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53 posts in this topic

Hi guys

I've been having a bit of trouble for a while now with starting.

It's really intermittent, although it has become progressively more frequent.

It will happily crank over and sounds as if it's about to start then fails. This can repeat quite a few times (10+ in the worst cases) until it starts. If it's taken a few goes to get it running then you will get some white smoke from the exhaust - this is the unburnt fuel, so it is definitely injecting fuel even though it won't start...

As I said this has been going on for a while, maybe 6 months now. Initially it was a case that the problem may happen a couple of times a month and it would always start on the second attempt. More recently it's happening much more frequently, and regularly requires quite a few attempts before it will start.

I've had in on the diagnosis machine (I'm quite lucky and have free access to one). No error codes, nothing, nada. Even had the diagnosis machine on it during starting while it was having the issue and everything is as it should be (i.e fuel pressure is good, all sensors are a go). The diagnostics also confirmed that the engine is perfectly balanced when running, no misfires or anything like that.

There is not a single issue while the car is running, it's purely a starting issue. Fuel economy is as good as ever, runs perfectly and the speedo rev counter are accurate.

I've gone ahead and replaced both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors now but this hasn't helped at all and it's still happening.

I'm confident it's nothing to do with the glow plugs (it started fine mostly during the winter) and the issue happens both during hot and cold.

As in, the issue is so intermittent that it can occur after a two hour cruise on the motorway when you stop at a service station, or in the morning. It's seems unrelated to hot or cold ambient or engine temperatures and how long you've left it sitting does make a difference either. Wet or dry doesn't make a difference either.

I'm all out of ideas and can't think what else could even begin to cause the issue. It appears to be electrical, but what else is involved in the starting process that could affect it?

Any ideas / thoughts / experience of the same issue are all welcome!

Just to be clear it's a 57 plate 2.0 TDCi Focus with around 70k on the clock.

Thanks

Rob

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My 1.8tdci is doing something similar. Had new glow plugs, battery, fuel filter (twice), everything been checked (electrics, starter, injectors, pumps, plugs etc) and all coming back fine. Last time it wouldnt start was due to the flung nut was loose on the fuel pump and was letting air in and the system wouldnt bleed. Since then if i take car on a run where get's warm its usually fine but if i don't then it starts and stall's or wont start at all until finally it starts. It getting that way where im like is it going to start or not.

Edit: My problem started after got my MAP sensor changed (got a used one). Ordered new one to see if thats what is causing it. I'll let you know how it goes after get it tuesday.

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remote in the keyfob or immobiliser? it could be failing to start due to that and then throwing all the unburnt fuel out the exhaust once you finally get it running

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Hi guys

Thanks for the responses.

I think we probably have different issues cobalt01, I only ever have a problem getting the thing started. When it's running it's as should be.

Thanks for the suggestions though - let us know how you get on with yours!

I'm confident the immobiliser / key fob won't be too blame. I recently lost my main key and had a new one cut and coded. So the issue has been consistently inconsistent throughout using the original main key, the spare and the new key as well!

As it stands the issue does seem to have eased off recently. In my desperation whilst clutching at straws I've stripped down the EGR, not too bad a build up of carbon and nothing that wouldn't be expected, cleaned it all out and while I don't think it made a blind bit of difference I haven't had any trouble starting lately (it had eased before I touched the EGR).

Will see how it goes for the next few weeks, but if nothing else the frequency has reduced significantly.

As expected the diagnostics never shows anything, and I still haven't a clue as to what could possibly be causing it.

The only thing I would hint as is the engine just getting a bit coked up. I've been giving it a bit of the Italian tune up and while the issue still occurred a few times it does appear to have made the difference.

Anyone ever had problems like this?

Thanks

Rob

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sounds really weird, the fact its not throwing any error codes sounds like a mechanical issue.

I would suggest you start off by checking the hoses and make sure there are no breaks in the hoses.

The difficult start seems to suggest that the air / fuel / pressure ratio's are not quite correct, and therefore a split hose could be part of the problem, otherwise I would check the fuel filter and ensure that its in good condition, and replace if necessary. Also the fuel filter housing should be checked to ensure that its not damaged, cracked, or split anywhere. These would not cause any error codes to be present but would certainly affect the car's starting.

When was the car last thoroughly serviced?

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I've had car serviced already after bought it. It's in the garage again, has won't start at all (second time this has happened). Last time ford said my flung nut on fuel pump was letting air in and wasn't self bleeding. So they tightened that, changed fuel filter (second one had done) and re charged battery (new battery). Costs me 303 for it and said car was fine again. Lasted a week before troubles started again and about a month before went same way. Now its starting and dying again. Sometimes priming after starting and my lights even flash on and off on start up. The light switch is set has Off. Garage where got it from thinking may be electric problem so they looking into it.

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certainly sounds electrical now that you mention flashing lights, normally they flicker and you hear clicking in the glovebox if its a low battery, but if the headlights are flashing, then thats worrying, I fear you may have the suspected diagnosis Ford applied to me - a new wiring harness, for the CMAX it was going to cost me just over £500 and no guarantee of fixing the problem, I would prepare yourself for the same sort of warning!

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Luckily electronics are covered under warranty. They have so called come back all clear last time it happened before went to ford. When find out what causing my issues will let you know. I love the car but it's starting being more trouble than it's worth.

Edit: got a call today from the garage. The electrics guy as said alternator is playing up but has it's a new alternator (about 4 months old) maybe due to keep trying it and also the camshaft but not sure which part. Get new part Monday so may get it started afterwards.

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Hi jeebowhite

I think my issue is electrical not mechanical.

This is based on the fact that there is never any issue while the car is running and the starting issue is so intermittent.

I understand what you're saying about the air / fuel mix and compression but if it were a mechanical issue I would expect to find poor running and it's anything but.

The car was well serviced recently and has always been well serviced regularly.

I personally can't understand how a diesel engine with fuel, crank and compression is failing to start like this is!

All the hoses are fine (I've gone through them all).

Fingers crossed the issue seems to have disappeared for the time being, but I'm not holding my breath.

I'll keep you updated with any progress.

Hope you get somewhere with your issue as well cobalt01

Thanks

Rob

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Mine might off been the camshaft all the long. Hopefully yours be sorted soon. I am tempted to sell mine soon has had few things go wrong with it since had it.

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Everyone loves a resolution! So here's mine...

Turns out it's the anti-stutter / anti-shudder valve that has been causing all of my woes.

Basically it's like a carb on the intlet manifold. It closes when you turn off the engine to prevent it stuttering as it desperately tries to cling on to life.

In simple terms it prevents any air getting into the engine.

Well mine has been sticking closed, meaning that the next time I try to start the vehicle there's no air getting into the engine, hence it won't start.

The vibrations of cranking the engine a few times causes the valve to come lose again, open, and allow the engine to start.

There's a vacuum hose which is used to close the valve, and it's spring loaded so it should always return to being opened.

While the spring is still good for some reason it's possible to push the valve so that it becomes stuck against the inlet and the spring can't return it to open.

Bit surprised it's taken so long to find, but that's due to the extremely intermittent nature. Often there was no issue so the only time you knew was when it wouldn't start, at which point the vibrations from the first cranking attempt had often freed the valve so you couldn't find anything when checking.

I've now got a couple of things I can do / try:

- When it doesn't start I can squeeze the turbo hose to cause enough suction to free the valve (might be a useful test for someone experiencing the same issues)

- I can remove the vacuum hose so that the valve never gets closed, this does have the side affect of introducing a bit of shuddering when turning the engine off, noticeable, but nothing serious

I'm now going to try sanding the edges of the valve down a bit so that it doesn't get stuck, there was initially some gunk in the inlet which I thought was the cause of the sticking, but even cleaned out I can get the valve stuck closed with my hands.

Hope this helps someone else!

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

Rob

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very good find Rob, well done. What was the total cost of the investigation and repair?

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Thanks Jeebo!

Well I did go ahead and buy a Crank Shaft Sensor and a Cam Shaft Sensor, in total that was about £50...

...but on the plus side I do now have two very lightly used sensors that I could sell.

Besides that it's just cost my patience and sanity for a few months!

Unfortunately where I am at the moment I don't have any access to decent tools so I'm yet to strip it down and fix it properly... I'm expecting to be able to fix it when I've got it in bits but worst case scenario I'll either disable it's operation (it's much more a convenience thing that anything mechanically important) or replace the valve unit.

Rob

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my 2.0 tdci valve will stick open too if I push it right open and if I push it shut but car starts fine but it hunts a bit when cold only start up could this valve be doing this?

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Everyone loves a resolution! So here's mine...

Turns out it's the anti-stutter / anti-shudder valve that has been causing all of my woes.

Basically it's like a carb on the intlet manifold. It closes when you turn off the engine to prevent it stuttering as it desperately tries to cling on to life.

In simple terms it prevents any air getting into the engine.

Well mine has been sticking closed, meaning that the next time I try to start the vehicle there's no air getting into the engine, hence it won't start.

The vibrations of cranking the engine a few times causes the valve to come lose again, open, and allow the engine to start.

There's a vacuum hose which is used to close the valve, and it's spring loaded so it should always return to being opened.

While the spring is still good for some reason it's possible to push the valve so that it becomes stuck against the inlet and the spring can't return it to open.

Bit surprised it's taken so long to find, but that's due to the extremely intermittent nature. Often there was no issue so the only time you knew was when it wouldn't start, at which point the vibrations from the first cranking attempt had often freed the valve so you couldn't find anything when checking.

I've now got a couple of things I can do / try:

- When it doesn't start I can squeeze the turbo hose to cause enough suction to free the valve (might be a useful test for someone experiencing the same issues)

- I can remove the vacuum hose so that the valve never gets closed, this does have the side affect of introducing a bit of shuddering when turning the engine off, noticeable, but nothing serious

I'm now going to try sanding the edges of the valve down a bit so that it doesn't get stuck, there was initially some gunk in the inlet which I thought was the cause of the sticking, but even cleaned out I can get the valve stuck closed with my hands.

Hope this helps someone else!

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

Rob

have you tried it yet mate.

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Hi

Yeah, ended up taking it apart recently and there's no obvious reason why it's started happening.

The valve was quite tight though so have sanded it down so it's not as tight a fit.

Still does it's job and haven't had a problem since.

Better option than paying £95 + VAT for a replacement part!

Also just to go back on what I'd said before, removing the vacuum really isn't a valid solution as you'll lose turbo boost as well!

Shamus - taking a little while to start probably isn't anything to worry about unless it's a long time. I guess it's not impossible it's the same valve and it's coming loose very easily, but it seems to be quite a rare problem so I'd doubt that's your issue.

No harm in checking it a few times before you start up though to see if the valve is sticking closed.

Rob

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Hi Rob,

Your symptons sound exactly the same as I am experiencing on my 2010 2.0 TDCI Galaxy.

I had it at a garage for a routine service and they naturally couldn't find anything wrong. Ironically, when I left the garage it wouldn't start - which I was genuinely pleased that it happened - nothing more annoying than trying to diagnose an intermittent fault.

On this occasion, it took the most amount of attempts to start and for the first time (and last) I got a warning light on the dash. They plugged it into the diagnostics (independant garage, so a SnapOn i think) and it said intermittent ECU fault. They advised me to go to Ford as it's not their speciality.

I haven't yet, as it was only happening occasionally and sounds expensive, but like you, it seems to be getting a bit more frequent.

I joined to see if I could find out a resolution and I'm encouraged by your post :-)

I'm no mechanic and don't perceive that I could repair/replace the valve myself, but I'd like to locate the pipe you mentioned to see if it solves the starting issue next time, in order to rule in or out the valve and aid the diagnosis/elimination process.

Any layman's description of where to find it would be appreciated :-)

Many thanks

John

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Hi john, have a look at your egr valve has mine turned out to be closed all the time and wouldnt open (and injector compression). If its closed push it open and try and start the car. Also i just got a diagnistics kit from ebay f super 2 its called and works wonders on my car, so may help you diagnosis what going on

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Thanks Cobalt, I'll have to find out where that is too - another late night of surfing ahead of me!

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Hi John

It's too dark now, but I'll take a picture for you tomorrow as it seems like the easiest way to help identify it.

In very basic terms it will be the largest diameter hose (turbo hose) that comes up from the bottom of the engine to the front near the top.

If you loosen the clip at the top and slide the hose off then you should be able to reach the butterfly valve with your hand.

Try closing it by hand and seeing if it sticks at all or is particularly tight.

I also found that squeezing the turbo hose would sometimes be enough to release the valve if it was stuck. In this case listen carefully to see if you can hear it releasing. It should always be open apart from within a few moments of the engine stopping.

I never received an engine management light or fault though, so it's entirely possible you have a separate issue. Here's hoping it's simple!

Hope that helps for now!

Rob

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Thanks very much Rob - top chap.

Not only would it be too dark, but if it's anything like here, very wet too!

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Hi john, have a look at your egr valve has mine turned out to be closed all the time and wouldnt open (and injector compression). If its closed push it open and try and start the car. Also i just got a diagnistics kit from ebay f super 2 its called and works wonders on my car, so may help you diagnosis what going on

hi mate what do you mean by injector compression ?

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Took car to ford who said no compression on the engine so being diesel it wont start. Went back to garage who got it off who said sometimes it can just be injectors that are showing low compression. Then changed all 4 injector seals (1 and 4 was down). Still wouldnt work. Then noticed that the egr valve was open upon putting everything back and then tested it and it started. So got that changed and went to start everytime. Neil

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just to add to this my throttle butterfly anti shudder valve was also the culprit of bad starting and when did start would not rev so sanded edges of butterfly and no problems now so it looks like this might be a common problem.

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Mine was doing the same had to get the aa out in the end because it refused to start at work and he tried everything in the end he put it down to the egr valve being stuck open as he tapped this with a hammer and like magic it started !

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