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1998 Ford Contour not starting

Hi! I have a 1998 Ford Contour se 2.0. The alternator went out in the beginning of January. Had it replaced, got it back it ran for a couple of days and it just died on me and wouldn’t start. So back to the shop it went, fuel filter was clogged so they changed it, charged me well over $100 and I got it back last Friday. It ran until Saturday morning and as I was driving down the road it just died!! Just like that…died. Got it to run for a few seconds…it would die. Finally got it back home and now it won’t start. It will turn over, but won’t start. If it does start it won’t stay running longer than 2 or 3 seconds. I’ve had the fuel pump, fuel injectors, and spark plugs checked. Everything is fine. Oh and yes, it has 3/4 of a tank of gas in it. Could someone PLEASE tell me what is wrong with this thing?? I’m at my wits end and need it for school, work etc. It also has around 151,000 miles on it. Thank you so much in advance!

Hard to know for sure – it takes a good spark, the correct fuel/air mixture, good compression, and correct ignition and valve timing for an engine to start , so could be any of those – but my guess is that you still have some kind of fuel system problem. Since replacing the fuel filter fixed it for a while, you may have gotten a tank of bad gas at some point in the past, and it has clogged something in the fuel system. A fuel pressure test is probably in order next.

I wonder if there is dirt or rust in the gas tank. It ran for a while after you changed the filter. I would change the filter again. Ultimately, you may have to drop the tank and clean it.

How were the fuel pump, injectors, and plugs checked?

Try starting it while holding the gas pedal down just a little bit.

Has the check engine light been on ?

The problem could be with the crankshaft position sensor.

This sensor informs the computer whether or not the crankshaft is rotating. If the computer loses the signal from this sensor, the computer see’s no reason to operate the fuel and ignition systems. So the engine can stall out at anytime or not start.

Heat is what causes these sensors to fail. And as you can see from the image, it’s just made out of plastic.