2008 Fusion won't start in very cold weather
About a month ago, my son couldn't start his 2008 Fusion on a very cold morning
(-30). Tried to jump start it, but nothing. Had it towed to garage. Had battery replaced,
had a tune-up done (and new front brakes), Went to pick it up at garage and it started,
but died in a couple of seconds. Left it there, and mechanic replaced throttle body.
Brought it home, then the next very cold night, same thing. Had it towed again. He
replaced throttle body. After that, mechanic couldn't find anything except for the code
that said to have it reprogrammed. Weather had warmed up, so brought it to dealer,
had it reprogrammed and it seemed fine until yesterday when it was very cold again.
Plugged it in for 3 hours today, and it starts but dies in a second or two. So, now we're
out $1500 and are no further ahead. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm thinking I may
get rid of it.
When it refuses to start, spray some starting fluid down the throttle body. If it will start and run a few seconds on the starting fluid it's a fuel problem. I'd suspect a sticking fuel pump relay first. Things tend to stick in the cold. Replace it, they're cheap. If, as I said, it's a fuel problem and the new relay doesn't fix it, the fuel pump is the next suspect. Get a hammer and hit the bottom center of the gas tank a few times. If it starts then, the fuel pump is dying. Hitting the gas tank will sometimes free up a dying fuel pump. HTH. -Jim
Thanks for answering so quickly. Do you spray where the air filter is? If it's a dying fuel pump, would we not have problems all the time and not just in very cold weather? The car runs perfectly fine otherwise.
Remove the large hose that connects the air filter box to the engine. Open up the throttle plates and spray 2 short bursts in the throttle body. Put the hose back on and try starting it. Yes, a dying fuel pump can do that. When things get cold they contract. If the brushes in the fuel pump motor are worn they may be losing contact with the armature and causing it not to spin (pump). HTH. -Jim
I'll try that tomorrow. Going to be extremely cold tonight, so.....Didn't know that about the fuel pump. Good to know. Thanks for your help.
You're welcome. Glad to help. Please keep us posted. -Jim
Just an update on the 2008 Fusion. The temperature here has been cold. Car now starts and then dies right away, almost immediately. It continues to do that. Check engine light is on again. Does the fact that it starts and then dies right away indicate that it might be the fuel pump relay? I brought this up with the mechanic and he said that the code reads an internal problem and he doesn't think that it is a fuel pump/relay problem. He now thinks that the pcm has to be replaced. He figures that it is not sending enough voltage to start in cold weather. The pcm was reprogrammed to the latest calibration and codes were reset at Ford dealer and all was fine until it got cold again. Hence, the problem above. Hit the bottom center of the gas tank to but nothing changed. When the pcm was reprogrammed at the dealer, should there not have been an indication that there was a problem with it? From what I've read, this is a $2,000 part and who knows if it will this fix the problem. If it does turn out that the pcm is the problem, then was replacing the throttle body necessary? The car had been running fine until a month ago. Thanks for any help you can provide.
What trouble code(s) did you get from the PCM (check engine light being on)? The PCM normally does not "send power to" components. It provides a ground to complete the circuit and allows things to come on. Or the PCM reads resistance values from sensors to determine coolant temp, throttle position, air/fuel ratio, etc. Will it continue to run if you put your foot on the gas pedal? HTH. - Jim
It hasn't properly started, so we haven't brought it back to the mechanic yet, so I don't know the trouble code. It is supposed to warm up a little this week, so hoping we can get it to him soon and find out the code. No, it won't continue to run if we step on the gas pedal. We've even started it with the pedal down a bit, but it makes no difference. I had also heard that starting it in neutral might help, but that did nothing. Just wondering, is there a unique code for a pcm problem or would there likely be several codes?
Usually the PCM won't tell on itself. But there are PCM error codes. Since the fuel pump tests yielded no changes I'm betting there's a bad electrical connection that, when cold, is causing the no start condition. Again, when things get cold they contract and can cause a bad connection. I'm hoping that the trouble code will tell us where that is. One other thing that comes to mind is a stuck EGR valve. If the EGR valve is not closed all the way it can cause a no start and/or no idle condition. One thing to consider. A hand held code reader is not that expensive. You can pick up a good one for about $50 to $75. One use of it will save you the $100 diagnosis charge that most shops bill for just plugging into the computer (PCM). HTH. -Jim
Luckily (or maybe not so luckily given what's happened lately), the mechanic is a friend/acquaintance, so he won't charge for the diagnoses. Certainly, if I had to bring it to Ford every time, I would likely buy one. I'm going to just have to wait until it warms up enough for it to start so I can get it back to him to have it read. Thanks again for all of your help.
A mechanic friend is always good. You're welcome, glad to help. -Jim
Hi would like to offer another possibility. It may not apply in this instance, but thought it worth mentioning. Had this exact same problem previously with son’s 2006 ford Explorer, 4.0 SOHC engine. Tried many different approaches to solving problem, then stumbled across a Ford Explorer owners forum where they talked about replacing O-ring gaskets on Intake Manifold. I bought the kit at local auto parts store for about $45.00 I think, and spent 2-3 hours taking it all apart and putting it back together. It started on first turn of the key and has never failed to start again in our tough Boston area winters the last 4 years. The explanation for this is that over time the O-rings dry out and shrink a bit. They still maintain enough vacuum to start when it’s warm out, but once it got cold and O-rings contracted a bit, it never would start. When I took out old O-rings and compared to the new ones, they were half the thickness. So, as I say, it might not be the same situation with the engines in the Fusion, but the description of the problem, and lack of other solutions working sounds identical!!
We ended up replacing computer and selling the car. It seems like the computer replacement was ultimately the answer. Expensive venture.
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