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Old 03-05-2017, 05:11 PM   #1
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Simple Fix Fast and Cheap!

Thought someone could benefit from my experience, but before I start I debated whether or not to just give the solution and be done with it but thought if I described symptoms it might help more people - so opted for option 2. I you don't want to read all about it, skip to the bottom. ****

If this sounds reasonable to the mods maybe they can make it a sticky in the appropriate section.

1. This solution is anecdotal but the THEORY BEHIND IT IS NOT AND IS BASED IN ELECTRICAL LAW.

2. The odds of this repair fixing several “unrelated” issues on several vehicles is probably
coincidental but not impossible.

3. I do have a background in electrical and electronics but like any average car owner I am tempted to look to obscure and exotic troubleshooting to find that failing fuel pump, pesky crank or MAF sensor or spend hours searching tiny vacuum leaks.

Anyway it all started with a 1997 Chevy C1500 / 5.0L The vehicle would crank fine but always took longer than normal (4-5sec) and several tries to finally “catch” and once running seemed to be fine. These symptoms were evident ONLY upon the first start of the day. Rest of the day was fine. Another characteristic of this truck that I did not even connect with this issue was that it seemed sluggish on acceleration. No misses, no hesitation, nice smooth acceleration but just the feeling that I had a little chain saw motor pulling a 4000 lb. Truck. Of course it had to be a bad fuel pump, ignition components, the egr valve, a dirty intake manifold, fuel filter. Etc.

I also own a 1997 Ford E-350 Club Wagon XLT / Triton V8 5.4L . This vehicle too exhibited almost similar but more severe symptoms and again only on the first start of the day. Engine would crank nicely but for longer than normal, then “catch” and then run at about 200-300RPM for about 5-7 seconds then catch a normal idle and run normally for the rest of the day, In this case, I tried the IAC valve( Ford calls it an Idle Control Motor). Voila! That fixed it! Or so I thought. A week later I was back to the same problem.

The family also owns two 1997 Buick Lesabres ( one Custom one LE). Don't ask about the obsession with the year 1997. These both have the 3.8L NA motor. The gold one fires up immediately, but the blue one again exhibits symptoms similar to my bigger vehicles. Great cranking but long time to fire and smooth but sluggish acceleration, although nowhere near as bad as the truck and van.

Basically, I put a fuel pressure gauge on the truck and noticed that with key on engine off, the fuel pump would deliver 58psi ( which was within specs ). While rotating the key to start, starter would crank and the pressure would drop very low during the cranking period and then build up over the 2-3 start attempts at which time the motor would catch. After shut down I did a leak test and the check valve in the fuel pump held fine for several hours.

***** SKIP HERE --> I had never connected the dots on all 3 of these vehicle problems until my electrical training kicked in and led me to do something very simple. Rather than hunting down wiring diagrams, measuring voltage drops and replacing suspect parts, I grabbed a flashlight, wire brush, emory cloth, dielectric grease and a couple sockets, I spent the next couple hours under the hood and frame rails of each vehicle and looked for each and every ground strap and ground attach point, cleaned them, applied dielectric grease and snugged them back up. Some were obvious and some were hidden but I think I got most, if not all the important ones.

It has been about two weeks now and all three vehicles fire up and catch IMMEDIATELY! Each vehicle now accelerates as though there's a real motor under the hood! BEAUTIFUL. As mentioned above, the likely hood that this was the same problem on all three vehicles sounds far fetched, but not impossible. My guess as to why these three vehicles were affected on only the FIRST start of the day is that all three fuel pump check valves held pressure fine, and so throughout the day, the combination of a hot motor and fuel pressure within spec, subsequent starts were not an issue. Only upon “cold” starts ( it's not really cold here in the southwest) - the diminished residual overnight fuel pressure combined with a poor ground interfered NOT with the voltage getting to the fuel pump but choked off the CURRENT to the pump and by extension to the FUEL FLOW delivery needed to start a “cold” motor.

The point is that this “fix” only takes a short time and it's FREE ! Hope this helps someone.

Last edited by Trio3b; 03-08-2017 at 10:51 AM.
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