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Old 09-16-2007, 07:33 PM   #1
jkc302
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Default Wont start!......Sometimes!

Hi everyone,

I have searched around the forums a little but didn't really get the info I was looking for so here it goes.

I have a 1996 Ranger 3.0 V6, automatic. Sometimes it won't start right away. It seems like "something" doesn't happen so the fuel pump will pressurize. Sometimes it is just fine, others I have to wait up to an hour for it to work.

When it does finally work you can hear something that sounds like a relay then the pump then it will start. I have checked and moved the three relays around in the box under the hood. The battery is good. Nothing seems obvious. I have looked at all the wiring to the fuel pump at the tank but not in the tank.

When it starts it runs and drives fine, no problems.

I'm lost on this one and getting very frustrated. I'm sure this has been discussed before but any and all help would be greatly appeciated!!

Thank You!
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Old 09-16-2007, 07:59 PM   #2
RobbieD
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You've covered some good basic things to check already, but here's one suggestion you might want to try. Next time it won't go, see if rapping the relays with your knuckle brings you back to normal starting. The same ones in the underhood box that you wiggled. I've got a '94 2.3L that had a very similar intermintent no start problem which turned out to be a tired fuel pump relay. A good little thump would unstick it. And although I've heard of a couple of other cases of these relays getting lazy and occasionally not working, yours could very well be something else. But your description sure makes me think it might be the relay. Good luck with it, and welcome to the site.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:27 PM   #3
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Thanks! I'll give it a shot.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:43 PM   #4
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if it doesnt work i had an F250 one time that if you grabbed the wiring harness and shook it right off the positive battery cable near the fusible links it would start somewhere was a loose connection dont know if that will help or not
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:07 PM   #5
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Both the fuel pump relay and the ECM relay have been known to cause these symptoms.

Usually, but not always, the problem occurs when the engine is warm. You stop, go in a store, come out, no start.

Most people are lucky enough that it will start within a few tries. I've read of a few cases where the engine compartment has to cool down before it will start.

They both use the same relay. The relay is inexpensive enough to "throw parts" at the problem.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:14 AM   #6
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Once again it gave me a hard time this morning. I tried knocking on the relays and even switched them around (the ones in the box under the hood), no dice.

I will take another look at the connections under the hood but i have done this so many times I really don't think I have missed anything.

Any other ideas???????
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:45 AM   #7
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I'm sorry to hear that: I was hoping that we'd get lucky. The only thing that comes to mind is to check all of the several wiring harness grounding points, and to see if there's anything in the computer codes.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:13 AM   #8
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Got a voltmeter?

Check at the inertia switch (easiest spot) PK/BK wire for power when this occurs. Key on = power, key off = power goes away.

If that is good, you don't have a relay problem, you have an intermittent fuel pump or a bad fuel pump ground (PS fenderwell).

If that check was BAD, you probably have a bad ignition switch. Try turning the key on/off repeatedly.


Intermittent problems are hard to pin down. Check power as described and report back results.

You might also rap hard on the fuel tank when it happens. If that helps = replace fuel pump or at least look at its connection.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:15 AM   #9
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Perform a voltage drop test to isolate the problem. If it points to the PCM, perform the same check on the PCM power and ground.

The voltage drop in any simple circuit should all be at the load. If it isn't, find out where it is. Yes you can check in the tank without disassembling it this way.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:15 AM   #10
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Try checking the wiring underneath the relay. We had a guy on here some years ago that found one of the spade connectors where the relay plugs into loose from the wire. Wiggling it should make or break contact. I would also check the grounds and wiring at the tank if you are sure this is a fuel problem (which it sounds like to me as well). Wiggling things while it is running might find it too, wiggle until it dies...

You can verify a fuel problem by adding a little gas or starting fluid directly into the engine next time it doesn't start- if it cranks and runs the prime out, you know for sure it isn't getting fuel. If it doesn't start with the prime check the spark next.
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