Question about 2000 Ford Windstar

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My 2000 v6, 150k, windstar ran great. Took it on a 3500 mile trip and during that trip it started missing on acceleration. It idles fine. I took it out of overdrive and ran it at 80mph, that was the best I could do. When ever we cam off a hill the engine light would blink. The engine seems to stumble on acceleration. I ran some cleaner through it and nine tanks of gas, still does it. The engine light was always on when we got the van (po174 left bank running too lean I think, but never caused a problem) It first started when going up a hill and the overdrive shifts down then up then down, back and fourth. After 2500 miles it seemed to do that at 5mph or 75mph. I thought it had clogged fuel injectors, but it idled fine. We never had this problem til the trip. The day before we left Ford installed a recalled item to the harness just below the brake reservoir, had to do with speed control, maybe that is the problem. Can you help please. This van is an excellent runner. We drive it all around town everyday with no problems.

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You will want to look for a vacuum leak that is likely causing the vehicle to run poorly. Feel along the hoses between the PCV valve on the crankcase and the motor. If you feel a squishy soft or oily spot on the hose, especially where there is a 90 degree angle, this indicates a hole and the hose has to be replaced to make it run right. Don't attempt to repair these hoses with holes. No temporary repair will work on those... tape, etc is not strong enough. Also check to make sure the brake booster hose is not brittle and cracked in the area of the brake reservoir since a mechanic worked in that area recently. All rubber hoses should be tight and not have any holes in them. You should also replace the plug wires if you here any thumping that sounds like a backfire.

Posted on Sep 06, 2010

  • Motown_wrw Oct 25, 2010

    The ship may have already sailed on this one, but I've got some info the original requestor should know.

    First off, misfire that happens only under load (not at idle is SELDOM a vac leak. Here's more info for you (some you may not want to hear, but all of it should help you.

    FIRST: A blinking check engine light is known around our workplace as "the flashing MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) of death. This flashing feature was put in place to tell a customer that the current operating condition is causing a misfire rate high enough to overheat and melt catalysts. It flashes to get the drivers attention and hopefully they will stop doing whatever the "bad thing" is that is causing the misfire (get out of the throttle, etc). How many people know this??? Does it work? Well, lets just say that my wife reported to me the flashing mil of death after she drove the vehicle home (about an hour of freeway driving) and parked it in the garage. That resulted in my having to change a plugged catalyst system. UGH.

    There's more to it though... Our windstar was also displaying a misfire only under load symptom. This is seldom, if ever, a vac leak. vac leaks are more apparent at idle than under higher load (intake manifold has more "****" and the leak affects the system more. Some diagnostic work led me to discover that if I disabled the EGR valve, the misfire went away--so the problem was somewhere in the EGR system.

    Now, here's the punch line. The 3.8 in the windstar introduces EGR to the engine via small tubes cast into the intake manifold that carry EGR gasses from the EGR valve to each intake port--it's a little hole right near each intake port in the manifold. Well, the 3.8 has a nasty tendancy to pull lots of oil from the PCV system into the intake manifold. When the hot EGR gasses come out of the EGR ports into the oily manifold they bake some of that oil right onto the lip of the little EGR port. Over time, these things start to look like little volcanoes right there in the manifold, and they can actually plug up causing you to get a low EGR flow code, but not always... So you're driving around and as far as you know, nothing is wrong, but inside that manifold is a ticking time bomb. Here's what happens:

    Eventually ONE of those little volcanoes breaks off (and gets eaten by the engine). What you have now is an "EGR sprinkler system" where only one sprinkler head is flowing alot. The result is you get TONS of EGR flow down that port, not so much down the rest, and it winds up creating a dead miss, but only when the system asks for EGR...

    Obviously, there are other ways to get a dead miss under load only (look through your ignition system (plugs/wires/coiles). But if you come up with nothing there, disconnect the EGR valve's vacuum control solenoid and repeat the test. IIf the misfire goes away, then it's time to tear into the intake manifold and clean up all the oil and volcanoes...

    HOpe this info helps some...

  • Dan Horsefield
    Dan Horsefield Oct 25, 2010

    Thanks very much for the detailed explanation. Due to high volume of oil coming through the PVC system on my Lincoln Aviator, I will know what to look for if that misfire under load condition starts happening, but so far so good. Also gives me some ideas about a
    possibly blocked catalyst on a Geo Metro I am trying to help troubleshoot. . . it has bad valves with lots of oil entering the exhaust system and may have melted the catalyst.

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