Car keeps going dead: 5 mechanics later, still unresolved

Car keeps going dead: 5 mechanics later, still unresolved

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Discussion

Hammer67

4,869 posts

152 months

Sunday 30th May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
ARHarh said:
Do you have a lot of keys hanging from the ignition switch (if it even has one?) I have seen this break the switch before now.

Interesting, yes I do actually. I keep my keys bulky with multiple key rings because I’m bizarrely paranoid of dropping them down a grid, despite this having never happened to me. Never realised this could cause an issue though. What would cause the ignition to break from this, the weight?

ARHarh said:
Set off ten minuets earlier to work, as if you are not running late it will surely start every time smile
biggrin
Ignition switch / key barrel is usually up of 2 parts. The barrel is where the key is inserted which contains tumblers which line up when the key goes in and allows it to turn. Heavy stuff hanging off the key pulls the key at angles which puts pressure on the tumblers and can screw them up.
The switch part is behind the barrel, the barrel usually has a drive T that engages in the switch and turns with the key.

If it hasn`t been tried I would fit a new switch, they are usually inexpensive. ETA, looking on the Bay for a 2014 Festa cheap as chips.

Trevor555

2,980 posts

52 months

Sunday 30th May
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Becky88 said:
For example, I took the car to Asda on my way home from work, which is 20 minutes up the motorway. Worked fine getting to work in the morning, and fine getting me to Asda on the way home after sitting in a car park for 8 hours. No issues at all. Was in Asda for probably 10-15 minutes at max, came out and DEAD. No lights, key fob won’t work, won’t turn over. This was before I had jump cables and was the first time it had broken down away from my home (I’d been lucky previously in that it was always in the morning when I tried to leave for work that it wouldn’t start) so I was going to call a break down vehicle. By the time I’d managed to find the phone number for the free breakdown assistance I had with my insurance, the car came back to life. The only reason I even knew it was working again was because I’d got out the car to get a better 4G signal and when I went to get back in again, I pressed the unlock button on my key fob out of pure habit and the unlock lights flashed as they should to let me know it was unlocked. I tried the engine out of pure chance as I hadn’t yet called the breakdown line and boom, started up first time like it was brand new.

Edited by Becky88 on Sunday 30th May 09:40
This really does sound like a loose connection, and the closing of your door has probably made the difference.

Friend had a Rover years ago (yes I know) and she had exact same symptoms.

One night when the car went dead she slammed the door hard as she was so fed up, and the headlights flickered on.

That turned out to be a fractured earth lead.

But as I mentioned before, this is what a mechanic will/should check for first.



oakdale

1,293 posts

170 months

Sunday 30th May
quotequote all
Sounds like a BCM fault to me, get a decent auto electrician to look at it.

ARHarh

1,364 posts

75 months

Sunday 30th May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
ARHarh said:
Do you have a lot of keys hanging from the ignition switch (if it even has one?) I have seen this break the switch before now.

Interesting, yes I do actually. I keep my keys bulky with multiple key rings because I’m bizarrely paranoid of dropping them down a grid, despite this having never happened to me. Never realised this could cause an issue though. What would cause the ignition to break from this, the weight?

ARHarh said:
Set off ten minuets earlier to work, as if you are not running late it will surely start every time smile
biggrin

Had this key issue with a mates MK2 Cortina in the early 80's it took us weeks to find the problem. I guess ignition switches have progressed a bit since then. He had an issue where it was sometimes completely dead, other times fine, and would cut out over bumps etc. We ended up bypassing the switch completely and it worked fine. ! new switch and the problem never came back. He always has his car key on its own ring now, but still carries every other key he has ever seen on his keyring.

Megaflow

7,630 posts

193 months

Sunday 30th May
quotequote all
Chris32345 said:
Megaflow said:
Ok, now that really is weird. You say it ticks over, but won’t start. I think what you mean is it turns overs, but won’t start. Tick over is another saying for idling.

The fact it is dead one day, and works another day, and turns over even when it won’t start tells me it is not the starter, alternator or battery.

Modern cars have an intertidal switch the turns off the fuel pump in the event of an accident. I wonder if yours is dodgy or the fuel pump maybe, but a fuel pump is unlikely to get better once it has failed.
A failed fuel pump wouldn't result in a dead car just stop it running
It should still turn over fine
Correct. It wouldn’t we established the car was totally electrically dead a few posts after that one. We also worked out it comes back to life with no intervention, which rules out battery, starter and alternate as well.

sliks

67 posts

43 months

Sunday 30th May
quotequote all
Yes it seems like its had different faults over the years. Its probably better if you, in this case, do not mention the previous faults and just mention what it is doing these days, ie the fault symptoms now as the information you give influences mechanics decision making.

2014 ford fiesta, what engine? Stop start vehicle?
I am assuming No headlights, no crank (doesnt turn over), no central locking when fault occurs??

Does anything of the electrics continue working during this period when fault occurs? - this would be great help in diagnosis




Edited by sliks on Sunday 30th May 22:06

njw1

1,667 posts

79 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
ARHarh said:
Do you have a lot of keys hanging from the ignition switch (if it even has one?) I have seen this break the switch before now.

Interesting, yes I do actually. I keep my keys bulky with multiple key rings because I’m bizarrely paranoid of dropping them down a grid, despite this having never happened to me. Never realised this could cause an issue though. What would cause the ignition to break from this, the weight?
Do you have any other car keys on your key ring? I had a Transit a few years ago that randomly wouldn't start, on the same keyring as the Transit key I had another Ford key, a mate was with me one day when the van wouldn't start and he suggested I take the other key off the keyring as he thought that having two keys with immobiliser chips in close together could be confusing the immobiliser on the van and preventing it from starting, I took the other key off and much to my surprise the van started first time and never failed to start again during my ownership.





Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
sliks said:
2014 ford fiesta, what engine? Stop start vehicle?
I am assuming No headlights, no crank (doesnt turn over), no central locking when fault occurs??

Does anything of the electrics continue working during this period when fault occurs? - this would be great help in diagnosis
1.25 engine, no stop-start feature. Correct; no headlights, doesn’t turn over, no central locking, no interior lights, no radio, etc. Absolutely nothing electrical works when the fault occurs.

Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Trevor555 said:
Becky88 said:
For example, I took the car to Asda on my way home from work, which is 20 minutes up the motorway. Worked fine getting to work in the morning, and fine getting me to Asda on the way home after sitting in a car park for 8 hours. No issues at all. Was in Asda for probably 10-15 minutes at max, came out and DEAD. No lights, key fob won’t work, won’t turn over. This was before I had jump cables and was the first time it had broken down away from my home (I’d been lucky previously in that it was always in the morning when I tried to leave for work that it wouldn’t start) so I was going to call a break down vehicle. By the time I’d managed to find the phone number for the free breakdown assistance I had with my insurance, the car came back to life. The only reason I even knew it was working again was because I’d got out the car to get a better 4G signal and when I went to get back in again, I pressed the unlock button on my key fob out of pure habit and the unlock lights flashed as they should to let me know it was unlocked. I tried the engine out of pure chance as I hadn’t yet called the breakdown line and boom, started up first time like it was brand new.

Edited by Becky88 on Sunday 30th May 09:40
This really does sound like a loose connection, and the closing of your door has probably made the difference.
Interesting theory. I’ll give this a try next time it happens. I’m convinced it’s a loose connection as well, but I’m so confused why so many separate mechanics and auto electricians can’t find the source of the problem.

Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
njw1 said:
Becky88 said:
ARHarh said:
Do you have a lot of keys hanging from the ignition switch (if it even has one?) I have seen this break the switch before now.

Interesting, yes I do actually. I keep my keys bulky with multiple key rings because I’m bizarrely paranoid of dropping them down a grid, despite this having never happened to me. Never realised this could cause an issue though. What would cause the ignition to break from this, the weight?
Do you have any other car keys on your key ring?
Yes. I always have another car key on my keys because I drive my mums mobility car for her and she prefers me to have the key since she doesn’t drive. Until April this year, she’d always had fords so I always had a second Ford key on my keys. Now she had an MG so not sure if an MG key could interfere with a Ford vehicle but this is an interesting angle.

sliks

67 posts

43 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
1.25 engine, no stop-start feature. Correct; no headlights, doesn’t turn over, no central locking, no interior lights, no radio, etc. Absolutely nothing electrical works when the fault occurs.
A loose main connection would kill these features dead even when you were driving, since its not doing that i think its a problem with the body control module. A short or open circuit to it is possible too







Edited by sliks on Monday 31st May 13:47

Hammer67

4,869 posts

152 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
sliks said:
2014 ford fiesta, what engine? Stop start vehicle?
I am assuming No headlights, no crank (doesnt turn over), no central locking when fault occurs??

Does anything of the electrics continue working during this period when fault occurs? - this would be great help in diagnosis
1.25 engine, no stop-start feature. Correct; no headlights, doesn’t turn over, no central locking, no interior lights, no radio, etc. Absolutely nothing electrical works when the fault occurs.
When the thing fires up after these incidents, do the clock and radio stations need resetting?

sean ie3

285 posts

104 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
I had a Transit motorhome with a similar problem, I removed the column shroud and checked the module on the back of the ignition barrel and followed the loom to the first block connector and found the main live feed had melted and the male/female would come adrift intermittently causing all the electrics to die. I solved this temporarily with a bit of wire and a couple scotch-locks by-passing the block connector on either side. This might help.

Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Hammer67 said:
When the thing fires up after these incidents, do the clock and radio stations need resetting?
Unsure about the radio stations as I only listen to my own music but the time and date needs reprogramming.

Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
oakdale said:
Sounds like a BCM fault to me, get a decent auto electrician to look at it.
The last two mechanics I had out (one of which was an auto-electrician) both said it was the BCM, but when I took it to Ford and explicitly said this was the issue based on two others diagnosing it, they said it wasn’t...

V8covin

4,015 posts

161 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
Unsure about the radio stations as I only listen to my own music but the time and date needs reprogramming.
Have you mentioned this to any of the sparkies/ mechanics ?
This should definitely narrow down the fault

Hammer67

4,869 posts

152 months

Monday 31st May
quotequote all
V8covin said:
Becky88 said:
Unsure about the radio stations as I only listen to my own music but the time and date needs reprogramming.
Have you mentioned this to any of the sparkies/ mechanics ?
This should definitely narrow down the fault
That suggests that all power is being lost, akin to removing the battery. I`m no electrician but I would be looking for issues close to the battery and wherever the power is first distributed around the car and checking all the main earthing points under the bonnet. The 2 battery cables would be under scrutiny as well.

Having said that, I find it hard to believe these haven`t already been checked out if it`s been round several mechanics. That`s all basic stuff.

Rubins4

692 posts

93 months

Tuesday 1st June
quotequote all
Next time it dies, someone needs to take a jump lead and make a temporary earth strap from the battery onto the engine block; if that works it would suggest a fracture in the earthing circuit somewhere. As suggested upstream, somewhere 'major'. You can also do this test on the positive side, but with a bit more care.

If it doesn't work, then I would be looking for a second hand BCM to swap out, and/or a close look at the ignition system.

Might also be worth finding out from Ford(s) exactly what the immobiliser immobilisers when its on; if its a complete disconnect of the battery from the ignition then a dicky key might not be deactivating the immobiliser, resulting in your symptoms. Could then just be a bad/loose battery in the key fob!

Becky88

Original Poster:

27 posts

17 months

Friday 4th June
quotequote all
UPDATE: Just thought I'd update this thread to say that my car has died. AGAIN.

Got it back from Ford last Friday or Saturday. They'd replaced a fuse that they described as being very burnt out and were hopeful that had solved the issue. Car worked okay, as in it started up every time without issue, but the radio/aux port was still disconnecting my phone for no reason so I knew the issue hadn't resolved.

Drove the car fine for about a week, taking it to work - on motorways, little journeys, etc. No problem. Parked up last night, came out this morning. DEAD. It DID turn over this time; all dashlights juttering as if they were trying to come on. I could hear the wheezing noise (for lack of a better term :eyerollsmile engines make when they're trying to start up but can't quite get there. It wheezed for a fair few seconds before I turned it off and tried again. Same thing, flickering lights, wheezing engine. Turned it off, tried again, same thing. Did this a few times and each time the power being drawn got less and less and I could hear the engine wasn't 'trying' as hard to turn on, if that makes sense? Eventually the dash lights stopped coming on when I turned it on and then finally the engine totally died until the car was completely dead yet again. I tried starting it around 7 or 8 times with the issue slowly worsening with each attempt before it finally gave up the ghost.

So. This is a slightly new development. Every other time it's just been dead with no signs of life at all, so I'm not sure if the fuse fixed the issue but then failed again (ford said they'd put a second-hand one in from another car as they didn't have a new one in stock) or if I just happened to 'catch' my car right at the moment the issue was starting and I happened to catch it in action.

Interesting and slightly bizarre to note, and this may well just be my brain desperate to make sense of wtf is going on with this car but, on at least 4 occasions when my car has died, I've had significant signal issues with my phone. I cannot possibly see how that's related AT ALL, but this is the 4th time I've had serious mobile signal issues at the same time as my car has been dead. Probably coincidence but at this point I'm willing to look at anything.



Edited by Becky88 on Friday 4th June 20:29

V8covin

4,015 posts

161 months

Friday 4th June
quotequote all
Becky88 said:
UPDATE: Just thought I'd update this thread to say that my car has died. AGAIN.

Got it back from Ford last Friday or Saturday. They'd replaced a fuse that they described as being very burnt out and were hopeful that had solved the issue. Car worked okay, as in it started up every time without issue, but the radio/aux port was still disconnecting my phone for no reason so I knew the issue hadn't resolved.

Drove the car fine for about a week, taking it to work - on motorways, little journeys, etc. No problem. Parked up last night, came out this morning. DEAD. It DID turn over this time; all dashlights juttering as if they were trying to come on. It was really trying it's hardest to start. Turned it off, tried again. Turned over, lights flickered but nothing. Did this a few times and each time it gradually got less and less how long it would turn over for until after about 6 turns of the key, it just wouldn't light up at all.

This is a slightly new development. Every other time it's just been dead on site with no signs of life at all, so I'm not sure if the fuse somehow semi-fixed it (ford said they'd put a second-hand one in from another car as they didn't have a new one in stock) or if I just happened to 'catch' my car right at the moment the issue was beginning and I happened to catch it in action.
What you're describing here is a flat battery,a different fault to your previous one.