On Sunday the 16th, while driving on a highway, the car simply shut off. I was able to safely pull over, tried re-starting the vehicle, etc to no avail. My brother later towed it to his house where we began our research.
Things we noticed:
Fuses that we checked looked good.
Fuel pump turns on to prime the system when the key is turned on.
Cranking sounds normal
There's good compression (170 psi in the cylander we tested)
After some investigation online, we discovered that many people reported similar issues, and found that the crank position sensor was damaged from the balance belt teeth bending the "plate" that spins through the sensor. Since owning the car from 8k miles until 122k miles (so far) I've never replaced thet timing belt, etc. As such, we decided to replace the following:
balance shaft belt
crank sensor plate
water pump (while in there)
Cam position sensor (under warranty, easy to replace)
The timing belt was cracked and missing many teeth, so it was only a matter of time before there was a major problem! I guess I can be glad the car was disabled before there was valve damage!
The crank sensor installation was a little aggravating, since the platic clips (for the wire) busted while trying to push them into the hole. They were instead tie wrapped in place. The wire was pinched slightly while installing it, but we don't think there was any problem with this.
Likely unrelated to this story, there was also an exhaust leak. While I was ordering parts, I ordered the pipe that has the the second cadalytic converter and flex pipe. This was also replaced.
The timing belt was put on with my assistance to be sure the timing marks were lined up on each pulley. Once we believed it was lined up, we checked even further by manually rotating the engine from the crank and allowing the tensioner to tighten the timing belt. After 3 rotations of the crank, the cam sprockets once again lined up with the marks, and the other marks were spot on too. The battery was disconnected during the replacement of the parts, so we had to replace the connection before trying to start the vehicle.
After cranking the engine a few times and it didn't start, we began checking things again. We found:
Cranking sounded normal
Fuel pump did not prime while turning the key on
I then bought a code reader and tested it on my father and brother's truck - worked well. On my car, it displays "no link".
So... radio, headlights, cranking, etc all work fine. There's no fuel pump activity, no spark, and my code reader can't connect to the computer. The computer issue is new since the parts were replaced. We checked all fuses, and they seem fine. We also looked for the fuel pump relay, which was reported to be under the radio. After taking the console apart, I found NO relays there. However, behind the hood release cable, I found 4 relays in a panel. 2 black, 1 white and 1 blue. I think one of them is the fuel pump relay, but a search of part numbers didn't confirm this - they all came up as accessory relays.
At this point, I'm wondering if there's now a bigger problem, and if this is a dealer-only fix. Either way, we really needed to replace the timing belt, it was overdue. I'm open to suggestions.