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VTransit

Trouble Starting- Help!

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Hello everyone, I'm hoping you can help me out. I picked up a 2016 Transit Connect Titanium a couple days ago, and I'm having an issue with it starting. I flew to NC to pick it up and I'm on my way back to VT where I live and spending some time at the beach on the way home, so my resources are limited.

I drove the car away from the dealer I bought it from to a camping supply store and parked it there for an hour or so while I got supplies. I then went a short distance away to get lunch and was in there for around 45 min. When I went to leave, the vehicle wouldn't crank. Lights, radio, ac, locks, etc. all work and I can hear the fuel pump prime, but starter doesn't do anything. I realized I left the lights on, so I turned them off and a few tries later and about 15 min the car cranked and I was on my way. 

I then drove 5 hrs with no problem and I stopped to get gas. After I was done I moved the car out of the way and went inside the gas station, and when I went to leave same problem as before- no crank but ac, lights, radio, etc. work. There was an auto parts place next door, they tested it and said alternator was good but battery was bad. So we replaced the battery and everything seemed ok (other than the guy forgetting to plug the MAF sensor in and throwing a code, but that's another story).

I then went to a camp site, and the next morning left and made multiple stops on the way, all with the car starting fine. I drove 2.5 hrs to the house I'm at now, turned the car off, then tried to restart it 30 seconds later and same symptom. I replaced the key fob battery and took the other keys off the key ring, and I've been able to start it 13/14 times (approximately). When it does crank, it sounds normal and not slow at all.

Anyone have any thoughts? Sorry for a long inaugural post, but more information is usually better than less. Thanks in advance for whatever help you guys may have.

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I am assuming you got some spectacular deal, if you drove so far to get the vehicle.

My first suspicion:  Why was it such a good deal?

My first thought:  It's been wet.  Possibly a reclaimed vehicle from one of the flood events around the Country.  It's a common practice ... clean 'em up, dry 'em out then ship them out to somewhere far from the flood area.  The computer needs a minimum voltage to operate.  If connections are getting corroded, then that voltage might not be felt at the computer.  

Corrosion creates resistance.  Resistance using voltage (pressure) to push current (amps) through it.  To much resistance in the line between the battery and the computer ... even with a fully charged battery ... will prevent the computer from getting enough energy to operate.

 

There are some very good ways to check for high resistance faults, opens and shorts.  Although they're easy to do if you're good with a multi-meter and understand what you're looking for ... they're too long to describe here.

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There is no way to diagnose this over the intertubes. You, or somebody else, has to get in there and test the electrical system. The first thing I would want to know (for certain) is whether or not the battery is being drained when the vehicle is off. If it is, then you have to find out why. Other things to look at are every electrical connection in the starter circuit, take them apart, clean them and put them back together. If, as Mike Chell suggests, if you got (too) great of a deal on it, it could be for a reason, like maybe it's a flood vehicle.

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First thing I'd suspect is some sort of ignition interlock. Next time it happens, try shifting out of park and back, and tap the brakes a couple times to see if there might be a sticky relay or something giving you grief. 

 

Not sure how smart the smart key is - maybe a dirty reader or something? Try cleaning that with something like DeOxit D5. Put the key in the ignition wet and work it a few times to clean all the contacts too.

 

And of course, if all else fails, ask someone who knows what they're talking about ... <G>

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Corroding ground wires between the battery and the alternator have been an issue with the old shape more often than not, causing similar symptoms.

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This explains how the PATS key system works. You need to read the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) to see if that is the issue. Use Forscan (free) but you need to by an OBD Mx scantool ($80). Otherwise you need to go to a Ford dealer or sophisticated shop with an equivalent scanner.

 

https://www.amazon.com/ScanTool-426101-OBDLink-Bluetooth-Professional/dp/B006NZTZLQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1528487080&sr=8-4&keywords=obd+mx+bluetooth

 

 

pats.pdf

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Posted (edited)

Don is correct the first thing to do is hook up a scan tool and check the codes.    The next thing I would do is to find the start relay and pull it out  and check the connections.  If the scan tool t has live data  set it up to check the start relay and see what happens. 

Edited by G B L

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Thanks for your responses everyone, it's much appreciated. I sacrificed an old calculator to the electrical gods; yesterday and (so far) today have been trouble free. Hopefully the trend continues! 

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Posted (edited)

Welcome!

 

Good to hear, intermittent electrical problems can be very difficult to troubleshoot.  Time and patience are good tools.  As has been suggested the scan tool interface and Forscan program are a great way to check it out.

 

Curious about the history of the vehicle.  I have a '16 TC Titanium which I bought new in November of last year - got a great deal and drove 300 miles to get it.  

Edited by PhotoAl
Forgot to say Welcome

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The advantage of reading DTCs is there are hundreds of codes that will trigger even when nothing is "broken". E.g. turn on the lights while you have a bulb out of the socket...this will set a code. Or pull a fuse to check where power is going and this may set a code. So you may find something is going on even when there are no noticicable symptoms. I use Forscan lite on my phone to check codes about once a month. Something is always triggered if I have been messing around with things.on the TC 😃

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Update-

 

The dealer indicated that the Transit has a bad starter; time will tell if that is correct or there is something more sinister going on. For those of you who are having trouble starting, check your starter! :doh:

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Good to hear you probably have your issue resolved.  I have learned the hard way its best to systematically check to determine the problem.  Had a motorcycle that would crank so I replaced the battery, it died on the way home so I replaced the voltage regulator.  Finally I looked at the stator (alternator equivalent) and it had a burned coil!    Along the way learned a lot about how the electrical system on a motorcycle works.

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Interesting.  It's a 2016, and the starter is already going out.  A bad starter is usually something that goes wrong 10 years down the line.  Unusual for a starter to go out in a 2 year old car.

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