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06 Fiesta 1.6TDCI Starting Issue


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Hi everyone,

I am having an issue with my 06 plate Fiesta. Since owning it the car has always had issues starting and a few days ago it finally gave up starting. I thought no problem this is a good time to replace the battery and starter motor. Which I have done. Everything seemed fine at first but just a few hours later the same starting issues I've had since owning the car are back!

Usually when the car is cold or turned off for a few hours I get the following issues:

Grinding when turning the key.

Starter not turning at all almost like something is stopping it.

A bang almost like starter is lifting up the engine and dropping it back down (also feels like the front of the car is getting lifted up)

If I release the key and try again it usually starts perfectly fine but not always sometimes its 2 or 3 attempts.

I checked the flywheel teeth and it seems fine to me and the starter is bolted on well. Also when I took off the old starter there was no visible damage to the teeth of that or any metal fillings to show and kind of wear. I did observe that the connections on the motor where burned though and smelt burned too.

 

I'm not sure if this helps or not but the engine is very shaky on starting and shakes alot anyway. I'm fairly sure the engine mounts could do with replacement but will this cause the issues I've spoke about above?

Any advice would be great!

Thanks, Shane.

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I know you have just replaced the starter motor but is it the correct one for the engine ? I assume you replaced it with the same part number you took off, but the old one wasn't working properly either.

Different engines have starter rings (flywheel) with different number of teeth. If either the engine or the starter motor have been replaced in the past you could have a mismatch.

 

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2 hours ago, unofix said:

I know you have just replaced the starter motor but is it the correct one for the engine ? I assume you replaced it with the same part number you took off, but the old one wasn't working properly either.

Different engines have starter rings (flywheel) with different number of teeth. If either the engine or the starter motor have been replaced in the past you could have a mismatch.

 

The old starter motor I was told was a replacement (presumably for the same reason) when I bought it. It had no numbers on the starter at all (eBay job) so the new one I bought was from Euro Car Parts using the number plate of the car and was the only option there.

Another reason to rule out a mismatch of starter to flywheel is once its had its tantrum and grinded and banged I can turn the car off and it will turn-over from that point on with no issues at all any number of times only reoccurring again once the car has been off for a while or left over night.

Thank you for your response I'm sure that would be a reason for someone else's grinding and banging but I'm nkt sure it's the solution to mine:/

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Well this is interesting (time to break out the Sherlock Mk4 me thinks 😉 - @StephenFord)

I assume the engine is not a replacement so we rule that out.

Does it do the starting 'bang' if you hold the clutch in while starting ?

It almost would seem that there is something stuck in the teeth of the starter ring preventing the starter from engaging. Have you checked all round the starter ring ?

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9 hours ago, unofix said:

Well this is interesting (time to break out the Sherlock Mk4 me thinks 😉 - @StephenFord)

I assume the engine is not a replacement so we rule that out.

Does it do the starting 'bang' if you hold the clutch in while starting ?

It almost would seem that there is something stuck in the teeth of the starter ring preventing the starter from engaging. Have you checked all round the starter ring ?

No engine replacement to my knowledge it is sat at 142K miles.

I went through a phase of holding the clutch when starting because I thought it would help the issue but in reality it was the same results.

 

All the teeth on the starter were fine from my observations but I'm not a professional by any means.

 

There is another weird behaviour it does which may help diagnose, sometimes if I turn the key nothing will happen except a single click and a hum from the Speakers telling me the battery is under load (but I know this isn't the battery giving out as it is brand new yesterday) so I will hold it in position after about 2 seconds of nothing (still holding the key) it will start to crank very slowly each crank getting faster until it starts.

I've never seen anything like this, and I've hunted for hours and not found anyone else having a similar issue.

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Just now, auldreekie said:

Bad earth? 

I checked for a bad earth but everything seems fine, removing the old starter the contacts were heavily burned and metal was discoloured telling me it was getting red hot. Probably from trying the key when the starter is being held back by something as the huge current can't go anywhere but there. 

Also this only happens when the car starts for the first time in a few hours or the next day. Anytime once its been run it's completely fine.

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Bad earth seems most likely to me. It could probably explain the symptoms. It takes more current to crank when cold so the slow/no cranking could be that. Have you checked both battery negative to car frame and engine to car frame both ends? I believe there is a braised earth cable connecting the engine to the car frame.

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Possibly a solenoid problem, can you test the starter off the car?

Click is usually a solenoid problem also low battery. The earth strap from engine to chassis undo and clean connectors. 

Check battery with multi-meter to see if voltage has drppped. Maybe new battery has been lying on the shelf a long time. 

 

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12 minutes ago, agraham said:

Bad earth seems most likely to me. It could probably explain the symptoms. It takes more current to crank when cold so the slow/no cranking could be that. Have you checked both battery negative to car frame and engine to car frame both ends? I believe there is a braised earth cable connecting the engine to the car frame.

But does a bad earth explain the banging and I'm not talking about a little knock, It can feel like the engine is being lifted up and dropped other times its not as bad. Also like I said above all the issues only happen when the car has been left off for a while. It won't reoccur again once its had its tantrum.

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13 minutes ago, auldreekie said:

Possibly a solenoid problem, can you test the starter off the car?

Click is usually a solenoid problem also low battery. The earth strap from engine to chassis undo and clean connectors. 

Check battery with multi-meter to see if voltage has drppped. Maybe new battery has been lying on the shelf a long time. 

 

I will re-check the connections, however I don't believe a bad earth or connection could cause the sounds and bangs this issues is making. I will try to get a recording, but it is not just a sound it is physical the car shakes and I can feel the weight of the engine being dropped this is why I thought engine mounts? But I don't want to spend anymore pointless money because like I said I'm just guessing I'm far from professional. It is the kind of sound that makes you grit your teeth and freeze, it is very loud and embarrassing everyone in the vicinity will look and stare and some people will even point out the obvious "that's not good"

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From what you have already explained and also the starter motor and solenid have been replaced it is more than reasonable to disregard any electrical issues. It will be more likely a mechanical problem.

 

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Just now, unofix said:

From what you have already explained and also the starter motor and solenid have been replaced it is more than reasonable to disregard any electrical issues. It will be more likely a mechanical problem.

 

I have read online about shimming a starter motor? But it was my understanding that's on very old cars? Also neither the old or new starter came with shims.

Another idea is: Is there anything that might be causing the flywheel to seize? The car recently had an oil change and all the filters done including fuel filter.

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My thoughts are it is a misalignment of the starter ring gear with the starter motor. How or why I do not know but can only surmise that the starter motor is in some way being prevented from engaging causing it to jam. 

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2 minutes ago, unofix said:

My thoughts are it is a misalignment of the starter ring gear with the starter motor. How or why I do not know but can only surmise that the starter motor is in some way being prevented from engaging causing it to jam. 

I would agree with something down this route but I'm really out of ideas, it only bolts in one way and never came with shims (also wasn't aware it needed any to begin with) but yes to me definitely mechanical!

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A dodgy flywheel ring gear is also a possibility, but that's another helluva job to sort. Gearbox off, flywheel off, and new ring gear put on. Last time I did this at home was about 40 yrs ago. A worn ring gear on flywheel caused horrible noises when trying to start. 

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34 minutes ago, DA.MAIKER said:

But does a bad earth explain the banging and I'm not talking about a little knock, It can feel like the engine is being lifted up and dropped other times its not as bad. Also like I said above all the issues only happen when the car has been left off for a while. It won't reoccur again once its had its tantrum.

That banging is simply the compression of the engine without any explosion (fuel ignition) in the other cylinders to balance it out.

I've had exactly the same thing on an Audi that wouldn't start first time when hot.  It would just turn over and bang like mad, genuinely felt like the engine was going to fall out!  

I don't know what your starter issue is, but I think this banging could be a red herring and not something to Focus on.

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1 hour ago, TomsFocus said:

That banging is simply the compression of the engine without any explosion (fuel ignition) in the other cylinders to balance it out.

I've had exactly the same thing on an Audi that wouldn't start first time when hot.  It would just turn over and bang like mad, genuinely felt like the engine was going to fall out!  

I don't know what your starter issue is, but I think this banging could be a red herring and not something to focus on.

Thanks for this! Thinking about it that does sound very possible! Okay so for now that explains the bang and the huge vibration but not the grinding of the starter or why sometimes it just flat out refuses to turn the starter but I can hear it trying.

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44 minutes ago, DA.MAIKER said:

...but not the grinding of the starter or why sometimes it just flat out refuses to turn the starter but I can hear it trying.

Indeed.  That's got me stumped at the moment as well. 

I have had something similar just once on a car that had been sat for a while, but it seems very unlikely, almost impossible, in your case.  It was caused by a valve sticking down.  That held the piston in place and prevented the starter being able to turn the crank.  As the cambelt was intact, it wasn't something I'd even considered at the time, and after replacing the battery & starter, I spun it over...and the valve smashed a hole in the piston! 🤦‍♂️  Certainly not my finest hour...but on the plus side, it turned over very easily after that. :laugh: 

I really don't think that's the issue here, but it may be worth trying to turn it over by hand when cold just to check that the engine itself turns freely?

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I expect that this is the starter motor that you have.

https://ford.7zap.com/en/car/54/code.6u,1.41860,2.44091,6.44639,7.29708,10.32097/16/1552/15411/67009/

I note that 2 of the bolts are fitted from one side and the third from the opposite side. Also that one bolt passes through a sleeve to aid location of the starter motor to the engine. As has been already said there seems no mention of any shims. Correct placement and fitting seems almost assured and therefore I'd rule out the possibility of the starter motor being the cause of the problem.

So since I started this

14 hours ago, unofix said:

time to break out the Sherlock Mk4 me thinks

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes.

I would have to deduce that the fault lies with the starter ring gear, which is either worn, damaged, misaligned, or loose.

 

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1 hour ago, unofix said:

I expect that this is the starter motor that you have.

https://ford.7zap.com/en/car/54/code.6u,1.41860,2.44091,6.44639,7.29708,10.32097/16/1552/15411/67009/

I note that 2 of the bolts are fitted from one side and the third from the opposite side. Also that one bolt passes through a sleeve to aid location of the starter motor to the engine. As has been already said there seems no mention of any shims. Correct placement and fitting seems almost assured and therefore I'd rule out the possibility of the starter motor being the cause of the problem.

So since I started this

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes.

I would have to deduce that the fault lies with the starter ring gear, which is either worn, damaged, misaligned, or loose.

 

As much as I don't want to believe it is the ring gear/flywheel I think this might be the case and since the MOT is coming up in August I'm not going to spend any more money trying to save it. I will probably put it through the mot and if it passes for less than £200 I'll look into it more then but if it is more than that (which I think it will be) I'm going to have to let another poor little Fiesta go to the scrap yard in the sky! 😢

Thank you everyone for your help I guess I was hoping for an easier and less costly solution but as the evidence suggests this is not the case 😞

 

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I know we have pretty much concluded this issue as a problem with the flywheel/ring gear however I took the car to the garage a few months ago for a whole other issue and when they scanned it they said even back then the car wasn't worth saving but for me repairing the issue was quicker and cheaper than scraping it and buying a new car. However when they scanned it they said one of the issues being thrown up was the crankshaft sensor I've heard about these sensors causing issues with starting but could it cause the issue I'm having? Or does that still seem more likely to be the flywheel/ring gear?

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4 minutes ago, DA.MAIKER said:

I've heard about these sensors causing issues with starting but could it cause the issue I'm having? Or does that still seem more likely to be the flywheel/ring gear?

Much as I would like to give you hope, the answer is no 🙁

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