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Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3153
Experience:  ASE certified. Auto Transmission rebuilder for Ford Motor Co. from 91 to 2000
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I have 2001 Ford Explorer Sport. Two weeks ago had new fuel

Customer Question

I have 2001 Ford Explorer Sport. Two weeks ago had new fuel pump put in. Suddenly, have problem starting car. Will crank. There is no pattern to it. My mechanic checked fuel pressure and saw that it was dropping. We changed the relay and pressure came back. We used the relay that was next to it because it was "not used". For a day seemed to start fine. But now its back to having problems starting--it cranks though.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Hello, Eddie here and I will do my best to help. You can usually hear the fuel pump cycle for a couple of seconds when you turn the key ON, Do you hear the pump run now? and is it starting now or is it in it's no start condition currently? Have you replaced this suspect relay yet? Let us know, Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Its pretty much as I said. We used the relay next to the suspect relay that shows "not used" and suddenly fuel pressure was fine. The car does start enventually.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Alright, Do you currently have a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail now where we can check it? Also, try this, if you cycle the key about 3 or 4 times, does it start easier then?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have fuel pressure gauge on it now. Not a mechanic! Sometimes is starts right up. There is no pattern to it. I will go try cycling 3-4x.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I cycled it 3x and it started right up. I assume you mean turn the key on and off without cranking
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We also checked new fuel filter which he replaced when he replace fuel pump and he says it looked fine. Because he was concerned there might be dirt in tank which he saw when he replaced pump two weeks prior.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

That's correct, cycling the key to ON, back to OFF again, 3 or 4 times, within a couple of seconds, then you attempt to start it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It started. Again there is no pattern to this. Sometimes it starts right up, sometimes it doesn't.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

So does it start everytime correctly when you do that? What that does is work the fuel pump more before attempting to start. The fuel pump runs about 2-3 seconds when you first turn the key to the ON or START position,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have turned the key and waited and then tried to crank--and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have never cycled off and on like that till now.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Alright, I follow you, What I can only suggest is getting a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail and making sure pressure is 55-65 psi when it does NOT start. If your fuel pressure is 55-65 when it doesn't start, then we know the pump, relay, filter, everything in the fuel delivery system is fine. I don't think your starting problem is anything else other than a fuel issue, but I can't be 100% sure, it could be something else. So we want to see if the pressure goes up to 55-65 psi everytime you turn the key on. It should. If it doesn't come up to 55-65 and doesn't start, then we have correlated low fuel pressure with the starting issue.

It could be some crud in the lines, it could be the inertia switch, or the PCM itself as the PCM grounds the fuel pump relay. But until you can get a fuel pressure gauge on it and it's in it's "broken state" it will be impossible to know with absolutely certainty what is at fault. But I believe it is going to be one of the things I've mentioned. Let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The big problem I have is my mechanic is slammed and then going to NASCAR next wednesday! So should I keep cycling it 3x before starting? I also ran Seafoam through it each time the last two full tanks. would that have helped clearing possible crud? or try something else? What is PCM? Thanks
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

The PCM is called the Powertrain Control Module. Hopefully you want need that though. Seafoam should have helped. but depending on how bad it was maybe some still in the lines possibly, but, overtime if you treat it once a month or so, it would clean the lines and injectors out overtime. I would keep cycling if it seems to help. Also, when you first turn the key on, get in a habit of listening for the fuel pump, You should hear a fight buzz from the back for 2-3 seconds then it quits, that is the fuel pump cycling, try to correlate a no start with not hearing that pump cycle. If it won't start also you could try spraying some starting fluid directly into the air intake. If it fires up then and that helps. That would also point to a fuel delivery problem.