Mechanics

CAR STALLS AT IDLE

1993 Ford Tempo

Engine Mechanical problem
1993 Ford Tempo 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 60000 miles

I have a 1993 Ford Tempo GL 4 Cylinder 2.3 Liter engine with 65000 miles that has recently begun dying on me.

It started with low power so I changed out the spark plugs to NGK and it was fine for a month or so. After a month it started having low power again so I took out the spark plugs and checked them all to see if the gap was correct and that they were not damaged or burned out. All the spark plugs and wires were fine so I put them back in the correct cylinders and firing order.

Well later that day when I was going to the gym the car began to feel like it was only on 3 cylinders and nearly died going uphill as well as sputtering and barely making it. I made it to the gym and parked it as I worked out. When I went back outside, after about 3 hours, and cranked the car it would turn over just fine but not turn on, or if it did turn on it would quickly turn off. So I had it towed home and left it till morning.

In the morning I came out and it still would not start. So I checked all the plugs again and ended up cleaning one that looked dirty and putting it back in. It then started and ran all day about 25 miles but on the way home at night it died again while moving and once again it turned over but would not start so I ended up pushing it home a mile or so.

The next morning my mechanic came out and tested all the components. Fuel system was at 55 psi which was normal for that car and the filter was not clogged. We tested the cap, rotor, distributor, ignition coil, coil wire and all checked out. The fuel pump shut off button in the trunk was ok too. So we determined it was not the fuel system, and the battery, alternator, ignition system, alternator belt etc were all working fine.

He had a hunch it might be the Ignition Control Module so he replaced that and the car started and ran better than it has in a long time, more importantly it would start on command and not shut down once it heated up.

Well the next day it began to start rough and idle really funny as well as try to shut off at idle in park, I though maybe it was just cold so I let it warm up about 2 minutes and then left. I drove about a mile and came to a stop at a red light and it died. I put it in park and cranked it and it started right up, roughly again though. I began keeping my foot on the gas at lights very lightly, maybe 1 rpm or less, and it did not die again until I forgot to keep my foot on the gas at a stop sign and this led to it dying but again starting up. So I drove it home and let it idle while in drive and it did not die. I'm fresh out of ideas, any suggestions. Could it have something to do with changing the Ignition Control Module?

I was thinking maybe MAF sensor or Idle Speed Sensor.
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M0rdecai89
February 5, 2010.



Not very liely its the ignition module making it not idle, as long as the base timing is set correctly. Use carb cleaner and carefull spray around the intake area to see if you have any vacuum leaks, if the engine changes, you have found a leak.I havent seen one of those in awhile. Does it have an Idle Air Control Valve, if so remove it and clean out with carb cleaner, it may be sticky and not responding fast enough to keep the car at idle, have seen that on many Fords

Tiny
Jack42
Feb 6, 2010.
Well we changed out the Ignition Module to get it starting again, is there anything to reset or also change at the same time?

Tiny
M0rdecai89
Feb 6, 2010.
No, there shouldnt be any relearning to do for just the ignition module. Is the module mounted on the distributor on a 93? They vary alot in those years. If the dist had to be moved, reset base timing. Usually if the pick-up coil in the distributor goes out it wont start, not just act up at idle

Tiny
Jack42
Feb 6, 2010.
Ok went back out today to see what was going on and it wouldnt start at all. I got a diagnostic code of 212 and it looks like spark isnt being sent through the disrtibutor cap. Is this most likely an issue with the distributor or a relay or something and could that have caused the rough starts and dying at stop lights or do I have 2 problems now?

Tiny
M0rdecai89
Feb 6, 2010.
When it comes to spark, you need to start at the source, see if it has spark at the coil, if so but none out of the duistributor it has either a bad distributor cap or bad ignition rotor. If none at the coil, see if it has power on one side of the coil plug (2 wire connector), if so the other side should flash when you crank it, if not it could be module or pick-up coil

Tiny
Jack42
Feb 6, 2010.