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Old 04-23-2014, 09:18 PM   #1
l3uster
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Default Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Hello all! So I've had some issues with my 01 LW300 (V6, 130k miles). It's been a great car up until last month when it would just not start sometimes. We narrowed it down to after it was nice and warmed up, if it sat for 20 minutes or so it wouldn't start again until a few hours later. Hard crank, no start. I should also note the flex pipe is cracked clean in half, this just happened within the last couple weeks.

I took it to two small shops and neither claimed they could figure it out. They both recommended a dealer to look at it, so I caved.

They ran the codes and this is what came up; P0102, P0481, P0161, P0160, P0158, P0159

So their suggest was to change the MAF to the tune of $550. No thanks, I took it home and replaced it myself for about $100 from AutoZone. This is the fun part... So now instead of not starting, it started stalling at random. Mainly at lights/stop signs. On top of not starting after it sits for too long. Putting the old MAF in doesn't fix this issue.

Browsing the forums pointed to possibly being the crankshaft position sensor. Changed that today. Still doing all the same stuff.

Granted I haven't had the codes re-ran since changing the two sensors, I can try that tomorrow.

What should I be looking to do next?

Last edited by l3uster; 04-23-2014 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:07 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Maf sensor, cooling fan and O2 sensor errors. Two repair shops and not one would charge a fee to check for blown fuses? Did you check for blown fuses in the engine bay and both foot well pockets? Start with the easiest things first. Next is whether or not the 100k mile maintenance checks were done, parts replaced; timing belt, water pump, fuel filter, spark plugs. A fuel pressure check would help with high mileage (borrow a fuel pressure gauge from AutoZone).
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

I can't seem to get the big relay fuses out. Is it just muscle them out or is there a trick?
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Forcefully prying slightly from side to side while pulling up will loosen the strong grip.

All fuses and relays are firmly held in place by design - no one needs a fuse or relay to pop out at random when daily road tests presents our cars/trucks/suv's with bone jarring/teeth rattling/shake-the-car-apart daily drives. The physical grip serves two purposes - to hold things removable and provide the best mechanical connection possible for the best electrical connection to reduce/eliminate electrical resistance that can cause heating from poor electrical connections. And create unusual symptoms associated with loose electrical connections. The gorilla grip just makes it harder to remove fuses and relays.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Guess the shop didn't see it worth their time... Checked all the fuses. Only dead one was the cig lighter, so I replaced that. No difference besides having a working cig lighter!

The car doesn't begin to stall until it gets to operating temp.

I didn't get a chance to get the fuel gauge, but pressing the valve by the engine lets loose a strong stream of fuel

Don't think that maintenance list was done. I'd do the spark plugs at least myself, but it seems intense.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Also to add, the car runs at 1/4 temp. Always has. Had a shop replace the thermostat to try and aid the issue, but that didn't work. The heat is still hot, but just thought to add.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Did the repair shop replace the t-stat or not? I did and it's no small feat to remove almost the entire upper intake air tract, throttle body, fuel lines, injector rail, and miscellaneous items, including the radiator extension tube before the t-stat is in sight for replacement. Easily a few hours of intense labor. If not done the temperature needle remains in the same place instead of moving up higher between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark.............

A thoroughly flooded engine from many failed starting attempts is remedied in one of two ways; removing all spark plugs and using the starter to blow out excessive unburned fuel or holding throttle wide open during starting until the engine sputters to life. Holding throttle wide open effectively shuts off injectors and allows more air to dilute flooded/soaked spark plugs until they're dry enough to allow spark that may have shorted with wet plugs. More than one starting attempt may be needed before a flooded engine starts up.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

They replaced it while repairing an oil leak. May have been the oil cooler or something like that, can't remember specifically right now.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Ok. The oil cooler sits in the 'V' portion of the engine, between the right and left bank of cylinders. The t-stat sits in the same area but right behind the camshaft drive where the throttle body sits. Its still a mystery why the temperature needle isn't above the 1/4 mark. One way to tell would be using a reader to display actual coolant temperatures as seen by the coolant sensor sending temperature signals to the ecm and using a reader to display temperatures.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

The temp shouldn't have much to do with how the car is operating now though, right? Since it's been like that for...three years or so. And this not starting issue have been around for only a month.

I might head to a junk yard and pull the section of the exhaust with the crack that has an O2 sensor.

Think either that or old spark plugs are more likely?
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Also, while in there doing the spark plugs, is it necessary/recommended to do the coil packs as well?
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Old 04-25-2014, 03:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Coil packs aren't cheap so replacing them depends on your ability to improvise; a spark test would entail removing plugs and coil packs, plugging in new plugs to coil packs connected to wiring, grounding plug bases with wires to the engine block and having someone turn the ignition switch to the START position while you observe for spark. With plugs removed from cylinders, no compression allows the engine to spin fast. Removing the fuel pump fuse will eliminate fuel from being injected until tests are completed. Each coil pack contains three coils, one coil per spark plug. Each plug should fire. Replace coil packs only if a plug is missing spark. You can imagine the labor involved for replacing plugs but they're good for 100k miles.

You are correct that coolant temperatures aren't causing this erratic engine problem. Be aware of the many areas for an errant vacuum leak that may occur after repairs. The maf sensor requires both clamps secured properly to prevent any vacuum leak since all air must flow thru the maf sensor. The same for all the flex couplers joining the two outboard intake runners to the central intake. Removing flex couplers for examination or wetting each one with water while the engine idles are the only way to test for cracked couplers.

Most car exhaust systems are not as restricted and allow better performance. With this in mind a damaged exhaust system would have little effect on engine running other than possibly causing a few error codes from the O2 sensors without killing the engine. On the other hand, a damaged catalytic converter that's disintegrating and blocks exhaust flow occurs more often and can be difficult to find for a DIYer. Erratic engine running is only one symptom. Add to this two pre-cats and troubleshooting clogged catcons becomes more difficult. Removing the O2 sensors before the catcons for an alternate exhaust path can sometimes result in dramatic engine improvement, pointing to blocked exhaust from free flow.
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Last edited by fdryer; 04-25-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Based on the fact that it was running fine (besides not starting) before I changed the MAF, but now it stalls with the NEW MAF, could this rule out clogged exhaust? Will changing the O2 sensor/exhaust leak at this stage fix my new issue?

I'm tempted to try and return this MAF, but AutoZone probably won't take a sensor back...
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

In one sense, no, to answer the question. On the other hand, there are repairs that cause more problems from distraction and chasing a presumed problem without diagnosing the original issue. At this point in early problem solving, replacing parts without troubleshooting isn't something I would do as the problem isn't clearly defined. If you're confused, don't be. EFI systems are not DIY friendly by any stretch of the imagination. There are members that come here well experienced in car repairs with no idea of how EFI systems work and are completely lost. Electronics. Non EFI systems are less complicated but require knowledge of mechanics and basic electrical systems. Electronics in EFI systems changed old school repairs into OBD II readers decoding computer errors pointing to electronics. There are plenty of 'old school' issues that lose people assuming readers will tell them how to fix their cars............... Some can adjust from old to new while everyone struggles to keep up.

My understanding of electrical/electronic parts is once they're bought, unless they fail under warranty, none can be returned for refund. This serves a purpose - to keep amateurs from swapping parts out in hopes of finding a fix that works while returning used parts to stores. No one wants a part that's already greasy but in working condition.....................
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

I meant return it under the idea that it's defective.

So I went back to AutoZone and got the codes ran from them. Four came up now; P0101, P0481, P0727, P1810

Also, is there some calibration the MAF needs to go through when installing it or is it plug and play? A worker at AutoZone mentioned some cars have to be calibrated...

EDIT: Just thought to add, the car does have an aftermarket remote start, but that was installed 2.5 years ago. Also it has shifted hard before it started stalling, but at very intermittent times.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Maf sensors are one of a few parts that are plug n' play since there are no moving parts that need calibration and its 'ON' the moment the ignition switch is turned to the ON/RUN position.

The error codes can be found using this site's library or Googling each error code. While there may be several codes, try not being distracted from them. When there are several codes with none making sense, they may be taken altogether to point at something in common. At this point, advanced troubleshooting and a more than casual knowledge of EFI systems are needed. Chasing after error codes can be distracting and take away from the problem.

Replacing spark plugs would be advised since worn spark plugs can contribute to problems. Eliminating the overlooked maintenance items that may cause issues should be addressed first. While fuel does spray out the test valve, you don't know if pressure drops off while the engine runs and dies randomly. A fuel pressure gauge is needed to see if pressure drops off. If the throttle body was never cleaned, cleaning is another quick maintenance task that sometimes helps; crud build up from recycling engine crankcase gases often coats the throttle and entire intake system with blowby residue.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

I'm back! So after another trip to the shop for a full diagnostic, they said MAF sensor. I told them I had just bought one from AutoZone. The mechanic said some cars are picky about using off-brand sensors. The AutoZone I used returned the sensor with no fuss, understanding it didn't meet my needs, they knew it was installed and all.

Went to a wreck yard and got a Bosch pulled from a wreck car with 50k miles. Installed and it worked! Even fixed an issue I forgot... The traction control hasn't worked in probably six months. New MAF fixed that too.

Next is fixing the exhaust leak, new flex pipe.

And the fan issue. Was hot out, engine warm, AC on (doesn't blow cold), and neither fan was spinning.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

This is unusual - a replacement Maf sensor that didn't work? This added to the problem. Your quick thinking prevented this from becoming more confusing.

As far as cooling fan problems, don't make assumptions many do about using the a/c system to troubleshoot cooling fan faults. Simply remember this; a non working a/c system that doesn't work at all, no cooling, means the cooling fan will not turn on at all. The engine computer detecting the failure of the a/c system not operating automatically disables the cooling fan that's not needed. Another way to put it clearly - why turn on a cooling fan if a/c is broken? A/c generates heat and is needed but if it's broken, the cooling fan isn't needed. The cooling system still needs cooling fan(s) when necessary and isn't affected by a/c failure.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:32 AM   #19
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

I had the AC on at first to see if it would blow cold. Didn't, so I checked to see if the fan was spinning. Once I realized they were still, I turned off and all the windows came down.

What steps should I take to diagnose the cooling fan to determine if it's the actual fan or the control module?
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:05 PM   #20
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Default Re: Not starting issue became a stalling issue

Normal temperature needle position is between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark. A reader that displays coolant temps is helpful here. My guess is when the needle moves to the 1/2 position, low speed fan is enabled.
From the service manual;
Cooling Fan Logic
  • Low speed - both fans in series - 6 volts each.
  • Medium speed - both fans in parallel with resistor in series - 9 volts each.
  • High speed - both fans in parallel without resistor - 12 volts each.
The fan speed selected is based on coolant temperature or A/C system high side pressure.

Low Speed
  • Enabled if coolant temperature exceeds 96 C (204 F) or A/C system pressure exceeds 1199 kPa (174 psi) high side.
  • Disabled if coolant temperature goes below 92 C (198 F) and A/C system pressure goes below 799 kPa (116 psi) high side.
Medium Speed
  • Enabled if coolant temperature exceeds 99 C (210 F) or A/C system pressure exceeds 1695 kPa (246 psi) high side.
  • Back to Low speed if coolant temperature goes below 97 C (207 F) and A/C system pressure goes below 1399 kPa (203 psi) high side.
High Speed
  • Enabled if coolant temperature exceeds 102 C (216 F) or A/C system pressure exceeds 2398 kPa (348 psi) high side.
  • Back to Medium speed if coolant temperature goes below 100 C (212 F) and A/C system pressure goes below 2198 kPa (319 psi) high side.
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