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-   -   Engine Slowly Loses Power and Dies While Driving (http://www.diychatroom.com/f46/engine-slowly-loses-power-dies-while-driving-5788/)

slickshift 01-07-2007 01:14 PM

Engine Slowly Loses Power and Dies While Driving
 
1999 Ford Windstar Cargo Van 3.8 Auto w/ 142K

Van died on highway w/no warning lights
Slowly lost power until engine shut off
Attempted re-start
Hard starts (stumbling) and dies until finally one of them “took” and van idles smooth
Was able to get ¼ mile until engine dies again
Did this numerous times
Same deal until at one point it seemed to run fine and I babied it to my destination
It had seemed the problem went away

Next morning, after checking for vac. leaks, etc., and a short drive with no problems, it did it again
After a few hard starts, it ran well enough to get to a service station

They found no codes, they found no vac leaks, or electrical problems, but the fuel pressure was “lower than it should be”
They replaced a rusty fuel filter and were confident that was the culprit

I was able to drive a few states back to my home with no problems
Well, close
It did it again a few miles from home
I let it sit a while, and was able to restart and slowly got up to speed on the highway and get the last 15 miles or so w/o problems
But this time it lit up the MIL so now back home I did my own tests

I retrieved a PO171 code (bank 1 reading lean)
That is the only code

I was able to duplicate the problem by running the engine up to 4K and holding it
While monitoring the Short Term Fuel Trim during the duplication, at 4K when the engine would stumble, the STFT would bounce down to around -20% (bouncing up and down extremely rapidly between 0 and -20%)

The fuel pressure test:
KOEO should be (as per AllData) 240-310 kPa
I’ve got 280kPa
KOER should be 210 - 310 kPa
I’ve got 220 at idle
200 at 3K RPM
At 4K RPM it seems up to 220 kPa, but when the stumbling starts, the pressure slowly drops, along with the RPMs, until both are 0 and the engine dies
After dying the FP goes back up to 240 and stays there, for quite a long time after the key is removed
It immediately goes back up to 280 if the key is put back to the “On” position

It seems to me to be a fuel delivery problem, but usually (in my experience) when the fuel pump goes, it dies
There’s no intermittent or RPM related problems

Any tips, tricks, suggestions, or solutions would be appreciated
Thank You

trollmastergeneral 01-07-2007 01:50 PM

I would say it is in the fuel system.you have obd II for your van because it is a 99.If you had a misfire you should have codes for the misfire.Runing lean on your o2 is also pointing at your fuel pump.Your have a rev limiter which is probaly droping out at 4000 rpms.no codes are usualy found with fuel presure problems.what you need to do is replace the fuel filter and do a fuel presure check and then a volume test.If you wonder why a heating guy knows this it is because I own a auto repaier shop that my wife runs.

slickshift 01-07-2007 02:52 PM

Thanks for the reply

It is a new fuel filter
Quote:

Originally Posted by slickshift (Post 29244)
...a service station...replaced a rusty fuel filter and were confident that was the culprit

And the fuel pressure test was my own, after the new fuel filter was put on
Quote:

Originally Posted by slickshift (Post 29244)
The fuel pressure test:
KOEO should be (as per AllData) 240-310 kPa
I’ve got 280kPa
KOER should be 210 - 310 kPa
I’ve got 220 at idle
200 at 3K RPM
At 4K RPM it seems up to 220 kPa, but when the stumbling starts, the pressure slowly drops, along with the RPMs, until both are 0 and the engine dies
After dying the FP goes back up to 240 and stays there, for quite a long time after the key is removed
It immediately goes back up to 280 if the key is put back to the “On” position

As far as I know, the Rev Limiter is not supposed to kick in @ 4K RPMs
(I thought is was around 5200)

I don't know how to do a fuel volume test
Haven't run across that yet

Rehabber 01-07-2007 03:15 PM

The problem is almost certainly a lack of fuel delivery. If the fuel filter that was replaced was completely clogged, the amp draw to the fuel pump goes way up. Most likely damaging the fuel pump and/or fuel pump relay. I would change the relay first and see what happens

slickshift 01-07-2007 07:03 PM

Thanks Rehabber

I believe I have a test for the relay around here somewhere

The pump would need the tank dropped and a $200+ part, so I hope that's not it

trollmastergeneral 01-07-2007 08:22 PM

There are several relays in with the fuel pump relay you can just swap it with another relay.A flow test is done by measuring how much fuel is filling a container in a certain amount of time.I am not sure what that would be but you can find it on mitchel on demand.The flow test could be done with most fuel presure guages.

RICHIE K 01-08-2007 05:20 AM

Could be the timing belt

slickshift 01-08-2007 08:15 AM

It doesn't die at 4K now, just stumbles
That could be because it's cold (it never died cold)

I switched the relay with the horn relay, and still got the stumble @ 4K

I hooked up the pressure gauge release valve to drain into a mason jar
I cranked and ran it (it ran) for 15 sec. and got 3 oz. fuel

Alldata says the flow should be 21 lbs. per hour-not sure how to translate that

slickshift 01-08-2007 02:32 PM

I decided to change out the fuel pump
I dropped the tank and pulled out the housing
Opened up the housing to get the actual pump out, and it's loaded with this white crystal stuff-looks like sugar!

:mad:

It couldn't be...could it?

slickshift 01-08-2007 04:15 PM

Oh man, that stuff is in the tank too
I can't tell how bad, I really can't see that far in there
But there's a few tablespoonfuls I can see near the opening

How do I clean that out?
Because of the shape, I'll never be able to pour it out, or shake it out
...not gonna happen

trollmastergeneral 01-08-2007 06:32 PM

Oh no who did you make mad.do rember if you have comp on your insurance they will cover the repair.

slickshift 01-08-2007 08:55 PM

I really am a nice guy
Lol

I'm not sure about the ins., I just switched and don't have all the paperwork yet
Thanks for the tip though
I guess that would be considered vandalism as opposed to a mech. problem

Rehabber 01-09-2007 10:29 AM

Take some of the crystals and put them in a little hot water to see if they dissolve. If they do, I would have the gas tank steam cleaned to get out all remaining particles. When this is all done you might check out locking gas caps.:whistling2:

KUIPORNG 01-09-2007 02:04 PM

I trade in my Windstar when it is only 45,000 Km.... as it requires major repair at its 5000 km... which scare the hell out of me...

slickshift 01-10-2007 06:33 AM

I dried some of the stuff
It dissolved immediately in warm water

Well, the tank was mostly off anyway, to gain access to the top
So I removed it the rest of the way
Which was a bit of a task, as it still had almost 10 gal. of fuel in it

I slid it out on a creeper as far as I could (small garage-not much room), then tilted and dragged it to a hand truck, and took it around back

Set it on some milk crates (for height), and drained and siphoned most of the fuel into a container
Eventually using a small hand pump for the last bits

I scraped out what I could, with the small hand pump getting a fair amount of it

I then took a bucket of hot water and poured it in there
I swished it around as well as I could-which was pretty funny as this tank is pretty big, I'm sure it looked like I was dancing with this thing

I then hand pumped that mixture out, and didn't find any grains when pumping
I wiped out what I could and let it dry a bit

I then dumped some fresh gas in, swished that around, and hand pumped that out
Wiped what I could of the inside and let that dry for a bit

I couldn't find any grains even by reaching in and feeling around, so I figured that was as good as it gets, and re-installed it

I put a bottle of drygas in, then some gas, tested for leaks-couldn't get pressure, another bottle of drygas, and then some more gasoline
Eventually I dropped the rear off the jack stands, got it to run and had good solid pressure

I still get a stumble @ 4K....maybe that is a Rev Limiter
Either that or I didn't fix the original problem (or it's a different problem)
As it was intermittent, I guess we won't know for a few days
(Oh yeah, new filter and locking gas cap too)
Thanks for all the help
Wish me luck!


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