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James, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3628
Experience:  Ford Senior Master Tech, Ford gas and diesel expert, ASE Certified
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I have a 2002 Focus ZTS. I have read multiple pots about the

Customer Question

I have a 2002 Focus ZTS. I have read multiple pots about the same issue with no resolution. The car just turns over without fire 15 to 20 times before it starts only when its cold.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it does not matter if the tank is full or quarter full or near empty. there are no visible or smell of fuel leaks. During the summer time no issues at all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was told that it was the ignition system so I replaced all components and the issues are still there.
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

The engine starts normal after the first initial hard start correct?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It will but once it cools down like going shopping for a hour or so it does it again.
I've tried turning the key on and off multiple times but it does not seem to help. I also can hear the pump engage the first itital key turn
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
During warm days, no issues when it cools down at night it happens randomly and when it's cold, almost always
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

My initial thought is a defective fuel pump. The fuel pump has a check valve that prevents fuel from draining back over night or sitting. That will cause excessive cranking because the fuel system has to reprime itself. Another thing when it is acting strange is unplug the mass air flow system. If the mass air flow is dirty enough it can affect cold starting. I would try these things first.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I cleaned the MAF, same thing, 15 to 20 key turns before it will start. I have perfect spark, I pulled the fuel.line from the fuel rail and as soon as the key I'd turned I get fuel. Only does this when it's cold outside.
I used the MAF cleaner about 8 hours ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I still have a no start situation. I pulled off the air intake to the throttle body and poured gas in the re. I kit the key and it fired right up. It stalled when the gas ran out and would not start right away.
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

So it sounds like a fuel problem. You could have a bad camshaft sensor or metal shavings throwing off the sensor.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This would only happen when it's cold??
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

It's possible. To know its not a fuel issue for sure you need to perform a fuel pressure test and leak down test.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will pressure check the fuel system in the am. I will also do a compression test. It's just aggregating because when it's 70 degrees out it runs and starts perfect
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

If you unplug the mass air flow sensor does it make a difference?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It runs rough with it unplugged.
I have not tried starting it with it unplugged. I will today.
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good. It's going to run rough when unplugged for sure. If it makes easier starting it will help though.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think this is stra Ying away from the issue. Right now it's 72 degreed outside and the car starts runs perfectly. When the temp drops 10 degrees it will not start without cranking it 15 to 20 times.
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

How fresh is the fuel in the tank?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fuel is just pumped mid grade. I pulled the intake manifold repaired the collapsed vacuum line and one bro***** *****ne. I replaced the crankcase temperature sensor and all of the o rings on the fuel rail. This was last night, the car started right on the first key turn. That was after reinstalling the fuel rail. Turn the key right to crank and it started no problem.
This morning I get in and crank it, had to crank 5 times before it started. It is strictly temperature related. It will sit for the next 8 hours and when I go out it will be 75 degrees, it will.start on the first crank.
Expert:  James replied 1 year ago.

It's possible it could be the PCM. If the PCM has any moisture inside it can cause this issue. They are a pain to diagnose though.