Owners of 2003-04 Honda Accords with V6 engines may complain of excessively long crank times before the engine starts. Two possible causes, reports Honda, are a stuck fuel pressure regulator, which causes a delay in fuel pressure build-up at startup, or exhaust gas backflow into the intake manifold at the previous engine shutdown, which results in a bad air/fuel mix in the cylinders on the next crank cycle. Replacing the pressure regulator with an improved unit, part No. 16015-SDB-A00, H/C 7131923, and/or having the PCM flashed with new software is the recommended fix.
Before you begin the diagnosis, look up the year and VIN of the car in your service bay. If it's a 2004 model and its VIN range is 1HGCM8…4A018621 through 1HGCM8…4A024092 or 1HGCM6...4A068600 through 1HGCM6...4A100943, the updated pressure regulator has already been installed. So just have the PCM reprogrammed at a local dealer. After the reprogramming job, you'll have to perform an idle relearn, low rpm CKP pattern relearn and a high rpm CKP pattern relearn to complete the fix.
If the car you're working on isn't in the year and VIN ranges noted above, there's a good chance that the fuel pressure regulator is contaminated with debris, causing it to stick. To make that determination, hook up a fuel pressure gauge, start the engine, let it run for a few minutes, then shut the engine down and look at the pressure gauge. Fuel pressure should be 55-63 psi, and should hold for a period of time. If the pressure bleeds off rather quickly, install the improved fuel pressure regulator as follows:
Start by relieving the residual pressure from the fuel system. Next, remove the fuel pump module from the tank. Now disconnect the fuel sending unit connector, release the three clips and then separate the pump module from the lower case to expose the pressure regulator. Using the illustration above as a reference, spread the mount clips and remove the pressure regulator together with its mount from the pump module. Remove the large circlip and then disengage the regulator from its mount. Reverse the procedure to install the new regulator using three new O-rings, as shown.
Continue the job by assembling the pump module to the lower case and then reconnect the sending unit connector. Install the pump module back into the tank using a new gasket. To complete the fix, have the PCM reprogrammed with updated software, perform the three relearn procedures and then start the vehicle several times to verify that the starting troubles have been eliminated.
Some 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs may emit a clicking or rubbing sound from the left front wheel. According to Ford, the noise is most prevalent on vehicles built between Oct. 21, 2008, and Oct. 31, 2008, and might be accompanied by an illuminated ABS light. One likely cause for the condition is the ABS wheel speed sensor making contact with the tone wheel. A deformed steering knuckle is the ultimate culprit.
To make a definitive diagnosis, remove the left front wheel and measure the air gap between the speed sensor and tone wheel. If the gap is .020” or greater, this information doesn't apply; continue troubleshooting until the noise issue is resolved. If the air gap is less than .020” or there's physical evidence of contact between the speed sensor and tone wheel, the steering knuckle is bent. Installing a new-design knuckle, part No. 5L8Z-3K186-BA, and speed sensor (if the old one is damaged) should put a quick end to the trouble.
Owners of 2002-07 Lancer models with 2.0-liter engines may come into your store with a complaint that their vehicle is sometimes difficult to start, or won't start at all. The starting troubles may be accompanied by an illuminated Check Engine light, with trouble code P0335 and/or P0340 stored in PCM memory.
One probable cause for all these symptoms, reports Mitsubishi, is a damaged cam sensor support. The support gets damaged due to lack of lubrication. Installing a new-design support with special oil grooves to increase oil flow, part No. 1865A128, should prevent further starting trouble. Before reinstalling the cam position sensor, don't forget to clean out the metal shavings and other debris.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]