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I have a Ford Windstar 1996 3.8L engine with 170k miles on it. Recently, it started stalling with no warning after the car runs for about 45 minutes. There are no OBDII codes showing, nor any pending ones. Running the a/c seems to add to it, probably due to more load.

I've done searches on this and found it could be a crankshaft position sensor. One person had the exact same scenario on a different type of car. Once the car cools off it will start up and run fine again.

Today I was going to take it out and see if I could get it to stall and throw a code, but after running it at idle for about 25 minutes, it just stalled in the driveway and the MIL light came on. It did start right back up and the light went off, so I pulled it into the garage. Now it won't start.

What is very strange is my OBDII scanner can't connect to the engine right now. The scanner works fine on my other car, so it's not the issue. I suspect that after it cools off I will be able to run a scan and it will start fine again.

Update:

The scanner was bad. After getting a warranty replacement it is working fine. However there are no codes.

Any ideas as to what to look for here? I'm thinking that if I could keep driving it, it would eventually fire a code, but I really can't drive a car that could just stall without warning.

I had checked the fuel pump about a month ago and it was fine. Now however, when I checked it it reads 0 pressure when cranking. I thought that it was a bad fuel pump, but I replaced it and I still have 0 pressure. I'm checking fuses and power to the fuel pump to find the root problem.

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If your scanner can't connect, the ECU is your problem. Swap it with one from a junkyard to see. You had been successful in using this scanner with this vehicle before, right?

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    Yes, the scanner had worked on the van before. What is odd is the scanner still works on my other car. I keep getting a link error when I try it on the van now. – James Drinkard Jul 24 '16 at 6:51
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    @JamesDrinkard ECU problem. Check the electrical connection to it, if that's fine get an ECU from the junkyard to swap. – tlhIngan Jul 24 '16 at 6:53
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    The scanner was bad. Sorry for the misleading info. I gave a +1 because your answer would have been correct, based on the info. – James Drinkard Jul 30 '16 at 23:33
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It turned out to be a bad fuel pump and a bad fuel pressure regulator.

I replaced the pump, but neglected to reset the fuel cut off inertia switch. Once I did that I found that you have to turn the key off 5 or 6 times without starting the car to pressurize the system. After that the next time I tried to start it everything worked, but I had a few times when it wouldn't start, so I did more investigating.

The fuel pressure for this vehicle is 35psi to 45 psi and after the fuel pump was replaced, it was still at 30psi, so I was getting random non starting issues. I also noticed that it wasn't holding fuel pressure after the car was turned off, but replacing the fuel pressure regulator was the final fix for everything.

  • What I don't understand is why would the car stall only when it is hot? how is the engine temperature related to a fuel pump performance – method Sep 6 '16 at 6:34
  • I took off the part about the car being hot in the question as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the symptoms. – James Drinkard Sep 13 '16 at 1:00

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