Crown Vic Dies at a Light

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Old 10-08-07, 03:35 PM
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Crown Vic Dies at a Light

2003 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor. 113K miles. Engine runs great and strong. Idles smooth in park for hours. Maybe twice in 12 hours while sitting at a stop light, the engine will just die. No rough idle first, it's like someone turned the key off. Maintenance garage can't figure this one out. They have done a tuneup and changed a bunch of parts. It never does it for them! Doesn't matter if A/C is on or off. Any ideas?
 
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Old 10-08-07, 07:47 PM
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Are there are check engine lights on?

Almost sounds fuel related.........someone dump some junk into the fuel tank?

I've seen it happen...numerous times......a rag or something that gets sucked up to the fue pump housing and chokes the engine out.

Not saying this is the case with your vehicle, but seeing that youngsters sometimes like to screw with the Police, you might have your mechanics take a look.

Does the car start right up after it stalls or does it take some cranking?

I'm sure they've looked at the vacuum hoses and everything very well already, but if not, look there.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 08:39 AM
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The car will start right up with no problem after it dies. I did some research with others who have driven this car and according to the original driver the car has done this since new! I can't imagine why someone would put up with this for 113,000 miles, but it looks like the car has been in and out of the spares lot and driven by mumerous people.

On some days it will run fine all day, on others it will die at a light 2 or 3 times. There are no idiot lights on or anything until the engine actually stops. I dont have a code scanner so I don't know about those. Our maintenance has given up on it. I'd like to fix it just because I'm stubborn!
 
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Old 10-12-07, 06:13 PM
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I'm inclined to agree with mark; when the fuel pump on my wrecker starts to go (about once every 12-18 months) that's one of the first signs - sitting at a traffic light idling away and suddenly it dies. Turn the key and it immediately rtestarts and idles. Hasn't done it in a while; I'm probably due.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 06:27 PM
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Ive seen a few of these vehicles in the 4.6/ 5.4 variety, with these symptoms. It seems Ford didnt provide adequate water protection for the Crankshaft position sensor. The connector will oxidize , and change resistance values as a result.It only affects Idle, (Or being a police interceptor--Extreme Rev). This can be from puddles on the road , right down to water pump leakage onto the sensor itself. Not fool proof, but worth a look.
 
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Old 10-14-07, 08:33 AM
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Thanks

I'll try some of those ideas. I feel like if I could just raise the idle a little bit it might be OK, but I guess the comptuer isn't going to allow mw to do that.
 
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Old 10-15-07, 05:48 AM
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If you've never had it scanned, add that to the list; AutoZone will do a basic code read for free.
 
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Old 10-15-07, 07:12 AM
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I have a couple of pre-OBDII cars (91 Mercury, 95 Mercedes) that can throw a check engine light. What is curious about these cars is that even though the check engine light is off, I can check for codes, and the engine's computer tells me I have a problem! I wonder if the same thing can be found with OBDII, and I'm suggesting having the car scanned for codes even though the check engine light may not be lit. You may get the lower level codes for a problem.

Another thought - is the throttle body and idle air control motor clean?
 
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Old 10-15-07, 03:36 PM
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Had the same problem with my 01 CV. The idle air control valve needed to be cleaned. After I did that, it has never acted up again (20k miles ago). The idle air valve is a silver cylindrical shaped unit mounted on the intake manifold near the throttle plate under the black engine cover. First I removed it, then cleaned it with some carb and choke cleaner, blew it out with compressed air and bolted it back on. 15 minutes
 
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Old 10-21-07, 05:59 AM
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Good Ideas

Thanks for the good ideas. I've ordered a scanner. I've been needing one anyway. I looked at the IAC, it looks brand new, not dirty a bit. It must have been changed. The throttle body is as clean as can be. I checked the TPS as well. It also looks brand new and reads on the money. I think maintenance has changed these parts several times. I've checked all the vacuum lines and didn't find any cracks or leaks. When the scanner gets here, I'll see what shows up. I raised the base idle speed just a little and it seemed to help. At least it's not stalling as often but the problem is still there.
 
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Old 10-21-07, 07:32 AM
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Have you made any notes (mental or otherwise)on various conditions when it does this, just to see if anything appears every time? For example, weather conditions, (wet, hot, humid, cold etc.)? fuel level in tank? Where you bought fuel last? Have you added any fuel conditioner that removes moisture from tank?
Did you crank the steering wheel, one way or the other just previous to it happening? Headlight's on or off? A/C on or off? Sounds like quite a pain, but it may point you in the right direction when it's an intermittent problem like your having.
 
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Old 10-21-07, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jmm706 View Post
No rough idle first, it's like someone turned the key off.
This part of the original quote is the key issue in solving this. Sounds more electrical if you ask me.

The fact that it starts right up every time seems unlikely it is simply an electrical malfunction or short.

If it were fuel related, it should start to slow the engine first. Even a RAPID slowing of the engine, like if one were to turn off a petcock, would still not be the same thing as the effect of the behavior like that of shutting off the key.

So- IF it is electrical, we must ask what in the engine could allow it to both suddenly stop, yet have the ability to start right back up again every time?: A throttle position sensor (if this car utilizes one of these), causing the timing to suddenly get screwed up?
 
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Old 10-21-07, 02:54 PM
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Check the torque converter solenoid switch. I have seen it with Gm mostly were the car will die but always start. After it cools down it will run fine again. If the switch is bad it is like trying to take off in 4th gear and it stalls out.
 
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Old 10-22-07, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Backmarker View Post
Check the torque converter solenoid switch. I have seen it with Gm mostly were the car will die but always start. After it cools down it will run fine again. If the switch is bad it is like trying to take off in 4th gear and it stalls out.
If the solenoid switch is suspect, will there be some tell tale signs besides out right dying of the engine? Will the car feel like it is trying to lurch forward as you almost come to a stop, for example? Or will a car with a tach show the rpm speed drop real low first before dying out?
 
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Old 10-24-07, 07:18 PM
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Most new GM models they are hooked into the check engine light, so that will come on.

The older models they would heat upand you would just die as you leave from a stop. The car would restart, everything normal until you hit the gas. After it cooled down it would run fine.
 
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Old 10-25-07, 06:22 AM
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from a diagnosticians perspective...something is causing a problem and it's intermittant. the best way to isolate a problem like that is with a lab scope...i realize you probably don't have one but a scope allows you to "see" what's going on electrically. I refer to them as visual volt meters. I would scope the input sensors needed for starting/running...CKP, CMP, CTS, TP. When you get the problem to occur (yeah, you gotta run it with the scope hooked up til it happens) you may catch it on the scope. Don't see anything...then try scoping the outputs. Perhaps you are momentarily losing B+ on the injector circuit, perhaps losing fuel pump relay drive.

I don't know why it starts right back up, but i do believe that's significant...i just wouldn't focus on that until I found the offending circuit.

I've heard MANY horror stories about police units with weird electricall issues related to all the add-on radios, lojack, etc. sometimes these problems persist even after removal of said items because of poor installation practices. You could try a very detailed visual inspection at key areas where accessories were connected...and there could be several of those connection points.
 
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Old 10-26-07, 09:40 AM
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Scan Results

I put my newly purchased scanner on the Crown Vic. It passed with flying colors. No codes or even pending codes! I knew this wasn't going to be easy. The last time I drove the car, it ran great all day long with two exceptions. I usually leave it idling when I get out of it. Twice the other day when I went back to the car the engine had stopped. Of course, it cranked right up and ran good. This seems to happen with lights on or off, AC on or off, any fuel level. I heard it do something unusual the last time it quit. The engine started to die and it stuttered and recovered with an increase in rpm and then settled down to normal idle. I hadn't observed that before. Wonder if I should change the fuel filter for grins, they're cheap. Thanks for all of your ideas. I'll try them all. Looks like I'm in for a long hunt. I've heard of gas caps causing problems, should I hear air escaping when I take the cap off? I don't, but I do on my personal car.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 10:03 AM
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The next time it stalls, check to see if the check eng light comes on as soon as the engine stops. If not, the E.C.U. isnt getting power from the EEC power relay. I found a weak relay on an explorer once causing almost what you describe. Good luck, Roger
 
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Old 11-07-07, 06:50 AM
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The Saga Continues...

I have verified that the "Check Engine" light comes on within a second or two after the engine dies, the same result as turning off the key produces. I've also noticed that that if in gear idling at a light, it will quietly quit running. It quits so free of any vibration or noise that I don't even realize that it has quit until I look down and see the warning lights glowing.
However, if the car is idling in park while I'm out of the car, you can hear the engine stumble and try to catch itself before it stalls out. I have begun to notice a pattern, it does not do it until it is thorougly warmed up.
 
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Old 11-07-07, 07:34 AM
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It could be a leaky egr valve. The egr doesn't kick in until the car is warmed up.

Unfortunately it's not an easy diagnosis for this. You'll have to make a piece of sheet steel to block the egr flow and see if your problem goes away. That, or remove the egr and inspect the pintle and seat, or even blow through it to check for air leakage.
 
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Old 11-08-07, 05:02 AM
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Good Idea

Good idea. I bought a new Chevy once a long time ago that quit on the way home from the dealer. Saturday and they are now closed, I stuck a golf tee in the vacuum line to EGR valve. It stayed that wy for years and ran great. Guess that wouldn't work on these new monitored valves.
 
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Old 11-08-07, 06:34 AM
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Blocking the vacuum line to the egr cures a different problem. I'm suggesting the egr valve isn't seating properly. Blocking the vacuum line won't help a leaky seat.
 
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