CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2001 Ford Escape Cold start problems

Hoping someone will be able to solve mystery that has mechanic stumped and me tearing my hair out. Have 2001 escape v6, 130kms. About 3 weeks ago, coolant light would come on when starting cold, then go off after a couple of minutes. One afternoon, car would start, then engine die when trying to shift into gear. Roadside assistance found a collapsed air hose, replaced, and car started. Took to mechanic and had full service. Then, for the next day coolant light started coming on and off - back to mechanic who said they hadn’t bled the coolant lines enough - topped off the coolant. Now, at cold start it takes 6 or more attempts to get the engine to stay running. If it parked for less than 3 hours, starts fine first time. Mechanic says they’ve checked all the vacuum hoses, and topped off the coolant again

I have had some success turning the key to ON 5 or more times before trying to start it - so had the fuel pump replaced on theory it was a check flow valve problem. But it actually seems worse now. It’s not showing any codes, so have no idea what to do now.
Any help would be so appreciated - can’t keep not knowing if the car will start when I’m driving little kids around

Thanks