CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Manual transmission probe question

Ok, now this is a question about a vehicle that does not belong to me but to a friend so at this moment,i do not know every detail, but thought I could stmade theart a discussion awhile…
He’s got a 97?? Ford probe. Its been parked for over a year becuz it wasn’t starting… Last week I took him to charge a fresh battery, and change a fuse of some kind. After doing so, the car made the ‘whirring’ sound of a vehicle trying to come back to life. Car made a grinding sort of sound upon ignition but did not start and there was a plasticy, or electric burning smell coming inside the car from the glove box area. From what I understand they checked the fuel pump (forget why they believed that could have been the issue, but it wasn’t) anyone have any ideas where we can begin?

Check for spark
Check for any stored fault codes with a code reader or a scanner.
Spray starter fluid down the throttle body. If it starts, you’ve got a fuel problem.

Fuel certainly goes bad after sitting for a long while.
How long is “over a year”

Fuel certainly goes bad after sitting for a long while.

db4690 is correct, this is almost assured. However, almost a year ago I posted a few questions here related to a vehicle which had been sitting for at least 4 years, and probably six, that I was considering buying. I assumed that at best, the gas was useless, and perhaps that fuel had turned to varnish in various places in the fuel lines. Replies here pretty much agreed.

But circumstances forced me to see what would would happen if I jumped the battery and turned the key. It started…and ran reasonably well! It has been going fine ever since. With fresh gas, it actually passed California emissions test very easily…I was stunned!

That’s not to say that your gas is good, just that it’s possible that you might get lucky. If it cranks and then starts with starter fluid, but won’t keep running, then as db says, fuel is your issue. If it won’t start with starter fluid, then your issue is electrical. Checking for spark is the next step. A simple device for checking spark is inexpensive at a parts store.

I guess it doesn’t matter anymore, becuz the dummy already towed it to the garage… I’ll keep u guys posted to the issue, but I don’t think the gas was the problem becuz the car stopped starting before it sat for 14 months…

If we are taking guesses here, I guess broken timing belt.