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97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)


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jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 28, 2022, 1:22 PM

Post #1 of 19 (261 views)
  post locked   97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

First time poster. Fingers crossed. TIA

97 Ford Escort LX wagon, 101,000 miles. (I'm not sure of engine size but am pretty sure there is only one to choose from.)

My teenage daughter was driving. She was on the highway and the engine just lost power. Turns over but won't restart. Seems like it's out of gas, but it has more than half a tank. (She also reports that about 20 miles before the car stopped running, she heard a noise like she ran over something, but she didn't see what she might have run over.)

I've been playing with the car since it was towed home. It's behaving very much as if it is out of gas. Car turns over like normal but doesn't start.

Hooked up a fuel pressure gauge and it reads zero while the engine is turning over.

I replaced the fuel filter and the fuel pump (lots of fuel in the tank!). Still no pressure and no starting. I (am pretty sure I) can hear the fuel pump whirring when I try to start the car.

OBDII gave an error code about the camshaft position sensor, so I replaced that. The error is gone, but still no fuel pressure reading and car still turns over without starting. No other OBD error codes.

I think that's everything I've got to tell you. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

(This post was edited by jellyfishgarnish on Jun 28, 2022, 1:30 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 28, 2022, 4:36 PM

Post #2 of 19 (239 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Go to the rear compartment and at the right side trim panel there should be a removeable cover. Behind that you will find the Inertia switch. There is a red button on top. If the switch has been tripped you should be able to push it back down.





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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 28, 2022, 7:34 PM

Post #3 of 19 (223 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Unfortunately it was still down. Great suggestion and spot-on instructions though!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 28, 2022, 7:38 PM

Post #4 of 19 (219 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Then check all your fuses. If they are good you may have a bad fuel pump.

Make sure the check engine light comes on for bulb check when the key is first turned on to prove the EEC relay is working.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 29, 2022, 2:59 PM

Post #5 of 19 (195 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

All the fuses are okay. The fuel pump is definitely pumping fuel. Warning lights all come on. The OBD2 seemed to be working when it said the cam sensor was bad. No error messages after I replaced that.

Running out of things I can check. Thanks for your help.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 29, 2022, 3:05 PM

Post #6 of 19 (191 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  


Quote
Hooked up a fuel pressure gauge and it reads zero while the engine is turning over.



Quote
The fuel pump is definitely pumping fuel.


Which is it?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Double J
Veteran / Moderator
Double J profile image

Jun 29, 2022, 7:24 PM

Post #7 of 19 (183 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Not sure of your testing skills

"can hear the fuel pump whirring when I try to start the car."

You're giving conflicting statements as to what the fuel pump is doing as HT pointed out

Are you sure this thing has a fuel problem and didn't break the timing Belt? Have you checked Compression or even looking inside the timing cover to see if the belt is turning?


(This post was edited by Double J on Jun 29, 2022, 7:27 PM)


jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 10:59 AM

Post #8 of 19 (167 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Fair enough.

I finally got fed up and took the fuel pressure regulator off and turned the key. Fuel spurted out just like imagine it should. I don't know what the problem was with the fuel pressure gage. Probably I was the problem. Anyway, fuel is definitely reaching the rail. Doh!

Next I'm planning on seeing if the spark plugs are sparking.

I do not have the gauge to test compression. Looking at the timing belt is on the list but I've never done it before and not sure how much disassembly is required so I haven't leapt into that one.

Thank you for your help and patience.

(This post was edited by jellyfishgarnish on Jun 30, 2022, 11:06 AM)


Hammer Time
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Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2022, 11:10 AM

Post #9 of 19 (159 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  


Quote
Fuel spurted out just like imagine it should.


That's not good enough. You need a working fuel pressure gauge to read operating pressure.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 11:59 AM

Post #10 of 19 (155 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Fair enough. But the only reason I thought it was a fuel line problem was because of the null reading. We know the pump is working and there's plenty of fuel there. (and seriously, there was way too much fuel coming out for the pressure gauge to not show anything. I screwed it all the way in, but I suspect it was not depressing the little schrader valve thing.)

And we know that the car didn't behave any differently when I used starter fluid. (aah, maybe I hadn't shared that tidbit with you)

I just checked and the plugs are sparking.

I'm now figuring out how to get a peek at the timing belt.


(This post was edited by jellyfishgarnish on Jun 30, 2022, 12:02 PM)


jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 12:22 PM

Post #11 of 19 (144 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  


In Reply To
Have you ... looked inside the timing cover to see if the belt is turning?


If anybody has advice about how to do this I would be grateful to hear it.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2022, 12:53 PM

Post #12 of 19 (136 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

It's pretty simple. Remove the 10mm bolts from the top half of the cover and look behind it.

You could also just to a compression test on all cylinders.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 1:12 PM

Post #13 of 19 (131 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

I can do that.

I still don't have a compression tester, but they don't seem too expensive. If the timing belt is bad, how would the compression test show that? I'd guess any cylinders with valves open would be zero, right?

Somebody suggested I just open the oil cap and look inside while turning the key. I can see a couple springs and there was no movement while the engine turned over.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2022, 1:23 PM

Post #14 of 19 (127 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  


Quote
Somebody suggested I just open the oil cap and look inside while turning the key. I can see a couple springs and there was no movement while the engine turned over.


Yeah, that would work if the belt is completely broken.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 1:43 PM

Post #15 of 19 (121 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Ok I (gently) pried open the timing belt cover (two 8mm bolts, two 11mm nuts ;-) and can now see that the timing belt is very loose. It wouldn't pull out like I thought it would if it were broken, but it is way too loose to be doing anything it is supposed to do.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2022, 1:48 PM

Post #16 of 19 (117 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

That confirms the timing belt is your problem. You are very lucky as this is a Non-interference engine and the belt can be replaced without having severe engine damage.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jun 30, 2022, 1:57 PM

Post #17 of 19 (113 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

Whew! Going to pick up a timing belt kit (with water pump) now.

Thank you for all your help!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2022, 2:25 PM

Post #18 of 19 (107 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

I don't know if you are planning to attempt that yourself but this sounds a little too advanced for you. This has to be timed.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jellyfishgarnish
User

Jul 2, 2022, 9:20 PM

Post #19 of 19 (68 views)
  post locked   Re: 97 Ford Escort won't start (fuel line problem?)  

It was fun.






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