Question about 1996 Ford Contour
If this is only once the engine has warmed up then it could be an O2 sensor problem.
If the engine tends to hunt up and down at idle then you could have a dirty idle control valve which needs removing and cleaning out with brake cleaner or intake cleaner.
It could also be a dirty or faulty MAF sensor which will either need removing and cleaning as per the idle control valve, or renewing.
Very best regards
Posted on Jun 25, 2008
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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Here is the common cause of surges, cold stalls, stalls at stops, slow idle speed, erratic idle speed, rough idle and engine hesitation (and other problems), it is in most cases the idle speed control air-bypass valve and or throttle valve and upper intake, these area's get full of gunk and combustion residue over the miles and cause idle issues (stalls, low idle) like yours.
To correct this problem get a can of throttle valve cleaner (it is made by CRC) from the local auto parts store, spray it into the air intake of the engine until you have used about half the can, you will need to hold the idle up while you do this, it will try to stall, after this shut the engine down and disconnect the Negative (-) battery cable for 5 minutes. The intake is know clean, if you continue to have the stall out the idle speed control valve may be defective and requires replacement.
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