R-Reg Escort LX - starting problems - fuel system?

Hi,
My wife has an R-reg Escort LX (Zetec engine) as a runaround but recently it's been very hit and miss getting it to start (mainly, but
not exclusively) when cold.
The engine turns fine and the ignition is OK - I think it's a fuel problem because sometimes when you turn the key, you can hear 2-3 secs of fuel pump noise as the system primes and sometimes you get a 'click' from the relay and nothing else.
When/if you do manage to get the engine running, everything's fine (no missing or spluttering etc. and it drives fine) until you switch off and then try to start it again.
Can anyone 'in the know' suggest what to check first - ie: any common faults with this Ford - I'm competent with a socket set, multimeter, soldering iron etc (electronic engineer), but haven't really done any car maintenance since my first car - a Ford Capri Mk I.
Thanks
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Linker3000 wrote:

For the minimal amount it would cost, it must be worth swapping the fuel pump relay first. (It's R3 on the back of the drop-down fuseboard, below the steering wheel, according to Mr Haynes.)
Next port of call, IMHO, would be the fuel pump. This isn't so easy to access...
HTH
Chris
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Chris Whelan wrote:

Thanks Chris - Mr Haynes tells me the fuel pump is in the tank, so I'm hoping it's not that.
L3K
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Linker3000 wrote:

Sadly, it is the most likely cause of the problem, and fairly common.
Try the relay first, and let the group know how you get on.
Chris
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Chris Whelan wrote:

Cheers - will do. If it turns out to be a 'local workshop' job any idea of the likely cost for parts + labour?
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Linker3000 wrote:

If you've done a bit of car stuff in the past, DIY it! A new pump from eBay will only be 100UKP or less. It's not that bad a job on an Escort.
A dealer price for this will not be viable. ISTR that the pump is over 200UKP...
Chris
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Chris Whelan wrote:

Is the relay the same as any of the others, maybe full beam?
If so a quick swap could be enough to know whether it's that or not without having to get a new one.
I did that once on a Mk 3 Escort and it then worked. Swapped them back and it *all* still worked. Must have been cleaning up the contacts was enough...
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PC Paul wrote:

Thanks - that did occur to me - the car's elsewhere at the mo, but will have a look at the weekend.
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