Pay close attention to the battery terminals. Dirty/corroded terminals wreck havock on proper running.
When you first turn the key and hear the door chime, this is pulling very little amperage from the battery and the connection is probably just enough to keep these little things functional. But when you turn the key, there is a rush of amperage trying to cross the gap between the battery lead terminal and the wire terminal. This causes an immediate arching at the terminal and loss of contact. The current cannot flow, the car dies.
During the time you are jumping the car with jumper cables, you are providing battery power from the other vehicle; but I'll bet the battery in the windstar looks like it's connected, but it's actually not electrically connected due to the arched terminals.
Inspect the terminals; if they are salvagable, clean them with wire brush or sandpaper. Get a bronze/copper colored shine again on the INSIDE of the ring where it wraps around the battery lead post. Obviously, if they fall apart during this intense cleaning, you'll need new wire terminals. If you do replace the terminals, remember that it's not just the connection from the battery lead post to the terminal which is important. Make sure the copper wire (1 or 2 Gauge) itself is making good contact to the new terminal you installed.
You won't believe how many vehicles I've come accross with this symptom. Bad battery connections = poor running and poor reliability. It's a harsh environment these terminals live in. Acid, heat, and high amperage loads all play a part in killing shiny copper to green-white dust.
I suspect the reason it is stalling out is because the alternator cannot regulate its voltage due to the car battery being effectively out of the circuit. The alternator needs to see the "voltage stability" which is provided by the battery at 12.6 volts. When the battery is out of the circuit, the alternator hunts up and down for proper voltage, but cannot maintain it. Eventually the voltage drops below the thresh-hold of about 9 volts where the car computer cannot maintain operation, and the engine stalls.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008 AT 10:16 PM