HELP!!! car wont stay running

Discussion in 'Other Auto Tech' started by buff531, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Well, i drove the car and came back and the car wouldnt start. i must of left some lights on of some sort or what not. i checked the voltage and it was like 11.4V. i charged it, got it to 13.5V... put it back in. and the car still wouldnt budge. So i cleaned the terminals as best as i could and the lights came on and the car cranked but would not start.

    now the samething happend, i went to start it again and nothing. tried it again it cranked and cranked and it wanted to start and FINALLY it did. so i go to move it and the car died. I hooked up jumper cables got it running again and was able to move it into the driveway where it died once again.

    THe PCV valve was rattling and vibrating like crazy. i tried to start it a few minutes ago, it cranked and turned over but immediately died.. can you guys give me any help as to "diagnosing" my problem? any help is MUCH appreciated.


  2. sounds like it's starving for fuel or air. first thing, change the fuel filter it could be plugged up also check your air box and air filter make sure nothing got in there and blocked that up. when you get it running will it stay running if you give it gas? also what kind of vehicle we talking about?

    do you have a check engine light. another problem could be a tps or iac sensor causing the throttle body butterly to slam shut when you let go of the gas pedal that will kill the car. if it's starving for fuel causes bad or weak pump run a pressure test, plugged fuel filter( start here), plugged injectors. starving for air usually bad sensor, really plugged air filter or plugged exhaust like a bad cat. could be weak spark but you did start it and move it so probally rule that out. post up some more info.
  3. WOW thank you so much... i will definately check the air filter and air box to see if anything is blocking it. i never even thought about that. The fuel filter was changed in the summer at some point...

    At first, it would stay running. THe first time i got it started i was letting the car warm up so it was idling for a couple of minutes then when i tried to move it it died. The second time i was able to move it into the driveway and then it died. Now.... it pretty much dies immediately once it turns over. i didnt try to give it gas. the vehicle is a 98 mercury tracer... And yes the check engine light is on. Cant i go to a local auto parts store and "rent" a diagnostic computer? i just dont know where the port is for this car for the computer...
  4. 98 tracer pretty much a ford escort. the port on obd II cars should be on the drivers side under the dash area. you have a bad sensor or connector to the sensor causing a voltage drop said sensor. first you need to get the codes up for the cel to find if problem is spark, air or fuel related sensors or parts. I don't know if parts stores rent them although the should, I know most will check them for free but you need o drive the car to them, not an option for you. you could also have a junk fuel pressure regulator, if you had a fuel pressure gauge you just screw it onto the schrader valve on the fuel rail and get a key on pressure check to see if have any pressure at all. you could have multiple problems or just cel related. you have some tracking down to do, good luck, keep us posted.
  5. there is an auto parts store near my house that rents out the unit for $110. once you return it you get the $110 back if it is undamaged. i will run the codes and see what it is. hopefully it tells me what is wrong. i will post the results before the weekend as i do not know if i will get out to my parents house today or tomorrow.
  6. UPDATE....
    ok so the stores do not rent out those diagnostic tools anymore. you have to buy them for $150!!! anyway...

    the car cranks and cranks and cranks. nothing happens until i floor the gas. When i do it turns over and sputters then dies. i cant get it to stay started. i pulled the plugs and they were black and smelt like gas. i replaced them with new ones. i checked if i had spark on all 4 wires and i do. i also checked to see if each wire had resistance, adnt hey did.

    with the new plugs i did the same thign with the old plugs, the air filter isnt all that bad either.

    my father recently (3 or 4 weeks ago) had the fuel pump replaced as it went out. The fuel filter was changed a few months ago...

    is there a way to check those sensors without a diagnostic tool?
  7. no. the old systems pre 1996 obd 1 you could jump the terminals in the port and get codes by counting the light flashes but is totally gone with your system hence obd II. if you put anything in the port it will short and fry the pcm so don't do it. you have a sensor problem I'm guessing and you won't get it fixed until you get into the compter. you are stuck if you don't know someone with a scanner, it will have to be towed to a shop to have the computer scanned to find the problem, or you could take a shot in the dark and go for a iac (inlet air control)sensor or throttle position sensor but again it's a shot in the dark. if you get it to a garage you could just a have it scanned a do the repairs yourself although you will have to get it back home. the plugs are wet from trying to start it and fould from trying start it has well and also from incomplete combustion. I'm thinking your not getting enough air in or strong enough spark due to weak coil or a miss firring coil which you cannot check or measure, even though you may see a spark from the wires or plug it doesn't mean much on modern cars which by the way will throw a cel a misfire that is. but keep on the pathh on getting that computer of luck. keep posting your results.
  8. UPDATE!!!!

    well i got my hands on a code scanner. I plugged it in as the directions specified (with key ignition on and not started) and idt didnt read any codes. so i was playing with the buttons on there... and forgot it was plugged in and started the car. it started right up without hesitation. as soon as i unplugged the diagnostic tool, the car died. i treid to start it, it wouldnt start. i plugged the computer back in and it started right up, unplugged it and it died. WTF!!!!!!!!!

    any other ideas Greensvt?
  9. this piece is making a crap load of noise. its vibrating alot and almost sounds like an arc of electrical current zapping between two pieces of metal. yes it looks gigger rigge'd but it has been like this for like 5 years... i guess they dont make a part for that specific part fo the car. copy and past the link below... can a PCV vavle cause these issues?
  10. the pvc valve can cause problems due to excessive amounts of crank case pressure, this can cuase seals and gaskets to blow out and the car to run crappy. the buzzing is the little valve moving up and down inside the cylinder like a little piston, this may be normal. someone installed one inline, if I remember correctally the stock pcv sucked to get to. has for the car running with the scan tool plugged in then not at all with it unplugged and you cannot get codes leads me to believe you may have a bad pcm. the reason being, getting no codes and the car is running off the interfacing with the tool and some other factors. I know what I'm thinking but I can't put it down in words persay. you can get a used computer to try and rule it out or one from dealer or even autoparts store if it is bad. I just got this wierd feeling now that you do have a dead pcm. first make sure you have read all the instructions for the tool, but if the pcm will not talk to the car in scan mode key off function this is not good. I wonder if you get any voltage reading to the sensors key on w/o the tool in the with tool in, you need a volt meter though.

    I wish I was right there because this is starting to be one of those this sucks doing this over the internet deals, I don't want to do you wrong.
  11. how much are new computers and are they easy to replace??/ this car isnt the greatest... is it worth just junking??

    anyway i do have a voltmeter, just tell me what i need to do and i willt ry and do it.
  12. for pcms, you hav to have a manual or atx, on you pcm will be a bar code with numers if your #'s fall in those codes it will work. just take the throttle positoner sensor for example you want atleast 1.0 volts wo throttle. with key in run position peirce the green wire I believe or just check until find it, has you rotate the throttle open and the butterfly opens the voltage should go up, even .98-.99 is okay.If you are getting this that maens the sensor and connector are okay and the pcm gave out the proper reading on that circiut. do the same to other sensors you should be getting small readings at various sensors.

    do you still have the chech engine light? the problem is not knowing about this damn pcm now, I'm not going to tell you to junk a car either, if the rest of it is good, like body, suspension etc., those little motors will run like hell, that is up to you. I would say check for power to the pcm, etc etc., but you got to the pcm through the scan tool but check the fuses anyway. There are other sensors that will kill the car or act up and cause it to not run like the crank shaft positioner senor, etc. but once you got it running with the scan tool pugged in and it died with it you threw me towards the pcm, but I'm hoping you didn't push a button or something again I'm not there with you to see what is going on. I think the pcm is under the middle of the dashes on these not sure. but in order to buy a used pcm you will need the numbers of you pcm, to get one from a dealer you just need your vin, but make sure it's the pcm, run the voltage tests.
  13. i will run the voltage tests tonight and post the results... whaere do i put the black lead from teh Voltmeter?

    also, the check engine light is now off. when i first plugged it in i followed the instructions and hit "enter" on read codes. nothing came up. i did it 5 other times and still nothing was read. when i started the car, the light was gone. after about the 6th try, i did hit "enter" on erase codes, in hopes of maybe it would clear out the computer of any faulty activity. i may go buy the repair manual for $18... how much are new PCM's?

    the car recently has been giving us some problems. but it hink we can weed through this. I may take it to a shop and see what they say. but i am going to try to at least figure it out for another week or so.
  14. lets be clear again, you said the car runs when the car is hooked up to the scanner but will not run when the scanner is unplugged. you have to find a ground for the meter any good metal gound point will work. you need to find voltage for th crank & camshaft senors has well , this could be another problem area, the car will not run if this sensor is faulting. if the pcm is good my begining thoughts where air like the tps or iac. the cel will come back on when the car has a chance to stay running enough for the pcm to pick up on the faults. a soft code will tigger the light which might have picked up a hickup with a sensor or a voltage drop to sensor but didn't store it in the pcm memory for a hard code, the hard code is a fault or failure which the scanner will read or again the pcm isn't functioning. new pcm's or ecm from ford run about $300 from ford parts online so we need to make sure it's dead.
  15. you are correct. with the scaner hooked up to the computer, the car starts right away. if i leave it idling and unplug the scanner the car dies. if i try to start it WITHOUT the scanner it does not start. But as soon as i plug the scanner back in, it starts... i thought the computers were way more than that. maybe i will keep the car... i am going to have to buy a book that shows me where the other sensors are at. i know where the MAF, IAC, and TPS are located.

    Greensvt, many thanks for the continued support to my problem.
  16. Greensvt,
    one of the guys here actually came up with a good idea. He had asimilar problem in his durango where all the lights were going hay-wire, when he would turn, the door chime would start dinging, etc. He mentioned that he doesnt think the PCM is shot because the car is running (thus your recommendations for checking voltage would prove this). He said that what happened to him was that he had a short in the connection you plug the scanner into to read the computer. He said that maybe when i pluged the computer in it seperated the two wires touching each other and allowed the car to start and that when i removed it, the wires touched again and confused the computer on what to do. Have you ever heard of something like this before???

    is there a way to stick something in there to see if this is the problem?
  17. yes it's possible but more likely a bad ground to the ecm at the scanner is completing the circuit, if you know what I mean, the more Ithought about that makes the most sense, the scanner is now part of the circuit, but it's possible. all obd II ports should be the same but I wouldn't just stick something in the pins if you short out the computer it will fry it. you will have to check the power to the pcm and the ground to the pcm make sure they are good. the plug could be bad or ave a bad wire or terminal. hopefull the book gives you a diagram but he obd II ports usally are like this:

    pin 1 not used
    pin 2 two wires going in this a data link pin positive side maybe grey wire thea grey/voilet wire
    pin4 ground
    pin5 ground maybe gray/orange
    pin7 2 wires sensor signal pin white and white/red
    pin10 2 wires blue and blue/white a data link pin negative side
    pin 13 sensor signal whie/blue

    pin16 this is a constant power supply wire maybe orange

    your wires maybe different colors not sure, has you can see many grounds check the constant power and make sure the grounds are good. also if you get no voltage or power to any sensors, plug in the scanner and check a sensor stay with the tps for now,. if no signal w/ scanner then with scanner plugged in it's a wiring issue and the scanner is completing the circuit, check for grounds to the pcm and power to the pcm. look for the wiring diagram to the pcm from the fuse panel and the pcm grounds. you don't want a short in the plug, so I think he is wrong, if there is a loose connection maybe the scanner will force the connection. I have seen shorts in the wires fry a new pcm has soon as it was plugged in so you need to rule that out.
  18. Greensvt,
    thanks again for the good input,

    im sorry but i am not 100% familiar with testing things with a Voltmeter. How should i go about doing this? i have "basic" knowledge of how to do this but not 100%
  19. to test for voltage like a sensor yo uare getting a reading across th circuit, you need to tap into the ground and power of the plug to get the reading, for the tps you the n rotate the throttle to wide open and the numbers should climb to 1.0v or atleast .98-.99. you can just use a test light light but you should get 14v or around there constant power to going to the ecm I believe since it's a constant power supply. if you check resistance or for a complete circuit to the ecm you need to kill the power to it, or you will fry your meter, that is if you have a multimeter. also becareful probing around you don't short something out, if you don't feel comfortable at this point send it out or pm me and we can exchange cell #'s and talk on the phone maybe we can do something this way.