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AUTO Q AND A: New battery may fix this problem

Question: We have a 1997 F-150 with a 4.6-liter engine. The truck was not driven for some time, and the battery died. I slow-charged it for two or three days. I put it back in and had a hard time starting it. It sputtered quite a few times but ev...

Question: We have a 1997 F-150 with a 4.6-liter engine. The truck was not driven for some time, and the battery died. I slow-charged it for two or three days. I put it back in and had a hard time starting it. It sputtered quite a few times but eventually ran. A week later, I tried starting it but it would not even fire. It would start when we shot starting fluid in the air cleaner but stopped when it burned it up. What is wrong?

Answer: In order of potential causes: contaminated fuel, clogged fuel filter or pickup screen, fuel pump, fuel pump relay. Because the battery had died, low voltage while cranking may be preventing the computer and injectors from operating. Try another battery.

Q: My motorhome is powered by a Ford 460 engine. When I have driven 25 to 30 miles, I seem to lose power. I can shut off and restart the engine and go, then the same thing happens again. Changing the inline fuel filter did not help.

A: If the power loss is due to loss of fuel pressure, debris may be collecting up against the in-tank screen on the fuel pump pickup. Shutting the engine off for a few moments may let debris fall from the screen -- then you can drive another 25 miles. Does your motorhome have a catalytic converter? Any type of exhaust restriction could also cause this symptom. Don't overlook the possibility of vapor lock or fuel percolation and check for fault codes from the engine management system.

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