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Old 04-16-2012, 04:14 AM   #1
snowy4
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00 Not starting, even with a push start - Please help!

Hi, my car won't start. I am not too great when it comes to cars, but I will try to explain this in as much detail as possible.

When I turn the key the lights come on, as normal. Someone told me to listen by the gas cap for the fuel pump. It is making a high pitch whining noise which I assume is normal? When I turn the key past the spring loaded position to turn the car on (with the clutch and brake depressed) it does not do anything. Perhaps on the first attempt after not attempting for quite a while it may pretend to give half a clicking sound, but for the majority of the time it makes no sound at all. The battery is fine according to two mechanics. I believe the grounding cables look fine if I looked at the right cables. The battery is not corroded and the connections look good. I followed the instructions in this post - http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=283822 - from whynotthinkwhynot for bypassing the clutch switch before following his suggestion of creating a new thread for my issue.

A mechanic that looked at it told me he was 95% sure it was the starter.

The one thing that puzzles me is that I have tried to push start it 4 times. 3 out of 4 times we pushed it and got what I think should have been enough speed to start it, and it wouldn't start. The fourth time I went down a hill, and definitely had enough speed to start. On this 4th time it sounded as if the engine was turning like it wanted to run, but nothing was firing. I assume that that means that the spark plugs were not firing. It seems to me that push starting bypasses the starter, and it seems like I would hear a sound from the starter if the problem is with the spark plugs. Does the fact that push starting didn't work mean that there is an issue other than my starter?

All this came after it would not start randomly for a couple months. It would start fine usually, and then it would not start with the same symptoms - lights and power were fine, but nothing more and no sound when I turn the key. I would come back an hour or a day later and it would start and run normal. It seemed to happen more when it was cold or rainy, but that might be my imagination.

Any help diagnosing this would be appreciated. I will be working on it this week, and would like to be sure it is the starter before I replace it, if that's what i have to do. I have limited knowledge and tools so please describe with detail! Thanks for your help!!!


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Old 04-16-2012, 05:57 AM   #2
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Tap the starter with a hammer while your buddy tries to start it, once started, drive to parts store and buy starter, however, leave car running. Definitely sounds like a starter bud
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Did you have the key turned on when you were push starting? The car should push start.

Now that being said, the correct terms for non-starting cars are:
1= Not cranking
2= Crank but not start

Number one is indicative of bad batteries, bad starters, bad ignition switches, problems with anti-theft systems that disable the starter, and very very rarely bad relays. You basically can't worry about anything else until you get it cranking. You can try push-starting, and that should work. It's distressing that it didn't work for you. I assume you were trying it in 2nd gear not 1st, and that you had the key turned on, and enough speed.

Number two could be indicative of a whole host of engine problems stemming from a lack of one of the 3 things gasoline engines must have in order to start: fuel, spark, or compression.

Since you're working on it at home, I suggest following the bulk of the advice so far- sort of. Look in the yellow pages and locate a local parts rebuilder, or ask around at your local parts stores/independent shops to see if any of those guys know someone who rebuilds starters or alternators locally. You will find one, if not more. Then call around to those guys unless someone you know well recommends one above the others. Find a place that repairs what you have and charges you for what they did, not a place that has parts on the shelf and charges the same price regardless. Remove your starter, take it there, and have it rebuilt. Usually these places will test it first to see what's wrong with it, or you can stop by your local parts store and ask them to test it. Now that you've called around to a local rebuilder, compare the difference in price between their rebuilt parts cost, and what you're spending. You can imagine that it was rebuilt in some sweatshop here in the US or a nearby NAFTA country for pennies.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:22 AM   #4
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Hey, thanks for the responses. That was fast! So yeah my car is not cranking, sorry about the terminology. I have tried having a friend tap the starter while trying to start the car, and it changed nothing. Still not cranking.

When I push started the car I did it into 2nd gear. I definitely had enough speed (going downhill). And I'm fairly certain that I had the key turned on (I don't remember specifically but it seems like common sense and that I would have done that). However I will try again on the chance that maybe I forgot that and report back.

How can I check the ignition switch? My key has an issue (I've read about with a lot of focuses) where sometimes it won't turn because the tumblers are stuck (the explanation I've read). I just give it a whack on the back of the key towards the ignition when that happens and it turns. Could this have something to do with a bad ignition switch?

Also, a friend told me I can just hook my starter up to the battery and see if it works once I get it out so that I don't run the risk of a shop saying that it is bad when it's not. Is there a risk that I will damage it by doing that? I will take your advice of finding a place that repairs starters and comparing that to buying one outright. That's a great point. Thanks for the help. I will report back regarding trying to push start it again.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #5
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Do you have any lights blinking when you try to crank it? I would def get your tumbler replaced. However usually the whole whacking the key into the ignition is a 1 time deal, clearly you've stretched that a bit, lol. By whacking it, you bend the keys allowing it to fit to "your" customization key code, lol. However it will still turn your ignition switch. You can us a jumper cable and fire up the starter, just make sure you don't let it just crank away, bump it to verify operation and leave it alone. If you really want to get crafty, just jump it while it's installed, jack up the car, and if you have a spare battery, use it to jump your starter. Of course, make sure your key is on and the car is in neutral.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #6
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it could also be your clutch pedal position switch aswell
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
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By whacking it, you bend the keys allowing it to fit to "your" customization key code, lol.
I read that it "jiggles" the tumblers into place so that it can turn.

I have tested the clutch position switch by pushing in the button manually and by unplugging the switch and connecting it with a bit of wire.

I tried compression starting the car again today. I towed it up to the top of a hill. Then I rolled down and let it get going about 25. Had the car in second gear and let the clutch out. I made sure the key was turned. Again the car would not fire. It sounded like it got the engine moving, but it was definitely not running. Does this indicate another issue? Should I continue with taking out the starter and testing/rebuilding it? Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:29 AM   #8
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No cranking issues:

1) Does the dash light up? Radio on? Other electrical working?
2) Do the lights on the dash go out when turning the key to START?
3) Is anything flashing on the dash lights- like a picture of a lock?

1) No, the dash doesn't light up, no other electrical working= bad battery or other problem. Sometimes if things are lighting up, but you notice that the radio keeps resetting the time, that is also a bad battery.
2) That's normal, I'd worry if there was no change, that would be indicative of a bad ignition switch, or some other ignition switch related problem. The ignition switch is what routes power, and is mounted on the column under the dash. Turning the ignition lock cylinder operates the switch. Your problem with the key not turning is the ignition lock cylinder. You might consider replacing that ASAP because if the key stops turning, you will have to drill out the lock cylinder in order to replace it. While the key turns, it's a 5 minute repair. You'll have to visit a Ford dealer to purchase a lock cylinder, and then either have the dealer match it to your key, or go to a locksmith to match it to your key. If you don't match it to your key- taking some parts guy's advice to purchase a cylinder with keys- then you will see a flashing lock on the dash and the car won't start.
3) This shows that the PATS (passive anti-theft system) is operating, and the engine will not start. Everything else is going to work ok, but when you turn the key to START nothing happens. This is due to an RFID chip in the key, and your PCM is programmed to identify that chip and allow the car to start. It does this through the starter relay in the under-hood fuse box. Look in your owner's manual and find the starter relay. IIRC it's a 30amp relay, so you can swap it with another relay like the headlights so you can verify operation. By that I mean put it in place of the Low or High relay, and then make sure the lights work. Most likely the relay will be operational. Bad relays are rare.

You should also check your fuses to be sure no small fuses are blown in either box. I'm not sure of the circuit number, but there is a circuit that operates the coils on the starter relay this is run through the PCM for PATS, and clutch position switch. I would expect to see a 1.5 or 3 amp fuse for this circuit if it has it's own fuse. I'm not sure of that.

You really need an electrical tester that will show DC voltage. That will tell you if you have a problem with the starter or the wiring to the starter. All those problems above are problems with the wiring to the starter. Sometimes starters will click when turning the key to START, but not always. Remember, with the battery connected you will have 12v to ground (engine block- metal starter body) on the big bolted wire going to the starter. There will be some other smaller wires connected to the starter. Put one tester lead on a ground, and the other one one of the smaller wires. Have an assistant turn the key to START and hold it. Test both wires for 12v to ground. If you pass this test, then you have a bad starter, and everything else is working as it should.

I'm sorry if my directions for testing aren't 100% accurate, but I don't have your engine or starter. This is a general starter test for vehicles that don't have a remote mounted solenoid. The 2 small wires are for the coil that operates the solenoid. One will be a hot and one will be a ground. It can be wired 2 different ways: constant hot, and switched ground: when the key is ON you'll have 12v to ground on one, and nothing on the second one. If you check continuity to ground, you will not have continuity on either wire. The second way is switched hot: you won't have 12v to ground on either with the key ON, but you will have continuity to ground on one. Switched hot is the most common method.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:40 AM   #9
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Help, I have a brand new starter, alternator and change my battery post and my car will still stall and sometime the battery light will come on. What might be the problem.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:16 AM   #10
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Best to start a NEW thread for YOUR problem...

You'll get posts directed to YOUR issue that way....

That said, need more info. from you as to what is happening, since it's NORMAL for the battery light to come on after the car stalls....

So your issue MAY be "stalling", NOT starter/alt./battery...

How's the idle speed?

Luck!

Last edited by sailor; 04-17-2012 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Sp.
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