02 Ford Escape problems restarting after sitting over an hour

My son is having an unusual problem with his 2002 Ford Escape. He goes to college 2 miles away a couple times a week. He says that the car starts fine when heading off to college. If it is a quick trip under an hour, it starts fine when he gets back in to come home. But if he’s there over an hour it has real problem starting/turning over. He has to turn the ignition and hold it for about 5 seconds before it will finally start. However if he is at the college for quite awhile, 4 hours or more, the car starts fine. He is rarely there less than an hour or longer than 4, so he is usually having this problem.

Does anyone have any clue what may be going on and what to look at first? Thank you.

Check the fuel pressure when in failure mode. I am leaning towards fuel pump.

Next time when starting it, cycle the key from off to run about five times. Then try starting the car.

If it starts fine, then the fuel pumps drain back valve is bad.
This allows the fuel to drain back into the tank, instead of keeping the fuel lines full.

The only remedy is to have the fuel pump replaced.


Check your voltage when starting. Electronics (for spark, computer, etc.) needs be higher than 10.5 volts - or so. I had a year-old battery of lesser cranking amps than specified. While it registered 12.5 vdc and could crank the engine real well, the voltage dropped too low during crank to fire the electronics for starting it easily. Put a meter across the battery or use the interior 12 vdc plug to check the voltage during starting.