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Discussion Starter #1
2 days ago out of the blue, car wont start in parking lot of grocery store.
I keep at and it finally runs. As soon as I push in the clutch to back out of the parking space, engine bogs down, tries to stall. It's choking and glob glob.

I give it a little gas and quick shift, it keeps bogging while the clutch is in. I put it in neutral and let out the clutch, engine smooths out instantly and runs fine. Push in the clutch to move forward, bog bog bog bog.

I'm thinking the clutch pedal switch. I start to drive home, and it just smooths out on it's own, I can push in the clutch no problems. I am shifting fine.

Get home, let it run in the spot, push the clutch and fiddle around. Nothing seems amiss. So I go in.

Next morning, (yesterday) get ready for work, walk out to the car expecting the worst. It fires right up like normal and Zoom I go to work.
I go to lunch. (12pm) Car is fine. I go to leave work, about 5:30. Car won't start.

It turns over just fine. I can hear the fuel pump engage properly, it isn't a bogged down start. It isn't clicking or making any funny noises.
I drop down to test my first suspicion. The clutch pedal switch. I push it in and hear a click, try to start the car and the clutch pedal arm can no longer reach the switch.

OK the switch it bad. No problem, when I hold the switch in with my finger, the car will try to start but it still never catches. So I get a ride home and drive my other car to work today, run out to autozone, get a new clutch pedal switch.

Installed in 2 minutes and I jump in and try to start the car. The switch is engaged and the car is trying to turn over. Fuel pump, starter, everything sounds just fine.

But it won't fire up.

Top 3 suggestions so far are: ECU is shot.

Coil Pack is shot.
(Now to be sure 3 months ago I replaced my wires with Thundervolts and put in double platinum plugs gapped to 0.060 don't know if that could burn out a coil pack or not. It's been running like a top with those plugs and wires for 3 months.)

Plugs are shot.


Anybody got any suggestions or ideas. It would be much appreciated.
 

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Or clutch slave has air in it and the clutch isn't disengaging...

Will it start and run in nuetral but not in gear>? try it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
At this point it won't start at all. It turns over and everything sounds fine. It's after the 15 second mark that it is obvious something isn't right. If should be running at 5 or 6 seconds at the longest.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If there is a leak in the Clutch pedal Master cylinder could that prevent the car from starting?
There is a small amount of liquid on the clutch pedal arm.
 

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No the problem isnt in the N / Clutch safety switch , this will only keep the starter from engaging if the starter is trying to spin the engine then switch is fine

This is why a xcal is worth its weight in gold you could plug in and check your fuel psi , crank sensor etc

My guess would be fuel psi or crank sensor , just because you hear the pump doesnt mean you have fuel psi

Tom

My guess is
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So what is this xcal???

I own 3 ford vehicles so I'm not opposed to buying a code reader. But I'm not going to be a part time mechanic so I don't wanna spend $100 on something I may only use once a year.
And I'm not a fan of buying expensive tools just to lend them out to friends.

What information should I be looking at if I want to buy a scanner that will work with all 3 of my vehicles???
 

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The xcal is a scan tool , checks and reads the CEL and loades custom tunes into the car

There is a LOT of KY FF members see if some one close has one

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK my mechanic buddy tells me to check the fuel system first.

He said on the fuel rail at the end should be a cap, and under that cap a pressure valve that I need to push in with something like a ball point pen and see if any fuel spurts out.

I can't find that cap he's talking about. There is a block, but I don't see any pressure valve.
Am I missing it?

Also I did the Self Diagnostic from the trip button, and when it got to DTC codes is read [NONE] and flashed that.

He's thinking it's the fuel filter or fuel pump.
 

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The Focus does not have a schrader fuel valve that your looking for

Again find some in with a scan tool and that will check your fuel psi , dont just go randomly changing parts

Tom
 

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Here's a few easy tricks you can do without any diagnostic tools. First off, Tom is right, if it cranks, it's not the safety switch. That means we're back to Fuel, spark, and compression.

1) Does it sound like the engine is cranking over faster than normal? If so, stop, you've got compression problems. Continuing will eventually cause a boom and possibly destroy your intake manifold. Remove the plastic cover over the timing belt and see if your belt is still there. If it is, grab the top of the belt and make sure it's still under tension. I've never seen a belt hang on top of the cam sprockets, but I'm sure it can happen.

2) You said you heard the fuel pump. That's one test. Crank the engine for 10 secs or so, then go sniff the exhaust. Does it smell like fuel? If so, then you're getting some fuel. Without the right tool there's no way to tell if you're getting enough but you are getting some. Now if you didn't smell fuel, whip out the owner's manual and look for fuses and relays that are EFI related. IIRC, there is one each. Check those. Check the relay by replacing it with another relay of the same type (if available) that you can easily verify it's operation- like headlights. If you can't test it-- let's keep testing for other problems first. Relays don't go bad often, but it should be checked if possible.

3) Unless you have a spark plug tester or an old timing light, there's really no reliable way to test for spark. Some people will tell you to hold a spark plug against the block to see if it sparks. I don't think this is a good idea. You could end up like a friend who had to have reconstructive surgery on his face after he tried that trick due to fuel vapor. He'd used that trick before and never had a problem. You might want to pull the plugs anyway to verify that you are getting some fuel in there. Clean the plugs of any deposits and re-install. I suggest you consider getting a cheap spark plug tester, or you can rent timing lights at some stores. Those will simply tell you that you have spark not how strong the spark is, but 99% of the time that's all you need to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well fiddled some more today.

Pulled the fuel line near the rail. Plenty of fuel. It's not the fuel pump or filter.

I don't know anyone who has a scan tool that will tell the fuel PSI. A couple have DTC scanners that simply clear codes but that is it.

The engine sounds like it is cranking normally. If I try many many times, you can hear it start to slow down. Guessing I'll have to charge the battery soon to make sure I don't kill it.

I tested the plugs in the exact manner you do not recommend, LOL before I read this, and I got no spark off of the 4 so it looks like the Coil pack is dead.

I will just in case, I will remove the cover over the timing belt and check it to see if it's loose, but when my mechanic friend asked me some questions and listened over the phone he was confident there weren't any problems with the timing or compression. He knows the car pretty well.

So here is another question. I've read a dozen times on here that aftermarket coil packs aren't going to be any better than the stock. I upped the wires to thundervolts and the gap to 0.060. Could that have facilitated the demise of the ignition coil???

I appreciate all your posts guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I changed the ignition coil, and still no luck. It still sits there trying to start but nothing ever happens.

I am defeated.

It's time to call a tow truck and take it to a shop. I just have absolutely no way of paying for that.

I'm all out of ideas. I guess I'll try draining and refilling the slave cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Couldn't leave it alone.

Decided to go through the spark issue some more. New ignition coil. Still no spark. But I can't be sure I'm testing them right. When I put the threads against the engine block hoist ring, is that good enough ground that it should spark???

Checked to see if plug ends were wet with gas. Nope. Checked to make sure plugs weren't fouled, but they are only 3 months old and still look nice and new.
Reduced the gap from 0.060 to 0.050 which is where they were when new.

Still plenty of fuel being pumped. But I don't know if there could be some obstruction in the fuel rail. I don't know enough about injectors to make guesses on that.

Attempted to take the cam cover off, but couldn't get it loose. That lower left screw is a bitch, so I moved the radiator reservoir to get to it, but then the cover has a molded corner and I couldn't move it past the motor mount.
So I pulled it out, felt around the belt and looked at it as much as I could. The timing belt is strong feeling, no missing teeth, and we short started it a couple times, and it looks like new and it's all clean and shiny in there so I know the belt isn't broken or missing teeth, but that doesn't mean the timing isn't off.

That one rough start in the grocery store parking lot could have thrown the belt 2 teeth right and that could be the issue. But I don't know.

I looked over connections, and I even pushed the fuel cut off reset button and got a solid click from that. Next time attempting to start it was slower and then the next time after that is sounded like normal again.

Biggest problem NO DTC CODES!!! At least if I could get a code I could do something. How can the car not be working, and there be no DTC code at all.
I know it's the spark. And all those electrical components report back something to the computer don't they?

Oh well. Any more suggestions on what to check or test next?
I'd appreciate it. It's been collecting dust for 4 weeks now. I'm making payments on a car that doesn't work. And I hate that.

My buddy is having me pick him up today so he can bring his code reader diagnostic thingy over and hook it up to see if we get anything, but he doesn't know why the self diagnostic is reading no DTC's either.
 

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coil pack wireing harness..

check the wireing harness going to your coil pack. I had one fall apart pulling out of a car wash. Talking about scratching ones head. Why did it go bad after a ride through a car wash? But it did have a broken wire and my Ford dealer sold me a new jumper that had to be soldered in. No probs.after that. Your prob. seems to be what I was experiencing.
 

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New ignition coil. Still no spark. But I can't be sure I'm testing them right. When I put the threads against the engine block hoist ring, is that good enough ground that it should spark???
Should be. Careful doing that, btw.

I think it was mentioned earlier by Tom but the spark timing gets it's cue from the crank position sensor (tells the PCM when to fire the plugs in the correct sequence based on crankshaft position) Check that the wiring to that is intact and try substituting a known good used sensor. As coldbear states, also check the wiring harness going to the coil pack itself. If you are confident the problem is no spark - and it sounds like it is - you need to methodically check all the system components/circuitry.

I believe the fuel injector driver circuit depends on receiving engine rpm info being sent to the ECU. If the crank sensor is non-functional, this may explain the lack of fuel soaked spark plugs - no engine speed, no need for fuel - which would again point to the crank sensor. That's only a working theory though... fwiw.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
OK Got some Codes!!!!

OK I finally got a friend with a code reader that actually read the DTC's.

One thing did happen though, He cleared the codes after we wrote them down.
Is that gonna be a problem if I take it to the shop and they can't pull any codes???

Here are the codes in Order.

P0420 - Catalyst system eff below threshold bank1

P0320 - Ignition/Dist. Engine speed input circuit Malfunction

P01381 - Variable Cam Timing Overadvanced

Now we tried to look some of this stuff up and we weren't really getting anywhere.

So take all those, and then combine the other information. No Spark, Tries to start like a champ and never catches.

Any ideas?
It's been sitting dead for more than a month now. I'm starting to get depressed. I'm going through a divorce right now and I just can't afford to take it to a shop. I just can't.

Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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DTC code fault diagnosis here:
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59286
P0420 would not prevent a car from starting.


P0320 - Ignition Engine Speed Input Circuit Malfunction
The ignition engine speed sensor input signal to PCM is continuously monitored. The test fails when the signal indicates that two successive erratic profile ignition pickup (PIP) pulses have occurred.
Loose wires/connectors.
Arcing secondary ignition components (coil, wires and plugs)
On board transmitter (2-way radio)
The DTC indicates that two successive erratic PIP pulses occurred.

P1381 - Variable Cam Timing Over-advanced (Bank 1)
The comprehensive component monitor (CCM) monitors the VCT position for an over-advanced camshaft timing. The test fails when the camshaft timing exceeds a maximum calibrated value or remains in an advanced position.
Cam timing improperly set
No oil flow to the VCT piston chamber
Low oil pressure
VCT solenoid valve stuck closed
Camshaft advance mechanism binding (VCT unit)
P1381 DTC is a check of the VCT unit. Testing should not include electrical checks. Diagnostics and repair for the VCT unit are located in the Workshop Manual.
 
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