Monday, October 24, 2011

Ford Windstar Intermittent starting problem

My van has been having issues starting for a few weeks. Then it left me sit, fortunately at home, but the battery ran down while I was trying to start it.  Even with a battery charger it would still not start.  Someone told me to change the gas filter so I did that.  When changing the filter I noticed that there was no fuel pressure so someone told me to change the fuel pump relay.  That did not fix the problem either. 

Then I got out the manuals and started finding out how the van fuel system works. When you turn the key it turns on the fuel pump or 1 to 2 seconds to prime the system. Soon I discovered that if you listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key you can easily hear it running.  If the fuel pump is running then the van will start and runs just fine.  So next I put a meter on the safety switch that is in the back of the van that is wired up in series with the pump.  It is connected just before power goes down to the pump.  According to the meter there was no power there so I thought that the problem was not the pump.  After another week of fiddling with the van I discovered that connecting a beeper to check for power to the pump was a better solution.  Once I installed a beeper I could tell that the fuel pump was always getting power, but it was not always running, so the problem was the fuel pump.

Along the way I redid all of the ground connections in the engine compartment.  Here are the left side grounds. The PCM ground is behind the silver part of the AC system. I added star washers to all of the grounds.

Ford Windstar Grounds

Here are the grounds on the right side. The battery ground was hidden under the plastic until I cut it away. It was in bad shape and I thought I had found the problem, but it did not help at all.

Ford Windstar Grounds
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