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2003 ford escape v6 not starting,but very close

My car is almost turning on. It goes all the way but then just doesn’t start. The fuel pump is working, can hear it. We checked for spark and there is. we sprayed that carborator or whatever it is in the air intake thing too and it still didn’t start. My buddy is saying that it has to be a sensor. Either O2 or crankshaft something sensor. Sorry I’m not a car guy so not too familiar with terms and stuff as you can see. Any ideas? I’m borrowing a OBD reader in a few days but until then I’m asking for anyone’s input. THANK YOU!

What preceded this “crank, no start” condition? Any sign of impending problems? Miles?

When you say it “goes all the way”, what do you mean? Besides the engine cranking, does it sound like it almost starts, or does it just crank? How did you check for spark, and was the spark a strong, blue one, or a weak, orange one? What did you spray into the intake? Is the check engine light on? If so, how long has it been on? Has it been flashing?

Sounds like you’ve done the right tests. An engine works on controlled explosions, and you are pretty much guaranteed to get explosions occurring if you have fuel, air, and sparks all meeting at the same place. Provided you’ve done your testing correctly, this might be a tough one to solve. Here’s some ideas, things to check

  • compression. spark and fuel can be ok, but engine won’t start if compression is too low.
  • spark ok during cranking only. something goes wrong with the ignition system so the spark occurs when the key is in the “start” position, but when returned to “run” the spark goes away and the engine immediately stops. Does it seem to start and run like normal, but immediately stops when the key is returned to the “run” position?
  • engine flooded. If you’ve tried to start it many times without success, the engine can get so flooded it won’t start no matter what you do. And spraying more fuel into the intake manifold just makes matters worse. Remove the spark plugs and let the cylinders evaporate all the fuel for 24 hours if you think that might be the case. Look at the electrodes on the spark plug, are they wet?
  • exhaust system problem. That path must be clear, otherwise, the engine won’t start. Remember the old ‘potato in the exhaust pipe’ trick teenagers used to play? Measuring the intake manifold vacuum during cranking can provide a clue. It should produce a pretty good vacuum with the throttle close, around 18-20. If considerably lower than that, suspect something wrong in the exhaust system.

How old is the battery, and is it in good shape?

If the battery can’t provide enough juice to crank the engine fast enough, it won’t start . . .

Is the engine cranking over normally . . . or SUPER fast?

If it’s cranking over SUPER fast, you may have low or no compression, for whatever reason

Does this vehicle have Ford’s PATS by chance? If the transponder receiver has gone bad, it will crank over but not actually start.

The OBD shows no codes no problems. It turns almost all the way just doesn’t start last second. Could it really be my PATS? If so can I turn it off/disable It??

My battery only 16% charge. Left it on a charger 15 minutes and it didn’t even charge. but my friend says not the battery still because the car turns but doesn’t crank over to start…is he right or do I need a 100% fully charged battery.

The behavior you’ve listed is in line with what happens when a non-coded key is being to used to try to start the car or a failure of the receiver has happened. I’m not saying that’s definitely the cause, but it’s a possibility. You cannot disable PATS, it’s always on.

Throw some heet in the tank and see if you get lucky. It may take multiple attempts to start, battery maintainer or jump start suggested. How long since your last gas filter?

Weird things can happen with a weak battery, especially during starting as the starter motor draws a lot of current and will bring the battery voltage down a lot, which can confused the car’s computer. Plus continued cranking w/a weak battery can burn the starter solenoid contacts.

Suggest before any more cranking experiments, remove and recharge the battery w/a battery charger on the 2 amp setting for 12 hours. That will bring it up close to a 100% charge. Typical car batteries tend to hold about 35 amp hours of charge. So 2 amps * 12hours = 24 amp hours, plus the current charge, that will get you close to 100%.

Are you certain you are getting spark the entire time interval you crank the engine?

It might have to be the fuel lines. Or filter. New battery didn’t help but didn’t change. Car still DOES EXACTLY the same thing. Almost starts. I am getting spark. Fuel pump worKS and you can hear it. I bought the car 3 weeks ago,guy said it sat for a while,but didn’t specify. Fuel tank was really low before I got to gas station . Is there a goodpossibility the fuel filter or a gas line is clogged? My buddy said to take filter off and turn key to see if gas Comes out. Not sure when any filter was changed. I’m gonna try to post a video. It’s so damn close to starting I never seen anything like it. It’s the key I originally started worth when I drove it from ft. Lauderdale top sarasota (3hr trip). I did notice near end of trip it took a little more turns of the key to start. Could debris been building up in filter and eventually clogged a line. It’s just so bizarre. Crazy. Gonna yeti the fuel line trick buddy told me

And thanks for all the help guys! For a non car guy it all helps and I appreciate it.

I’d change out the fuel filter. That old gas may have sat long enough to contaminate the filter and plug it up. If there is not much gas in it, and you can remove the tank…drain and refill…then a new filter and you should be good. Though you could also be hearing a pump that is running, but not really pumping anything.

Just as a thought, could you really be out of gas, but the gauge reads 1/4 tank etc.


Was there ever a solution to this problem discovered? I have the exact same issue.

click on joe’s avatar and send him a private message

otherwise, it’s unlikely he’s aware that you’d like to ask him a question

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