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Intermittent Starting Problem

13 posts in this topic

I have a 2005 Focus Ghia 2 litre diesel owned from new. Just recently it has developed a starting problem. It seems to particularly occur after it has been parked for a few hours. When starting, the engine turns over perfectly, the engine fires but before tick-over can commence the engine dies. If I try again immediately afterwards, the engine just turns over without firing. I try this two or three times without success. After waiting several minutes (maybe five) and trying again the engine turns over quite a few times but then eventually fires and stays alive as I rev the engine. It then drives normally.

As I say, it's intermittent so when I ask my mechanic about it he says until it doesn't start at all, he'd be just guessing. Anyone had a similar issue and if they did what was the outcome? Thanks.

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glow plugs, fuel filter, id get those changed

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Thanks for this James. My car is serviced regularly and the fuel filter got changed in May 2013. Not sure about the glow plugs though, I'll have to ask my mechanic about them. Have you had a similar problem?

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Nope but if the car struggles to start but is fine once started, then its probably a heating issue with the cylinders. also what is your mileage?

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Ah yes, 116,000 miles. I spoke to my mechanic and the glow plugs have never been changed so changing them is probably a good start. My thanks for your input.

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yep id do it first, ironically, i should be getting my set of plugs tomorrow too, im on 119k and ill be getting them done before the real cold weather starts! last year it did sound too happy on cold starts

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How much are you paying for the glow plugs? I've seen wild reports about price on the internet.

I love forums. They're one of the best inventions on the internet ever.

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Carmel's car did this too.

I changed the crankshaft and camshaft sensors and all was well.

Camshaft sensor failure usually results in car cutting out and not starting, but I thought it couldn't do any harm to have a new one in as I was servicing the car anyway.

I changed the sump, oil and filter, so while I was under the car I swapped the crankshaft sensor and the car almost started before I got the key in! this was after about a year and a half of progressively worse starting, inc starting then cutting out like you described.

p.s. I don't know what's happening with the font size!

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Brilliant, thanks Tommy. My research has revealed that the glow plugs aren't involved unless it's really cold and as the problem started in mild weather I was beginning to have my doubts that changing them would improve things, especially as the engine fires before cutting out. A faulty sensor is a more likely culprit (although I don't know what the crankshaft sensor is supposed to tell the car). Has Carmel's car behaved since you changed the sensor?

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Brilliant, thanks Tommy. My research has revealed that the glow plugs aren't involved unless it's really cold and as the problem started in mild weather I was beginning to have my doubts that changing them would improve things, especially as the engine fires before cutting out. A faulty sensor is a more likely culprit (although I don't know what the crankshaft sensor is supposed to tell the car). Has Carmel's car behaved since you changed the sensor?

Hell yeah! It's been like a new car

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Well, I've tried changing the camshaft sensor and it hasn't made any difference unfortunately. There seems to be a temperature aspect to this problem: it will do a cold start, drive for 30 miles, park for a couple of hours then intermittently encounter the starting problem. Every time I park, turn off the engine then immediately try to start the car again t works, so a warm engine is fine too.

Anyone got any other ideas please? Thanks.

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Update: took it to an auto electrician in the end. He didn't find a fault code but tracked down the problem to a pin prick leak in the fuel line - air ingress was the problem. The temperature theory makes some sense now with that fault. Thanks for everyone's contribution, thought you might like to know what the answer turned out to be.

tommy1340millar likes this

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