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Discussion Starter #1
I drove the van a week ago and all was well. Then the weather changed and we've had a week of snow and cold weather. This evening I went out to start the van and it acted like the battery was dead. Hooked up the charger and the batteries appear to be fully charged.
When I turn the key to the start position, the starter just clicks and the engine doesn't turn over.

With the hood open, one item of concern is that the ECM is covered with ice!
Appears that melted water has been flowing down into the engine compartment and has frozen all around the ECM and down onto the chassis. Not sure if this is part of the problem.

Any ideas? Anyone experience this in winter? I've heard of cars engines freezing internally and locking up the engine.

Is something like this covered by the warranty?

I am quite peeved. I have an appointment on Wednesday to get my LSD installed.
The dam van wont Start!!!!
 

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I can't speak to your situation, but my experience has been that when the starter clicks but won't turn it is because the starter isn't getting enough juice. Usually the connections at the battery or at the starter are corroded. On my farm tractor I have used jumper cables between the battery and the starter to determine if that's was the problem. Not sure if you can do this on the Transit since the battery is inside the van.
 

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It might be worth it to run a jumper cable from the chassis to the engine block and try the ignition. Sometimes the ground strap on cars gets messed up.

BUT, the water pouring off the windshield onto the wires has been an issue for some people. The plastic gutters that re-direct the water into the body cavity seem like a half a$$ed solution to me. I wrapped the wire harness in plastic where it drips from those gutters. And installed a T.U.R.D. over the airbox on the other side, where the water drips on the upside down housing.
 

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If the battery voltage is good and the starter only clicks it could be there is corrosion on a connection preventing enough current to flow to turn the starter motor. If you can measure the voltage at the terminal under the hood while you are trying to start and it drops significantly, this could mean there is resistance at some connection between the battery and the starter.

Historically this will be on the battery terminals, on most cars anyway. But, any connection between the battery and the starter could be the culprit. With the Transit battery inside I was amazed last week when I pulled mine and it was sparkling clean.

After pulling the negative lead from the battery, find and disassemble each connection on both paths (positive and ground) as either can make carbon, causing resistance. Clean each up with a wire brush, reassemble, test.

For example, there are several connections on the positive battery terminal to inspect. Battery post to clamp, and clamp to a few cables bolted on. And so on to each connection.

Frankly, it might be best to start looking at connections under the hood as that is exposed to weather and has a higher chance of getting corrosion. This sort of resistance isn't something you can see. It may only be some black residue between a lug on a cable and the washer or nut clamping on it.

Another way to test each connection with the battery connected is to use the volt meter to measure on either side of any given connection. If there is corrosion/resistance you will see a voltage on the meter. Otherwise, it should read zero volts if it is okay. With the negative lead pulled on the battery you could use the Ohmmeter instead. Zero Ohms across a connection is good. Reading resistance across a connection indicates something is not letting the electrons run free.

Oh, and there is always the chance it could be something else. These are the basics that can be checked first. The cause could be something else.

Goal, set the electrons free. Best of luck in the search.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input so far. The van is only 7 months old with 7K miles. No corrosion, anywhere on the van. It is the first week of snow. Temps in the teens. Traced the main cables to the battery. Cables on the starter look brand new! Everything still looks brand new.
I am suspecting it is related to all the ice formed around the ECM. (Stupid place to put it out in the open where water pours down onto it!) I'll put a light in the engine compartment over night and see if I can melt all the Ice.
 

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It's still new, make Ford fix it and prevent it from happening again. Demand a loaner while they try to figure out what 's wrong with it. I think they HAVE to supply one if they're going to have it for more than a day.
 
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You say it appears charged. What is the actual battery voltage with no loads or the charger attached? Should be ~12.6 or so.

I can understand the ECM being covered with ice. Same positioning as the air filter so similar water exposure. But it should be sealed well enough so not likely the ice shorted the ECM.
 

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Simple test for battery or connection issues - turn the headlights on, then try to start it. If the lights don't dim or dim very little, no power is making it to the starter, and your ECM suspicion may be confirmed. If the lights dim considerably, then the battery has too little left to move the starter, or as the others advised, there is a bad connection between the battery and starter.

I'm placing my money on a bad battery, or a battery so badly discharged the electrolyte in one or more cells has frozen. The owners manual advises that vehicles left sitting more than one week need a maintenance charger. Apparently there are parasitic loads (the "always-on" odometer being one) that draw the battery down when the vehicle is off. The cold multiplies this problem.

Since you have had temps in the teens this past week, you need to be extra careful if you elect to jump-start or or charge the battery at a high rate. If there is in fact a frozen cell, it could explode. I would charge the battery at no more than a 5-amp rate to gradually warm it and allow the electrolyte to melt. You may still need to replace that battery after all is said and done.

Please report back with whatever it turned out to be; we can only offer mostly platitudes and maybe a few life experience tales from 1500 miles away.

Good luck!

EDIT: Apologies, I re-read where you already charged the battery. Try the headlight test anyway, it may tell you something.
 

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in this day and age everyone should at least own a cheap fault code scanner, it will at least give you some idea where to look to find the problem. and if you do not know what the code means, googling it works about half the time, or you can ask the dealer or somebody else who might know.
with computer controlled engines there can be dozens of reasons why it will not start.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I didn't want to waste my time figuring out why the van wont start. I called Ford roadside assistance. They dispatched a tow truck and the van is now at the dealers. It's under warrenty so let them figure it out.

I can't wait to hear what they find.
Symptoms are typical of a bad battery or cable connector. I was frustrated so I didn't do more troubleshooting before sending it off to the dealer.

I wonder if the Ice build-up on the ECM and other areas has contributed to the problem. Never have I owned a vehicle where water can pour down all over the top of the engine and side areas. Enough icicles formed under the engine area I couldn't even crawl under the car.

They will try to have it resolved by Friday.
I rescheduled my LSD installation to Monday.
 

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My OEM battery failed last month, a little less than a year after I bought the van (2015, so I don't know how old the battery is). BUT a jumpstart would get me going. Since the dealership wanted my van for 1/2 or whole day; they didn't know, I decided to just buy my own battery and replace it. I have the OEM battery on a bench, I charged it up and it reads 12.5 with my multimeter, but gross voltage isn't the entire story. Cold cranking amps can be very low despite a reading of 12.5+ volts. I'll eventually take it in and have it tested, but I know it's toast because it would just make my van go "click click click" when it was parked overnight.

Moral of the story: The battery could be bad despite being "newish". Cold doesn't help.

Tijoe; have you tried jumpstarting it?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My OEM battery failed last month, a little less than a year after I bought the van (2015, so I don't know how old the battery is). BUT a jumpstart would get me going. Since the dealership wanted my van for 1/2 or whole day; they didn't know, I decided to just buy my own battery and replace it. I have the OEM battery on a bench, I charged it up and it reads 12.5 with my multimeter, but gross voltage isn't the entire story. Cold cranking amps can be very low despite a reading of 12.5+ volts. I'll eventually take it in and have it tested, but I know it's toast because it would just make my van go "click click click" when it was parked overnight.

Moral of the story: The battery could be bad despite being "newish". Cold doesn't help.

Tijoe; have you tried jumpstarting it?
I have a 200 amp cranking current full size professional battery charger with 6 settings 4 12V charging rates and 2 cranking rates. 60 amps and 200 amps. Charger has a battery charging rate indicator. During slow charge, gauge indicated that the batteries were fully charged.

Monday night tried slow charging the batteries for 2 hours. Same clicking or the starter solenoid. Followed it up with 200 amps staring current. No difference. (I have started other cars without a battery in the car) Before the car was towed today the tow truck driver tried to jump start. - no go!

Since the van has dual batteries, I believe that one battery could have gone gone bad and drains the current enough to keep the starter from working.

Car guys at work who I told about the van problem are debating over a bad battery or the starter. Ford guy at work states that he has had problems with the starters used with the Ecotec engines. Says they are susceptible to water getting in them and then freezing in the cold winters here. Says he carries a 12V hair dryer in his F150 to thaw out the starter. (Has crawled under it numerous times. )

Time will tell...
 

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Why are we having these problems with new vans? Late model Ford pickups will start all winter in North Dakota without help. We seem to be going backwards here. It's sad really.

OP, I hate to say this, I really do, but you sound like a prepared and knowledgable individual, so why do you own this van in Kalispell MT without a garage to keep it in?

Good luck, seriously. Let us know what you find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Drum roll.....

Service manager states that it is the starter.
I suspect that it is due to water intrusion that then froze into ice.I will ask for details to confirm how it failed when I get the car tomorrow after work.


To 86Scotty:
1. The garage is for my Jaguars. Can't let them get cold in the winter.
2. It's a Van!
3. Worst of all, it is a foot too tall to fit through my garage door...
 

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It has been brought up in other threads, but I repeat here. Add a rain coat or TURD device for the air cleaner on passenger side and to the ECM/fuse box on driver side. I made rain coats out of clear vinyl window material for both and velcro'ed them to the boxes.

Have the drain tray TSB (technically not a recall) done to passenger side if you have a 2015 model (or whenever they "fixed" the drain tray problem). Make sure they do not remove drain tray on driver side at same time (as my dealer did).
 

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... Service manager states that it is the starter. ...
Ugh. Let's hope it was a one-time thing. If it does turn out to be water where it wasn't supposed to be, good luck with that. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I read through the 50+ pages posted about the air filter problem. I appears to me that I will have to cover the engine up when I let the van sit for longer periods in the winter. I'll look into modifying the gutter area to channel water away so it doesn't flow down onto the ECM, filter and Engine.
 

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We had issues with our transit not starting or even turning over at random times. Eventually it would start after trying all kinds of things. We finally discovered the problem. If the vehicle was not fully in PARK (as far as it can go) it wouldn’t start. Hope this helps someone else...

I drove the van a week ago and all was well. Then the weather changed and we've had a week of snow and cold weather. This evening I went out to start the van and it acted like the battery was dead. Hooked up the charger and the batteries appear to be fully charged.
When I turn the key to the start position, the starter just clicks and the engine doesn't turn over.

With the hood open, one item of concern is that the ECM is covered with ice!
Appears that melted water has been flowing down into the engine compartment and has frozen all around the ECM and down onto the chassis. Not sure if this is part of the problem.

Any ideas? Anyone experience this in winter? I've heard of cars engines freezing internally and locking up the engine.

Is something like this covered by the warranty?

I am quite peeved. I have an appointment on Wednesday to get my LSD installed.
The dam van wont Start!!!!
 
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