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Old 12-07-2009, 06:52   #1 (permalink)
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2003 Taurus SES starting problems

Hello,
2003 SES 78,000 miles. Has starting problems. Turn the key and nothing happens. Had the battery checked and it is good. It sounds like the fuel pump energizes when the key is truned. There is no clicking from the starter. The car ran fine yesterday. This morning it would not start at all. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now. It will run one day and the next it will not. Had the computer replaced brand new several months ago by Ford due to failure of the charging portion of the computer. A new alternator was put on prior to the computer. Have a feeling it is not the starter. When it does start, the starter sounds strong. Tried tapping the starter this morning and still would not start. It is weird in that if it starts in the morning after sitting all night it is good for the rest of the day. If it does not start in the morning it seems to be no good for the day. Never encountered anything like this with a vehicle. It seems to only be a problem since the cold weather set in (live in PA).

Any thoughts or suggestions? Ignition switch, starter, could there be a code stored? Thinking about seeing if it can start after work and take to a parts store to check for codes.

Thanks
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:52   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

There probably aren't any codes since it doesn't crank but a good idea anyway. Especially since Autozone will do it for free. Have you tried putting it in neutral to see if the DTR is working properly?
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:42   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

Bert,
I have not tried that as of yet. I saw someone mention placing the car in neutral elsewhere. Could it be possible that this is bad and the car thinks it is another gear other than park or neutral? Is there an option on a scanner that would show what gear the car thinks it is in? Now that this comes to mind, the car behaves just like it is in drive or reverse when you turn the key. If so and I can get the car to start, I bet everything will appear fine through the scanner.

Is there a particular scanner that could be purchased to help diagnose this when I do run into a problem? I see different ones at parts stores between $100 - $250 dollars. I'm not an expert but once I can determine the problem I have no issues with making the repair. May come in handy in the future too.

Matt
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:19   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

I'm not familiar with the lower cost scanners so I don't know if they show data. You should be able to move the shift lever slightly to see if it will still crank. Holding it a little toward reverse an trying to crank and holding it harder toward the other side of Park to see if you can duplicate it.
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Old 12-07-2009, 18:53   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt15237 View Post
Hello,
2003 SES 78,000 miles. Has starting problems. Turn the key and nothing happens. Had the battery checked and it is good. It sounds like the fuel pump energizes when the key is truned. There is no clicking from the starter. The car ran fine yesterday. This morning it would not start at all. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now. It will run one day and the next it will not. Had the computer replaced brand new several months ago by Ford due to failure of the charging portion of the computer. A new alternator was put on prior to the computer. Have a feeling it is not the starter. When it does start, the starter sounds strong. Tried tapping the starter this morning and still would not start. It is weird in that if it starts in the morning after sitting all night it is good for the rest of the day. If it does not start in the morning it seems to be no good for the day. Never encountered anything like this with a vehicle. It seems to only be a problem since the cold weather set in (live in PA).

Any thoughts or suggestions? Ignition switch, starter, could there be a code stored? Thinking about seeing if it can start after work and take to a parts store to check for codes.

Thanks



Have you considered the possibility that the Ignition switch may have gone bad??

Do you know how to pull this off and test it?

If not sure please advise further for help.
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Old 12-07-2009, 20:24   #6 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

I hate to add a couple other things here, but is the "THEFT" light flashing on and off when this happens??? If not, I'd check the starter solenoid trigger wire when cranking. When the condition is present, remove the aeroshield (black panel that front fascia bolts to) and using a test light, check for power on the smaller wire going to the starter while someone holds the key in the start position. If power is present, a bad starter. Another thing you can do after verifying that power is at the inop, starter is tap it with a hammer while the key is still held in the start position. Should crank when you do this.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:03   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

Sterling 6,
I was just told about the igniton switch being a potential cause. I do not know how to test it but imagine it cannot be that hard. I would assume it is more work to remove it vs. testing it. Could that be an "on again - off again" problem like I have or when they fail do they go dead?

Thanks
Matt
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:19   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

tbird,
The theft light flashes as normal. Are you referring to flashng when the key is turned trying to start the car? If so I have not looked for that. I will check the next time it will not start. I have not checked for power at the starter while holding the key on to start. This is a good idea to start ruling out parts. I have tried tapping the starter on one occassion and it did not start.

I don't want to take the car somewhere and have someone using my check book as their diagnostics by replacing perfectly good parts.

Perhaps I need a list of what all possibilities could be starting with the battery which I verifed as good with a load tester. I will check the starter for power next.

I did try as Bert mentioned above moving the shifter around in park as well as neutral. I tried it in park after work last night. Once as is and once on either side of the P. Nothing. I put it in N and tried it as is. Nothing. I moved it back and forth in N and it started. I drove it around stopping and starting it without problem. I do not want to assume it is something with the shifter until I can get it to react the same way again. The fact that once it start ok it always starts ok while immediately driving it seems to lead to some other problem than the shifter or the position the car thinks it is in. It seems that once the car sits over night for a very extended length of time is when the problem occurs.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:23   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

When you tried moving the shift, were you holding the key in the start position the whole time? If you just kept turning to start every time you got to a new position, it could have been coiincidental. When the anti-theft has a problem, the car will turn over but not start.
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Old 12-08-2009, 18:19   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Taurus SES starting problems

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When you tried moving the shift, were you holding the key in the start position the whole time? If you just kept turning to start every time you got to a new position, it could have been coiincidental. When the anti-theft has a problem, the car will turn over but not start.

I turned the key each time. I think it was a coincidence as well. Will try to start it in the am to take to work.
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