Mechanics

INTERMITTENT ENGINE STALLING

2001 Ford Windstar

Computer problem
2001 Ford Windstar 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 85000 miles

Hi. This is a perplexing problem. My 2001 Windstar with 3.8 engine has started stalling intermittently without giving any codes at all. Not even any soft codes nor anything for the “flight recorder” for my mechanic. It idles fine. It doesn't stall when coming to a stop. It stalls primarily just after I have started from a stop light or turned a corner and I am accelerating in a normal fashion. Sometimes when I am cruising along it will " stumble" like it wants to stall, but doesn't. When it stalls, it doesn't die slowly (like being starved for fuel), the engine just shuts down like the key was shut off. It always restarts with no problem – don’t even need to pull over – just put it in neutral, turn the key back and forward, and the engine starts right up. We have changed the fuel filter, fuel pump relay, ignition control module (coil), crankshaft position sensor, and lastly the power control module (PCM). Unfortunately, nothing has fixed the problem. The mechanic said it died on him just getting back to the shop, and even though it didn't give a code, he could tell that the injectors had lost ground on the negative side (or something like that). It never dies when going over bumps, so it doesn't act like a loose wire or connection. Any suggestions?
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Keith N
August 8, 2010.



Hi Keith,

Thank you for the donation.

Symptms seems to be due to power interruption. When the engine stalled, did the dash indictor lights turn on immediately? If not, you cold have a failing ignition swith. Check if the ignition is hot to the touch when engine is running and when it fails.

KHLow2008
Aug 8, 2010.
Hi. Thanks for the reply. Yes, the dash lights all come on immediately when the engine shuts off. I will check the heat of the ignition swith. (I imagine you are talking about on the steering column - please clarify if not.)

Keith

Tiny
Keith N
Aug 8, 2010.
Yes, it is the switch at the end of the key cylinder inside the steering column covers.

At base of the switch there are soldered points, look out for signs of melted or disfigured solders. That would indicate the contacts internally are working at high temperature.

KHLow2008
Aug 9, 2010.
I'll check out the ignition switch, but does it make sense that a bad ignition switch would only cause a stall when I am accelerating or giving more gas to go up a hill? Is there anything else that you can think of? Thanks.

Tiny
Keith N
Aug 9, 2010.
Is there anything in the transmission - any sensor etc, which - if it malfunctioned - could cause the engine to just shut off like this? I have not had any transmission problems - just trying to think of ideas since it mostly gives me problems when I am accelerating normally from a stop or turn.

Tiny
Keith N
Aug 9, 2010.
No, the transmisison does not have anything that would cause the engine to shut off.

Apart from loose wires/connectors etc, only th eignition switch is the most likely cause.

During acceleration or turn, something could be not contacting well and the jerking movement causes the intermittent power supply failure.

I would suggest checking the battery to see if it is secured. There are instances of the battery terminals shorting resulting in engine cutting off due to movements.
Check for wires that could be swaying around due to vehicle movements.

KHLow2008
Aug 9, 2010.
KEITH!

I have the exact same problem. My mechanic changed the crankshaft position sensor, checked the ignition key, and NOTHING. Mine stalls about 1/day and can do it just going straight at highway speeds too.

ANY ANSWERS YET?

Tiny
Dwalto02
Jul 22, 2012.
Dwalto02, if you can, I would hook up a live scanner and take it for a drive and see what happens and monitor the scanner when the problem occurs.

These kinds of problems are very difficult to diagnose, even in person. A test light, live scanner, and voltmeter can be priceless in figuring out what's wrong.

Rivermikerat
Jul 29, 2012.