2001 Ford Explorer URGENT!Starter, Alternator, Fuel, Turns

Tiny
BACKWOODS3006
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 FORD EXPLORER
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 137,000 MILES
My 01 Exploror Sport will not start. I made a few errands for a bout 3 miles. On my last errand I stopped and got out for about 15miin. I got back in the truck and when I turned the key, nothing. Not even the clicking like a low battery would do. I had to crawl under the truck to try to start it off the starter with a screw driver. It turns but it gets no fire and won't run. It just turns wanting to start but with no fuel burning. SO, it turns with no fire and won't crank using the key ignition but will with screw driver on the starter. But there is no smell of gas or exaust.

I just got this car from a dealership and it is an"AS IS" vehicle. I have only had this truck 1 week. It hadn't been test drove since nearly last summer. I changed the oil with 1qt Lucas oil treatment and 4qts Castrol Syntech Blend 5W/30. Plugs and wires were replaced 2 days later.

I'll be tearing into it tommorow and testing the alternator and starter. Then I'll check the fuel filter for clogs and the fuel pump relay before going into the fuel pump.

Please let me know if I'm on the right track or if I need to check anything else. Unless you know what the problem is already.

I live in northern Arkansas but HAVE TO LEAVE MONDAY OR TUESDAY for college in Tulsa, OK. It's a 4 hour drive and I can't miss going to college again. I can't afford to donate much cause I don't have but $50 in my account and my school is paid for by my GI Bill. That's the only reason I can go to college. So I need an answer for the cheap price ASAP!
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Thursday, February 11th, 2010 AT 10:44 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
I remember the days, school, no money. So I'll do my best to help you. First, I would forget the alternator because the battery isn't dead if it cranks with a screw driver. My first concern is the ignition switch. I need you to check the starter relay. It is in the relay block under the hood. There should be another relay with the same part number, so switch them to see if the car will crank from with the key. If it still doesn't, turn over, have a helper turn the key to the start position while you check for voltage to the smaller wire on the starter. It should be getting 12+ volts.

Let me know what you find with this. After we get the starter working properly, we'll move on to the spark or fuel issue.

Joe
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Thursday, February 11th, 2010 AT 11:00 PM
Tiny
BACKWOODS3006
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply but unfortunately I don't have the tools to do all the work myself. I gotta take it to the car dealership tommorow and there guys just do minor body work and easy repairs. So I don't know the extent of thier knowledge. So do you think you could tell me what you think might be up with the fuel thing or would the relays most likely solve both I only have tommorow to fix it.
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 2:48 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I didn't mention the fuel system. I was more focused on the fact that it won't crank with the key. My concerns deal with either the ignition switch or starter relay. If the starter works when you jump it with a screwdriver, that tells me the starter and the battery are good. If the key was in the run position, it should have started unless fuel or spark was missing. I was trying to get to that point, but I first wanted to figure out why the starter wouldn't engage from the key.

Before you allow them to replace things, let me know. If they as a small shop, they may start just replacing parts until they hit the problem. As a result, you may get stuck paying for a lot of parts that you don't need. I'll be watching for your reply.

Joe
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Saturday, February 13th, 2010 AT 12:49 PM
Tiny
BACKWOODS3006
  • MEMBER
I took it up there Friday and all they did was replace the battery with a brand new one, 400CCA-500CA. I told them it wasn't just the battery. But they put it in and it crancked right up no problem or odd noises. But they didn't look at anything else when I asked them to. I guess they underistimate my knowledge. If I don't know I ask 20 people and the majority is usually always right. They just thought of me as an idiot and I let the battery run dead.

Now today, Sunday, I just finished washing it and when I hopped in nothing again. I worked fine for a day and a half with the new battery. This time I did not try to start it whit a screw driver so the battery would be full when I take it to them tommorow.

This time I took off the ground on the starter and cleaned it--Nothing. I tryed a different battery with more CCA--Nothing. And when I turned the ignition none of my dome lights dimmed out. So it seems to me there is no power going to the starter period. If that is the case would it be the starter relay? I was planning on leaving for college in Tulsa, 4 1/2 hr 217mile trip, tommorow, Monday. If that is the case is there a quick fix till a find a shop in Tulsa to fix it properly or is there another way to get it to cranck and fire?
I did stop by the Ford dealership and asked a few questions. I asked why it wanted to crank but didn't fire up running. They said the starter relay is tied into the fuel relay. If the starter relay has no power the fuel injectors won't kick in. So it has to run through ignition, to the starter relay for the fuel relay to run the injectors.

Just to let you know.
On the other hand after they put in the new battery Friday when I took off from the car lot, on my first turn the whole vehicle shook when I made a slow turn. I it to the Ford dealership cause no one had a clue what it was. Ford said and showed me that all 4 ball joints were out and that I need a new rack and pinion. All of that alone is $340 for parts before taxes. Not to enclude labor cost of what I can't put on myself. And then there's getting the alignment afterwards which will cost about $70 to $140. SO far I'm looking at $420- $480 just have it back to "proper" drivability with after market parts. And the shocks need replaced at $23 per shock with cheap Monroe shocks. So lets make it $560 before taxes.
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Sunday, February 14th, 2010 AT 6:41 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I wish I was close, I would help. But, I'm well over a thousand miles from you. As far as the starter, there is a power distribution box under the hood. When you remove the cover, you will see a listing of what each relay is for. Find the starter relay. Remove it and make sure it is not corroded. If it looks good, find another relay in the same box with the same part number and switch it with the starter relay. See if that helps. If it doesn't, then you need to check to see if there is power to the relay itself. If there isn't, something tells me the ignition switch may be going bad. Also, (I don't know if I mentioned this) have a helper turn the key to the start position while you check for power to the starter. If there is no power then either the relay, ignition switch, or wiring is bad. IF there is power, then it's the starter.

Finally, there really is no way to bypass this. And, how much play was in the ball joints. They consider 1/8" acceptable. If there was more, then they need replaced. As far as the rack and pinion, is it still steering okay? What did they tell you was wrong with it? Did it have a leak? If so, you can let it go for a little while. Just make sure the fluid is always full. IF the ball joints were really bad, that concerns me.

Let me know.

Joe

PS: Make sure you have a good ground at the engine block. Follow the ground from the battery to the engine. Make sure everything looks good there. Also, make sure the + terminal on the battery is clean and tight.
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Sunday, February 14th, 2010 AT 11:43 PM
Tiny
BACKWOODS3006
  • MEMBER
Checking the ground is the first thing I did. It is attached to the starter by the transy. I took it off and took a wire brush to it and the bolt and nuts. As far as the relay cover goes there is no listing of what goes to what. Just the part numbers and fuse size. Even on the fuse cover inside the door on the dash. The relays look like fuses but inclosed in black plstic don't they? If so I'll just have to go trial and error till I find the right one. Now there is power going to it cause it will try to crank when you take a screw driver to the starter. There is just no fire between the ignition and battery.

So when I turn the key like I'm starting it, I take it there is a connection which gives power between the ignition and starter relay. And at the relay or the ignition a wire runs to the starter to give it power. Like a light switch is the ignition, fuse box is the relay, and the meter the battery. The lamp plugged into the wall is the starter.
Am I right? I had to put it terms I could under stand.

The ball joints are right at needing changing. There is play in them but I've driven with worse. They aren't making the front rattle yet. Just that popping clicking sound now and then when hitting bumps. The rack is bad. When the Ford tech put on the rack and lifted it at the A-frame he moved the wheels side to side as though you were turning left or right. He had me do it and when it turned you could feel hard vibrations. This is what caused the bad vibrations when I took slow turns. The wieght of the truck made the vibrations shake through out the whole vehicle. And the steering wheel is really loose. But I haven't had a problem yet whith it turning when I didn't want it to. So I know I do need the ball joints and rack and shocks. I can feel the shocks bottom out now and then.

I haven't been able to find anyone who has a Haynes or Chiltons book for my truck yet though. I do have an uncle who owns a part store though and he has a lot of books but most of his costomers drive older vehicles. So he probly doesn't have anything on my year model.
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Monday, February 15th, 2010 AT 12:28 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Your analigy of the electrical system is correct. Here is a picture of a relay block:


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/249084_relay_7.jpg



On you vehicle it is in the power distribution box in the engine compartment. The starter relay is in location # 6 for a 2001 Ford Explorer.

Also in the power distribution box is a red color 50 amp maxi-fuse for the starter relay/ignition switch.

Here is a picture of a relay:


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/249084_p_1.jpg



Let me know if this helps.

Joe
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Monday, February 15th, 2010 AT 10:34 PM
Tiny
BACKWOODS3006
  • MEMBER
That helps alot. Thanks for sending it but there's one problem. I can't read the words on the diagram. Can you make the image larger without distorting the words?
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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 AT 12:58 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I don't have a way to enlarge the picture. Is it possible for you to save it to a different program and enlarge it?
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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 AT 10:54 PM

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