2005 Ford Escape Starting Issues



We have a 2005 Ford Escape which we have loved and has around 81,000 miles. For the past few months, it has had a hard time starting. We thought it was the cold weather, and got the battery replaced in December. We didn’t notice any difference, and it’s just been getting worse and worse. We turn the key and the engine just (excuse the female terminology) whirs but never turns fully over. It takes us about 4-5 times, and it doesn’t matter whether it is hot or cold. It usually happens if our car has been sitting longer than 2-3 hours.

We’ve taken it to two mechanics, who have ruled out fuel filters, spark plugs, and every thing else. No one can seem to find the problem. One mechanic brought up a “technical bulletin” that Ford issued about codes/crank/hard start. We took it to a Ford Dealership to have them “reset the codes”. Nothing changed. We have paid hundreds of dollars and had no success. We have had a few suggestions about bad cables or temperature gauges. Any ideas?


I’d like to clarify some terminology issues with your post. By whir do you mean the engine cranks and just doesn’t start.
If the problem is that it won’t start as opposed to won’t crank, have you noticed if damp(high humidity, rain or drizzle) weather makes any difference?


I think you are saying that the engine is Turning over? (Whirring) If you are getting it to turn over but not START…many items can be to blame. How fast is it turning over? Does it sound normal or is it struggling to spin the engine?

If you push the accelerator down to the floor does it make any difference in starting? We are not supposed to do this on Fuel injected vehicles, but for test purposes I’d like to know if this makes any difference.

How does it run immediately after starting it? Is there a cloud of grey smoke upon startup? Without the answers to these questions it is hard for me to go futher. I am trying to ascertain if you are getting too much fuel or not enough. If you have a cloud of smoke after starting then it points toward a spark issue…i.e. the ignition system is not igniting the fuel charge…either due to spark or a compression issue… If no smoke then you may not be getting enough fuel. Need some more info as a lot of factors can affect hard starting.


The next time the vehicle sits for 3 hours and you’re going to start it, put the key in the ignition and turn the ignition switch to the run position so the dash lights come on for two seconds, and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts immediately the problem is with the anti-drain back valve in the fuel pump assembly.



My husband clarified for me: the technical bulletin was a long crank/hard start. Hope that helps. We live in a very dry climate, so I don’t think humidity would be a factor.


Yes, it is turning over but not starting. It sounds normal turning over, it just won’t start until after many times.

If we push the accelerator, it makes no difference.

There is no smoke after startup. It sounds like it struggles for about 3 seconds after startup and then seems to run ok. We usually let it run for a few minutes before driving. One of the mechanics ruled out fuel issues with his inspection. Hope this helps answer your questions.