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2000 Windstar - keeps dying

01-30-2007, 11:11 AM
I just found this website and I am so excited! My 2000 Windstar began shutting down in the middle of the road (anywhere) while I was driving speeds about 35 to 45 m.p.h. This started about 6 weeks ago out of the blue. The first 2 times, I didn't notice any lights come on the dashboard, but the third time and on, the battery light flashes and then the engine shuts down. My mechanic took it to a Ford dealer and they did the diagnostic stuff, but couldn't find anything. Between the dealer and the mechanic, they decided they should try to switch out the fuel pump. $550 later, it's still doing the same thing. I am afraid to drive it! Just yesterday, going through an intersection, the battery light came on steady and the I was able to pull over before it shut down completely. The van does start again immediately and I am told this is making it hard for them to figure out. Has anyone had this happen? And can anyone offer suggestions as it what might be happening? Thanks!

01-30-2007, 06:12 PM
The fact that the battery light is coming on make me wonder if you notice the headlights or dash lights dim when this happens.

You could try (most likely already tried) checking all the battery cable connections (remove and clean even if they look perfect), including the ground connection to the chasis and engine block.
Give the alternator connections a very good looking at.

If the battery is is on borrowed time.....but I hate to tell you to just throw parts at it if it is not the original....
Batteries can find strange ways to die......

Otherwise....something could be intermittently sucking a lot of power......which would be tough to track down.

Someone with a 1999-2001 may be able to point you toward a known rub point for a wire harness or such.

Most things that come to my mind should blow a fuse before loading down the whole system......which is why I mention a wire harness rub point.
There were a couple of TSBs for my '96 along those lines, but I don't have TSBs for the newer windstars.

01-30-2007, 10:07 PM
I'd echo what wiswind said about checking the alternator connections very carefully, even to the extent of removing, cleaning and reconnecting them, and I would do that for all connections associated with the alternator, rectifier, voltage regulator and battery (the rectifier may be internal to the alternator and hence not accessible). Don't reassemble them in a dry state - smear them with a protective compound first. Here in the UK, I use something called petroleum jelly, trade name Vaseline, available from any pharmacy but if that doesn't sound familiar then use whatever compound you would commonly use over there to protect battery terminals.

I don't know anything about Windstars but my instincts as an electronics engineer would make me suspect a bad connection somewhere amongst those items, or an intermittent short-circuit either in one of the diodes within the rectifier pack, or in one of the semiconductors within the voltage regulator assembly.

The alternator generates an alternating current (AC) which the rectifier pack then converts to direct current (DC), and the voltage regulator is responsible for ensuring that that current is fed to the battery at the correct voltage level. The charge indicator warning lamp on the dashboard will be configured in different ways depending on the particular vehicle, but essentially they all indicate the same thing - when the voltage at the battery exceeds that at the regulator (battery discharging) the lamp will light, and conversely, when the voltage at the regulator exceeds that at the battery (battery now charging) the indicator will extinguish.

In the event of a momentary short-circuit within the rectifier or voltage regulator, the voltage output could drop dramatically and therefore the charge indicator lamp would light. For the duration of the short-circuit, current would flow from the battery through the short-circuit path, and the voltage at the battery could dip dramatically, very briefly, for the duration of the event, and with the complex and sensitive nature of the myriad electronic modules which control today's engines, that brief voltage drop might just be enough to cause a glitch (momentary malfunction) in one of the control modules and stop the engine from running.

That's only hypothesis, but for what it's worth, I'd definitely look first in the direction of the alternator and its associated components and wiring.

02-12-2007, 09:55 PM
These symptoms happened to my 99 work truck w/3.8. Turned out to be a dead alternator.

02-13-2007, 02:36 PM
Curious thing about Fords, both the alternator and battery must be in top condition for them to run.

If you can afford to have the van out of service for a while pull the alternator and battery and take them to your local auto parts store. Most will test them for free and give you an honest recommendation regarding keeping or replacing one or both.

good luck.

02-13-2007, 04:13 PM
In addition to the above (excellent) posts, I will repeat my offering .... replace the "PCM power relay" and the "fuel pump relay" ... (with new ones) ... will cost you less than $20, and put relays out of the picture at once.

02-13-2007, 04:50 PM
Many auto part stores will do a in-vehicle electrical system check for free.
They will also check for OBDII codes for free.
Of course, If they come up with P0171 and or P0174, don't go for the oxygen sensors that they often recommend, as these are almost never caused by oxygen sensors, but are almost always caused by vaccum leaks.
In that case, read the sticky post about the TSB for these codes.

The relays that 12ounce mentions come up very often on the 1999 and newer windstars.

These 3 things, will cover a lot of ground for $20. (I love the cheap and easy).

After that.....I would ask about the regular tune up list of if it has been a while since a tune up, that would be a good investment.
A good tune up normally includes a lot of system checks as well as parts.

02-16-2007, 12:43 AM
you might want to check the fusable link....I had one that was broken inside the insulation and was making contact most of the time..just wiggle it when the engine is running, if it dies you have found the problem....if not you have eliminated it and did not spend a's a win-win situation

02-16-2007, 02:43 PM
Ok! I have been through the same problem with my 1999 Windstar. It started just like what you have been experiancing. Anyway, after several months ( Almost year later) worth of throubleshooting of the problem, it turned out to be an "Engine idle control Valve (IAC) problem. I replaced it (Cost $104.00) and problem has been resolved since. High carbon deposits causes the IAC valve to get stuck which creates the problem of engine dying at low RPM, you normally experiance this at STOP signs and Red light. Also, replacing valve takes only 5 minutes, don't let delear change it , they will charge you arm and leg, it takes only to remove 2 bolts on the TOP and and one electrical connector.

Good luck!:licka:

06-12-2011, 11:54 PM
Having the same problem I just changed fuel pump and filter. and it still does it.
and I have also got new bat and new alternator.
I m really hating this van I don't feel safe I hardly drive it anymore.

06-14-2011, 03:41 AM
con2001 I will recommend you to check Idle air control vale (IACV). Here you can read how to clean it, check it or just change it:


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