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Old 11-08-2018, 12:01 AM   #1
Renaissance_Man
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Need the Help and Advice of the Group

Greetings to all,


I need your help with a couple of issues facing me with my '02 Windstar.


First of all, I seem to have a periodic miss in the 1, 3 and 4 cylinders. Since I bought this vehicle used from a fellow who only did a minimum amount of maintenance, I'm surprised this hasn't been a problem before.


My question though has to do with choosing the kind of plugs and wires I will buy to replace those currently in use. I have a choice to buy 'standard' plugs and wires, or to buy so-called 'high performance' equivalents. Frankly, I don't know which to choose. I am planning on keeping my Windstar for a while, but I don't know just how much better its engine will perform with high performance parts. In fact, I don't know what makes high performance plug wires high performance. The high performance plugs feature Iridium tips, so they should last longer than conventional plugs. Getting them makes sense, especially considering what a colossal PITA it's likely to be changing them out in the cylinders on the backside of the engine (don't want to have to that twice). Any serious words of advice you'd care to offer will be seriously considered,and (as always) greatly appreciated!


The second issue I'm facing became apparent now that cold weather has arrived. For reasons not yet determined, the heating system doesn't seem to be (heating). This wasn't an issue last winter. The temperature gauge shows the coolant cold to start, but then warming up to normal temps in the usual amount of time. I have not seen any sign of a coolant leak inside the vehicle, or outside for that matter. What I would like assistance with is what needs to be done to perform a differential diagnosis to discover why I have no/minimal heat.


While I'm thinking about it, there is a third matter I'd like your thoughts on. When my Windstar is running, I hear a sound, very similar to the sound a turn signal makes when its activated (hope that makes sense). It isn't a turn signal accidentally left on, and it doesn't change one bit with acceleration, although, occasionally, the 'ticking' vanishes, only to return. Any ideas or thought as to just what in the Seven Hells could be causing this? Is it something that I should seriously look into, or just some delightful nuisance unique to Windstars?


I am looking forward to some sage advice from those of you who know about the love/hate relationship we call the Windstar!


Many thanks in advance!
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:27 PM   #2
wiswind
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

The correct spark plug is double platinum...
AutoLite APP105 is OE design with OE half thread
AutoLite APP765 is OE design but with full thread
How important the thread is, I don't know....I suspect either plug is fine.
This information is from the Rockauto website.
It IS important to get the correct double platinum plug.
Stay away from any multiprong or performance plugs as they can cause problems.
Sticking with OE design is important.

Coil packs are a common fail item for the problem that you are having.
The coil pack is a block that contains the 3 coils, follow the spark plug wires, usually up on the driver's side near the windshield.

No heat is often caused by a issue with the electric motor/nylon gears that drive the "blend door" that moves to permit more or less hot air to mix into the air flow.

The ticking sound you mention last, could be from the nylon gears of the blend door actuator skipping as the electric motor turns, trying to move the blend door.

The pictures that I have are from my 1996 windstar, It did not have the electric motor method of moving the blend door.

Many have removed the trim panels below the windshield in order to reach the rear spark plugs.
I would drive mine up on ramps and reach up from under the vehicle.
Plug wires would also be a good idea at this age of the vehicle if they are original.
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1996 3.8L Windstar
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/4157486...781661/detail/
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Old 11-11-2018, 02:59 PM   #3
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

It can be confusing. I just replaced plugs and went with ACDelco #41-950 because Advance Auto listed it for my '99 3.8 and said it was "double platinum", however the boxes the plugs came in make no mention of "double". ?? It runs fine, but for how long!

Does your '02 use the "wasted spark" ignition pack set up such as mine? (Did the later Windstars get coil-on-plug configurations? I don't know.) If you have the ignition set-up my '99 has, then "yes", insist on the double (tip and base) plated plugs.

Take note of the low torque required for plugs ....90 in-lbs or so. That ain't much!

I have always removed windschield cowling to access rear of engine. I rather work "down" than "up". YMMV.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:37 PM   #4
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

I thank both of you for responding to my call for help. I can't tell you why it didn't occur to me before to replace the coil pack, but thanks for the reminder. I've got it costed in and added onto 'the list'. Likewise, I'm pleased to learn that double platinum plugs are the correct choice since they're quite a bit less than their iridium tipped brethern. Holy cow, 12 Pack only 90 INCH-POUNDS of torque? That IS low! I'm going to need to take off my shoes and socks to do the 'goesintas' to convert ft-lbs to inch-pounds, but I've done it before, so it's not gonna be a great biggie.
I also appreciate your insight into the 'most likely culprit' depriving me of heat, wiswind. I'll need to review how to replace the Heater Blend Door Actuator since I've never done that on this vehicle, but except for being shoe-horned up under the dash, I don't foresee any major issues.
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:46 AM   #5
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

That was my GUESS! Check the literature for your particular engine, but I don't think I have ever seen over 20 foot lbs recommended for plugs.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

To change plugs, I go one further and remove the upper intake manifold as well as the cowling. I have a '96, which doesn't have the clam-shell upper intake/plenum assembly. It not only makes access to the rear plugs 100% easier, but it gives me a chance to check for clogs in the EGR ports in the lower intake manifold. Clogged EGR ports can also cause misfire issues. They can be easily cleared with a vacuum cleaner and a small (~1/4") drill bit.

If you have the rear (auxiliary) heating option, check for heat from the vents in the rear. If you have heat in one and not the other but air flow to both, then you clearly have an issue with the blend mechanism.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: Need the Help and Advice of the Group

The reason for double platinum spakr plugs is that the spark on one side of the engine is positive polarity and Negative on the other.
This will mean that the center electrode will wear faster on 1 side of the engine and the ground tab will wear faster on the other.
Double platinum means that the platinum enhancement is on both the center point and the ground tab. Usually you can see the flat pad on the ground tab.
THIS will ensure that the plugs will wear evenly on both sides of the motor.
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Links to my pictures, intended as an aid, not a replacement for, a good repair manual.
1996 3.8L Windstar
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4157486...092975/detail/
2003 Toyota Sienna pictures (not much there yet)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4157486...781661/detail/
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