Question about Ford Windstar

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We have a 1998 Ford Windstar with a 3.8 liter engine in it with roughly 240,000 miles on it. The van has never really gave us much trouble. About a year ago we had the egr sensor, egr valve and ports cleaned because it was running rough. After we left the Ford garage about 15 miles down the road the check engine light came on. So we took it right back down for them to reset it again. They stated that since we replaced 1 oxygen sensor that one of the other 3 (cause there are 4 of them) is going bad and the internal flapper valve on the intake manifold is weak, according to what their computer was telling them. However we never had any problems with it until 6 months ago when the gas sending unit went back. We lived with it for a month, then just out of the blue the van died in front of my son's high school. We had to push it off the road because it would not start. We had it towed home so we could repair it. Found out that the fuel pump stopped working. So we pulled the fuel pump (fun to do when you have a full tank of gas) then replace the fuel filter on both sides of the pump. This fixed the problem until yesterday. We went to Chevron and filled the tank again. Drove the van about 20 miles with the ac on. Then started to drive home (15 miles from town) while driving it would go good then off and on it acted like it was not getting any gas, until I would pump the gas and it then would dart off real fast and run good a mile or so and did it again. I drove 12 miles with it doing this off and on when it just up and died (400 ft from a stop sign go figure). I could not get it to start up at all. Fuel pump is running, acts like there was no gas in the tank (full tank mind you). So we towed it home again. Let it sit for 3 hours went out the van started but was running shotty. Checked out the fuses all checked good, checked for possible hoses that came loose nothing. This morning we went out and started the van. We let it sit there and idled for about 20 mins. It was purring like a kitten. So we decided to go to town to maybe get some cleaner for the gas and de-icer (to remove water from the gas that it may have). Got 5 miles from town and it was acting up again like yesterday. It even was doing this with the ac off. So we get online we see that the Powertrain control module maybe the cause (note: there was a recall on these, we did not know this)or the idle air control valve maybe bad or intake manifold sensor could be bad. We do not want to replace all these because of major costs to find out it did not fix the problem. We would like to know what the problem is without having to try and make it back to town to get it worked on. It is 40 miles to the nearest Ford garage and the same to any part store. We do not have one of those things to hook into the computer system to get any codes off it. Now get this the check engine light has been on steady for the past 6 months until the past 3 weeks and now has remained off. Weird I tell you I think this van needs some prozac or something. Please help if you can.

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  • nhnofidaho Sep 06, 2009

    There are 4 oxygen sensors in the 3.8's on these windstar. we need to find out where they are all at. However my husband seems to think it is linked in with the fuel pump and filter system. We really do not know. Meanwhile I am without a car until he can repaired it.

  • nhnofidaho Sep 06, 2009

    Thank you for getting back so quickly. However my husband really thinks that it maybe linked to the fuel pump or filter which we replaced brand new l months ago. We have owned this van for 6 years and never really has given us any trouble until we did the egr things, fuel pump, filter until now with this issue. If it wasnt for me being without a vehcile he would let it sit for awhile. For now we got to go and tow this thing home again. grrr. Thank you again.

  • nhnofidaho Sep 06, 2009

    When we replaced the fuel pump we replaced the filter & screen. Cost close to $100 for the filter and screen alone. We have had no problems until now with it wanting to die while driving it with or without the ac on. With what the Ford garage codes told us what they said was a little over a year ago. We haven't had any problems with it since we had them replace the egr valve, sensor and cleaned the egr ports which were plugged bad with carbon they stated. The light was on steady until the past 3 weeks and we thought we lucked out until I broke down yesterday. I was so mad I was yelling at Chevron (15 miles away) thinking it was bad gas. Dunno yet. My husband is greatful you guys are helping out. He has me print everything so he can check it. He says he will try replacing the o2 sensors. He can get them from Auto Zone for $32 each (times 3 is almost $100 we really don't have).

    Thank you all - more ideas?

  • nhnofidaho Sep 07, 2009

    We replaced the egr valve, egr module that cost us $700 to have a mechanic replace them to only discover by the Ford Garage later that for $85 we had the egr ports flushed. They then checked all the fuses and they were ok. We checked all the fuses and they are ok. My husband towed the van home, took off one of the fuel lines to discover that no gas is getting up to the injectors. So must be a fuel pump or filter problem. He is kinda upset because I have a full take of gas (22 gallons it holds) and now has to figure out how to either syphon it out or drop the whole tank with gas in it. Oh joy! Thank you all for your input. I think he finally narrowed it down to this, without having to replace everything else he read on the web. So we will pull the pump off and if it is faulty, back to Auto Zone it goes. He paid for a year warranty on it to have it quit in 6 months! Thank you all again.

  • nhnofidaho Sep 07, 2009

    Thank you all for answering the questions. My husband took the hose off to find out it was a faulty new fuel pump. thank you again!

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My 95 ford windstar had over 300 k on it before i sold it. two things that may have been are are consistent problems with them are relays in the fuse panel under the dash and the EGR module failing which causes the light to go on. if the light went off on it's on it may have been what i suspected. when the cleaned it abit of muck attached itself to one of the o2 sensors and finally dislodged.
you will see a rectangular square box type item on the right side of the motor with at least two tubes on the bottom that go toward the firewall and downward. chances are replacing that will fix it up. even look to see if the lads repairing it left one tube off. in my case the tube was broken off another tube on the manifold. expensive to buy so i fashioned a repair for it. worked for over 100 k with out the check engine light coming back on.

for the relays, i just went to a junk/wrecking/recycling yard and purchase all the relays out of one of the junked windstars. i paid about 2 dollars apiece.

the cover is an excellent guide to which relay is which and you can also tell be touch if any are sticking (the get very hot)

robert

Posted on Sep 06, 2009

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Have you tried replacing the fuel filter? ALso when you replaced the fuel pump did you change the filter screen on the bottom of sending unit while it was open. Also could have a bad fuel pressure regulator or clogged catalatic convertor. These things don't trigger the check engine light.. What codes where you getting from the dealership when you had the check engine light come on? that's usually a good place to start.

Posted on Sep 06, 2009

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Hi,
CHECK ENGINE. There's nothing fun about those two words. There's also not a lot of logic to be gathered from them. Check engine? Could they be a little more specific? Nope, they can't. That's because the Check Engine light comes to life if anything, and we do mean anything isn't 100% under the hood. This means that you could be staring at a major repair, or your gas cap could be too loose (no kidding).
Unfortunately, the majority of recurrent Check Engine episodes eventually lead to some professional repair time. The most common problems that trigger the light are emission control malfunctions. The emission control system is what your car uses to try to keep our air a little cleaner. To do this, it employs dozens of sensors, valves, flaps, heated wires and probably some fairy dust. Every car made in the last 20 years has at least one oxygen sensor (we saw a Toyota that had four of them recently), and they don't last forever. If they go, expect around $300 per sensor in replacement costs

Thank You for contacting Fixya.com

Posted on Sep 06, 2009

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