over the front of the engine. The water temperature gauge was normal. She told me that it was leaking water and it also overheated but not too bad. That explains why I had to fill the radiator reservoir previously because it was empty.

Previously I didn't notice any water in the oil after it sat for the two weeks when I checked the dip stick. Maybe all the milky foam had settled down and the water was at the bottom of the oil pan. What a letdown for both of us. I feel so sorry for my neighbor lady especially with this after the car started and we where both so happy it did.

I managed to get the car home another half mile.

Will search the forums for head gasket replacement. Oh boy :(

Again... Thank you for your help guys and gals.

Tom
 

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OK, good feedback on your trouble shoot, bummer on what you discovered!!!!
 

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i think pats was standard equipment in 98. look for a theft light on the dash. should be solid when you turn the key. if blinking pats is the issue
My 98 vulcan does not have pats.
 
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