Hello fellow Ford owners


Dan_J
09-04-2006, 07:18 PM
I have been reading your threads recentley and decided it was time to join in on the discussions. I have a 1998 Ford Windstar 3.8 liter. It has almost 200K miles on it now. For the most part, it has been a reliable vehicle throughout the years. The most I have spent on non-preventive maintenance work was some front end work a couple years ago (about $900). I hate the thought of having a car payment so I am going to run this van until it can't run anymore. I have had the common problem of the door ajar switches that most of you have seemed to have had. On this, I spent some money to change a couple out only to have it re-accure. My wife's solution was to pull all the interior lamps from the sockets and put a flashlight in the glove box. :)
Now to the reason I am here. The "check engine" light has been on for quite a while now. I have had it in for service but my mechanic just seems to be grabbing at straws as to what to repair. He replaces a part or two. Re-sets the light and sends it back to us only to have the light re-appear a short time later. Now (yes, there's more) the check engine light flashes intermittently. When this happens, the engine acts like a vacum hose was pulled off and runs rough. It will run this way for a while then return to normal. This goes on for as long as the car is running. I used to be able to cure this somewhat by filling the tank with premuim gasoline. Now it only makes the problem re-accure less frequentley.
Reading through the other threads here it seems as though it may be the EGR or DPFE sensor that is the culprit. I also read where the EGR ports in the engine may be clogged with soot. I have ordered my Hanes manual for this vehicle and am ready (I think) to jump in head first to figure this problem out as it seems my mechanic never will.
The information I have gained from you all has been a great help so far and I thank you all. It is amazing the commonality of everyones problems and the lack of Ford not fixing these problems with the release of each new model year.
Back to reading some more. Good luck to all in getting you Windstar repaired!

DRW1000
09-04-2006, 07:28 PM
step one:

Find out the numeric code(s) that are causing your CEL to illuminate.

A flashing CEL indicates a misfire. This nneds to be addressed right away. A misfire can be caused by any number of things such as:

EGR port clogging
EGR valve
Incorrect air/fuel ratio
Fuel delivery issues
Ignition delivery issues
Vacuum leaks

The code will point us in the right direction.

Dan_J
09-04-2006, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the quick reply DRW. I will get the codes ASAP. After reading some more I found the DPFE sensor. I unplugged the electric to it and took it for a two mile test drive. Usually the engine light would flash with the loss of power by then. This time nothing happened. The check engine light is still on steady though. I will get to codes read tomorrow if I can.

DRW1000
09-04-2006, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the quick reply DRW. I will get the codes ASAP. After reading some more I found the DPFE sensor. I unplugged the electric to it and took it for a two mile test drive. Usually the engine light would flash with the loss of power by then. This time nothing happened. The check engine light is still on steady though. I will get to codes read tomorrow if I can.

You may get some additional pending codes from the unplugging of the DPFE. If the misfire only occurs at lower RPMs then it could be the EGR valve being open when it should not be. Again the codes will help.

Dan_J
09-07-2006, 06:30 PM
OK, I just got the codes read. P301 and P304 which I believe are misfires on cylinders 1 and 4. I did plug the DPFE sensor back in before he read the codes and also had that show up (can't remember the code for it at the moment, maybe 1475??). The car has been running good since I unplugged the DPFE so I will definatley change that. My mechanic was on the phone with a parts dealer from Ford. They told him around $110 retail and $75 his cost. I told him I thought I could get it cheaper online. The mechanic also did a test of the EGR valve where he pumped some air into it which made the engine run rough. He told me that if the ports were clogged then it wouldn't have done that. With all the posts here about clogged EGR ports I have a hard time believing that mine wouldn't be with almost 200K on the engine. I think my starting point should be the DPFE sensor and go from there. The hoses leading from the DPFE seem good and still plyable. I have not taken anything apart yet though. He cleared the codes before unplugging the code reader but the CEL started flashing again within a few miles of driving with the DPFE still plugged in.

DRW1000
09-07-2006, 07:24 PM
OK, I just got the codes read. P301 and P304 which I believe are misfires on cylinders 1 and 4. I did plug the DPFE sensor back in before he read the codes and also had that show up (can't remember the code for it at the moment, maybe 1475??). The car has been running good since I unplugged the DPFE so I will definatley change that. My mechanic was on the phone with a parts dealer from Ford. They told him around $110 retail and $75 his cost. I told him I thought I could get it cheaper online. The mechanic also did a test of the EGR valve where he pumped some air into it which made the engine run rough. He told me that if the ports were clogged then it wouldn't have done that. With all the posts here about clogged EGR ports I have a hard time believing that mine wouldn't be with almost 200K on the engine. I think my starting point should be the DPFE sensor and go from there. The hoses leading from the DPFE seem good and still plyable. I have not taken anything apart yet though. He cleared the codes before unplugging the code reader but the CEL started flashing again within a few miles of driving with the DPFE still plugged in.

Definately sounds like the EGR system. I am not that familiar with the 98s but on the 99s the EGR flow goes to 6 individual small ports within the intake. There is one near each intake valve. They clog over time and the ones closest to the EGR clog first. When they clog (or partially clog) it causes excessive flow to the farthest cylinders (yes 1 and 4) . This excessive flow causes misfires in these cylinders.

I don't know if the 98s use the same type ports for the EGR but if so then I think you have found the problem.

Dan_J
09-07-2006, 07:47 PM
I am going to start gathering the parts imediatley. I have been looking for the DPFE. They must have gone up in price quite a bit as the prices I have seen online are right at what the dealer wanted. I tried E-Bay but there is no matching part number available. Does anyone have a good online store for car parts?
Thanks for all the help DRW!

DRW1000
09-07-2006, 09:52 PM
I am going to start gathering the parts imediatley. I have been looking for the DPFE. They must have gone up in price quite a bit as the prices I have seen online are right at what the dealer wanted. I tried E-Bay but there is no matching part number available. Does anyone have a good online store for car parts?
Thanks for all the help DRW!

The code for the DPFE might just be there because you unplugged it and ran the engine. The PCM will retain knowledge of the fault (IE unplugged DPFE )for a while. It cannot really differentiate between a failed DPFE or an unplugged one. If your intake is similar in concept to my 99 then you may only need to clean a bit inside the intake.

drdee1342
09-08-2006, 02:48 AM
to clear the codes in pcm disconnect the battery cable for 10 minutes!!

Doug360
09-08-2006, 08:49 AM
My mechanic was on the phone with a parts dealer from Ford. They told him around $110 retail and $75 his cost. I told him I thought I could get it cheaper online.

I just replaced the DPFE on my 02 Windstar. It was $43.00 from a Dealership. I'm in Canada, and typically our parts prices are higher than the US, so that sounds quite high to me.

DRW1000
09-08-2006, 09:02 AM
I just replaced the DPFE on my 02 Windstar. It was $43.00 from a Dealership. I'm in Canada, and typically our parts prices are higher than the US, so that sounds quite high to me.

That is a great price. I am from Toronto and the quotes I was getting for my DPFE were in the $80 neighbourhood. I ended up reparing mine instead. What dealership did you get it for $43? I find that there is a lot of differences between dealerships. For example I bought a LR ABS sensore from Al Paladinni's in Woodbridge for $40 and Meadowvale Ford quoted me $105.

In any even I am not sure that the origonal poster needs to change his DPFE just yet.

wiswind
09-09-2006, 08:34 AM
The '98 has the individual EGR ports, one for each cylinder.
I have them shown in my '96 3.8L pictures.
They clog right at the end, where the EGR gasses enter the intake and meet the air with the PCV vapors.
For this reason, once you get to them, they are VERY easy to clean.
Try to avoid getting stuff on down into the intake manifold as much as possible.
This is a good time to check the intake for any buildup of tar, such as on the IMR plates.
To get to the EGR ports, you have to remove the upper intake manifold...which is the black nylon molded part.
There are a LOT of vaccum and electrical connections on the back side of the upper intake manifold.
The upper intake manifold gaskets are re-usable.....just be sure to clean the surfaces to remove any dirt or such that would interfere with a good seal.
You do NOT need to remove the lower intake manifold to clean the EGR ports.

DRW1000
09-09-2006, 09:16 AM
Dan J,

It looks like Wiswind has verified that the individual port design is on the 98s too. As a first step I would clean these ports prior to replacing anything.

From the symptoms you have described this may be all that is wrong with your Windstar.

Dan_J
09-10-2006, 03:56 PM
Yep, I am going to clean those ports probably next weekend. I will hold off the the DPFE until I see what happens with the EGR ports. Thanks for all the advice everyone. I will post back to let you know how it went.

Dan_J
09-30-2006, 06:25 PM
Well, I finally got around to cleaning the EGR ports. It sounds like the '98's are a little easier than the later models as the only part I bought was RTV sealant. All the ports were clogged solid except for two. I spent a long time cleaning the manifold and around the ports. Tons of crud everywhere. It took me more time to change the spark plugs than it did to perform the cleaning though. After changing the oil the van started right up although it smoked a ton until the engine cleaner burned off.
The bottom line is (so far) the van runs great. The CEL is still on as I still haven't changed the DPFE.
I owe this forum and a couple others a debt of gratitude for all the information provided. My 98 Winnie has 192,000 miles on it now and runs as good as the day I bought it. I plan on keeping this vehicle until it costs me more in maintenance than a new car payment. I have a 1999 F150 that is just showing the start of a rough idle. I may crack the engine open on that also to check and clean the ports. Unfortunatley the F150 forum isn't as active as this one. I guess that is a good thing in a way.
Thanks again to all. Special thanks to DRW1000 and wiswind. It seems you two are the resident pros on this board.

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