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Old 02-26-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
JJMcKinney
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Crank Position Sensor or Timing Belt?

Hey everyone, I have a 2003 2.0 spi with 108k Was driving up the road and the engine just cut out. It cranks over like normal but will not fire up. I have replaced the Fuel filter, (Pump is fine and is getting fuel) replaced the plugs (is getting spark and compression test was good) replaced the Cam position sensor and still no luck! How can I tell if it's maybe the crank sensor vs. the timing belt? Also is there an easy way to check the timing belt? As I said it does turn over, not any faster or slower then normal.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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Old 02-26-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
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Moved to "General Technical Chat".
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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I heard someone suggest once removing the oil fill cap and look in there with a flashlight while somebody else cranks the engine to see if a cam is turning. My go to preference would be a compression test to see if the pistons and valves are moving in the correct orchestration, but that would require a compression tester which you can rent from a parts store. If you wanted to get truly ghetto with it you could cut an "inspection window" in the upper timing cover somewhere near a cam gear and watch if it turns while cranking.

I guess you know that the belt hasn't been changed? How cold out was it when this happened?

EDIT: Just noticed you have an SPI engine, you might have bigger issues than a timing belt failure but I don't know what the symptoms are when an SPI engine inevitably fails.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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I've done a compression test and all is good there, the motor did not fail, it does turn over and the cam turns when cranked (looked thru the oil cap) I'm not cutting anything, so maybe I'll just pull the upper cover (which I did not want to do)
When the motor stopped is was very cold out, but cannot remember how cold.
Sometimes it try to catch, but just can't get there
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #5
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:55 PM   #6
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Are you having any backfires while starting? Try starting the car in clear flood mode (throttle wide open) and then letting of the throttle after a second or two of cranking.

2003ish cars have been having weird problems similar to yours this winter, mine died on a hill with heavy engine load just a couple minuetes after starting a few weeks ago and wouldn't start until a few days later. I looked at the spark plugs immediately and they were soaked/fouled. I did similar testing to check the basics, it was backfiring during cranking so I had fuel and spark, and I know the timing was right since I did the timing belt 10K miles ago. Another guy here in WI http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/s...light=Swansong had the same problems, good spark, fuel pressure according to the sensor, and timing was correct but his car wouldn't start or idle properly without a fuel soaked rag across the intake tube. So his car wasn't getting enough fuel, but it would run after coaxing it to life with a gas soaked rag across the intake tube.

I can only conclude our cars were getting the wrong air/fuel mix, my car is running fine again after sitting for a couple days and trying to start in clear flood mode, it was sort of miraculous. It came to life but the idle is still kind of low and erratic for just a second after starting. As far as I know his car is still down, he said he'd take it to a dealer but I don't know if that happened, we were only aquainted due to common misfortune.

I don't know if any of this can help you, but it's pretty weird to have spark, timing and fuel and a no start condition, especially if the car can come back to life afterwards like mine has.

EDIT: I think you have a crank position signal since spark timing is dependent on that, and the fuel injector timing is also based off the crank position signal. I think you can rule that out.

I'd love for other people to theorize about this, I can write up a wall of text like nobodies business but I'm not an expert about anything.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:40 PM   #7
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You can use an an analog volt meter to check crank sensor output if the sensor has two wires. That makes it a simple proximity sensor, put VOM on DC lowest range and whirl motor around, the sensor will make blips on the needle, if so and regular then sensor is OK. Put probes on sensor itself not the harness, polarity doesn't matter.

To set up the injection timing you must have both cam and crank sensor output, crank tells PCM where TDC is at and cam says which TDC since can be one of two there.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:11 AM   #8
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No it does not backfire when cranking, it just cranks away with, the engine is turning normal so I don't think its a timing belt either. I did try to start it with starting fluid, but still no luck. It's been sitting for about a month or so, maybe she is ready to fire ;)

I dont have a volt meter and cannot afford one right now :(
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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If the timing belt is intact you need to check for the basics. If the compression test showed fine thats one basic down. Two easy things to do.

Have someone crank it over while you smack the fuel tank bottom with a rubber hammer, piece of wood, etc. If it starts up while you smack it, chances are the pump is bad (getting stuck and striking it frees it up temporarily). Or you can find the fuel pressure test port and after priming the system (just turn the key on a few times) push a screwdriver into the schraeder valve and see if fuel squirts out with decent force. If it does, chances are you are getting fuel. If not, you need to suspect a bad pump, the inertia switch, or a fuel pump relay, or wiring and track that down. Of course its much easier to use a fuel pressure gauge hooked up to that port. I doubt you have one though.

You also need to check for spark. Easiest way is to hold a plug wire to a good ground on the engine with some insulated gloves or pliers (getting shocked hurts....) and have someone crank it over. Look at the spark (if any). You want a nice blue/white spark, not a yellow or red one. If there is no spark then go down that road.

Of course basic tune up items can be a huge cause. Plugged fuel filters being the large source.

I certainly wouldn't go replacing sensors blindly without knowing.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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Ok I'll try smacking the tank, I do hear the pump turn on when I turn the key to the on position. I have not found the schraeder valve on this car, I do know what they look like, but there is not one on the rail.
As for spark, I have tested it in the way with all 4 wires and am getting a very nice blue/white spark form each one.
If it where a fuel problem, it should have started when I introduced starting fluid directly, which it did not!
I am thinking about checking the timing belt to make sure it has not slipped or broke, is there an easy was to inspect this? or do I have to remove the upper cover?
I was also thinking it could be a bad cap and rotor, but since I do have good spark doubt that.
And no no fuel pressure gauge!
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