won't start - occasionally

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  #1  
Old 06-09-12, 12:53 PM
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won't start - occasionally

My wife has a merc sable with 153k miles. On rare occasions it won't start but if you leave it be it will start later. It did that to me today so I went to pull the key out and it was stuck, I had to lift up the shift lever a tad higher into park to get the key out. I reinserted the key, held the lever up and it started right up. Is there any connection with the two? This only happens once every few months but this time is the first time I could start it without waiting 5-10 minutes. It's also the first time I noticed the shift lever sagging down slightly.

I've been mystified with this for about 2 yrs

When it won't start, it turns over just fine [starter works] it just won't fire.
 

Last edited by marksr; 06-09-12 at 01:07 PM. Reason: add more info
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  #2  
Old 06-11-12, 03:55 AM
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Everyone as mystified as me?
 
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Old 06-11-12, 04:41 AM
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Was just at my mechanic with a similar problem, Possible fuel pump, mine turned out to be the cam sensor but he said it usually is the fuel pump.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 05:27 AM
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My only thought would be the security chip in the key if the Sable uses that type of setup. Can't be park safety switch because it wouldn't crank if that was the case. As pug notes, fuel pump would be on the list of suspects. I think it's noteworthy that moving the shift lever might have an impact; that would tend to suggest ignition switch or maybe a wiring issue in the column. I hate intermittent stuff.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 07:13 AM
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I sure hope it isn't the fuel pump! The fuel pump went out about 25 miles after the warranty was over - if I remember correctly the pump was over $500.... might be cheaper now that's probably not a dealer only item.

Her car has the security chip in the key. I don't know if moving the shift lever would have helped the other times or not but hopefully I can remember to try it next time.
 
  #6  
Old 06-11-12, 08:46 AM
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Can you tell if the fuel pump is running when you turn the key on? Could be a relay not "making" every time.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 09:56 AM
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I hadn't really noticed if I could get it to do it on cue, I'd have a better chance of figuring it out. The time before was several months ago and I expect it won't happen again for a few months - I guess when it breaks, I'll know then
 
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Old 06-11-12, 01:47 PM
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One of my helpers drives a Honda little car. Can't haul nothin' in it. His would turn over quite well. We checked the distributor, pick ups, etc and couldn't find anything. He said if he let it roll a little (auto tranny) it would start. I looked puzzled, but it worked. I figured there was a wheel sensor going south. Come to find out it was his shift lever not completing a circuit. I had him push on the stick in park and crank it. It started every time. His didn't happen every time either, just when he was in a hurry, naturally.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 03:24 PM
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Sounds like it could be the shift lever then. The good thing is it only happens on rare occasion, the bad is, will I remember to move the lever the next time it happens
 
  #10  
Old 06-11-12, 06:48 PM
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Of course you will. You'll fondly think of our postings and your brain will click in gear. Either that, or the car won't start
 
  #11  
Old 06-12-12, 04:19 AM
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and your brain will click in gear
That wouldn't have been a problem 20 yrs ago. Did I mention the clutch slips, gears are chipped and the synchronizers are bad?
 
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Old 06-12-12, 04:09 PM
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Yours or the car's???.............
 
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Old 06-12-12, 07:40 PM
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give man some slack. he knew what he was buying. F.O.R.D.
 
  #14  
Old 06-13-12, 06:45 AM
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Ill vote for fuel pump, as the same problem was with my car
 
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