Car stopped running on the road

minnie_txOctober 3, 2008

My 88 Ford Tempo stopped running on the way home but I was able to pull over to the side of the road; a minute later I was able to start it up and got home. I had just filled it up with gas. Earlier in the week it would take me 3 or 4 tries to get it to start. Any idea? Thanks in advance I'm new to this forum

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Hi minnie.

Sure lots of ideas, the problem is only one of them is likely to be correct. Diagnosing a problem on a car takes effort, and with some kinds a of problems a little bit of luck, as in the car has to act up for the tech, because the only time that the problem can be accurately diagnosed is while it's happening. Keep in mind, the hard start may have absolutely nothing to do with the car quitting on the road. You could almost treat those two problems as if they are occurring on separate cars for now.

The best you can do is allow the shop to keep the car for a couple days, and give them the details of when the problems occur. Keep in mind things like weather, hot, cold, rainy etc. The hard start is likely easier to find at this time. Tell them what the car does, not what someone thinks it does. The worst thing you could do right now is go to the shop and tell them you think the fuel pump is failing because someone told you that might be the problem. The facts are it could be, but so could many other things, like a corroded wiring connection for the pump. Proper testing during the failure comes up with the right answer, without throwing unnecessary parts up front.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 4:42AM
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thanks so much john
I'll take your advice and I think (since I don't have to go anywhere over the weekend) I'll do it on Monday)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Got the battery tested DS took it over it is ok.
He is going to put it back in tomorrow. I hope it starts the guy who lives next door said his dad owns Auto Tech here in town and to tell him that he sent me. I only hope I can get it there without being towed.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 4:53PM
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As John said, there are many causes for your problem.

Here's one more remote possibility: A clogged gas cap or improper cap. There should be a one-way valve in the gas cap that is supposed to admit air to the tank when it falls below atmospheric pressure, but blocks any outflow. If this valve is plugged, a vacuum can develop in the gas tank under certain conditions and it will starve the fuel pump and may collaspe the tank.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 7:12AM
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They replaced the ignition switch the old one was burned out. so far so good. thanks for all your good suggestions.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 7:29PM
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An ignition switch. Definately a likely failure, and a perfect example of why guesses are bad. Typically now when someone shows a positive result from a repair such as this, someone else in the near future will report a problem with similar symptoms as yours, and then another party will fire a silver bullet in the dark that an ignition switch fixed someone elses car. It's all well intended, but can easily result in unnecessary expenses. Proper testing always leads to the correct result for each individual case. The ignition switch definately could cause the car to stop on the road, but still there is room for another cause. Keep that in mind during the first couple of weeks back on the road with this.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 7:37AM
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Thanks John I understand. it is always a little "iffy" after a repair is done. Takes a little while for the confidence to kick in again.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:34AM
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