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bibbyd01

Ford S-Max starting problems

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Hi

We have an intermittent starting problem on our 2007 S-Max 2.0 TDCi. It has only started about 2 months ago, and was only happening once or twice a week, but with the colder weather setting in the problem ha gotten a lot worse in the last week. T describe the problem, the engine turns over but doesn't seem to fire. Sometimes it will work on the first try, sometimes the tenth try. It doesn't seem to matter if the car has been sat overnight or we've just driven for an hour before trying to start it. Also, when it's running it appears to be fine. There's no excessive smoke at all coming from the car either when it's started. 

Following another post, I removed the throttle body, gave it a good clean and made sure that the butterfly valve was open when trying to start the car. We also had a new battery 18 months ago, although sometimes it seems sluggish when turning the car over. We had an injector issue last year, so they were all tested and one was replaced, so hopefully that's not the problem either.

I was going to change the glowplugs, but no faults are being displayed, and as it's happening when the engine is still hot my assumption is this isn't the problem.

Any other likely caused before i book in an expensive tests?

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17 hours ago, bibbyd01 said:

sometimes it seems sluggish when turning the car over.

If the failing to start links with the slow cranking, then it could be the starter motor solenoid. These can go a bit intermittent, sometimes making good contact, sometimes not. In theory it is possible to change the solenoid alone, I manged to do this on mine. But it is hard to locate the right part, and most garages will only replace the whole motor assembly for warranty reasons.

Bad glowplugs may not light any warning light. On many of these cars, there is no current monitoring on the glowplug supply, just a simple voltage check that the relay is on. If the plugs are working, you should see quite an appreciable drop in battery volts, usually to below 11v, while the plugs are on, rising back to 12v when the plugs time out.

After that, fuel problems are the next suspect. Has the fuel filter been changed recently, and check there are no leaks in the fuel pipes around the filter, or in the filter housing. Fuel will not come out of these leaks (if it is anything like the Focus), rather air will get in. On many Ford diesels, there is no tank mounted fuel pump. Air in the fuel will badly affect starting.

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I have the same problem with my smax, just like you its been happening for the last 2-3 months and it's got to the point where I'm praying it will fire up when I put the key in. Even when it's been running and the engine is warm doesn't make a difference.

 last week when it happened I spent ages trying to start it to no avail and ended up having to call the RAC out (yes I nearly flattened the battery so I attached the booster pack from work and "immobiliser active" came up on the dash and it wouldn't even turn over) and ***** typical he turned up disconected the battery for a few mins so it would reset the immobiliser attached his jump leads, turned the key and it fired straight up, I hung my head in shame..... he tested the battery and said it was in good condition just needed to run it for 30 mins to charge it up.

 I asked about the glow plugs as there isn't a glowplug light on my dash so I just wait for the display to go through the motions which is about 5-6 seconds but he said engines nowadays will still eventually start even if they were knackered but I have tested them and there working fine.

When I got in the car this morning I tried starting it 4 times and the most I got was it fire up for a second and then die so I let the car roll forward a few meters and tried a bumpstart , it didn't work and i didnt expect it to but I turned the ignition off and straight on and she fired straight up so could it be a crank sensor? 

I'm at a bit of a loss at the moment with this problem as I've had a diagnostic check and it didn't bring any faults up

Did you manage to find out what was causing your problems?

Regards

Sean

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On 09/02/2017 at 7:02 PM, 16vfoxy01 said:

could it be a crank sensor? 

I'm at a bit of a loss at the moment with this problem as I've had a diagnostic check and it didn't bring any faults up

From your description it certainly sounds more like an intermittent electrical contact or sensor problem, than air in the fuel lines.

Failed crank sensor will usually put up a diagnostic code (DTC). But maybe during starting this does not apply, it is all so software dependant.

What system was used for the diagnostic check? Some faults, like glowplug relay or fuse, can be missed by basic OBD2 scanners.

I would double check that the glowpugs are powered up prior to starting. These engines will normally fire without plugs, but it is also a check that the ECU is properly powered up. Then I would run a good diagnostic check, like Forscan, immediately after a failed start.

Then I would go back to testing for air in the fuel supply, before splashing out money on crank sensors or other bits. Again, a system like Forscan can actually monitor the rise in fuel rail pressure as the engine starts. The picture below is my car starting up. The key point is that the cranking gets to about 200rpm, and the fuel pressure to about 200Bar (20,000kPa), then it fires up. Air in the fuel line could prevent the rise in fuel pressure.

Start2a.PNG

(If you want more info on how to get this, ask here!)

On 18/01/2017 at 10:48 PM, bibbyd01 said:

Any other likely caused before i book in an expensive tests?

Any news or results?

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Took her to the garage today and they ran a full diagnostic check and glow plugs, fuel pressure were spot on it picked up no codes or faults so they started with the fuel filter as they said they have had a bad batch of filters recently?( bearing in mind it only had a service in December) and there were a few tiny specks of metal in the bottom of the pot. So I'm taking it back tomorrow for fuel tank and lines flushing out and the sediment and swarf cleaning out of the fuel filter pot to the take it back in 6 weeks to check said pot again to see if anymore appears. 

Worst case scenario is a new fuel pump and injectors

 

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I realise this is an old post but thought I'd add my experience anyway, I've just bought a 2007 Ford smax 2.0 tdci and after a couple of weeks had this intermittent starting problem, having read all the posts I came to my own conclusion that it was being starved of fuel, so rather than spend endless amounts of money trying to find the culprit I started to pump the accelerator 5 or 6 times before starting the engine and hey presto touch wood I haven't had a problem since.

Hope this helps 

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