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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1997 Mazda B2300, 140,000 miles, well-maintained.

Truck will start OK when the engine is cold, meaning the first start of the day. If I drive to the store, turn off the engine for 15 minutes, or 45 even, it will not turn over when I try it again. So far it has been starting several hours later, when it is cold again.

It took me a couple of weeks to see the correlation, after having it towed twice to the mechanic's garage. Last week this happened at our little market in town, called the mechanic, he came over and did something to a fuel injector, and it started, but rough. Said it may have been junk that broke lose.

He's hooked it up to the thing that reads codes and says he's fairly confidant that it's not the fuel injection, or the computer that regulates it. Replaced the coils and spark plugs. I went to pick it up this morning. It started right up, so I went in and paid. Went back out, shut it down, to prove my theory, and it would not start......

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! I trust this guy 100% but he's missing something.
 

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After it warms up does it turn over? If not it could be the solenoid on the starter or the starter itself. If it turns over it could be a switch in the fuel system.

Bobg
 

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Not "turning over" has NOTHING to do with the fuel system.

I'd check the battery connections first, and I'd bet a good cleaning will get you going again. If that doesnt help, have the battery tested to see if it's holding a charge.
 

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Not "turning over" has NOTHING to do with the fuel system.

I'd check the battery connections first, and I'd bet a good cleaning will get you going again. If that doesnt help, have the battery tested to see if it's holding a charge.
When checking the battery cables do both ends. It may be a loose bolt that is on the other end or the baterry cables may be worn and losing contact.
 

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If it won't "turn over" and the battery connections have been cleaned, the starter motor probably has a flat spot on the commutator.

Keep your reciept on the rebuilt one for the warranty. Am on number three now. Make a photocopy of such reciepts and warranties as the printing on the original will fade away over time, perhaps by design.
 

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Just a moment, please clarify. To a mechanic when you say an engine doesnt "turn over", to him it will mean the starter isnt moving the flywheel/crankshaft so either the starter is locked up, the engine is locked up, or the starter drive isnt engaging the flywheel gear. Like with a dead battery.

However laymen sometimes say "it wont turn over" when they mean engine turns but it wont fire/start.

I am guessing Hilltop means engine is turning but not firing. That could be ignition or fuel. Just a guess, but I am wondering if it could be a weak fuel pump. Just wild guess on my part though I would think the mechanic would do a fuel pressure test on the system.

By way 99.9% of time it isnt going to be the computer itself on any modern car. Dont ever let anyone sell you a new computer for your car. Even if your computer was somehow bad, you can get a used one that 99.9% of time is going to be good, for very cheap compared to a new one. I dont think junkyards even bother to remove computers before crushing a car, just because there is no demand since they dont go bad.
 

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Does it have an air charged temperature sensor? One went out in our van and kept the van from firing when it was warm. Wait half an hour and it started right up. It didn't show as the sensor on the OBD diagnostic either. Dh just changed it because it was a cheap part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a moment, please clarify. To a mechanic when you say an engine doesnt "turn over", to him it will mean the starter isnt moving the flywheel/crankshaft so either the starter is locked up, the engine is locked up, or the starter drive isnt engaging the flywheel gear. Like with a dead battery.

However laymen sometimes say "it wont turn over" when they mean engine turns but it wont fire/start.

I am guessing Hilltop means engine is turning but not firing. That could be ignition or fuel. Just a guess, but I am wondering if it could be a weak fuel pump. Just wild guess on my part though I would think the mechanic would do a fuel pressure test on the system.

By way 99.9% of time it isnt going to be the computer itself on any modern car. Dont ever let anyone sell you a new computer for your car. Even if your computer was somehow bad, you can get a used one that 99.9% of time is going to be good, for very cheap compared to a new one. I dont think junkyards even bother to remove computers before crushing a car, just because there is no demand since they dont go bad.
HermitJohn is right, I don't know the correct terminology. It's not the starter, it will act as though it's trying to start, but it doesn't "fire/start".
 

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Check for spark.

If you have that, then it is a fuel problem.

Or spray in some starter spray into carb/injector. If it runs briefly and then dies, then it is a fuel problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I called the mechanic and mentioned some of the things you folks have suggested. He was putting a thermostat in at that point. I'll know by tonight if it was the problem, but I'm curious to hear what you think. Thank you all so much for offering your advise, I really appreciate it.
 

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I called the mechanic and mentioned some of the things you folks have suggested. He was putting a thermostat in at that point. I'll know by tonight if it was the problem, but I'm curious to hear what you think. Thank you all so much for offering your advise, I really appreciate it.
Don't take this the wrong way but I don't think he's on top if his game. Sounds like he's playing the replace parts til it's fixed cause the customer will pay for the parts game. Diagnosis is hard to get paid for and even harder to find someone that can do it but cheaper in the long run.
 

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IMO, something that has a solid state component is opening up in the circuitry when heat is near. My first guess would be a component associated with the ignition. I would start the engine and as soon as it fires shut it off. then I would take a hairdryer and heat the pickup/distributor components and then attempt to start again. I would repeat this until the engine fails to start cold but with a component hot. When it fails I would do a thorough test on that area. Your mechanic may be a great person but he is lacking skills in his line of work IMO
 

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it will not turn over when I try it again
Bad ignition modules or fuel proplem would still allow the engine to turn over. I'd say check the starter and soleniod for overheating problems. If I remember right the Ranger (which the mazda is cloned from) has a heat shield between the starter and the exhaust pipe. If that has been left off or has fallen off it would create this type of problem.
 

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HermitJohn is right, I don't know the correct terminology. It's not the starter, it will act as though it's trying to start, but it doesn't "fire/start".
This has been a confusing post but I do believe the engine will rotate with the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wanna cry. I have used this mechanic exclusively for 6 years, ever since I moved out here. Several times, he's dropped what he was doing, to get me patched up and on the road again. He's calmly listened to me a couple of times, when I was in tears. I am unwilling to risk offending him and lose him as my mechanic. He's the only guy there in the shop, and he's closed Fri/Sat/Sun. It's a small family business, been there for 50 years.

My truck has been at his shop for 11 days. I stopped there today, no one was around. I started the truck and it did start but ran really rough. I shut it down, and when I tried to start it again it did not start. I guess I'm just venting, I'm so frustrated. I have a borrowed car but I can't keep it much longer.
 

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I sure am no expert on computerized systems, but did web search last night on this and seems fairly common problem in fuel injected Rangers (90s and up Mazda pickups are just rebadged Rangers) with over 100k miles though maybe more so with V6s than fours. Though did find this complaint with both. Anyway problem seems to be fuel pump or fuel pump relay. Hey my wild guess may be right... Do you smell any raw gas? That seems to be a usual reported symptom in many of these "Ranger starts cold, wont start hot" situations according to several persons/threads. The rough idling apparently comes from actually running very rich though I dont quite understand why a weak pump would cause that. Then again I still think in terms of non-computerized carburetor systems, so maybe computer trying to compensate for insufficient pressure/volume by enriching mixture, kinda like on an old carb engine with manual choke you could run with choke partially closed to limp home??? And these weak fuel pumps apparently tend not to trigger a fault code. One thread by guy with this problem said his Ranger would restart everytime IF he unplugged ECM then plugged it in again. Again just my reasoning and from what I found on web, it still could be ignition or other fuel/sensor problems, but there are actual experts in computerized cars on here. Hard to second guess from thousands of miles away. Just seems your mechanic should have suspected and eliminated obvious possibilities. Replacing your ignition coil pack (not cheap I think) seems odd thing to do if plugs are firing and I assume he probably has a scope to tell him if they are firing and how strong on each cylinder. Even shade tree diagnosis on carb car, if plugs are firing, I am going to think more likely its fuel problem. I even got little $2 gizmo from Harbor Freight sometime back that you can see wire to plug firing. Saves getting accidental nasty jolt trying to get spark to jump to bare bit of metal on engine.. So no excuse not to know that.

As to your mechanic, dont know what to say, then again who knows whats going on in his personal life. That can affect your job performance and thinking abilities quite a bit. Whats he telling you for the delay? Seems weird he was so efficient in your earlier dealings but now seems to be procrastinating and making excuses when he knows you need your vehicle. You can get away with that stuff in city shop since you have high turnover of customers, but when you are small one man shop out in boonies, if you start pulling carp, your buisiness goes down quickly.

Since you are between a rock and a hard spot, seems very soon you will have no choice but to take your truck to another mechanic if current mechanic cant or wont deal with your problem.

I drive very few miles per year anymore, but try to keep two older vehicles legal and in running condition just so I dont get totally stranded. Unfortunately easy to let the backup vehicle deteriorate from non use where it also needs work when I want to use it. After bit of hassle this spring, my resolution is to make sure even my backup vehicle gets driven on hiway at least once every other month, preferably once a month.
 

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HilltopDaisy how are you making out with your truck? Us trying to guess what is wrong without physically diagnosing is not really going to help you or the mechanic. What if we gave you some suggestions on what to ask this mechanic or whoever works on it next. It might help them and us pinpoint your problem. Obviously you have been able to duplicate the problem, has the mechanic been able to duplicate it? Does he have the equipment to do a diagnostic check of the computer system? Did he retrieve any codes from the system? Did he check spark when the failure occurred? Is the spark output up to spec? Did he check the primary resistance of the coil? Did he check fuel pressure?


I'll take a wild guess and add to Hermit John's findings. Fords sometimes have fuel pressure regulator problems. The regulator allows the fuel pressure to go too high by not regulating it down. This causes a rich condition and a rough idle, possibly hard or no start when hot. You can tell right away with a fuel pressure check. Sometimes the diaphragm in the regulator ruptures allowing fuel to go directly in the vacuum hose attached to the fuel pressure regulator. This is easily found by pulling the vacuum hose off of the regulator while running or trying to start. if fuel comes out of the nipple for the hose you know the diaphragm is broken. Just a wild guess.
 

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Fords sometimes have fuel pressure regulator problems. The regulator allows the fuel pressure to go too high by not regulating it down. This causes a rich condition and a rough idle, possibly hard or no start when hot. You can tell right away with a fuel pressure check. Sometimes the diaphragm in the regulator ruptures allowing fuel to go directly in the vacuum hose attached to the fuel pressure regulator. This is easily found by pulling the vacuum hose off of the regulator while running or trying to start. if fuel comes out of the nipple for the hose you know the diaphragm is broken. Just a wild guess.
Thanks, even if it doesnt help Hilltop, that explains what people were saying about raw fuel odor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I thought I'd update you wonderful people, because I am so greatful for your help. Honestly, I don't understand most of what you are discussing.

After my mechanic put in the new thermostat, the problem continued. He said "Anything I do now is a guess on my part. It's time to take it to a diagnostic place". Diagnostic place, which is almost an hour away, had it for 4 days (Tues-today), and the truck started and ran GREAT each and every time they started it up. Not a dang thing came up on the codes, nothing, nada, to the tune of $95.79 per hour.

Let me back up......... after I mentioned the weak fuel pump, my mechanic borrowed the tester-thingy from another local garage, just to be sure that his wasn't faulty, and it read the same. (We actually have 2 garages in my little town).

Please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but could it be the fuel filter? I'm going to print this and take it to MY mechanic, who I think the world of......

Thank again, everyone.
 

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I don't think it would be a fuel filter.

Like HermitJohn said, your Mazda is actually a Ford Ranger. A great little truck!!!!

I think the platform is the same as the Explorer if it has a 6 cylinder, right?

I did a google search "Ranger won't start" and got ALOT of hits.

Just remember that Ford came out with your body/model style in 93 or 94, so the earlier model problems won't really help you.

There was one website fordtruckfanatics.com. Sounds like those guys might be able to help too.

Your theft-light on the dash isn't flashing when you have this problem, are you?

Clove
 
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