Question about 1998 Ford Explorer

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Engine coughs and sputters, won't start

This problem started gradually. The vehicle would be a little difficult to start, and would idle rather rough for 10-15 seconds before smoothing out and acting normally. If I gave it a little gas pedal, it would take a bit less time. Over a month or so, the time until it idled smooth gradually increased to almost a minute. No engine codes were given, weather not cold. The last time I got it started, it never did smooth out completely, and now it won't start at all. When I crank the engine, it coughs and sputters like it wants to start, but can't. If I crank it for very long, it often gives a very good backfire - popped the air intake hose off once. I've checked the primary and secondary resistance on the coil pack - it's fine, and there is spark to the plugs. There is plenty of fuel pressure. We just had our first child, and don't have a ton of extra cash to take this somewhere to get diagnostics done. If I knew the problem, I could handle fixing it myself, but without trouble codes, I don't know where to go next...
Timing maybe, or PCM?

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  • 7 more comments 
  • mmmike529 Sep 23, 2008

    it's the v6, with about 150000 miles. high mileage, but the engine was still strong (when it was running)...

    will check maf when i get a few minutes to work on it.

  • mmmike529 Sep 23, 2008

    it's the v6 pushrod motor.

  • mmmike529 Sep 24, 2008

    disconnecting the MAF did not change anything...

  • mmmike529 Sep 28, 2008

    anti theft suggestion did not work.

    thanks anyway...

  • mmmike529 Apr 07, 2009

    Ok, I gave up on diagnosing this, nothing gave any positive results. I put in another motor, and it runs great. We completely tore down the old one after we took it out, and 4 of the 6 cylinders and the oil pan were full of water/coolant. Actually got it started on the 2 cylinders before yanking the motor, it just spewed huge clouds of white smoke and shook like crazy (obviously). After tearing it down to every last removable piece, we never found the issue, so there must be a crack, etc somewhere in the coolant channels in the block. hmph.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    guess u did not need our help

  • JFox562 May 11, 2010

    I would like some clarification on the Guest post regarding the anti theft light. My 98 at times leaves the anti theft light on while I'm driving. Everything works but the light is on. I can turn off the engine and remove the key...restart the engine and the light is off. The 5 minute trick is to re-train the anti-theft system?

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    Have you checked to make sure the valve timing is ok? Also disconnect the MAF sensor and see if it will run, get back to me on this same thread.

  • bryant smith
    bryant smith May 11, 2010

    i'm thinking timing. which motor do you have and how many miles are on it?

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its sounds like it has jumped time
you might want to check that

Posted on Jan 06, 2009

Do you have an anti theft system on it? Mine did that and it was the anti theft had been triggered. If you turn the key to the on position and the anti theft continues to blink leave the key in the on position for about 5 minutes and then shut it off and turn it back on watch to see if the anti theft light goes out or not. if it goes out it reset itself and should start.

Posted on Sep 25, 2008

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