Do I need a computer?

I have a 2001 Ford Taurus 93,000 mi. Won’t start if engine is too warm. Starts fine when cold.
Firestone says ignition coil is cracked and computer is not sending a signal to it. Say need a new computer.
Do I really or can I live without it?
If not, approx how much, parts and labor.

Before blaming the computer for not starting, I’d blame the crankshaft position sensor first.,2001,taurus,3.0l+v6+ohv,1372755,ignition,crankshaft+position+sensor,7196

I’ve replaced many of these for a no-start condition when hot, but never a computer.



If you are referring to a computer in your home, I suppose that you could live without it.
In the case of a modern motor vehicle–no–your vehicle can’t start and run without the onboard computers that were installed when it was manufactured.

That being said, I strongly suggest that you seek a competent mechanic, and that rarely includes anyone at a Firestone shop.


You need to diagnose it in failure mode, my guess is a fuel pump. Had my wife stop by the dealership after 3 tows and start right up. They were on alert. She stopped, then no start and that was the diagnosis and solution on her 03 ford. Quite of number of the same issue have popped up for fords of this era with the same issue, and it turned out to be the fuel pump.

Will do. Thx Tester

I’m beginning to think you’re right. Thx VDC

Thanks Dog

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If ignition coil is cracked, why not try replacing that first? A bad coil will many times fail when hot. I highly doubt the ECM is bad.

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fwiw . . . I’ve seen this type of Ford coil pack fail several times, due to cracks

I’m also doubtful about the supposedly bad pcm

Thanks tcmi

If the ignition coil is cracked it doesn’t matter whether the computer is sending a signal to it or not, a cracked ignition coil won’t start the engine. So replacing the ignition coil is the first task.

fyi, the way this all works is first the computer senses a signal the engine is rotating, using the output from the crank position sensor. Next it decides when to fire the spark plug. When the time is right the computer outputs a signal to a transistor in the ignition circuit, which then fires the coil. Finally the coil and puts a spark on the spark plug electrodes. So all those parts have to be working. All are fairly common failure items reported here, except for the computer. The computer sometimes does fail, but not a common failure item.

One of the first thing I told my kids when they got cars was don’t go to Firestone for anything but tires.

I walked into our local Firestone to get a flat fixed many years ago and all the color drained out of the managers face. Apparently I was a dead ringer for someone from our sates Attorney General’s office. He was so rattled by my appearance and so relieved when he realized I was not who he thought that he blurted it out to me.

Not car related, but I have a doppelganger in town. A few people have said they saw me riding my bike and waved, but I did not respond. Then one day I went into a subway, ordered a 6" turkey on Italian herb and cheese bread, everything but jalapenos. The guy turns pale as a ghost and says were you just here a couple of minutes ago? I said no, he says a guy who looks just like you with your same voice ordered the same thing not more than 10 minutes ago. I said wasn’t me!

Thanks for the lesson, George. You’re the best!

Yikes, Barky, that’s scary.