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Old 07-19-2019, 02:39 AM   #1
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2005 ZX3 Cranks But Won't Start

My son bought a neglected 2005 manual transmission 2.0 a few months ago. Initially, it seemed to run rich and often smelled of fuel. To date, among many other things, we have installed new spark plugs, cleaned mass air flow sensor, installed working throttle body and TPS sensor (junk yard parts), installed new idle control valve, and installed cone filter in place of a debris packed OEM air filter housing. Gas mileage improved and the smell of fuel was almost gone – seemed that we had the car working almost perfect and felt pretty good cruising at 70-80 mph. But I still suspected the fuel system needed some attention because after all this, there seemed to be very slight engine stuttering as soon as the foot eased off the accelerator. Also, there was still a slight odor of fuel but no where near as bad as before.

However, today on start up, the idle immediately dropped to a few hundred RPM, almost stalling and then worked back up to 2000 RPM and repeated 3-4 times. We turned off the car and then cranked again but now it will not start at all.

The fuel pump fuse and relay checked out fine and gas pumped out of the fuel line when disconnected from the fuel rail and cranking. We tested the ignition coils and they checked out fine at the time but we may have to re-perform that because not certain we tested properly with a multimeter…. Noted the new spark plugs were wet and a little fouled with dark matter – smelled and looked like a mix of and gas and oil but not totally sure if it was just gas or just oil – but did not see any other liquid below the spark plugs. When we turn on the accessories we can hear the fuel pump priming for about a second but it is more of a clunking sound. There are no check engine lights or codes but we have had the battery disconnected while working on stuff. Fuel injectors look like aftermarket (not the same color as my other Foci)

Given what we have already done, can anyone suggest a checklist of things to do to troubleshoot this problem? Thanks for all your help.


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Old 07-19-2019, 04:03 PM   #2
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The problem could be simple or not but I always start with the basics: spark, fuel, compression, timing. Do you have a spark tester? Do you have a basic scan tool that can read fuel pressure (RFP)? Do you have a compression tester? Do you have a DVOM/continuity tester/test light to verify voltage and ground at various points?

Do/did you notice any non-engine electrical components not working (ie lights, etc)?

What color are injectors?

Will it start holding the gas pedal to the floor (shuts off injectors)?

Will it start with starting fluid?

Will it start with the MAF disconnected?



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Old 07-19-2019, 05:10 PM   #3
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Good points. I will get a spark tester today, last night ordered a scan tool that will read fuel pressure, can rent a compression tester, have a test light, multimeter, and various leads. We had some bad electrical issues last month but seemed to be all fixed after cleaning three grounds. I have not noticed any electrical problems since except both fog lights are out - fog light fuse shows continuity but I have not checked the bulbs or the switch yet. The injectors are blue and they looked fairly new and not the same color as the black injectors on my other Foci. The hood sticker is missing but I have not seen anything to indicate this is a PVEZ car or anything CA-related (this one was also made in Mexico based on the VIN). I will try using some of those tools and techniques you mention to see if we can narrow the issue down.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatALemon View Post
Good points. I will get a spark tester today, last night ordered a scan tool that will read fuel pressure, can rent a compression tester, have a test light, multimeter, and various leads. We had some bad electrical issues last month but seemed to be all fixed after cleaning three grounds. I have not noticed any electrical problems since except both fog lights are out - fog light fuse shows continuity but I have not checked the bulbs or the switch yet. The injectors are blue and they looked fairly new and not the same color as the black injectors on my other Foci. The hood sticker is missing but I have not seen anything to indicate this is a PVEZ car or anything CA-related (this one was also made in Mexico based on the VIN). I will try using some of those tools and techniques you mention to see if we can narrow the issue down.
Sounds like a plan. The fact that it was running then it wasnt would seem to indicate a single point failure somewhere rather than systemic but that is hard to be certain about. Be certain you corrected the grounding issues as that can cause all kinds of problems and would render further testing moot. If you dont have any success with the 'quick' tests I mentioned (floored pedal, starting fluid, disconnected MAF) I would test for spark next. I lieu of a spark tester you could could just use one of your existing spark plugs removed from the head and installed in a coil just be certain the metal shell is well grounded. If no spark at any coil check the Power Hold relay - R8 in the BJB (C1403 in the diagram below - and note diagram is upside down from the way he BJB appears under the hood). You should verify that the relay cycles with the ignition switch. For compression you are looking for 125-150 psi with no more than +/- 10 psi between highest and lowest. Compression problems can point to a valve timing issue.



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Old 07-20-2019, 06:15 PM   #5
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Bummer. Had a plan, got a few extra diagnostic tools to begin testing but we did not make progress. On the first start, the starter abruptly stopped after about half a second. We tried a few times with the same result and then charged the battery overnight. Next day had the same result, it cranked and then stopped very hard mid-crank. The battery tested fine and we even swapped in a perfectly good battery to make sure; that time it struggled to even turn over. So I think we have to remove the starter and have it tested. I have never heard a starter stop that hard so will be checking for damage to the gear that the starter turns. For now we are taking a little break before figuring out how to get the starter out of that tight fit. Let me know if there is anything else to consider before doing this. Again, there are no other signs of electrical issues.
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:07 AM   #6
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Well, have have not done anything yet. Decided to take it slow. This morning the multimeter read 12.7+ and took it to AutoZone who said there was enough crank amps.

...But thinking about it, I don't always trust the handheld at AutoZone - in the past, different AZ locations (sometimes on the same day) have given me different results. One location might say bad alt, another location has said bad batt, and another location might say all A-okay (all with that same Star Trek tri-corder). I realize that the extra ignition starts yesterday could have strained this old starter motor and pushed it to go bad but we decided to up the amps on the battery charger (from 12v, 2 to 6 amps) and see what happens – 6 amps is not hard charging and its under warranty anyway. Definitely need to get our own tool to measure cold crank amps in the future. For now, since this batt is new, will give it another chance to run the starter. Also going to bang the heck out of the starter. Also will order a crank position sensor (cheapo $11 version) for the inventory just in case. We have a used starter spare (works but does not sound great) so will get a new starter if absolutely necessary. I'll keep all updated… However we need to get over this starter issue before we can even address the “crank but no start” issue.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:54 AM   #7
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I'd be a little worried about the hard stop. Pull the plugs, crank it, and see if anything shoots out. Maybe you have an injector that leaks, or the head gasket is bad.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:33 PM   #8
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Upgraded my OBD II tool and found the following codes:
B1318 Battery low voltage
B1359 Ignition run / accessory circuit failure

Also performed the following tests prior to getting new scanner:
* disconnected MAF – no start
* starting fluid about two seconds spray at front of TB - no start
* flooring gas pedal – no start
* had successful spark all ignition coils

Have not run the compression test as will need more power to crank the car long enough and often enough for good readings. Have been re-charging the battery after each round of test starts and it cannot run the starter for more that about half second, give or take. The battery is only a few months old so will see I can get AZ to replace it for me again.
Meantime, I'm am focusing on the cause of the B1359 code.
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:00 PM   #9
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X2 post #7, starters do NOT make 'hard stops'. If not a damaged starter it may be hydro lock and you just bent a rod, the description matches perfectly. nest time starter locks then instantly yank plugs and look for liquid coming out of plug holes when running starter again. And watch for fire hazard.

On starting fluid.............modern EFI cars have much more volume in them than old school engines did. Meaning it takes a lot more starting fluid to get the same effect as before. The problem being, if somebody has wet the plugs good to make a misfire then that much starting fluid is also enough to charge the intake if the car next does a backfire and what wet plugs commonly do. The charged intake then detonates from the backfire and being plastic will shatter into pieces which can easily kill someone. That cannot be overemphasized at all! The 2 second max shot rule is good for old school manifolds but EFI intake needs more than that and what gets you into really big trouble. The plugs MUST be dry before doing it!!!
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:02 PM   #10
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Once you have a battery low voltage code then any other codes can mean nothing, they may not be real at all as they were generated due to low voltage. Common mistake chasing them, fix the voltage issue before you assume the code is real.
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