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Check Charging System Message - Explorer periodically won't start


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March 28, 2012
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2002 Ford Explorer EB ed
I hope I'm posting this in the right place. My husband and I have a 2002 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. We have been having a problem where the truck simply won't start. The engine will turn over, but it won't start up. We get a "Check Charging System" error message on the dash. Here's the real kicker though: after it sits for a handful of hours (4-8), it starts right back up like nothing ever happened. It has a brand new battery and alternator in it (replaced about a year before this started happening) so it's not that. Any ideas on what this could be?


I also have a 2002 Ford Eddie Baur Explorer with this EXACT SAME problem. I have stumped 4 mechanic shops so far. Part of the problem is that it is so random! Half of the time the car starts on the first crank, and the other half I get a dry crank with the check charging system message flashing. Doesn't even get close to starting. If I wait long enough eventually it will start on again.

It has a new battery and just checked the alternator and it is great. The mechanic shops said they got a "communication error" during the times they could replicate the issue in their shop. One told me I had no spark while this was happening and told me I may need the PCM reprogrammed. Because of the PCM failure to communicate they are all having difficulty identifying the problem.

Please tell me you found the solution to what was causing this! Other than this issue all the mechanics told me the car is in mint condition and operating perfectly in every way with zero error codes. Please help!

Yes! This was exactly the issue we had! It seemed to stop after several new tanks of gas, leading my husband to believe it may have just been bad gasoline (it started after we fueled out of state on a trip).

I hope your problem resolves too!!