Cold starting in general and runs rough when cold starting


searcherrr
12-06-2006, 01:54 AM
Lately it has gotten colder than usual down here (South Louisiana; freezing temps to 40's) and I've noticed my 1995 3.8L Windstar starts up pretty rough and seems as though its struggling to get started. Eventually after sitting at idle this smooths out to a tolerable idle, but every now and then there is some rough idle like when I'm at a stop light. In any case besides "the cold" what about the cold causes the rough starts? Is there a way for me to improve start-up? What can I do?

phil-l
12-07-2006, 09:07 AM
Hmmm - no one else yet?

I'll take a shot.

Let's start with the basics: Are all tune-up items up-to-date? Spark plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter can all be culprits here.

The IAC can cause idle problems - it's easy to clean or replace.

wiswind
12-07-2006, 09:30 AM
One thing that I have found helps starting....
Turn the key to the ON position, wait a second or so for the fuel pump to bring the fuel system up to pressure.
Then turn the key to the START position.

I will second the tune up items that Phil mentioned.
Moisture in the ignition system could be causing you problems.
If the spark plug wires are original....certainly replace them.
There are also some less than good aftermarket replacement wires out there.
I had a friend at work have rough running issues with his cavalier, and after 6 months of him asking me and others......he tried a lot of things.....and found that the Taylor brand of high performance spark plug wires was the cause.

This is how my friend found his problem.
When it was dark outside.....he lifted the hood while the engine was running, and saw the sparks coming off of his spark plug wires.

Also take a look around the ignition coil pack for sparking in the darkness.

If all the tune up items are in order......you might try putting a can of Berryman's B-12 Chemtool cleaner into a tank of gasoline to clean up the fuel injectors.

If none of that works out....and you are not getting any CEL to lead you to codes that can help you, then I would start to suspect the fuel delivery, fuel pump, CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module, which contains the fuel pump relay), of course the fuel filter would be in the tuneup list.
There is also a "sock filter" that is part of the fuel pump assembly....on the fuel pickup in the gas tank.

phil-l
12-07-2006, 09:57 PM
Regarding spark plugs: Windstars use double platinum plugs (i.e., a platinum nub on *both* the center electrode and ground electrode) because of their shared-coil, waste-spark ignition system. Personally, I favor Autolite or Motorcraft. FWIW, I've not been impressed with Bosch plugs.

Regarding wires: As I've gotten older, I've decided it's not worth it to figure out which aftermarket wires work well. When I replaced the wires in my Contour, I discovered that AutoZone would order Motorcraft wires - for only a few bucks more than the aftermarket wires they had on the shelf. I went with Motorcraft - and will probably do the same when it comes time to replace my Windstar's wires.

searcherrr
12-08-2006, 02:50 PM
Hmmm - no one else yet?

I'll take a shot.

Let's start with the basics: Are all tune-up items up-to-date? Spark plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter can all be culprits here.

The IAC can cause idle problems - it's easy to clean or replace.

All the tune up stuff is already done pretty recent. I had thought about the IAC cause I had trouble with that on my 3000GT too. If it gets worse thats where I'll look.

searcherrr
12-08-2006, 03:00 PM
One thing that I have found helps starting....
Turn the key to the ON position, wait a second or so for the fuel pump to bring the fuel system up to pressure.
Then turn the key to the START position.

I will second the tune up items that Phil mentioned.
Moisture in the ignition system could be causing you problems.
If the spark plug wires are original....certainly replace them.
There are also some less than good aftermarket replacement wires out there.
I had a friend at work have rough running issues with his cavalier, and after 6 months of him asking me and others......he tried a lot of things.....and found that the Taylor brand of high performance spark plug wires was the cause.

This is how my friend found his problem.
When it was dark outside.....he lifted the hood while the engine was running, and saw the sparks coming off of his spark plug wires.

Also take a look around the ignition coil pack for sparking in the darkness.

If all the tune up items are in order......you might try putting a can of Berryman's B-12 Chemtool cleaner into a tank of gasoline to clean up the fuel injectors.

If none of that works out....and you are not getting any CEL to lead you to codes that can help you, then I would start to suspect the fuel delivery, fuel pump, CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module, which contains the fuel pump relay), of course the fuel filter would be in the tuneup list.
There is also a "sock filter" that is part of the fuel pump assembly....on the fuel pickup in the gas tank.

Sparking under the hood in the dark. I should've remembered that from my 3000GT troubleshooting. Fuel injectors have been recently professionally cleaned and they were informed it was probably the only time it was ever done in 150k miles as they were adamant about asking that.

As far as the fuel pump, CCRM, & fuel pump relay go these are good items to keep in mind. Thank ya'll !

BTW - Can anyone explain what a relay is? What it does? Why they go bad? Where is the CCRM?

searcherrr
12-08-2006, 03:10 PM
Regarding spark plugs: Windstars use double platinum plugs (i.e., a platinum nub on *both* the center electrode and ground electrode) because of their shared-coil, waste-spark ignition system. Personally, I favor Autolite or Motorcraft. FWIW, I've not been impressed with Bosch plugs.

Regarding wires: As I've gotten older, I've decided it's not worth it to figure out which aftermarket wires work well. When I replaced the wires in my Contour, I discovered that AutoZone would order Motorcraft wires - for only a few bucks more than the aftermarket wires they had on the shelf. I went with Motorcraft - and will probably do the same when it comes time to replace my Windstar's wires.

The "trusted" shop I take it to did the plugs and wires and all the other tune-up items you mentioned. I don't know what they are, but I do know my rough idling has only started when the COLD started. I'm just a lil worried because I'm about to move up North and I don't want this to worsen when I get there.

Yeah, as we get older our way of thinking changes aye? LOL - You are right though. Unless you plan on becoming an engine specialist for some big company or running your own show to fix and build engines etc.. whats the point in experimenting when you just need the one that you already KNOW works? I suppose $$$ is a reason and helping other people too, but lets face it sometimes we can afford a couple extra bucks (not a lot more; a couple) and sometimes we only have time to just get it fixed for ourselves. As much as I love helping others on forums like these and getting help from others as well it does take up a LOOOOOOOT of extra time I could be spending under the hood or enjoying some other facet of life. :) Balance Grasshopper. In any case if no one is understanding my rant here, I just want to offer a big THANK YOU to anyone who takes the time to respond to my questions, because one's time is the most precious gift one can give.

wiswind
12-08-2006, 10:58 PM
I posted pictures of my CCRM and it's replacement.
In my case....it was a radiator fan issue.
The CCRM is located in front of the battery.....on the battery side of the radiator support..... My pictures are better than my words......

The CCRM contains relays for the Fuel pump, A/C compressor, Radiator Fan High Speed, and Radiator Fan Low Speed.
The PCM sends the signals to the CCRM, and the CCRM relays switch the higher current circuits.

A side note.....the radiator low speed fan circuit passes through a resistor....which is on the passenger side.....behind the headlight......again.....my pictures show it better than I can tell it.

I am not sure what year that they stopped using the CCRM......but I have it in my '96, and I'm sure you have it in your '95.
I am pretty sure that it was gone in '99

LeSabre97mint
12-08-2006, 11:34 PM
searcherrr

"BTW - Can anyone explain what a relay is? What it does? Why they go bad?"

A relay is most of the time a electrical/mechanical switch that uses a low about of current to turn on a greater amount. The small amount of current powers an electrical magnet that pulls down a metal tab that has electrical contacts connected to it. The contacts close an current flows through the contacts.

Relays fail because of two reasons. The contacts get warn out and do not make contact any more. The second reason is that the electrical magnet coil fails and there isn't any thing to close the points.

I hope this helps. I bet you could get a picture if you search the internet.

Regards

Dan

searcherrr
12-09-2006, 01:39 PM
You guys are great. Thanks.

Is a CCRM a factory item only?

Not that I'm a fan of blindly replacing parts, but it sounds to me like this thing would be worn out by now anyway at 150k plus miles. I know the van has some moisture corrosion interference on other electrical connections OR that the contacts have just worn. IE: Auto door locking/unlocking and the rear window panels. I took apart the rear driver panel before only to find that my problem was the switch up front. Its odd because sometimes the switch will work for it and other times not. There is also a considerable amount of rust underneath especially in the back.

Another silly question: TSB - Technical Service Bulletins - I find those words interesting as to me nearly everything covered in one represents something that should be recalled or fixed at the dealer's cost. What exactly is the difference between a TSB and a Recall? Are TSBs just a general guide to periodic "likely needed" maintenance?

wiswind
12-09-2006, 07:15 PM
CCRM is a dealer only item.....
I would get a new one.....and not one from a junk yard....as the new ones have better sealed relays.

A TSB is a Technical Service Bulletin. It is a service note to help the mechanics get to the root cause of a customer concern.......or a troublshooting procedure, or telling of special tools needed, what new parts have come out to replace older parts.....etc.
Also, a couple of recent TSB's from FORD that may be of interest to us......
1. They now recommend 5W-20 oil for all years
2. They now specify that Mercon V is to be used in all years.....even those years that former TSB's said not to.

A TSB is NOT a free service.......it is repair information.

A Recall is Free service.....and is where they have found out about a potential failure, that action needs to be taken to correct.
It might be that a wire harness can rub through....and to reposition it, or that something may rust out....and to inspect it......and replace if needed......etc.
Some recalls.....such as safety recalls require that they notify you to bring the vehicle in for inspection and / or service.
Some recalls are inspect upon servicing......such as......when you bring your vehicle in for service.....they are supposed to enter your VIN into their computer.....and all recalls that would be relevant to your vehicle should come up.

searcherrr
12-11-2006, 12:42 AM
CCRM is a dealer only item.....
I would get a new one.....and not one from a junk yard....as the new ones have better sealed relays.

A TSB is a Technical Service Bulletin. It is a service note to help the mechanics get to the root cause of a customer concern.......or a troublshooting procedure, or telling of special tools needed, what new parts have come out to replace older parts.....etc.
Also, a couple of recent TSB's from FORD that may be of interest to us......
1. They now recommend 5W-20 oil for all years
2. They now specify that Mercon V is to be used in all years.....even those years that former TSB's said not to.

A TSB is NOT a free service.......it is repair information.

A Recall is Free service.....and is where they have found out about a potential failure, that action needs to be taken to correct.
It might be that a wire harness can rub through....and to reposition it, or that something may rust out....and to inspect it......and replace if needed......etc.
Some recalls.....such as safety recalls require that they notify you to bring the vehicle in for inspection and / or service.
Some recalls are inspect upon servicing......such as......when you bring your vehicle in for service.....they are supposed to enter your VIN into their computer.....and all recalls that would be relevant to your vehicle should come up.

Awesome information. Thank you for the clarity. I have compiled ALL perorder information for the TSBs for my 1995 3.8L Ford Windstar into a PDF direct from the NHTSA web site. I'm thinking of emailing them and sending the PDF in for a quote on how much they'd charge to send me all those. I think their web site should have a quote function built-in, but instead it just goes straight to an "order" for those said TSBs. Kinda poopy.

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