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


jim fay said...

OH boy. 2 years later, you get a comment. I'm having this identical problem and no one can figure out what to do. It has left me stranded about three times in a month. Let me know if you've ever figured it out.

BlueBarry said...

My 2003 Windstar has the intermittent no-start problem.
symptoms: Drive 30 min; go into store for 10; try to start, will not;
Wait 20 minutes; then it starts.
Ford does not know how to fix this???
They just throw another part at it.
I guest I will never get this fixed. This is September 2014.

BlueBarry said...

Oops my prior question did not have my email followup attached.

Bob Davis said...

It was the fuel pump. Hitting the fuel tank did not help. Then after that the next problem was the alternator intermittently overcharging the battery.

Daveyray Schroeder said...

I just started having the exact same problem: The van will turn over indefinitely and not start. 20mins later it will. Then run fine for a week. Then leave me stranded again. I also started with cleaning off all the grounds, and checking the Alternator ( which is only 1 year old anyway) Next, I'll just try replacing the fuel pump. Dont know what else to try.

Darryl S said...

Dang it why no answer? Daveyray did that FIX the thing? I have the same problem here. it usually does this when it has been driven a while. When it does it the engine cranks over but does not start. After it sits for 30 mins or an hour starts right up and runs fine. Just did a tune up with new coil / new plugs and new plug wires plus a new alternator. This is a 2000 Ford Windstar with the 3.8. It might go as long as a month and not do it and then do it two days in a row. Checked fuel pressure at rail and looked good while running and when it was not having a problem but I have not checked been able to check fuel pressure when it was acting up so now I guess that I will haul my fuel pressure gauge around until it decides to act up again. What else could it be but the fuel pump? Must be getting weak but why would it NOT do this while driving down the road only when it has been parked for a while? Other than this problem it is a great vehicle.

Xavier Bush said...

The fuel in the rail is being vaporized due to the coolant not circulating when motor is off pull radiator flush fins and power was Actually condenser as well that should solve problem.

Xavier Bush said...

The fuel in the fuel rail is being vaporized due to the coolant not circulating when motor is off the top of the motor is causing the rail to heat up and since injectors don't spray vapor the Vehicle want star till the fuel Re condense to liquid form. Try removing the radiator and powe,r flushing the coolant fins of all debris build up also do the account condenser as well.

Jim S said...

My 2001 Windstar with 3.8 L engine started having this problem last month. It starts fine when the engine is cold and it runs fine when it starts. However, sometimes when the engine is warmed up (ie after driving to the store, then coming out 5 minutes later, it won't start). It cranks and tries to start, but runs poorly / rough for 30 seconds. I checked the battery, alternator, voltage regulator and all seemed OK. Then I suspected fuel issues. I took it to a mechanic (formerly a Ford Dealership certified mechanic) and he said it was a weak fuel pump. So the fuel pump and fuel filter were replaced. I hope that solves the problem. The Xavier Bush post about fuel vaporizing in the fuel rail when the engine is hot and no coolant is circulating sounds very plausible. I will see if the problem continues even though I have a new fuel pump and filter.

BlueBarry said...

I had the same problem. After replacing fuel pump and filter the hard starting has not recurred. I guess that is the fix.