Reader Question: Hello,
I have a 1993 Ford Explorer Sport that has intermittent start problems. This started out small enough and was only a problem in the summer months. We figured to just make sure we parked it in the shade. This seemed to work for a couple of years.
We took it to a mechanic and he put it on the machine and could not find anything wrong. They started and drove it quite a few times. No problems. Now it has not started for about two weeks.
Before that, it would start, I would drive it to work and then it would not start and I would have to get my wife to pick me up. It would sit for as long as 3 weeks. I would jiggle the spark plugs, unplug them and put them back and then it would start, I get it home.
Next day, get up to go to work, and it would not start. So at 4:30 am, I have to wake my wife and my son so they can take me to work. I have tried to replace the coil box because that is what people told me may be the problem since it starts when I play with the spark plugs. That did not work either.
I have researched a long time online; reading various responses of people spending thousands getting everything replaced and to no avail, had the same problem a month later. Someone else has just suggested circuit board?
Do you have an answer and/or suggestions?
I am desperate to let my wife sleep.
When you say the engine does not start do you mean the engine turns over and over and over but it will not ignite or nothing happens when you turn the key no noise no turning over no nothing.
If the engine turns over and over you are missing one of the main ingredients to start a gasoline engine:
1. Fuel – and proper fuel pressure
2. Spark to all spark plugs
3. Compression and ignition timing
When you turn the key to the ON position, you should hear the fuel pump “whine” noise coming from the fuel tank for about 2 seconds. Get someone to put their ear up to the fuel lid door as you turn the key to the ON position and listen for this noise.
If you do not hear this noise, have someone bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with their fist or rubber hammer AS you crank the engine over. This can sometimes jump-start a weak fuel pump.
Second is to check for spark at the spark plugs. If you do not have spark going to the spark plugs I would check the ignition coil and ignition module and crankshaft position sensor and see if you have a signal coming from each of those items.
If the engine does NOT turn over and over, so when you turn the key to the start position nothing is happening. I would turn on the headlights and make sure they are good and bright and watch them as you start the engine.
If the lights go out, I would suspect a weak battery or a bad connection at the battery. If the lights dim, I would suspect a weak battery or a bad starter motor. If nothing changes with the light brightness, you might have a bad ignition switch, a wiring problem, or an alarm issue.