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Old 12-26-2018, 12:51 AM   #1
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2001 zetec dying

Hey guys this will be a long detailed post but I feel like that is what's needed to describe my problem. So the other night I got off work at 2 am did some grocery shopping and whatnot. I stopped and grabbed some McDonalds. When leaving the parking lot I went to turn onto the road and the car died. Just like I shut the key off. A cop was coming in and helped me push it back while my wife steered. Before we pushed it it cranked and cranked but wouldn't start. We called for a ride and while my wife was on the phone it started. Drove home no problem. I feel like one the way to work I felt it cut out for a split second. Drove a few times since. Filled up last night. Started at the pump and it shut off instantly. Started right back up. Pulled out on the street at it felt like it cut out for a split second. Drove home no problem and drove it about 5 min today no issue.

I am not sure where to go here. It has no codes. And it's so intermittent I cant try to replicate it. I just dont want to get stranded and it wont restart. I am leaning towards a fuel issue, possibly the pump. My car is an 01 with 126k on it. Never had any problem since. Anyone have any ideas where to start? Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-26-2018, 01:18 AM   #2
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Pull coil pack and check for hairline cracks in bright sunlight, the coild change more than plugs do over that issue. The coil connector can easily fray to crack wires right at the connector body too.

Before it dies again listen for fuel pump coming on for 2 seconds at key on. Pump is under the back seat bottom. Once you know the sound then when it dies immediately do the same and listen for it again, if you don't hear that 2 seconds of on with key on EVERY TIME YOU DO IT, the pump is dead.

If you need to change pump and the one in car does NOT have 2 steel rods in the top then you MUST buy the entire module, any pump 'by itself' with no module will NOT work.
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Old 12-26-2018, 02:16 AM   #3
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I will check that. I put new plugs and wires on when I bought it 2 years ago but I will check them. Also will check for the fuel pump sound.

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Old 12-27-2018, 03:06 PM   #4
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I read on one of the other threads that the power going into the coil could be intermittent also. Like corrosion where the wires go into the ignition coil or along the way, near the EGR tube.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:13 PM   #5
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I will check then out this weekend. A mechanic at work said to start with the fuel filter as well. He said a fuel pump would normally show itself on start up. I will start there and checking the wires this weekend

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Old 12-28-2018, 01:15 AM   #6
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Fuel pumps can and often do show issues at starting but I assure you they can stall in the middle of doing things after running fine, then car sits and starts and runs fine again later until the next time. To apply a starting 'only' rule there is a mistake.

To begin with, the pumps had a recall yet most never got changed, but there was a definite problem there. Dying while driving car was one of the complaints.

Any problems with ignition harness back around the EGR is more likely to be melted wires, the harness comes too close to the valve and melts. The wires break coming into coil for same reason, too short and then the MAF harness section pulls on them from weight to break wires. Ford and its' shortening of harness too much to save a few pennies and make the cars go down more, it gets more shop work. Same reason for the wire insulation that biodegrades too quickly, to make problems down the line and then you want a new car, hopefully from Ford again.
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Old 12-28-2018, 01:19 AM   #7
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At the direction of a maintenance fellow at work I swapped the fuel filter today to start. Also I had to replace the t start housing back in the summer. The plug for the ignition coil had a wire that snapped. I replaced that plug with a new one that added about 8 inches of wire. I looked today they are still good and found no shorts or breaks.

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Old 12-28-2018, 04:22 AM   #8
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My experiences with cutting out, stalling, or just shutting down and refusing to start have ranged from dirt in the gas tank causing the tank filter to clog intermittently, transmission issues, and the timing belt breaking. Just glad that my ZETEC DOHC is a non-interference engine. Good luck with your issue.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:23 PM   #9
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@ amc

Hey AMC, years ago I had an Oldsmobile I bought at auction that had a similar problem. The car would run for a while and then die. It would start up after a rest period and then die again. Each time the run cycle became shorter and shorter.

Eventually the car would no longer start. Winter in the Northeast was coming and I had nowhere to put the car. So I had it towed away to the junkyard. This was before I knew about forums and YouTube had yet to take off.

I watched Scotty Kilmer the other day describe these symptoms and tell me it was the fuel pump. What a shame I didn't know that back then. Live and learn.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:32 PM   #10
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Most likely an oldschool mechanical fuel pump and much more common for those to not start when bad. The modus operandi on these electric pumps can be wildly different. I often recouped those old pumps from not working to running fine by simply blocking off a tank bypass hose if the type had one and car again good for possibly years after doing it and for pennies in cost.

So, it could even have been worse than you thought..........free fix.
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Last edited by amc49; 12-28-2018 at 10:34 PM.
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