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Old 09-20-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
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2000 E150 4.6L V8 Problem

OK, here's a question for you ford guys:

I have a 2000 model E150 conversion van with the 4.6L V8 engine. I bought this one so the DW can ferry her elderly mom and aunt around in relative comfort and have space for all their accoutrements (wheel chairs, etc). Runs like a top... except when it doesn't.

Twice now, she has parked it, and when she returned it would not start. It turns over strong but will not fire. It has never given her any trouble when driving, only after she shuts it down.

After a period of time, it'll fire right up like nothing was ever wrong, and run fine.

The first time it happened, she was at McDonalds and called me. I grabbed my toolbox, and got there as quick as I could. They were all inside enjoying their McYucky food. I hopped in the van, turned the key, and it fired right up.

I chalked it all up to temporary DW insanity, and haven't thought about it since.

'Till Yesterday. They were at Walmart, illegally parked (as they often do to minimize the parking lot walk distance for the elderlies), and the van wouldn't start. This time I was nearby when she called and got there in a minute or two. Van would crank but not start. I had it towed to a nearby mechanic (who was closed for the day).

Mechanic guy calls me today, and asks whats up with the van. I tell him it won't start. He says it started right up for him, no problem. I told him the story, and he says "Sounds like it might be the fuel pump. I'll put one on for $600 and we'll see if it happens again".

So he's throwing $600 repairs at the problem hoping he'll fix it? I don't think so. I pay him his $85 diagnostic fee, and drive the van home, no problems.

I can put a fuel pump on for about $100 and a half day of my time, but this problem doesn't smell like fuel pump to me. What's it sound like to you guys (or gals where applicable)?
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Read any codes?

Get a low buck reader at parts house, cheapest one is good enough.

Show every driver how to use, most are plug in, turn on key, push button.

Plug next to sterring wheel.

Leave it in truck, when failed, read codes then.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:25 PM   #3
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Sorry, left that out of the original post. Mechanic dude says no codes were stored. Check engine light was not on.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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Next time it happens, check to see if the "check engine" light is on when you just turn the key in the on position and it should turn off when cranking. Also when it does not start, Just apply light throttle pedal pressure to open the throttle plate. If you have a stuck closed IAC, it will allow the engine to start. If this occurs, looks like a bad IAC. I don't think it is a fuel pump at this time. Usually they cause a stalling condition or low power condition. If there is not fuel pump pressure, check the electrical system to it first. If the pump relay is not working correctly, you just installed a new pump when it was not needed.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesrxx951 View Post
Next time it happens, check to see if the "check engine" light is on when you just turn the key in the on position and it should turn off when cranking. Also when it does not start, Just apply light throttle pedal pressure to open the throttle plate. If you have a stuck closed IAC, it will allow the engine to start. If this occurs, looks like a bad IAC. I don't think it is a fuel pump at this time. Usually they cause a stalling condition or low power condition. If there is not fuel pump pressure, check the electrical system to it first. If the pump relay is not working correctly, you just installed a new pump when it was not needed.
Thanks for that info, James. I don't feel like it's the pump either, and the relay was first on my list to check. The fact that there have not been ANY performance issues when it's running seems to indicate something other than the pump to me.

Question: If i get down on the ground near the fuel tank, and have a helper to turn the ignition key on, should I be able to hear the fuel pump spin up?
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:49 PM   #6
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Yes you should. It can vary by the amount of fuel in the tank but typically you can hear it. Removing the gas cap and listening in the fill hole may help. I would perform test listens though. Listen when it does start with low and high fuel levels. Maybe even let your wife listen in so she can tell if it occurs again. Unfortunately these types of problems can be difficult to diag since it is intermittent.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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Codes not always stored.

Readers are handy, ours was $20.00...

If power issue then may not store code.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #8
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ramblin,
it sounds like you could have a vapor lock.
to test for vapor lock, i would add about a gallon of kerosene to a full or nearly full fuel tank of regular gas. this will lower the vapor pressure.
if that solves the problem, start checking for heat sources near the fuel lines. move the lines or insulate them near heat sources.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:04 PM   #9
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ramblin,
it sounds like you could have a vapor lock.
to test for vapor lock, i would add about a gallon of kerosene to a full or nearly full fuel tank of regular gas. this will lower the vapor pressure.
if that solves the problem, start checking for heat sources near the fuel lines. move the lines or insulate them near heat sources.
These fuel injected engines don't suffer from vapor lock. The high pressure fuel systems will return the vapor back into fuel with the use if the high fuel line pressures. Even if there was vapor lock, the engine would try to start and will after some trying. There were some issues in the mid 90's with some minor vapor lock on the lower fuel pressure systems with the winter blend fuels on early warm winter days. But it was pretty obvious and the engine would start. Just not well.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Factory security system? If so, see if the light goes out with the key on. Not sure about the Ford, but have had similar problems with multiple GMs. Security key fails to recognize and cuts fuel during startup. Mechanic kept wanting to replace fuel pump. Leaving key in ignition for a few and it would fire right up. Eventually replaced ignition and problem it's gone. Might not be it, but thought it'd toss it out there.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:41 AM   #11
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Factory security system? If so, see if the light goes out with the key on. Not sure about the Ford, but have had similar problems with multiple GMs. Security key fails to recognize and cuts fuel during startup. Mechanic kept wanting to replace fuel pump. Leaving key in ignition for a few and it would fire right up. Eventually replaced ignition and problem it's gone. Might not be it, but thought it'd toss it out there.

Ford has what is called PATS for their security. The vans do not have it but it is a great idea to check if there was an aftermarket security or remote start that is acting up.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #12
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UPDATE: Pulled and replaced the fuel pump relay ($18). The old one had some corrosion on the terminals, so maybe that was the problem. Here's a pic of the old one:

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Not sure if this will fix it, we'll see. It was months between the last two failures, so not sure how long it'll take to regain my confidence in this vehicle.

Thanks to all who responded so far.
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