Starting problem, cranks but wont start. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Starting problem, cranks but wont start.


New Member
June 24, 2013
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Hi gents, thanks to the contributors for this wonderful site.

I have spent a bit of time going through the threads here looking, and have found the info here very informative, but i havent yet found the solution to my problem.

My beloved 97 XLT has had an intermittent starting problem for the last couple of years. Basically it will not start again, if i turn the motor off after starting within a few seconds of starting.
If i turn the motor of, it will not start again, and i must leave it for several hours, and sometimes days.

This is primarily when the weather is cooler, although not strictly limited to cold weather.

On leaving work 3 days ago, i started the vehicle as per usual, and dropped it into drive and twisted the steering wheel, loading the idle up and it stalled, and being that it was cold from sitting all day, it would not start again.

I have left it for a full day and tried to start it. It will fire just a fraction then just crank, and not fire. I can pump the accel or even just plant the accel, and it will crank, and try to fire, but will not actually catch and start.

When the engine is cranking, you can smell a strong smell of fuel.

I have removed a spark plug, and there is a spark present when cranking.

I have replaced the crank position sensor.

I have had a mechanic look at the codes in the computer, and there are no faults in the pcm.

I have a auto electrician comming tomorow to have a look as well. I was basically hoping that someone had had something similar that they were able to resolve

Hi guys, bit of an update for anyone interested.

I had the mechanics in the next building look it over, after i had replaced the crank position sensor, and it was still a no go. The mechanics have checked the codes, and cleared one that was for the gearbox, but still nuttin.

They sent their auto leccy to check it over, and he swaggered in smiling, like nothing was going to stop him from sorting it out.....he put an hour into it, before proclaiming it must have no compression, like the timing chains had all slipped multiple teeth, which would be the only explanation why it would not fire( not withstanding my pointing out it would be shattering valves and making a heck of a racket!)

So on the auto leccys recommendation i had the mechanics come back and do a compression test. The result was a little low, it was 100 on a couple of cylinders, and it was sposed to be 160. The vehicle uses a little coolant, and he suggested that the head has a leak, but that should not prevent it from firing.

Net result of a day of trouble shooting, is still a no go, and a long tow home.

I have sought out a new donk, but can only seem to track down second hand ones for about $2200 exchange, plus a minimum of $1500 to change them over.
Theses second hand ones have a 3 month warranty, but still have 150,000ks on them.

So, the car has sat in the drive for 3 days untouched, while i ponder the options.

Yesterday i got home, and on a whim dropped the key in it, and you wouldnt beleive it, it started right up. I let it idle for a bit then drove it around for about half an hour.
I changed the filters, oil and put a fresh tank of fuel in it and have been driving it around for the last couple of days. It still has the chain rattle, but runs as good as i can remember.

Im sure its just a matter of time for it to happen again, but for the time being im stoked.

So i guess id be interested to know if anyone has any ideas. Im going to try a new ECU next time it plays up.

Being they are next to valueless now, im going to trade it in to a local caryard, that is familar with its history, on a 2004 V8 XLT.

Sorry for the long post.

I'm bummed you havent had any replies to this, as I've been having the same problem. Doesnt seem to be a temperature issue though. And I generally only need to wait 30 mins before itll start up. itll crank and crank, chug like it needs gas, but giving it some does nothing. you def smell gas during the numerous tries. then after a bit it starts up and goes for miles and miles and multiple start ups just fine. im curious, any further issues? new info?