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'99 Ford Taurus SE (Duratec) not starting well when cold

I’ve got a '99 Taurus SE with the DOHC Duratec, 119,000 miles, and I’m the second owner. I got it from a young man on his way to seminary in California, so I feel pretty good about what he told me.

The car cranks fine, but takes nearly 30 seconds to start when cold (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter). Pressing the gas pedal to the floor and letting it up (a friend’s suggestion) seems to do more harm than good - it typically adds about a minute to the starting process.

When warm, the car starts like brand new.

I had codes checked, and the only code was for the transmission slipping (another issue entirely - I’ll address it later - and probably unrelated to the starting issue).

I have a Haynes manual, and the thing I get from it is the engine coolant temperature sensor (a thermistor) that may be failing. It should be 43K ohms cold, and 2-3K ohms warm. If it is shorted, I think this might be it.

I’m going to have it looked at by a shop listed by T&R, and I’ll update this post when the issue is resolved.

The next time you know you’re going to have this starting problem, turn the ignition switch to the run position so that the dash lights come on for two seconds and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half a dozen times and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts right up, there’s a problem with the anti-drainback valve in the fuel pump assembly.


Hey! It worked! I guess this anti-drainback valve is integral with the fuel pump, so it will have to be changed.

Well, I don’t have to have it towed now. Thanks very much.

That would explain the lack of codes, too. I don’t think you get a code for out of gas, which is what essentially happens in this case, huh?

Thanks again!

Dan W