98 Ford Escort Starting Problems


Old 07-14-03, 10:43 AM
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98 Ford Escort Starting Problems

If my Mazda problems aren't enough, I'm now having problems with my 1998 Ford Escort.

For the past two weeks, it has not started up as quickly as normal. There sometimes is a bit of a "delay" in that it takes a second or two to crank. Other times, it starts right up.

Three days ago, it didn't start after trying to start it twice. It's is slowly turning over and then it does nothing. On the third attempt it started fine.

Same thing has been happening about every fifth time I try to start it. Today was the worst in that it wouldn't start after several attempts.

I noticed a little smoke coming from under the hood. I opened the hood, and it kind of smelled like burning oil. It's very little smoke and quickly goes away. I do have a small oil leak, I should mention and recently had the oil changed.

When I try to start it, (if it won't start) here comes the smoke again, almost exactly as I'm turning the key. I also here a weird sound (when the hood is up) that I really can't describe.

After about eight attempts at starting it today, it finally started and I got to work. After parking I tried starting it three times, and it started fine. However, something is definitely wrong.

I had a new fuel pump system put in six months ago. I had a new battery put in a few weeks ago.


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Old 07-14-03, 11:20 AM
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How's the connections to the battery? Clean and tight? How old is the battery?
Old 07-14-03, 11:53 AM
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The connections seem okay, Joe. I had a brand new battery put in about two weeks ago (it was completely dead). Cables are clean, etc.

What's worrying me is the little bit smoke that appears when I turn the key. As mentioned, sometimes it fires right up, and sometimes it's slowly turning over for about three seconds, a bit of smoke, and then nothing.

Thanks again.
Old 07-19-03, 07:38 AM
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Not sure if it is at all related, but I had an 85 Tempo with a no start problem and the answer was a short + battery cable that led to the solenoid mounted on the side of firewall was bad.
Old 07-19-03, 01:51 PM
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find where the smoke is coming from. electrical wires and circuits are known to stop working when 'all' the smoke is let out, the smoke has to stay inside the insulation for it to work, this is known as 'smoke's' law(similiar to ohm's law)

i've seen starters smoke when they won't do their thing, i'll lay underneath the car with a hammer tapping away, while someone else is trying to start it, sometimes it makes noise, sometimes not, and sometimes there is smoke too, even sparks occasionly. sometimes the starter is trying to draw so much amperage that the battery terminals will smoke pretty good---nothing wrong there, it's the starter. it could even be a high resistance battery lead, even in the middle of it with all the insulation intact, a voltage drop test will narrow the problem instantly and everytime.

i know from experience that starters, alternators and oxygen sensors don't last very long when they have a good oil leak onto them.

write back if you want to know about the voltage drop test, it's a little lengthy to explain, but is a very good test to know about, because it works on all circuits on the car, you will need a voltmeter and sometimes a helper too.
Old 07-19-03, 03:03 PM
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Mike gave you some good advice.

Original poster: Are you sure you don't have an oil leak???
Old 07-28-03, 05:59 AM
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"Original poster: Are you sure you don't have an oil leak???"

I sure am. And . . . it turned out it WAS the starter.


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