2002 ZX3 Dies while driving, randomly starts - Focus Fanatics
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
ianpiso
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2002 ZX3 Dies while driving, randomly starts

Hey everyone, so i have been trying to figure this issue out for a few days to no avail. So heres the back story leading up to this:

1. The ignition lock went bad so i replaced it and had a locksmith reprogram the new keys, after this the car worked for about a day and a half
2. During that day the multi-function auto trans/cooling light came on while driving then disappeared.
3. That night the vehicle dies in an intersection and shows the multifunction and the check engine lights. When attempting to restart it the engine doesnt even turn over. 10 minutes later it starts and dies then wont even turn over again.
4. The next day the shop tells me the keys were programmed wrong and they had to jump the starter relay to get it to work again, the only problem with this is if the keys were programmed wrong it would not randomly start, which it did for the next couple days. If it were the keys programmed wrong it should never work so i dont think that is the case, but when i doesnt start it doesnt even turn over. Once it turns over it starts and will idle no problem.
5. The car finally dies about 1/2 mile from my house, after towing it home the following day and trying to start it before the tow it starts once it gets in the driveway and keeps being able to be shut off and turned back on.

As you can see this is pretty confusing, any help would be MUCH appreciated.



Last edited by ianpiso; 02-11-2013 at 01:04 PM. Reason: more detail
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
BC_ZX3
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Auto or manual?
Initially I'd check:
PATS light is behaving normally; key on, center flashing red light goes solid then off, starter engages. (Rapid flashing of the PATS indicator light is a bad sign.)
Battery voltage, tightness of battery terminal clamps, clean any corrosion.
Neutral safety switch or clutch pedal position sensor.
Starter relay.
The ignition switch itself.

Most likely just a dying battery.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
ianpiso
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The starter relay was what was originally jumped to get it running again after the initial break down. That was the longest it has worked yet, and it being a relay would explain it working sometimes and others not. My gut is pointing to that so i will replace it and see what happens.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:50 PM   #4
ianpiso
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Ok so theres some new developments going on with it. After starting the vehicle will only run for 2-4 minutes then shut off and not restart. If it sits for a while without being restarted it starts right back up. This is making me think its not the relay, battery or alternator because of how intermittent the issue is and because i dont have to charge or jump the battery between problems. By the way it has an automatic transmission.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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No restart = no crank or crank but no start?

The starter relay will only prevent it from cranking, not cause it to die while driving. I bet you already figured that out. Have you checked negative battery connection to the engine block, and the other negative connections to the battery- one should go to the chassis, and the other to the fuse box under the hood- I think.
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