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2002 Explorer engine turned off while driving

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:38 PM   #1
JLinMadison
Madison, WI
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Dk Exp 2002 Explorer engine turned off while driving

My first post and reason to join this forum...while driving my 2002 Explorer XLT 75 mph on freeway, the engine lost power, all dashboard indicators and engine turned completely off. I still had power to my radio and fuzz buster, but all other electronics were dead. After coasting to the shoulder withengine off, I shifted into park, turned the car to off and tried restarting....which worked. No problem the remainder of the trip. I've seen several of identical posts but not for a 2002. Took immediately to the dealer who says the computerturns up nothing, everything checks out fine and they've never heard of this problem. I am the only owner, 122,000 miles and have never had this happen before. But several months ago I had the computer reset after a problem with door ajar chimes and failure of the exterior keypad. What steps can I take with the dealer who says nothing is wrong. Am I experiencing a breakdown of the PCM computer or something else? They have no answers. Help requested. Thank
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:32 PM   #2
pipewelder74
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Well, we can eliminate the alternator because you still had juice to your radio and you were able to restart.
There were no OBD codes so chances are your PCM is OK (no guarantee of course)
If it were me, I would start looking at the fuel system. Maybe the pump cut-out for a second...maybe the filter is getting dirty and obstructing flow...maybe you were just low on fuel, hit a couple of bumps and your pump picked up some air??
One way to try and see if it's the fuel pump is to have someone turn your key to the ON position-not start- and listen under the vehicle for a light "whirr"..this is the pump priming the lines before you crank it over. Do this several times waiting 10 seconds or so between. If one attempt produces no "whirr"..then you have a fuel pump on the blink...
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:11 PM   #3
imp
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I believe I will disagree with the fuel loss theory. It was stated "all electronics went dead", whatever that actually means, but loss of fuel surely must appear as a stuttering type of stop, not shut-down as though the ignition were shut off.

I am leaning toward drop-out of the PCM Power Relay, for some reason, either a poor connection in it's socket, a possible break in the relay coil which could result in an intermittent connection, or even an intermittent connection at the fuse which feeds the PCM Power Relay. Just about everything electrical which the engine needs to run, is fed by this relay.

Any intermittent problem can be a nightmare to solve; when it's not there, it's near-impossible to diagnose in many cases. This is why the Dealer is not being of much help.

If it were me, I would buy a new PCM Power Relay, plug it in, and see what happens in the near future of driving the vehicle. imp

Edit: I do not believe that failure of the PCM Power Relay would generate a trouble code by the PCM; however, in that I could be wrong.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:08 PM   #4
JLinMadison
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2002 Explorer engine turned off while driving

Thank-you for those two posts so quickly. Neither of my Ford dealers here have any answers, they say the fuel system shows normal pressure and my battery seems okay. They suggested via your post that we swap the PCM relay with the AC relay, that way if the AC goes out we could identify that part as the culprit...otherwise if I replace it with a new part, there's no telling if that was the issue. I feel that I have to be proactive so we'll do the relay swap tomorrow and see what happens. Thanks again.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:34 PM   #5
pipewelder74
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As imp pointed out, it is very difficult to find the root cause of an intermittent problem. It sounds logical to swap relays I guess, but if the relay is operating normally now-why would it not operate in the A/C plug?? I'm def not an electrical guy, but I always assumed that relays and fuses just went up..not "started going bad"..
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
imp
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Originally Posted by pipewelder74 View Post
....... but if the relay is operating normally now-why would it not operate in the A/C plug?? I'm def not an electrical guy, but I always assumed that relays and fuses just went up..not "started going bad"..
It probably will operate in the A/C/ plug, which will actually prove very little, just as you say. However, if the cause is a poor connection in it's original socket (possible, but not too likely), moving it elsewhere, then re-inserting it where it belongs, just might re-establish a firm "bite" on the connections, and the problem will then not recur (if it did originate with the PCM Relay, which we don't know for certain).

We have to face this thusly: if this intermittent problem has stumped a Ford Dealership, being as they see the commonly-occurring problems everyday, we may have a tough one to solve here. Electrically-speaking, wiring in itself rarely causes problems if it's not overloaded current-wise. The wire-makers have their business down pat; the problems happen at connections; the connectors are nowadays high-grade items, sealed against moisture by expensive rubber seals, but they still occasionally cause problems because they are an item purchased by the car-maker from a company in business to make money; making complex products competitively requires Engineering which "cuts corners" to ensure profit.

Pipe-guy, it takes personal integrity to admit being uncomfortable with predicting electrical stuff; I respect you for that. For me, after a lifetime of working with electricity, I must say I have seen every possible kind of weird-ass thing happen, imponderables and unpredictables, often resulting from poorly-made components. Please keep in mind that while what you say about relays and fuses is basically true, if they fail, they are dead, usually, but unfortunately not always. Fuses plugged into a fuseblock rely on making good electrical connections when in place; now and then, they do not, even though the fuse is "good". Same goes for relays.

Sorry for the long rant; it solved nothing, and the actual engine-quitting problem is likely caused by something else..............imp
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:28 PM   #7
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Similar thing happened with my 2005 explorer. Everything went out...
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:49 PM   #8
lilbillythomas
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2002 Ford Explorer Shuts off

The connections to the battery may be bad and you may need to replace them.

Why do I say that?
I just had my 2002 Explorer Limited (150,000mi) shut off while I was driving, all power, electronics, everything went off. Turned out my Negative connection to my battery was old, broken, and lost physical contact to the battery.

How did I find this out?
I started looking at the battery connections and noticed the one looked broken, cranked/twisted on it a little and all of a sudden the power went on in my car. Then I got back in the car and it turned right back on.

Am I an auto mechanic?
No.

Hopefully this helps,
Billy
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:53 PM   #9
03_Black_EB
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Believe it or not a faulty IAC will do this. I had it happen a few times when mine failed until I got to the store to get a new one.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:20 PM   #10
imp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilbillythomas View Post
The connections to the battery may be bad and you may need to replace them.
Why do I say that?
I just had my 2002 Explorer Limited (150,000mi) shut off while I was driving, all power, electronics, everything went off. Turned out my Negative connection to my battery was old, broken, and lost physical contact to the battery.
How did I find this out?
I started looking at the battery connections and noticed the one looked broken, cranked/twisted on it a little and all of a sudden the power went on in my car. Then I got back in the car and it turned right back on.
Am I an auto mechanic?
No.
Hopefully this helps,
Billy
There is some problem here, I believe. Unless something has drastically been made different nowadays, the vehicle has no clue about battery connection quality, once the engine is running, IF the alternator is functioning. The battery's purpose is ONLY to start the engine; once that has been accomplished, all further requirements for electrical power are drawn from the alternator.

Right? imp
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:33 PM   #11
JLinMadison
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2002 Explorer engine turned off while driving

Hello and again thank you for all of your comments. Here's the latest...went back to dealership to swap the PCM relay...but was informed that we have a PCM Diode, not a relay...so from that they thought the swap would do nothing...so nothing was swapped or fixed. Yesterday a new situation occured which could be related. After driving about 40 miles, and stopping for about 20 minutes, I started the car, put it in gear (pretty quickly after starting) and it died...as if it had not gotten enough gas yet. Tried to restart...starter turned over as per normal, but it did not start. Again as if it was not getting gas. Fifteen minutes later, still did not start. Waited an hour...started right up. So...these two episodes lead me toward some sort of fuel line, fuel pump or fuel injection. Any new observations?
jeff
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #12
imp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLinMadison View Post
Hello and again thank you for all of your comments. Here's the latest...went back to dealership to swap the PCM relay...but was informed that we have a PCM Diode, not a relay...so from that they thought the swap would do nothing......jeff
Checking my Ford Shop Wiring Manual, Section 23-1 "Engine Controls" clearly shows the PCM Power Diode feeding directly to the PCM Power Relay, which is located in the Battery Junction Box, as is also the Power Diode.

How can Dealership trained technicians not be aware of the existence of the Power Relay? It feeds power to: Mass Air Sensor; Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor; Fuel Tank Pressure Transducer; and of course, the PCM itself.

Clearly, failure of the PCM Power Relay would surely result in a dead vehicle. imp

EDIT: Wiring is identical for either 4.0L or 4.6L engines.

Last edited by imp; 08-29-2010 at 08:45 PM. Reason: don't recall which eng. is involved
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:48 PM   #13
waskly
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4.6 has 2 more injectors :P

lets go on a side note, if you have a scanner

scan the car, see if you have any codes, then after it happens does it have a p1000?

if it does you know you are shutting the pcm offline

imo you probably have a short in the vref, but that goes to ever sensor in the car.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:59 PM   #14
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Did you ever figure this one out? My 2004 explorer, at 65K miles just did the same thing, though I made the choice of towing the car after it stopped. It started on the highway, as well as at the car mechanic I brought it to, but I'm not sure where to go from here (before the fees start adding up).
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:14 PM   #15
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2002 explorer shut off

My 2002 XLT 4.0L explorer, with 75,000 miles, bought at auction 6 months ago, has been acting up in a similar way as posted. I noticed it while driving slow, 40 mph or so, that the engine was wanting to shut off like it was not getting enough fuel or it was not sparking correctly. Then at the stop light, it started to want to shut off, the power would wean down and up multiple times, sounding like I was turning the ignition "on and off" and felt like the engine was trembling. It has been doing this for a few months and finally it shut off at a stop light last week. Radio and electric components remained on - I restarted while on Neutral without hesitation or problems. The "check engine" light is on, and I get codes P0172 and P0175 (System too rich B1 and B2).
(from OBD-II trouble codes)
A code P0172 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:

* The MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensor is dirty or faulty. Note: The use of "oiled" air filters can cause the MAF to become dirty if the filter is over-oiled. There is also an issue with some vehicles where the MAF sensors leak the silicone potting material used to protect the circuitry.
* There could be a vacuum leak.
* There could be a fuel pressure or delivery problem

Possible Solutions

Possible solutions include:

* Inspect all vacuum and PCV hoses, replace if necessary
* Cleanthe MAF sensor. Consult your service manual for it's location if you need help. I find it's best to take it off and spray it with electronics cleaner or brake cleaner. Make sure you are careful not to damage the MAF sensor, and make sure it's dry before reinstalling
* Inspect fuel lines for cracks, leaks, or pinches
* Check the fuel pressure at the fuel rail
* Check the fuel injectors, they may be dirty. Use fuel injector cleaner or get them professionally cleaned/replaced.
* Check for an exhaust leak before the first oxygen sensor (this is unlikely to cause the problem, but it is possible)


------ What could be the most likely cause and cost effective solution??

Thanks
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:48 PM   #16
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ford explore

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignfire22 View Post
Did you ever figure this one out? My 2004 explorer, at 65K miles just did the same thing, though I made the choice of towing the car after it stopped. It started on the highway, as well as at the car mechanic I brought it to, but I'm not sure where to go from here (before the fees start adding up).
Have your catalytic converters checked because if the ceramic honeycomb inside of them is clogged, the O2 sensor will send signal to computer that too much fuel is being burned thus turning your vehicle off. One way to check the catalytic converters is to tap them with a rubber mallet. If you hear a rattle, you might need to replace the converter.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:05 PM   #17
Oz_pat
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I'm certainly no expert in this but I would ask whether there was any towing involved - I continue to have a cut out problem basically 'cos my toe bar has a loose nut and the fuel cut off decides I've had an accident when there is a slight bump!!!
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:22 PM   #18
TDWolsey
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Interesting

My 2000 Ranger did exactly the same thing a couple of days ago. New fuel pump and fuel injectors lead me to believe the problem is something with the PCM unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLinMadison View Post
My first post and reason to join this forum...while driving my 2002 Explorer XLT 75 mph on freeway, the engine lost power, all dashboard indicators and engine turned completely off. I still had power to my radio and fuzz buster, but all other electronics were dead. After coasting to the shoulder withengine off, I shifted into park, turned the car to off and tried restarting....which worked. No problem the remainder of the trip. I've seen several of identical posts but not for a 2002. Took immediately to the dealer who says the computerturns up nothing, everything checks out fine and they've never heard of this problem. I am the only owner, 122,000 miles and have never had this happen before. But several months ago I had the computer reset after a problem with door ajar chimes and failure of the exterior keypad. What steps can I take with the dealer who says nothing is wrong. Am I experiencing a breakdown of the PCM computer or something else? They have no answers. Help requested. Thank
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:26 PM   #19
jayton
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Originally Posted by gman916 View Post
Have your catalytic converters checked because if the ceramic honeycomb inside of them is clogged, the O2 sensor will send signal to computer that too much fuel is being burned thus turning your vehicle off. One way to check the catalytic converters is to tap them with a rubber mallet. If you hear a rattle, you might need to replace the converter.
I've already had clogged cats on mine at around 175,000 miles. It does not cut off with clogged cats. Driving around with clogged cats feels like trying to drive while at the same time stomping the brakes. It idles perfectly fine with clogged cats, just won't accelerate. One way to test for that is to temporarily remove the O2 sensors out of the pipe to let the exhaust escape out there. Also use a laser thermometer to measure the difference in temperatures of the exhaust pipes before and after the cats.

I don't think this guy's problem is in the cats. It sounds to me like it could be electrical in nature.




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Old 10-07-2011, 09:34 PM   #20
kschlege
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Were you able to solve your problem?

My 4.0 2002 does the same thing. Dealership is stumped. I think I've replace every sensor (almost).
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