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Escort won't start when cold and has the strangest solution...

This morning was pretty nippy, (about 52 degrees) and my 94 fanst would just turn over but refused to start. Sounded like it wanted to a few times but just wouldn't. I checked spark and just changed the air filter, it all seemed fine. Next, I pulled the line from my fuel filter that feeds the injection rail to see if I was getting fuel. Turned the key to the on position and nothing happened. Turned key to the start position and as the engine began turning over fuel shot out of the filter like a fountain and guess what ? The car fired right up, easier than it has ever since I've owned it.(about three weeks). I turned it off, hooked the line back into the filter and started it right up. Drove for two hours today without a problem. It seems to do this when the car is parked for several hours, like over night. When its warm, its fine. I'm stumped. Could it be the fuel pressure regulator ? When I pulled the vacuum line to check for fuel leaking past the diaphram, it was dry and I've read that's a sure sign of a bad regulator. Could too much fuel pressure keep the car from starting ?

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
  • 14,036 Answers

Could have bad spark plugs and a bad engine coolant temperature sensor will cause cold no start conditions.

Posted on Oct 30, 2012

  • chasinmytail
    chasinmytail Oct 31, 2012

    Jonah, you may have something there. The second day I had the car I found it to run hot when stationary. A quick check revealed that the fan was not coming on, but when hit with a jumper wire it would. I'm not very good at electronics beyond the basics, so I just wired in a relay from an ignition hot wire running to my coolant tank. I had no idea coolant temp would effect the starting fuel delivery. Would that explain an almost constant high idle as well? Gauge always shows cold or on the normal/cold line.

  • chasinmytail
    chasinmytail Nov 02, 2012

    Here's the update. I pulled a few connectors, the coolant temp sensor being one of them, cleaned them up a bit with a pocket knife and now my fan works like its supposed to.lol But more importantly, the car starts without pulling the fuel line ! I'm stoked, but trying not to get overly excited. Let's see how it goes over the next few days. Thank you guys, for all your help and good advice.

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
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No, not likely. And a dry hose is a good sign, but a hose wet with gas is a sure sign of a failed pressure regulator. Your problem may be the pump not priming the fuel system. Here's how it is supposed to work: when you turn the key to on, computer will signal the fuel pump relay to turn on for about two seconds, and without a cranking signal from the engine, computer will then turn the pump off. When key is turned to crank, the computer will then turn pump back on-when engine is cranking or running, the pump is on continuously. But just turning the key to on, you should hear the pump run for about two seconds, and that will pressurize the fuel system.
At those times when it doesn't want to start, you should test the fuel pressure to see if the fuel rail is pressurized. If no pressure or low pressure, diagnose the wiring at the fuel pump relay. The relay is very simple- 4 prongs, 2 on the power side, and 2 on the coil side. The power side has a hot at all times wire and then the wire going to the pump. The coil side of the relay has a wire from the engine computer, and the other coil side wire is a ground. When the coil side is energtized by the wire from the computer, the relay is switched on and will pass power from the hot wire to the pump. So if the pump doesn't come on briefly to prime the system, the computer may not be signalling the relay, or there is a wiring problem around the relay. Good luck. You might just try a different relay-maybe yours is sticky and not responding.

Posted on Oct 30, 2012

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  • chasinmytail
    chasinmytail Oct 30, 2012

    thank you so much for the response. I pray its not a pcm issue.... now when I actually cranked it, it shot plenty of fuel skyward.lol. if it does that, wouldn't it be getting a prime signal with the ignition on as well, or is that a different signal being sent? I'm also not sure how to check fuel pressure when it happens because I have no schrader valve on the line or injection rail. and after I crack the line to hook a gauge up, the pressure would be lost and the car would then start. and besides, what sense does that make? why would the car start right up with the fuel line disconnected and just hanging there with nothing feeding it? don't the injectors have to have pressure to work? do I need a crucifix and holy water to solve this problem ?

  • montehammons Oct 30, 2012

    Well you do have a puzzling problem. ( And fords are especially cursed by mad designers

  • montehammons Oct 30, 2012

    To hook up a pressure gauge without a test port, you can tee off the break in the lineand hook up that way. Takes a little extra plumbing, but thats how its done. Back to the pcm, tho: Your relay came on when car was cranking whixch is goodbut the pump should turn on briefly just by turning key to on. some cars keep the pump running by a signal to the relay from the oil pressure switch. But listen for the pump to come on (stand by tank)while someone turns the key to on.

  • montehammons Oct 30, 2012

    If it works right, and sparkplugs and ignition wires and ignition circuit, and engine compression -all are good, and no air blockages are present in the intake, then hook up the fuel pressure gauge , cause you just may have low fuel pressure.

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Posted on Sep 05, 2011

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