EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 27, 2014

Grand Marquis reluctant to start in cold

I have a 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis, a great car. The only problem is it won’t start when the temperature gets below 50 degrees. When I try, it cranks over fast but it won’t start. If I wait 20 or 30 minutes, it will start immediately. I have had it in the shop and nothing shows on the computer. They told me to turn off the ignition and back on immediately and it will start, which it does. Do you have any ideas?

This is a tough one. My hunch would be a possible cranky fuel pump. This might explain why a second or third starting attempt is fruitful.

When your shop said “nothing shows” on the computer, were they referring just to diagnostic trouble codes or to any additional, abnormal PID readings? A professional grade scan tool will also display PID system information for a multitude of very useful things, such as FRP, for fuel rail pressure, possibly indicating a pump fault; fuel injector pulse width, which is fairly conclusive evidence the engine computer is attempting to operate them; and engine coolant, intake air and transmission fluid temperature. If these aren’t all very close to equal after an overnight sit, the oddball may be the culprit. Due to the many safety precautions I can’t adequately cover in this space, checking fuel pressure electronically is preferred to connecting a mechanical gauge.

Checking for available ignition spark during a no-start episode would also be a prudent test, along with a close look at additional PIDs. It’s great you can encounter the problem so easily and explain it clearly (facilitates accurate diagnosis), yet you have a workaround to be able to use the car until the fault is identified.

My 2002 Ford Escape won’t start and the gear shift won’t come out of park. A car forum explained the same problem. The guy ended up replacing Fuse 2.11 a couple of times and then got it to work. I tried it once, but my fuse didn’t look like it was broken. It’s a 10 amp fuse in position F2.11. Any ideas?

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