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HELP - long crank on start - tried everything


fiddlermd

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I have a 2003 B4000.
I bought it recently and everything was fine. In the last few weeks I am having a rough time starting. It cranks for a while, sorta sputters then starts and then it's fine.
After this, if I restart the engine it starts right up. I suspected a fuel issue so I replaced the fuel pump and filter.
I also put in new spark plugs, cleaned MAF as well.
The battery light is on but when I measure battery voltage, it shows 12.5. After driving for about an hour, it's still showing low battery light. Voltage when the car is on jumps to around 14.5 or so.. don't remember right now, though while it's initially cranking, it dips as low as 10.
I also changed both evap solenoids - the one by the ABS and the one under the bed.
Logically, it seems like a fuel delivery issue, but I don't understand what else it could be. Any advice?
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: F9A1A579ACFAD1: October 1st, 2021

fiddlermd

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forgot to mention, occasionally, the idle is a little rough but nothing crazy, and once or twice it was rough while running but hasnt done this in a while
 

mikkelstuff

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Check for a vacuum leak. I've run into this same behavior before.
 

RonD

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For delayed start
Turn on and off the key 3 times, then try to start

Fuel pump only runs 2 seconds with key on, to Prime the system, then it won't run again until engine starts
So you want to "Prime it" 3 times before trying to start


Battery light is on because there is a problem with alternator, or charging circuit

Engine running voltage SHOULD BE, 13.5v to 14.8volt as tested at battery

Key off battery voltage, AFTER sitting for 6 hours or longer, should be 12.3v to 12.8volts


Battery Light circuit is very very simple
One side of the bulb is connected to alternator, the other side is connected to cab fuse box
When you turn on the key the bulb gets 12.5volt(battery voltage) from the fuse
The alternator is not turning so is 0volts(same as battery negative)
So Bulb lights up

When you start the engine AND alternator is working
Bulb has 14volts from fuse box
And 14volts from alternator
So bulb goes OFF, no current is flowing thru the bulb, so it doesn't light up

If alternator is turning but only making say 9volts then bulb has lower volts on one side so Lights Up
 

fiddlermd

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Check for a vacuum leak. I've run into this same behavior before.
how do you check for vacuum leaks? I know the car has an EGR delete, so one of the tubes from the purge solenoid goes to nowhere. but it was like this before and ran fine.
 

fiddlermd

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For delayed start
Turn on and off the key 3 times, then try to start

Fuel pump only runs 2 seconds with key on, to Prime the system, then it won't run again until engine starts
So you want to "Prime it" 3 times before trying to start


Battery light is on because there is a problem with alternator, or charging circuit

Engine running voltage SHOULD BE, 13.5v to 14.8volt as tested at battery

Key off battery voltage, AFTER sitting for 6 hours or longer, should be 12.3v to 12.8volts


Battery Light circuit is very very simple
One side of the bulb is connected to alternator, the other side is connected to cab fuse box
When you turn on the key the bulb gets 12.5volt(battery voltage) from the fuse
The alternator is not turning so is 0volts(same as battery negative)
So Bulb lights up

When you start the engine AND alternator is working
Bulb has 14volts from fuse box
And 14volts from alternator
So bulb goes OFF, no current is flowing thru the bulb, so it doesn't light up

If alternator is turning but only making say 9volts then bulb has lower volts on one side so Lights Up
I tried doing the fuel pump priming - no change.

voltage is 12.5 at battery and 14.something when running (after a few seconds post-start)
 

RonD

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Then battery light should be OFF after start up

For the slow start
When you turn on the key the CEL(check engine light) should be on
As soon as the engine starts to turn(starter motor active) the CEL should go OFF, that means the computer has started spark and fuel injectors

If CEL stays on until engine starts, replace, or give a good look at, the Crank sensor, passenger side down next to crank pulley
Could be loose or failing
 

rubydist

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The startup symptoms you describe are consistent with the fuel pressure leaking down after an extended time turned off. That is why Ron suggested you turn the key to on for several seconds several times before attempting to start the engine - that will allow the fuel pump to prime and bring that fuel pressure back up.

There are 2 most common causes for this pressure leaking down - a leaking check valve in the fuel pump, or a leaking injector. In my experience, the fuel pump is more common but I have seen each. You mentioned that hot restarts are fine. That suggests the issue is the fuel pump, because if you have a leaking injector typically that results in a flooding condition at hot restart.

So, if Ron's suggestion of key on for several seconds several times makes it start right up, you most likely have one of the 2 issues I described above.
 

TDI Ranger

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Something that might be worth considering would be the voltage drop you mentioned. You said the voltage dropped to about 10 volts when you are cranking the engine. I assume this voltage was taken at the battery post. Once voltage drops below a certain point, around 10 volts, the ECM may not be working properly to power the injectors or ignition coil, ECT... The engine will still spin over fine but not start. There is resistance at every connection and in the battery cables and the wiring itself. You may actually be only getting 8 or 9 volts to the ecm because of the resistance. This will cause hard starting or even a no start. I see this problem somewhat regularly. This problem seems to be overlooked by a lot of people.

I'm a Yamaha and Mercury boat tech, not automotive, but the principals should be the same.
 

fiddlermd

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The startup symptoms you describe are consistent with the fuel pressure leaking down after an extended time turned off. That is why Ron suggested you turn the key to on for several seconds several times before attempting to start the engine - that will allow the fuel pump to prime and bring that fuel pressure back up.

There are 2 most common causes for this pressure leaking down - a leaking check valve in the fuel pump, or a leaking injector. In my experience, the fuel pump is more common but I have seen each. You mentioned that hot restarts are fine. That suggests the issue is the fuel pump, because if you have a leaking injector typically that results in a flooding condition at hot restart.

So, if Ron's suggestion of key on for several seconds several times makes it start right up, you most likely have one of the 2 issues I described above.
That was my thought too but I replaced the fuel pump and filter already and the symptoms haven't changed.
 

fiddlermd

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Here's a quick startup this morning. Take a look for yourselves @TDI Ranger @RonD
 

RonD

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I would replace PCV Valve and clean IAC Valve as first steps

Battery voltage should drop by 2.0-2.4volts when cranking engine, if it drops below 9.5volts then PATS can reset causing an issue, and no start

That's why battery voltage should be 12.3v to 12.8v "at rest", if battery falls below 12.3v "at rest" then you can/will have issues with electrics
new battery is 12.8v, min.
5/6 year old battery is 12.3v, max. so time to shop for battery sales


If you get a fuel pressure tester you can test pressure in the morning before startup
For 1998 and up Ranger/Mazda, 20-30psi would be expected after sitting for MONTHS, not just hours
That's why fuel pump only needs to run for 2 second with key on, that adds 10psi so 30-40psi and plenty to start 55-65psi system
If pressure was 0psi then 10psi is not quite enough for cold startup, quick or otherwise, but would be OK for warm restart
Cold start needs 3 to 4 times the amount of gasoline that warm start does, i.e. CHOKE mode
 
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rubydist

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So tomorrow morning please do the key cycling that Ron suggested before you try starting it, and then let us know if that made any difference in the way it started.
 

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I have the an intermittent hard starting issue as well. I have to either crank it a long time, or give it gas while cranking. This doesn't happen all the time, nor does it matter warm or cold. For the most part she fires right up, and always purrs nice, just occasionally stubborn, so I live with it.
 

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My 94 Explorer does this too but it's literally every single time it sits for more than a day or so. I am just in the habit of cycling the key 5 or 6 times, the fuel pressure bleeds off somewhere. In my case I think I can rule out the injectors leaking, it is probably the fuel pump.
 


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