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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2001 Wagon. Car was running fine, no obvious power issues, etc., and had started instantly as always. Then I parked it for a minute to run into a restaurant to pick up some food, and when I came out and turned the key... nothing.

At first I thought I had the shift-brake interlock problem, because it also seemed stuck in Park. But after I left it for a few minutes, the shifter moved fine with the key in ACC and ON positions (I didn't use the release). But still no start.

Power works for lights, radio, etc., and no corrosion on battery terminals, which seem very tight. But when I try to start it, not even a click.
 

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Try tapping on the starter/solenoid.
Check the wire connections to starter/solenoid.
IDK if there is a fuse, look for one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, so, battery is good, all connections to starter good. All lights etc. seem to work, no fuses blown, the relay in the engine fuse box checks out, ignition switch and shifter move.

It has been suggested to me that the problem could be one of 3 things.

The starter relay in the under dash fuse block. However, it is buried behind a metal bracket. I removed the 2 screws that look to be holding the fuse block in the bracket, but there doesn't seem to be enough clearance to get the block out from behind it to get at the relay.

The PATS system. The light comes on when I turn the key, but doesn't flash (is this normal? I confess that I never paid attention to it before). If this is the problem, how do I test for it? Can I fix it?

The transmission position sensor. Where is this? I've gotten 2 answers, under the cowling in the passenger compartment, and on the transmission itself. Is there a way to test if this is the problem?
 

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The brake shift interlock not working is a sign of dead battery and a giveaway to the issue. They show up bad instantly now rather than slowly and everyone always assumes battery cannot be the problem, or, the problem. Saying battery is good is worthless without a loadtest, nothing else is acceptable. Classic mistake.
 

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The PATS system. The light comes on when I turn the key, but doesn't flash (is this normal? I confess that I never paid attention to it before). If this is the problem, how do I test for it? Can I fix it?
Does the PATS light stay on? Once Key switch is advanced to On; PATS light should turn on and then off after 2 or 3 seconds. If it stays on, that's your problem. Do you have a second PATS key that you can try?
 

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I would verify KNOWN GOOD battery before I EVER thought about accepting something from electronics....................a minefield there. That has shot my thinking more than once on these cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, it appears to have been a PATS issue. I dug around in the bottom of my junk drawer for the old spare key (the one my nephew stepped on and cracked the top and the fob). I went to use it and the car started right up!

PATS light then went off like it was supposed to. The weird part is though, that once this happened the original key then worked fine as well. So, what could have caused this? Why did the key not work, and then work again? And how can I prevent or cure this in the future?
 

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Cool fix. Congrats. Mighta been space debris. Have you seen all the clutter in our Low Earth Orbit (LEO)?

You can easily duplicate PATS keys IF you have 2 functional PATS keys.

You can NOT easily duplicate a PATS key if you have only 1 functional PATS key.

Edit: Fix? Dunno. Clean-up Battery connections. Clean-up Battery negative connection on the car chassis.
 

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PATS possibility assumed by another key working isn't likely involved, at least for a no-crank.

PATS doesn't prevent cranking, it does a fuel cutoff to prevent starting.

Marde's advice to clean up terminals may prevent a recurrence.
 

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I don't have a blank key to test it on mine, it's part of the passed down lore of the site.

For "cranks but won't start" the first question is always what the PATS light is doing to make sure there isn't a problem there, followed by pressing the fuel cutoff reset button to make sure that hasn't tripped.

PATS normally goes from slow flash to solid on when the key is first turned, followed by off when cranking/running. Typical PATS problem is when it flashes fast when trying to start.

I've checked the "normal" operation of the light many a time for confirmation of that part as it's often questioned. Never paid attention much to it before answering that question.

I've often seen it mentioned that you can crank it until the battery dies when PATS is preventing a start.
 

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I got a new blank PATS key a few months ago. Had it Cut first, and before programming it to the PCM, I tried to start my car with it. IIRC it would not crank. I also tried holding an old good PATS key Right Next To the non-programmed one that was in the key cylinder, and the dam car still would not crank. Did not put much effort or retries into it, cause I didn't think about the hack much, didn't really care atm, because seconds later I programmed the new key.
 

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I did the same. Unprogrammed-it shut the car down. Then normal good key would not work. In a panic I sat and thought and waited 15 minutes, whereupon the normal key then went back to working. Thinking it disables for a timeout period there.
 
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