2002 Ford Windstar Power loss after startup

Tiny
ARROWDAWG
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 FORD WINDSTAR
Engine Performance problem
2002 Ford Windstar Automatic 52,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Windstar van runs fine when it's warmed up. However, when I start it up cold, it runs just fine for a minute or so at around 1,000 RPM, but it then drops to around 500 RPM and the engines sputters and shakes and just about cuts off. While it does this, I notice that the battery light on the display flashes a few times. After it sputters for maybe 5 to 10 seconds, the RPM goes back up to around 1,000 and the engine runs fine again. It may do this again slightly a couple of minutes later, but not as bad. After the engine is warm and I get going, there seems to be no more problems while driving or idling. What could be the problem, maybe the alternator going bad? Thanks for your help!
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Monday, October 26th, 2009 AT 7:19 PM

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Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I don't think the alternator has anything to do with the problem. Has the check engine light ever come on? As far as the light flickering, it is a result of the RPM's droping so low. At that point, the alt isn't producing enough current and it causes the light to come on.

Let me know about the check engine light. To me it sounds like a sensor.

Joe
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Monday, October 26th, 2009 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
ARROWDAWG
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Joe, thanks for your response. The check engine light has NOT come on at any time, just the battery symbol flickering when the RPM's drop to around 500. Once the van eventually warms up, there doesn't seem to be a problem. Obviously something is wrong though, because it's not normal for the engine to sputter and almost cut off a minute or two after startup.

I should also let you know that if I decide to go ahead and drive immediately after startup, without letting the engine warm up for a few minutes, and if I come to an extended stop(more than 30 seconds) at a red light before the engine has had a chance to warm up completely, it'll do the same thing and sputter and almost cut off. As usual though, once the engine has warmed up and the temp gauge is at it's normal halfway point, the problem doesn't occur again.

Are you referring to the Fuel O2 sensor?
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Monday, October 26th, 2009 AT 10:21 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
There are many sensors that can cause this type of problem. However, usually they will trigger the check engine light to come on.

When was the last time the engine was tuned up? Also, have you had the fuel pump pressure tested when it's cold?

Joe
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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 AT 6:41 AM
Tiny
ARROWDAWG
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I really don't know the last time the engine was tuned up. This van belonged to my mother and I recently took it off her hands. Ultimately that's probably what it needs, a tune up, especially since the check engine light hasn't come on indicating a serious problem.

I guess I'll just take it in for a tune up and have them check the fuel pump pressure. Thanks for your help.
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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 AT 5:11 PM

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