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02 Windstar Acceleration Stall (wiswind please have a look)

06-15-2009, 11:36 PM
Hi there. Let me first explain what I've had done to my van recently. I have a 02 Windstar LX with about 158000kms on it. I recently had the oil changed, new air filter, new fuel filter, transmission fluid flush and change. Had the brakes done, the s belt replaced, a tune up (plugs and wires, my mech used NGK for this). Van ran fine for a week and then it wouldn't start. Mech came down and gave me a boost and determined that I needed a new alternator. Replaced the alternator with a new one, van was alright for a day (city driving). Next day I took it out and accelerated to highway speeds. Here is what the van does. As soon as you try to accelerate it stalls. It won't restart untill you roll back the key and then start it. It then runs fine but will randomly stall at various speeds. Mech did a wire trace and didn't find anything. So far he is telling me he doesn't know what's causing this problem. I need some help here.. Thanks.

06-16-2009, 08:23 AM

Question -When you lose power does the motor just go off - like you shut it off with the key - or does it stumble like your running out of gas ??


northern piper
06-16-2009, 11:40 AM
The only thing that jumps right to mind is the health of the vacuum system, various tubes as a small crack or break will affect the idle. Second thing, I'm assuming that the spark plug wires were reconnected properly, that the coil pack is solid. Final thing, I've heard about problems when using non-Ford plugs. I haven't experienced this myself as I always use OEM plugs. Lots of people have traced their tails around only to replace new, non-Ford plugs with Ford plugs and problems go right away.

My biggest hmm is the ngk plugs your mechanic used.


06-16-2009, 03:22 PM
Spoke to him today and didn't get much further. I've mentioned it about those ngk plugs, but he insists that it can't be that and that those are the right plugs for that van. Also, the van runs great at idle. Only does this when your driving and reach about 30km - 100km/h. And there is no chugging. Engine just shuts off as if I turned it off. It's 4:30 here right now and he said to me this morning at 10:30am that they were close to fixing the problem and that I should have my van back today. We shall see. I'll update as I get more info, and appreciated any more suggestions or advice on this issue. Thanks.

06-16-2009, 06:57 PM
I'm agreeing that it can be a vacuum leak. It's a common cause on these engines, and cause this problem. Your mechanic can check the vacuum pressure to see.

Your don't have the check engine light on?
If not, It's harder to find problems. That's the problem when a battery discharge.

06-16-2009, 09:31 PM
Never did get a call back from the mech. I didn't think it would be ready for me today. When I talk to him tomorrow, I'll mention the vacum leak idea. Although he's done a lot of work for family members and such he's one of those stubborn type of mechs. For example. I tell him it might be the ngk plugs, his response, can't be. He'll probably say the same thing about the vacuum idea.. lol. Anyways, thanks for the help.. Any more info is still much appreciated and I'll update tomorrow after I speak with him.

northern piper
06-17-2009, 06:54 AM
how did it run before the new plugs were in? Do you still have them? If so, just for a giggle, put them back in. Do a search here about problems with non-oem plugs and you'll see lots of complaints. While the non-oem plugs are supposedly equivalent or better, oem is seemingly important when it comes to ford windstar plugs. Tell your mechanic to prove you wrong maybe?

06-17-2009, 08:06 AM
Remove one plugs and see the color of the iridium electrode. If it's black coated, it may be this plugs type that is not good for this engine. Then ask your mechanic to put back the old plugs.

But a lot of things can also cause this problem.

06-17-2009, 08:06 AM
While your problem certainly may be related to the spark plugs and vacuum issues - my money would be on something electrical. Possibly something with the PCM.

You don't say why you got the car serviced in the 1st place. I'll assume that since you didn't mention any specific problem - it was for routine maintenance. Was there another reason perhaps ??

Furthermore- I really don't like the sound of you needing a new alternator within a week of your vehicle having major service. It may just be coincidence - but it is easy to disrupt connectors and pinch wires within the restricted confines of the Windstar engine compartment.

If your mechanic is unable to come up with a solution - I would seek out a tech center that has state of the art diagnostic equipment and pay for the diagnostic. It will save time and money in the long run.

06-17-2009, 11:51 AM
>Engine just shuts off as if I turned it off.

Honestly, I doubt it's the spark plugs, or the vacuum. I've been using non-Ford plugs for at least 150,000 miles (not kms) with no problem related to the plugs. However, that said changing them back isn't going to hurt. (except when changing that #1 plug, which hurts your arm to change!)

Because it stops dead, like the key was turned off, I'd want to confirm that the electronics are all working fine, as the mechanic seems to be doing. Are there any signs that it's losing electical, such as instrument panel beeping? Also, I wonder if the symptom requires a load on the engine, and does it happen at all speeds (hard acceleration from a stop vs hard acceleration to pass). My guess is that a connector has been disturbed and is fine at normal conditions, but loses contact when the engine twists on it's mounts, vibrations take over, or some other gremlin-like issue. I'd try gently tugging on any wire on the engine to see if i could make it happen while idling and parked.

This might be seem stupid, but have him make sure the battery terminals are tight and the alternator connection to the battery is tight. Since that's where he worked last, maybe that's the cause. It's important to have tight connections here because the battery helps to smooth out the voltage to the electronics. Bad battery connections would make it stall out, just like it was turned off.

06-17-2009, 12:12 PM
Thanks for the info. I know it doesn't sound right that it needs a new alternator after having work done too it. But I've had problems with my alternator over the years and my mech said it was just a coincidence that it went out a week later. The original reason I had brought the van in was to have the brakes done and a tune-up. That's it. Van worked fine after that for a week. City, highway, fast slow etc... But then that one morning I went to start the van and it had a hard time starting. Brought the kids to school and started the van and it had a harder time starting. Went to the store, came out about 10mins later and van wouldn't start. Call the mech, he came down and gave me a boost. Got it too his shop and he hooked up the voltage meter to the batery and it only showed around 7ish or so and the number was droping fast. So he put in a new alternator that day. Brought it home, did some city driving. Next day, city driving ok, got it out on the highway and that's when the problem started. I'll be calling him soon and I'll give an update then. Thanks for the advice and info.

06-17-2009, 01:57 PM
Yes, it can be an electrical issue. When the mechanic has removed everything and put in place, maybe a connector was not tied properly and cause bad contact. Maybe a contact is rusted or dirty. It's very often in car.

I don't think it's the battery or alternator connection. It's more likely a sensor (MAF, MAP, IAT...) connector.

Try something, put in park with A/C, then rev up at 4000rpm or more with a lot of gas. If it shut off suddenly at high rpm, it's electrical. High vibration can cause that.

06-19-2009, 06:55 AM
Update. Well Both my mech and the ford mech have gone over the van bumper to bumper and everything is in order. There conclusion is that the powertrain control module (the computer) is damaged. They've found me a used one and are putting it in today. Crossing my fingers that this works. Thanks for all the help.

06-19-2009, 08:44 AM
That's possible. Running with a damaged alternator often causes the PCM to fail.

06-19-2009, 10:15 PM
Well Mech called today. Said they've replaced and programmed the PCM and the problem is gone. I get the van tomorrow morning. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.

northern piper
06-20-2009, 07:47 AM
i hope so too! keep us updated on this!


06-21-2009, 09:53 AM
Got the van back yesterday. So far so good. It's running great. I'm glad that my mech was finally able to figure out that the pcm needed to be replaced. I can't wait to see my bill :(. Thanks to everyone for all the help on this issue. I consider it closed now. Thanks again.

06-21-2009, 10:04 AM
Normally, he should charge you only for the PCM replacement.
It's not honest if he charges you 6 hours of labor for making a diagnosis. It's against the law anyway.

06-21-2009, 04:05 PM
Sorry that I did not respond sooner.....I have been away for the past week.
If the problem comes back...(hopefully it is soved).....have them monitor the fuel pressure to see if your fuel pump (or power to it) is getting intermittent.
This can also cause what you have seen.

I agree that the spark plugs would not cause this problem.
The plugs that I have seen people post that gave them problems are the multi-pronged Bosch plugs.....which seem to not be so good in the windstar application.
Even those plugs would be super unlikely to cause the problem you had.

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