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Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

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Big Chris's picture
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I have a strange problem.

I very rarely use my car, usually just once a week to go to rehearsal on a Sunday morning. I can go out and start my car, it's a teeny bit sluggish but it'll start no problem. If I then stop for a short spell (i.e getting petrol or popping into a shop), I can't start it again. It'll behave like a flat battery, cranking very slowly. (the gauges also do a full sweep before returning to their regular positions), but if I let it sit for a bit, 5 mins or so, it'll start. puzzled

I've had the car for over 7 years and it's never had a replacement battery, Not sure if I should fit a new one or not.

A trawl on the web has the fault down to anything from a duff battery, Idle Air Control valve, injectors. coil.... So any advise from knowledgable people would be a help.

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

Quelle voiture?

Big Chris's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

2002 Ford Maverick 3,0 XLT. Petrol, automatic. 65,000 miles.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

I got this happening on a motorbike once (on the way home from a night-shift). It was because the 'butterfly' valve in the choke was stuck shut. I was able to jam it open for the 5 miles to the dealer's place where it was repaired 10 minutes after they opened Smile

Probably absolutely nothing related to your problem but the symptoms were identical.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

So you have a 3.0 litre petrol car and only take it out once a week and wonder why it stops.  Give the thing a bloddy good run down the motorway in fourth and top up your fuel tank with some high octane petrol.  Once youve blown the rubbish though, if its still causing a problem I would start by checking the security of the connections to your battery.

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Big Chris's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

All good ideas. I've gotta fix the rear washer hose on Saturday anyway, so while I'm tinkering I'll strip the IAC valve and throttle body and give them a good clean with carb cleaner. I'll also check the battery terminals.

I can't help using it once a week. I drive a white Vivaro with coloured squiggly lines down the side for work and we tend to use The Wife's 1.9d Stilo when we're going out together..... For my overdraft's sake.....

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6th.replicant's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

Big Chris wrote:
... I've had the car for over 7 years and it's never had a replacement battery ...

Batteries don't last forever, obviously, nor do they like infrequent use.

Check if the battery cells need a top-up, if so, replenish with distilled water, and make sure the terminals are clean (wire brush) and secure / tight.

Next, take the car for a 1-hour motorway cruise - 60ish will do. In theory, this will give the battery a decent charge.

Once home, leave the car overnight, then try a start-up the next morning. If it's still sluggish during turnover, then the battery needs replacing. (It's because over time the cells' plates warp and make contact, or sumfink like that...)

If a new battery doesn't fix the problem, then it could be the alternator, or... puzzled

Ooo, and one other thing - if a petrol-fuelled car has a catalytic converter, never push-start it because to do so knackers the cat', which'll result in MOT failure and is a v pricey item to replace shocked 

shooter's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

No expert here but from experiance if you have an odd problem with your motor the normal route from any garage will be trial and error and could cost you a packet. If there is one get on a Ford forum and see if a mechanic pops up with an answer or at least narrows the problem down. Then get the battery tested at a local garage or a Halfords and tick it off the possibles list.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

True Blue wrote:

So you have a 3.0 litre petrol car and only take it out once a week and wonder why it stops.  Give the thing a bloddy good run down the motorway in fourth and top up your fuel tank with some high octane petrol.  Once youve blown the rubbish though, if its still causing a problem I would start by checking the security of the connections to your battery.

An Italian tune up then, and guaranteed to work although third gear is better. excellent!

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Big Chris's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

It's only got a column shift 3 speed + Overdive box anyway. shifty

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DistortedVision's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

My first impression is that there is nothing actually wrong with your car. I think the problem may be that you are using your car so little that the battery isn't kept fully charged by the alternator. Before you go buy a new battery I would I first get the battery tested and check for any faults reported by the onboard computer by connecting it to a code scanner. If its a case of lack of the battery being run down because of little use then I would recommend getting a battery charger and charging it once a week.

I have the following and highly recommend them:

Sealey Battery Tester

Autel AutoLink AL519 Code Scanner

CTEK CTE-MXS5.0 Charger

There are cheaper battery testers and scanners that suffice but would the CTEK charger is definitely worth the money.

Hope this helps.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

I had a Vauxhall vectra that use to do something similiar.  Is was well used but from time to time would be difficult to start (could be first thing in morning or anywhere i switched the ignition off) and very intermittent.  Called AA they replaced battery and all was well Said batteries in these cars had to be replaced very 6-7 years even if they seemed ok as it was a known fault. 

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plastic penguin's picture
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Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

Big Chris wrote:
I have a strange problem. I very rarely use my car, usually just once a week to go to rehearsal on a Sunday morning. I can go out and start my car, it's a teeny bit sluggish but it'll start no problem. If I then stop for a short spell (i.e getting petrol or popping into a shop), I can't start it again. It'll behave like a flat battery, cranking very slowly. (the gauges also do a full sweep before returning to their regular positions), but if I let it sit for a bit, 5 mins or so, it'll start. puzzled I've had the car for over 7 years and it's never had a replacement battery, Not sure if I should fit a new one or not. A trawl on the web has the fault down to anything from a duff battery, Idle Air Control valve, injectors. coil.... So any advise from knowledgable people would be a help.

As it's only used about once a week it'll be a combination of electrical (faulty alternator or battery or associated leads) and fuel: If only used occasionally the particles in petrol, combined with varying weather conditions, can clog the fuel injectors or carbs.

As TB suggested give it a darn good thrashing for about 10 miles: Keep changing gear and take it into the 'red' on the rev counter. It generally takes about 10 miles for the oil to get to normal running temp.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

FWIW you can get solar powered (yeah, UK, solar, I know... ) trickle chargers that will plug into your lighter socket and keep the battery topped up while the car's parked up.

Not much use if you keep it in a garage though, in which case you need something like an Optimate mains-powered trickle charger.  I used to keep one on my motorcycle to stop the battery going flat over Winters and thus being cream crackered when I tried starting the bike with a flat battery in the Springs.

Big Chris's picture
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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

Weighed out £60 for a new battery delivered to my door, and that seems to have cured it. The old battery was a pukka 'Ford' battery, so may well be the 10 year old original.

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RE: Any mechanics/mechanically minded people here?

good job