Having to "prime" engine

98 Escort

Well purchased a new car today as a backup (asides from my Mom’s). Only issue wrong with it starting is that you have to turn the key to ON engine OFF three times in order for it to start. Personally I’ve never missed with this type of fuel injection system but I’m thinking fuel regulator?

Any other ideas or suggestions.

Either the fuel filter’s really dirty, or the fuel pump is on its last legs, would be my initial guess.

Thought about the filter to. I’ll give it a check tomorrow. Hope it’s not the pump hahas.

Sounds like a loss of residual fuel pressure. That’s usually due to a faulty fuel pressure regulator, leaking injector, or a faulty check valve in the fuel pump.

Odds are it’s the latter and this means a pump replacement. If the pump has never been replaced it’s not a bad idea to head a potential pump failure off before it happens.

True true. Never missed with Ford fuel systems before would the filter be by the drivers door like on a Chevy or more near the engine? Don’t have a book on the thing atm.

The filter should be underneath near the front of the car; driver’s side.

I will back up a step on the fuel pressure regulator. Somewhere around 1997 or '98 Ford started using a fuel pressure sensor instead of a conventional regulator. Six of one, half dozen of the other but they serve the same purpose.

If the filter is clogged that can often lead to shortened pump life. The best way to check the old filter is to dump the gas out of it, allow it to dry for an hour, and then attempt to blow through it.
A good filter should be easy to blow through.


Only a fuel pressure test will give you answers at this point.

Do you have a fuel pressure gauge set?

Here’s a relatively cheap idea.

Replace the fuel filter if it’s due/overdue
If that doesn’t fix it, replace the regulator
If that doesn’t fix it, perform the fuel pressure test before zeroing in on the pump

Sounds like its around the same spot as on the Taurus. I don’t have a kit but I’m gonna be taking my truck up to have it tested on Tues for pressure. I’ll ask if this filter does not help.


You could replace the regulator yourself for less than what it’ll cost for a diagnosis

Just a thought

They do it free since I’m a student.

The odds of this problem being caused by a filter are very, very slim. If a filter was plugged that badly there should be symptoms while moving at speed.

Found the filter, its behind the frigigin engine.

Random q has any one had issues with fuel pressure sensor?

I agree the fuel filter is not the source of this problem.

My 1999 Honda Civic sometimes will crank but not start. If I turn the key from on to off and back a couple times, letting the fuel pump run for its 1-2 seconds each time, the engine will then start and run just fine. I have never determined the source of the problem.

Little update on this. Car has been idling a little rough (vibration). Once I get the fuel filter replaced I’ll go from there. If it has a check valve I can check pressure with my Dad.

Very unlikely fuel filter would be linked to rough/vibration idle. Most likely immediate effect would be fuel starvation at sustained full throttle acceleration. Rough idle is common in some automatic trans cars when idling in gear, in my experience; not so bad when in P or N.


“If it has a check valve I can check pressure . . .”

Please explain

All fuel pumps have a check valve

Did you perhaps mean test port, as in the test port on the fuel rail?

If that’s what you mean, yes, checking fuel pressure will be easy.

Little update on this, replaced the fuel filter and she started up fine for a bit but gone back to the same issue. Did a fuel pressure test and while running only had about 35 PSI, should be 40 if I read right then drops dead to 0 after being turned off. Did some research and looks like the Escort does not have a regulator but a sensor, how do I test this?


Simple question

Is there only one fuel line going to the fuel rail?

If yes, you have a returnless system

In that case, your problem may very well be the fuel tank check valve. If your fuel pressure while running is too low, the pump itself may be weak.

In that case, you’re better off replacing the entire fuel sender module. The good thing about this approach is that you get everything . . . pump, sender unit, tank pressure sensor, regulator, etc.

This one’s about $150


Is there a way to check the sensor though? Like a resistance test?

I’d still be wondering about an injector staying open, thus bleeding off pressure and also providing rough running. Is there a rubber return line that you can clamp off to isolate if it is an injector?