Won't start in freezing weather | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Won't start in freezing weather


New Member
February 12, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Chatsworth, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 Mountaineer
I recently went skiing in the Utah mountains. I was there for a few days and my car started fine every day until it was time to go home. The night before was the coldest night, about -4, and it snowed. In the morning, my car would turn over quickly, but would not start. My engine had frost/snow on it nearest the windshield. I tried jumping it with a jumper battery and another car. It still just turned over, but would not start. I could smell gas, so I waited for an hour, still no start. Then I waited another hour, still no start. Finally, I called AAA for a tow truck to get me off the mountain. The tow truck driver called me and asked what the problem was. He asked if it turned over and if I could smell gas. He then asked if I would try something. Remove the fuel pump fuse or relay, crank the engine over a few times, re-install the fuel pump fuse or relay and then try starting the engine. It worked! Evidently, something had gotten frozen or wet and the engine got flooded. When you crank the engine, without the fuel pump working, you can clear out all of the extra gas. My problem is that I am going back soon, and this problem could come back. It is nice to have this procedure to fix it, but it would be nicer to solve the initial problem in the first place. Does anyone have any ideas about what causes this problem in the first place? My auto is a '97 Mountaineer, 5.0L V8.