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Strangest No crank problem yet

 
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 09:14 am
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Default Strangest No crank problem yet

Ive worked on or owned about 15 PT's in the last couple years and Ive posted on this forums a couple times when I needed help (Thanks Crewzin!)

This problem has me completely stumped though. Its a 2003 non-turbo auto transmission. Customer brought it to me because sometimes it wouldnt start. Starter is perfect, have used multiple batteries (more on that soon). When the car wont crank with the key I can jump the starter to make it crank.

Here is what I have found so far.

Before the no crank happens, the car starts running really rough, and black smoke is coming out the exhaust - very little engine power. If you try to rev it hard, the engine cuts off.

After that, turning the key will not start the car. Everything electric in the car works, lights, gauges, windows - but the Radio DOES NOT COME ON. Also, for as long as the key is in the 'On' position, the fuel pump runs constantly. Also, the red security light flashes once when you turn it on, but then remains on solid until you take the key out.

I replaced the spark plugs, when i pulled the old ones out they were completely black. probably from the same over-rich condition causing the black smoke?

I have figured out a way to make the car start though, just disconnect the battery for a second and reconnect it, car starts up like there was never a problem. I have repeated this about 5 times and every time disconnecting the battery gets that car started again.

The only code I get was for battery voltage too low. One morning when I tried to start it the battery was too low to crank it so I put a new battery in it. I had driven the car around all day so the battery should have been charged. Either there is something draining the battery over night, or it was just a bad battery. I replaced it anyways.


I have a multimeter and decent diagnostic skills. Any ideas? what should I be testing. Sorry for the long read!

Last edited by Phinzor; 17 Mar 2014 at 09:16 am.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 09:39 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

Sounds like more than one problem going on.

Check the IAT to see if that's working because that senses the air coming in and set the air/fuel ratio and would cause the over rich condition. When you pull it out be very careful as the blue tip is very sensitive and can break easily.



Does the car have fog lights? Do they work? The Multi-fuction Switch (MFS) might be causing a drain in the electrical system. Might want to check the battery voltage when it's full and leave it overnight to see how far that voltage has dropped. That will tell you if there's a drain in the system.

Taking off the battery cable resets everything (as you probably know) so something (sensor?) is going from a working condition to fouling things up and resetting takes it back to normal. Might want to get a good scanner and check everything (specifications) and then check everything again when it's not starting.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 09:45 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

Great, will go out and start checking that stuff. How about the solid red light and the fuel pump running forever? Those two seem more closely related to the no crank problem, maybe a issue with the SKIM? I have one grey key and the customer says he has the other one and the key fob so I should be able to get them if needed. Thanks!
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:01 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

kind of sounds like its flooding the engin with the pump running and the black smoke maybe a fule pump issue??
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:11 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

Cruiserdad has a good thought there. Fuel pump should only be running with the key ON. My 2001 has the fuel pump fuse/relay in the engine compartment. It's the number #13 spot and it's also titled as the ASD (Auto Shut Down) so if you think that might be bad, it would definitely stop the car from running and maybe it would re-set itself when the battery cable is taken off? Just a thought.

The red light, if the key isn't working properly with the RKEM will let the engine run for two-three seconds and then shut the engine off. That doesn't sound like your problem.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:35 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

Ok maybe I didnt explain it clearly. When the car is experience the no crank problem, and the key in is the 'on' position - the red light is on solid, and the fuel pump runs. The fuel pump only comes on when the key is "on" but it doesnt shut off after a couple seconds like it should after it primes the system, it continues to run until i take the key "off"

Another major thing i forgot to point out. When the car starts running rough, if it doesnt stall on its own, and I park and turn the car off. It continues to run for about 5 seconds with the key removed and all electronics have shut off. When its running with no key in it actually starts running smoother than it was before. It only lasts about 5 seconds before it dies.

Dieseling? I considered carbon build up on the pistons so I ran some seafoam through the intake before I changed the plugs.

I checked the IAT sensor today, was a little dirty but functioning. I cleaned it with sensor cleaner and re-installed it. The car has fog lights and they are working fine.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

And i dont think the fuel pump has any control over the starter in this car, right? So Fuel pump running constantly shouldnt keep it from cranking.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

I'm out of suggestions except for the car running without the key. Lots of owners have reported problems and the answer was with the ignition cylinder. Not exactly sure which part or maybe even with the wiring to the cylinder but i've seen it quite a few times. That wouldn't explain the black smoke but as I said in the beginning (I think) you have more than one problem.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

I agree there are a lot of things going on at once but all they go bad at the same time. I have been driving this thing around for two weeks now - it will drive perfectly for a couple days then all of a sudden start running rough and then shut off and wont crank until I disconnect the battery. In my mind it is all caused by one thing, it has to be. Ill start tearing into the ignition now.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: Strangest No crank problem yet

The radio not working is a classic for the ignition cylinder, but that doesn't explain why disconnecting the battery cures the condition - THAT points to the engine computer.
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