2001 Zetec Wagon, Idles Then Dies, Won't Drive, Then Drove 30 Minutes Home - Focus Fanatics
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
UnorthodoxCreations
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2001 Zetec Wagon, Idles Then Dies, Won't Drive, Then Drove 30 Minutes Home

My wife drives a 2001 Zetec wagon. We've had it for about 5 months/5,000 miles. It currently has 101,000 miles on it. Today on her way home from work it kept dieing on her. She says it did this about 4 times before it just got too bad to drive and she got it to a gas station parking lot. I drove down to meet her with a code scanner and basic handtools to try and rescue her.

I got there and couldn't figure out anything. It would generally start fine and idle for about 3 minutes then the engine would lightly buck a couple times and die. No codes, no dash warning lights. I looked things over and couldn't find anything so I thought we're just going to drive it home no matter how long it takes. I barely made it to the other side of the parking lot. It just kept dieing, no power. At this point it was struggling to restart too. I got it into a parking space and called a tow truck.

Tow truck was supposed to arrive in about and hour. One hour, 15 minutes later I get a call that the driver was on his way and would be there in an hour. I wasn't too happy about that so I decided to start the car again and see what it did. It started fine so I put gas in it since it was below a quarter tank. The car drove perfectly to the gas pumps and drove around the parking lot so I decided to try and drive home. The car ran fine the whole 30 minutes home flawlessly(calling to cancel the tow truck on the way).

I'm stumped with what the problem is. Is the fuel gauge off or faulty? Is the fuel pump on its was out or is it something else? Any ideas?



Last edited by UnorthodoxCreations; 04-09-2013 at 08:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:25 PM   #2
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Its sounds like a fuel issue have you tried turning it on and leave it running for 45 mins. To a hr to see if throws any codes or it could of been running on fumes.

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Old 04-09-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gurkpimpin View Post
Its sounds like a fuel issue have you tried turning it on and leave it running for 45 mins. To a hr to see if throws any codes or it could of been running on fumes.

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When I originally got to the car it wouldn't run for more than 5 minutes before it would die. Since getting it home I haven't messed with it. I was just glad it made it home and it's dark and late. I'll take it to my shop tomorrow where I can let it run longer. According to the gauge it was below a quarter tank but not much lower. The fuel light hadn't come on yet.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:06 AM   #4
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If you are positive about more fuel making it better, you should know there was a recall way back for faulty fuel pump modules that slowly stopped up (with ethanol laced fuels) to make car start having troubles at lower fuel levels in the tank. Verify by whether it shows up worse or at right hand turns or hard sweepers like a cloverleaf exit on freeway. Both my '00 and '02 did it, I simply pulled tank and cleaned out the pickup screen, but Ford and others don't mess with that, instead changing entire fuel pump module. Wise, since driving the car longer with the problem like most insist on doing eventually burns up the pump, it is fuel cooled. I recognized the problem quick and a simple cleaning got both cars back up and running fine until they do it again in another 90K miles. Before bad enough to start dying you may well be able to detect slight missing at high load like pulling up fast in speed entering highway, or your warning it's getting worse. Later the out and out dying happens. Problem generally shows much worse below 1/4 tank, but at the last will get worse and at higher levels.

Gurk, modern FI cars cannot 'run on fumes'............................
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
If you are positive about more fuel making it better, you should know there was a recall way back for faulty fuel pump modules that slowly stopped up (with ethanol laced fuels) to make car start having troubles at lower fuel levels in the tank. Verify by whether it shows up worse or at right hand turns or hard sweepers like a cloverleaf exit on freeway. Both my '00 and '02 did it, I simply pulled tank and cleaned out the pickup screen, but Ford and others don't mess with that, instead changing entire fuel pump module. Wise, since driving the car longer with the problem like most insist on doing eventually burns up the pump, it is fuel cooled. I recognized the problem quick and a simple cleaning got both cars back up and running fine until they do it again in another 90K miles. Before bad enough to start dying you may well be able to detect slight missing at high load like pulling up fast in speed entering highway, or your warning it's getting worse. Later the out and out dying happens. Problem generally shows much worse below 1/4 tank, but at the last will get worse and at higher levels.

Gurk, modern FI cars cannot 'run on fumes'............................

I am aware there are fuel pump issues with the older Focuses. Thats another reason I suspect it. I don't drive the car much, especially on the highway to know how its been acting. My wife hasn't mentioned any problems till last night but I'm not sure she'd notice a hiccup till it got bad. It started fine and made my 10 minute drive to work this morning without issue. I did get on the gas a bit last night as I got closer to home and didn't notice any problems but it does have a full tank of gas now. I'm letting it idle right now to see if anything happens.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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If that problem it will idle all day long. You have to throw the fuel out of the pickup area or run it low enough in fuel to do same, then asking for a bigger fuel amount makes the problem show up, usually worse turning to the right. I used to sneak up on my '00 to diagnose by taking a long right hand sweeping turn where freeway split in two directions, that long sweep would load it hard enough so that car would begin to cut out about 2000 feet into it, then die if you did not back off power enough. Misfiring engine would take 15-30 seconds to begin to run right again at that time. One time the '02 pulled up to work with 1/8 tank and no trouble, but I came back out at end of work day and car started but immediately running very badly. I realized the parking lot slant had the remainder of fuel go to back of tank and the stopped up pickup then refused to re-prime and pick up more fuel. Limped car across parking lot barely running until reached Walmart gas pumps, filling up more fuel stopped problem instantly. As long as wife and I kept fuel above 1/2 tank no trouble at all either car.

I reread your first post, sure sounds like you're there, you filled it up and trouble disappeared.

On the '00, the bottom disk screen on module was totally clogged with white slimy residue, the '02, that screen OK but the pump sock was totally clogged with solid rust colored mud. Either is water based crap and carried with the ethanol component of the fuel, no solvent will touch cleaning parts but water simply run over the filters cleaned them perfectly to like new, I put them back together and still driving the daylights out of both with no trouble since then. A pain pulling tanks though, lots of pollution required hoses in there and easy to break stuff.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
If that problem it will idle all day long. You have to throw the fuel out of the pickup area or run it low enough in fuel to do same, then asking for a bigger fuel amount makes the problem show up, usually worse turning to the right. I used to sneak up on my '00 to diagnose by taking a long right hand sweeping turn where freeway split in two directions, that long sweep would load it hard enough so that car would begin to cut out about 2000 feet into it, then die if you did not back off power enough. Misfiring engine would take 15-30 seconds to begin to run right again at that time. One time the '02 pulled up to work with 1/8 tank and no trouble, but I came back out at end of work day and car started but immediately running very badly. I realized the parking lot slant had the remainder of fuel go to back of tank and the stopped up pickup then refused to re-prime and pick up more fuel. Limped car across parking lot barely running until reached Walmart gas pumps, filling up more fuel stopped problem instantly. As long as wife and I kept fuel above 1/2 tank no trouble at all either car.

I reread your first post, sure sounds like you're there, you filled it up and trouble disappeared.

Yeah I think at this point we'll just drive the car locally till its almost out of gas and see of the problem reappears. It's been idling for an hour with no issue. If I get motivated I may siphon some gas out to speed up the process.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:12 AM   #8
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Fuel pump is definitely one of the usual suspects on a stalling '01 zetec, but dirty/faulty IAC or cracked PCV hose could also be to blame - and it would be worth your time to do a quick check on those two before diving into the $ and effort of a fuel pump replacement.

Here is a 3-tier diagnosis strategy in order of increasing difficulty: The next time that the vehicle stalls, try restarting while giving it a little gas. After it starts, leave your foot lightly on the accelerator to mimic a normal idle.

If it runs fine:
do a visual/touch inspection of the PCV hose's entire length all the way back to the intake manifold. If the hose has integrity, then the problem is probably your IAC.
If it doesn't run fine:
it's likely the fuel pump and/or filter. But before you proceed, you might want to browse thru a related thread that's also active now:
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=313815
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:35 AM   #9
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Filling up tank more and problem then going away is the key there, those other things mentioned will not change if tank is filled.

Also, that first tip could easily be TPS as well as IAC, just went through that myself. Would've sworn IAC would fix it, and it did for maybe 2 weeks then got to where it simply would not idle again, died like no IAC working repeatedly. Holding pedal down slightly would make it idle fine and all day long. TPS switch, I used the manual one for ATX , it worked great but not a simple bolt on.

Yes, PCV hose where it enters intake at the bottom can make for erratic come and go problems too. Once you guess that though, reaching down back of motor while it's running but not too warm yet will net results by messing with the hose, moving it around will usually change up the idle if there is a bubblegummed up hole in the hose. How I've been able to find mine. Listen close-sometimes the hole opens and you then hear the whistle as it leaks.
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