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Old 03-16-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
cconrad12
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Exclamation 98 Ford Contour SE 2.0 Zetec Won't Start

Okay, so it is a general problem. The vehicle will turn over, but will not actually start. Normally.

The problem started happening roughly 2 weeks ago. It would normally turn over and crank right up. But then it started to turn over more and more before it would actually start, and now it will not start at all. After first experiencing the no-start condition I allowed it to just sit for 3 days. Attempted to started it again, and to my surprise it started up, albeit unwillingly. I drove it roughly a mile, then parked it back in my driveway. Turned it off, started it up again with no issues. About an hour later, I went back out and tried again. It wouldn't start at all now. I repeated this process about 3 times, and now it won't start at all. It's been sitting for a week and still won't start. It tries to, but it just doesn't. Now, I used a spark tester and checked the end of the plugs, and it is getting spark. The fuel pump sounds like it is working, and when I depressed the schraeder valve, the gas shot out pretty far. Back when I was able to get it to start after sitting for a few days it would run absolutely perfect until I left it sit for about an hour.

Based on these symptoms, does anyone have any idea what the issue could be? Or if you could simply tell me what step to take next in the diagnosis I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: 98 Ford Contour SE 2.0 Zetec Won't Start

Did you check for a good blue, not orange, spark at all 4 plugs? Have you checked the fuel filter for restriction? If those tests are ok, check fuel pressure.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: 98 Ford Contour SE 2.0 Zetec Won't Start

I'm not sure what color the spark was, I'll do a more thorough test in a few minutes and reply to that. I have changed the fuel filter. Also, is there any way to check the fuel pressure without and actual gauge? Or will I need to buy one?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:03 PM   #4
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Re: 98 Ford Contour SE 2.0 Zetec Won't Start

The vehicle is equipped with a fuel pressure sensor and some scan tools can access the data. The alternative is buy or rent a fuel pressure tester.

Make sure you check all 4 cylinders for spark. The ignition system on this vehicle is a "waste" system, meaning the coil is electrically split in half. Each half fires 2 cylinders simultaneously each time one of the two cylinders is on its compression stroke. The "wasted" spark goes to the other cylinder when its on its exhaust stroke. It is possible for half of the coil to be inoperative.
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