Several times recently my explorer will turn over; but will not start. I know it's not the battery/starter due to it turning over. my mechanic checked the fuel pump, and fuel line and all other diag but nothing is showing up. it seems to only do this when starting cold. after I do get it started it will start fine from that point on. a friend suggested that the fuel tank might not be venting correctly. would that stop the car from starting?
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Not sure what you are describing as the sound, but it could be a faulty starter. Sometimes the brushes in the starter stick and you have to "bump" the starter to get them to make contact. A mechanic would check for voltage at the starter.
Sound like you have a starter that starting to go out, the easy way to check it is when it only clicks have some one try to start it and you tap on the starter if it starts replace it, starter going bad.
Replace the MAF sensor. The starter is overheating due to cranking excessively. It has noyhing to do with the engine staying running. The MAF sensor is located as the first sensor out of air cleaner. It controls the fuel. Good luck and have a safe trip.
Remove the starter & inspect the contacts inside the starter solenoid housing. If they are burnt and/or worn, you will get this condition. Replace the contacts and the plunger, or replace the starter. I change contacts in my shop 3-4 times a week. Quite a common failure. The clicking noise is the plunger hitting one contact, but not the other, due to wear.