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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 4713
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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1997 Ford Crown Victoria: 4.6L..12.5 v. car wont start..loud noise

Customer Question

1997 Ford Crown Victoria, police, "w" eng - 4.6L - that won't start. battery at 12.5 v. Car won't start. when turning key there is a loud noise, then stops - eng does not turn over a full revolution.
Removed starter and had it bench tested - test sucessful, starter tests okay. Also pulled a couple of plugs and manually turned engine over approx 8-10 full revolutions - there was no rough spots, dead spots - tuned over beutifully.
Can someone help me please?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.I will try my best to help you with your question.

 

See if you can turn the engine over by hand. Put a 19mm socket on the crankshaft pulley and a 1/2" drive ratchet and see if you can turn the engine over by hand several revolutions. Turn it clockwise.

Let me know if you can turn it over by hand.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am so sorry to have taken so long answering your question, but I am Phx, Az bound and it is 109 in the shade!

I got it turned at least 1 revolution, perhaps 2, there is one hell of a lot presaure, and my arms are burning from taking off a starter that was factory installed 13+ years ago! God, that torque was a nightmare.

Like I said - 1 1/2 to 2 full revolutions - hope that helps.

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

You can remove the spark plugs, that will make it easier to turn over. The compression with the spark plugs in make it hard to turn over.

I'm in Florida and it is 98 here with a heat index of 105. I completely understand.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I sent cust serv a message - I don't know if they contacted you or not. I went to the hosp and nobody knew I was in contact with you - they just locked my house up and left.

I am back - you deserved the money, if, for no other reason, just for waiting so long.

Anyway, I was able to turn the engine freely 5 to 10 revelotions - nothing is hampering the turn over - just pulled a couple of plugs out.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I initially stated I had my started bench tested and it tested fine. Perhaps I should elaborate - I took my starter to a local parts store - here in Az it is called "Auto Zone". The hooked it up on a tester unit and ran a test and the clerk said, "this started seems perfectly fine to me - as you can see it is turning, (spinning) very well".

 

Yea, it did spin very well on the test unit he hooked it up to. But I wonder, it didn't seen that the started was under load at all. just free spinning. I got under the car and tried to jump start it - it started and went for a fraction of a second and stopped. Could it be the starter really is bad under load????

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

We have auto zone here also.

With the starter bolted up and the spark plugs removed, will the engine crank over. There is a BIG difference between bench testing a starter and testing it on the vehicle. Mechanical engine parts are a larger load than the electrical tester.

See if the engine will turn over with the starter with the spark plugs removed. The reason being, you could have an injector leaking causing the engine to hydro lock. Worst case scenario of course.

But also check the battery cables to the starter and the ground cables. Also check the battery cable connections at the battery. Poor connection can also cause this concern. But before you replace anything, let me know if the engine will crank over with the starter reinstalled and the spark plugs removed.


By the way, we can talk back and forth on this page till we fix your problem, even if you accept before we find the problem. We can talk after you accept. But you can also wait till your Crown Vic runs and starts properly.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, and thank you. I have been on a couple of days now, and I was hopeing I would get you again.

Give me about 5 - 10 minutes and Ill let you know if it turns over with plugs out. Back in about 10 min.

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

Keep me informed.

I just need to walk you though a couple of test to find the problem without replacing any parts till we find the problem.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay - sorry for the delay - would not turn over fully one rev with 6 plugs out. Sounded like an electrical problem rather than eng revs problem - as soon as I connect the car to the battery my batt reads 6.5 v. While I was out there I ran down the ground wire down by the muff/tailpipes - disconnected, cleaned with wire brush, and tried again - same thing . used my buddies batter from his cvar but his post are back assward from mine - cables would not reach. then I tested mkky battery which has been on the bench for the las 15 min and it has 12.85 V
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

You have a wire that has HIGH resistance. High resistance requires more voltage and hence, poor starter operation. Your starter requires the proper voltage, actually, I think your battery should be rated at 650 CCA. This will be listed on the battery.

 

Do this. Disconnect the battery and then remove the large wire at the starter. Safely position it away from ground and then hook your battery back up and see what the voltage is. This will eliminate the starter.

Let me know what you find.

A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 4713
Experience: ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
A. Penland and 5 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

 

Batt on the banch is 12.79 v - disconnect starter wire and reconnect batt to car - 12.79 V. I took it one step further and measured batt while turning ign at switch and got a click and batt dropped to 12.15 v. let it sit for 20 sec or so and batt went back up to 12.79.

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

When you try to start the vehicle, how low does the battery voltage drop down to?

WHen did you get the 6.5 volts?

As for paying later, you can give me a bonus. But we can talk back and forth to repair your problem.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
drop to 6.5 v at the time the starter was connected and I was trying to see if I had achieved any improvement after disconnecting plugs and trying to start. It was as it is right now except the starter was connected too.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

It sounds like a bad starter. Some starters when they fail, require more voltage CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) from the battery to turn the engine over. This is caused by the windings in the starter motor itself. If the voltage is good with t he plugs out, replace the starter. I recommend one from Ford. Or even a Motorcraft one. Those are Ford starters, but a cheaper and are the next to best ones.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is 1800 hrs - all ford parts are closed at this end of the world. In the past, and expecially if money is tight or Ford is outrageous in price, I have gone to Napa - I have always had good outcomes using Napa parts, which aren't that cheap - not anything like auto zone, checker, etc., etc.

I can get one from Napa with a decent warrentee at twice the price of any of the local 'auto parts warehouses'. And about 75.00 under Ford. What do you think about Napa - I can have one installed in an hour - otherwise it will be tomorrow morning? Let me know please - also, if I do it in the morning can I just pull up my question and reply to you after I do it???

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Get some rest, we can continue tomorrow. NAPA, Auto Zone, Checkers, what ever is best with your budget. Just as long as they have a good warranty.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Napa I trust - I don't trust the stuff I have been stuck with, or had to return several times before getting any satisfaction, at checker, auto zone, and a couple mom & pops - thank you and I will get some rest and talk with you tomorrow.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
No problem. Keep me informed. Get some rest. It's late down here in the south east also.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thanx
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Your very welcome.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't know what happened - I did not click on reply ot accept, but the page I was working on went blank, including this area to send a question - so let me briefly repeat what I was sending to you.

Replaced starter - that was not the problem. I am not entirely unhappy about the expendature because the starter in the car was OEM and 14 years old - at least I have a new starter. After determining the starter is not the problem I removed plugs and turned physically turned the engine over about 10 revs - very smooth, no problems noted. I also took the battery to Napa and they tell me the battery seems to be practically new, and seems to be problem free - the battery is only about 6 months old - so I was happy to learn that.

Right now the car sits as it did when I initially contacted you and I will patiently wait until I hear from you - hopefully we can troubleshoot this problem into a 'no problem' situation !?!

Before starting this message to you I was looking to see how to leave positive feedback for you and could not see where to do it - do I have to click on "accept answer" in order to do that? Also, is that how I can leave a bonus? I just scrolled up and saw where I accepted your answer earlier - next to that is where I see the ability to add a bonus.

Anyway, let me know what to do next please.

I NEVER turn my computer off - so you will always see that I am online - you will need to txt me if I don't respond for over an hour - thx

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

I had to reread the entire post. I have been in the hospital a couple of days for a bad case of sinus infection.

The starter and battery checked out good. New starter installed. You can manually crank the engine over by hand 10 revolutions or more. The only other items to check would be the flywheel ring gear where the starter engages the flywheel to turn the engine over. If the flywheel is cracked, it can cause the same problems.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good Morning, I think.....Sorry to hear about the sinus infection - they can be really painful. I trust they put the infection in check real quick with IV super antibiotics.

 

Well okay, is there any way I can visually inspect, or test, for this? What could cause something like this to happen?

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
You will have to remove the stater again and hand turn the engine over and look at the ring gear through the opening for the starter. Make sure the ring gear is intact and that it does not move toward or away from the engine while turning the engine over. It takes a little time, but look carefully.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Boy that starter is a pain in the butt to get on and off again. Am I doing something wrong when I r&r the starter - that 3rd bolt gives me fits trying to get it on and off. I can only turn it about 1/100th of a turn at a time! That's why you guys get the big bucks huh? If you got any tips that can help me take it off easier I would sure appreciate your input Frown
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
The easiest way to get the top back bolt near the engine is to use a long extension on the ratchet with a universal socket (swivel) and go through the motor mount on the passenger side. Or around the mount. You can almost get a straight shot on it. A lot of techs I have worked with don't even put that bolt back in.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh, your kidding! I should have picked your brain about that before I R&R'd that beast 3 times ago. Your saying, or some techs are, that two bolts are sufficient to hold that puppy in place?!
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
It is, for personal usage. But on the police vehicles, put all 3 back in. Ford requires all 3, but you can get away with 2, make sure the 2 are tight. The starter can pull away from the mounting when starting. The 3rd bolt holds it in on the inside for torque from the starter. I would recommend all 3. But 2 will hold it.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, at least I have an option - Thanx, and I let you know the results of my inspection when they are in.

By the way, do you recomend a second set of eyeballs on the ring gear while turning the engine over manually?

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
It would help. Turning the engine over and then moving around to look at the flywheel takes a lot of time. Two people doing the job would make it a lot easier.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Somehow I lost my message again! Anyway, I got a friend on his way over. These old bones just don't seem to get around under a car like they use to. I had a '71 Boss 351 when I was growing up - I knew that block inside and out, front to back, side to side, and topside to belly, there was much I couldn't tell you about that baby. The difference between then and now is like the difference between heaven and hell - things are just a lot harder to work on now than they were then!!!

I'll get back to you - probably be much later - when I have an answer for you. Thanx again!

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Keep me informed. I'll be on here most of the day. Probably till 10:00 PM EST. I'm in Florida.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry that I didn't get back to you yesterday but my 'buddy' who was going to help, didn't!

I pulled the starter, and removed the inspection plate - hand cranked and the flywheel did not vary - absolutely no front to back movement whatsoever.

what is our next step?

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
I would double check the battery cables to and from the starter. If you have a meter that can read OHMS. Disconnect both ends of the positive cable and the negative cable and make sure the readings are 0.0 or really close. If you have high resistance in the circuit, the starter will not crank the engine over.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have a good meter - I will go test for resistance in both the pos an dneg - back in about 10-15 min
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Ok. Let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do you want me to test the end at the batt, and the end at the starter on both pos and neg? That is a long way?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

Yes. But make sure the battery is disconnected. When you test for OHMS., you want no power in the circuit.

You can try to pull the starter cable up some to get to it. This job will require 2 people. It is hard to do alone.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
yea, i think I can drop on lead down by the motor mount - Eric is here and can be under the car. Okay, give me a little bit.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

No problem. I'll be online for a little while longer.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Absolute .000000 resistance
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Plus another 125.00 expendature - never knowing for sure, and not knowing the history of the battery I invested in another - 850 CCA.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I thought it kind of strange that you didn't respond to me a couple days ago - I knew it was getting late in your part of the world and thought nothing of the fact that I responded to your question regarding resistance in the line (positive) from the battery to where it connects at the starter - I told you that the resistance measured was .00000. When I saw that, and leaning towards an electrical problem - and I have had some in the past - I took my battery down for a test - they told me the battery tests as god, but needs a charge at this time. The battery I was working with is a couple year old "Interstate" - the kind of heat we have in Arizona batteries don't last longer than 2 - 2 1/2 yrs max. So I decided to invest in another. I bought a good one with 8 yrs warrantee, three years free replacement, 850 CCA (1000 cranking amps).

I installed the battery and checked everthing to make sure that all was tight, torqued, and connected properly and attempted to start. The car did not start, but it did turn over - slowly like the battery was low or something like that, but not like it was when we began this extended trip a few weeks ago.

There is one thing I haven't told you - it just happened the same night I tested for resistance - we took all the plugs out - hadn't done that before - just 4 or 5 so that manually turning the engine would be easier. My buddy was taking them out and when he got to the last one - would be passenger side closest to the firewall, he got a quarter turn on it and suddenly it sounded like a gas tank does when you a low on fuel, it is hot, and the vaccume hissing noise coming from the tank and swish of air being drawn in to the engine - we had not had the car started and of course we had not turned it over manually for more than 24 hours - I could not understand why that one hole would act like that!?!? Any thoughts?

Anyway, I really believe we are down to an electrical problem - but that is why you and I are talking - my knowledge hasn't been current since 1971Foot in mouth

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, I have been out of town on a family emergency.

 

Will the starter spin the engine over with ALL the plugs removed? We have checked all the electrical possibilities. You may have an internal engine problem.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I checked a few times but went to your profile and saw you had not been on since the 14th.

 

With no plug the starter spins perfectly. Put the plugs back in thinking all might be okay, and it did try to start - it actually turned the engine over, but as if there was no juice in the batt - it had 12.59 volts. I feel stupid - that starter was just taken off the shelf - duh. Should I have given it a good charge?? Expensive battery!

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

Had a bad family emergency. But I'm home now.

Did any of the spark plugs smell like fuel or look fuel fouled? When you described removing the last spark plug #8 on the drivers side rear, you had a hissing noise like a gas cap. I wonder if you have a bad fuel injector leaking fuel into that cylinder. Check cylinder #8 for fuel in the cylinder. Your engine could be getting what we call hydro locked.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No not #8 - the hole was the one closest the firewall on the pass side
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Sorry, that is #4. I am still trying to get my head back on straight. It was a long hard week.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, at the time Eric was the one who pulled it and he said it sounds like opening a gas cap when you are low on fuel - meaning the like there was a vaccume in that hole and his openning it caused a "sucking" of air from the outside into the engine - almost like a valve might have been stuck. I just asked Eric and he said not fuel odor at all and the plug was dry as a bone - never been fired since changeing all plugss.

Give me another 5 minutes - he is pulling #4 again and rechecking.

Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
You could also have gotten that noise if the engine was on the intake stroke and the valve closed. Remember, you were hand cranking the engine over.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yea, okay. Eric just got #4 out and it had no smell of gasoline, plug was dry.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

We are having problems with the site uploading items. I'll have to sign off and get back online tomorrow.

But try this, with the battery fully charged. Crank the engine over with t he plugs out by using the starter. Make sure it spins the engine over properly. The reinstall the plugs and see if the engine tries to start. You stated it almost did, but the battery voltage was low. You also might want to do a manual compression test on all 8 cylinders. It should be around 175 to 200 psi of compression on all 8 cylinders with a difference between each cylinder of no more that 15 psi. Also do a fuel pressure test at the schrader valve on the fuel rails. There is a test port that looks like a metal tire valve stem. It should be on the passenger side fuel rail. I'll check back tomorrow. It doesn't sound like an electrical problem.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay - what is the best way to do a compression test on the cyls - do I need something special?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.

The best way is with a compression tester.

graphic

It screws into the spark plug hole and you crank the engine over with t he key for at least 5 seconds and check the reading on the guage. Do this with all the spark plugs removed.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay, I figured as much - I have one waiting for me at Napa - be a couple hours, one to get it, and one to do the tests. And thanx.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 4 years ago.
Just keep me informed. I will be online till 10:00 PM EST.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I apologize that I haven't got back to you recenty - I have just been so frustrated over this car, it has just been driving me crazy. I did find out the problem however, and quite by accident. I took the belt off - don't ask me why, I just did. Whatever I was thinking was not correct because I remember registering disappointment and thinking 'just another lost cause'. I got distracted and taken away from the car and had to take one of my dogs to the vet - an already scheduled visit for rabies shot. The only reason I remembered was a friend came over to take us because he knew I couldn't take Rusty on my motorcycle - good to have friends like that! Anyway, when I got back, brewed a tall cold coke, and back to the monster - the monster being my car! I sat at the drivers seat and tried to start the car - I no sooner started and I was thinking to my self how crazy is this the belt isn't on! Before I had a chance to react the car started - WHAT THE F , is this! My car is actually running. I let is go for a few then shut it down - of course there is no water circulation, no charge to the alt., etc. At this point you probably know, but I got under the hood and was looking around and testing some things out when I came upon a compressor that was froze up - could not spin it, it wouldn't budge! It should spin as freely as an alt - right? Anyway, I bought a compressor - a NEW one. Now I'm shopping for a mech to put is on - I am just flat stupid when it comes to freon, charging and R&R the complete system, etc, etc,.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 years ago.

It is very possible to have a locked up AC compressor cause and engine not to start. It is very rare, but it is possible.

If the compressor is locked up, you will need to get the system flushed out and a new orifice tube installed. It goes in the line to the evaporator.

The flushing will clean all the metal out of the system from the compressor.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Remembering back, the air cond was blowing warm air a few days before the problem, no start, occurred. About a year ago my air went out and I had a mechanic replace the system. His price was reasonable and he guaranteed it for a year. He stood behind that guarantee too - all five times! I found out that I got what I paid for - he was using Auto Zone rebuild units. That is another reason why I won't use Auto Zone for anything like that. A few months back I moved from Tempe to West Phoenix, his shop is in East Mesa - about 80 miles away from his shop, plus the fact that it has been right at a year now. The air compressor never locked up before - the air just quit blowing cold. When it began blowing warm a couple months ago - just before this no start problem - I just quit using the air and made up my mind that whoever I had replace it this time would be using new parts. It wasn't bothering me when this problem came up and since I never had a compressor lock up before I didn't associate my current problem with the air - that is until I was under the car and for the compressor locked up!!! That sucker is locked up solid. Maybe I should have told you about the past air problems - perhaps you might have thought a little differently as we were trying to find my problem now. Whatever, I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all the help you have given me, and the fact that I feel you have gone over and above what was necessary with my situation, and beyond your responsibilities. I cannot leave you a bonus, or pay you any additional money today, but I will when my deposit hits tomorrow. It actually posts to my account overnight on Monday nights so it is avail to me as early as 0400 hrs on Tuesday. But I need to know something. I save my emails and put them in a folder 'justans-Penland'. If I click on the one from today that says "I just answered your question" to bring this dialog box up, can I click on any 'accept answer' to get to a place where I can leave additional monies for you and a comments for the public to read regarding your excellent service??? Thank you for everything, I do really appreciate your excellent knowledge and assistance.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 years ago.

You can come back to this page and leave a bonus on any of my answers.

I am just glad the problem has be located.

I am on this site to help people save money on their vehicles and repair them themselves. Dealerships can get expensive now days and the economy is not helping any. I've been working for Ford dealerships for 20 years now. And I have seen my share or what we refer to as hacks! They only hurt the business and give us a bad name.

Again, you can return to this page and click on any accept answer here.

I just appreciate your patience and glad the problem has been located. Just remember to have the system flushed out. Any remain metal from the compressor going bad can cause the system to fail again. Remember to get a new orifice tube and accumulator/receiver dryer.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I will be certain to get what you suggest - and thanx again. You are so correct regarding the prices - I would always have my work done at a dealership, but the prices are really so very high! Last year a complete replacement of my air was to be 1450.00 and I just couldn't afford that. But sometimes finding someone qualified is just as hard - you really have to shop very carefully! Thanx again - I will be back on tuesday morning.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 years ago.
No problem. Take care and have a great weekend.

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