'03 ZX2 occassionally will not crank - Ford Forum - Enthusiast Forums for Ford Owners


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Old 07-31-2017, 04:45 PM
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Default '03 ZX2 occassionally will not crank

2003 ZX2, automatic, 124K. This is my daughter's car. She drove it about 4 months and started having trouble not starting.

I'm pretty handy, but I'm no mechanic. I know my limits. I don't mind paying to have work done when it's more than I can manage, but I like to be sure that I'm paying to have the problem fixed and not aiming at the next best guess.

First problem is a dead battery. I give it a jump and get it started and find the interior light was switched on, so assume it was just a simple battery drain. I put it on the slow charger and proffer some education about the importance of shutting things off in the card before switching off. The next day it starts fine and off she goes. But later that day she calls to says it's dead again. So I jump start it and swap her car for my Ranger so I can drive it and see if I can figure out what's going on.

Decided to put in a new battery as this one was close to end of life. Swap vehicles back. She drives it for about a week and battery dies again.

So we swap vehicles again and I get the alternator tested and it's bad. Should have done that when I got the new battery, right? Oh, well. And I notice some piling on the serpentine belt, so as long as the alternator was coming off I went ahead and replaced it.

Give her car back and she drives it for a month with no trouble. Then she calls and says it starts, but she can't shift out of park. I look up how to override the shift interlock and am able to get her going. I give her a screw driver to keep on hand in case she needs to do the override again before I'm able to fix the problem.

Then she calls and says all the electrical is working, but when she turns the key nothing happens. No click. Nothing. A good Samaritan offers to jump the battery, and it fires right up. <me, scratching head>

So we swap vehicles again and I drive this car for two weeks. Not a problem at all, other than the shift interlock. And I finally decide to dig in to that and find that somebody must've spilled something on the console and it shorted the thing out. It was a horrible, sticky mess. Everything tests out OK except for the solenoid. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Ford is very proud of this little device as they charge a ridiculous amount of money for it. I can get a whole shift assembly for not much more. For now, Mr. Zip Tie has it in hand until I can visit the junk yard.

So after two weeks and no incidents, I want my truck back. But it's not a week before she calls that it won't crank again. This time she was 30 minutes away. When I get there I find I can't get my truck in close enough to give it a jump, so I tell her to put in neutral so I can push it out. She puts the key in and turns it and it starts right up. <me, scratching head again>

So we swap vehicles again so I can drive it and catch it having this problem so I can put a meter on it and see if I can make any sense of it. So far it's not failed again. While I'm waiting for that to happen, I'm hoping somebody with more experience than I have (which doesn't take much) has an idea about what's going on.

My thought first runs to the ignition switch flaking out. But how does jumping the battery overcome that? Doesn't make sense to me.

Somebody else has suggested the starter solenoid, which I believe is integrated into the starter on this car. I've experience that before on a number cars, and I've always got a click or repetitive click. So that doesn't seem right to me, but maybe it's different on this car.

I can replace a starter, but don't care to spend money and time on it if it isn't necessary. If this thing would just fail when it's in my possession so I could hear it for myself...

Ignition switch is probably a bit beyond me, so I want to be sure before I take it somewhere to have that done.

Any suggestions are welcome. Helpful suggestions even moreso.
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