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2003 Ford Explorer Idle/Stall Problem

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by DrewCanaday, March 19, 2009.

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  1. DrewCanaday

    DrewCanaday New Member

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    Last week I filled up at Murphy's gas station and the next red light I came to I noticed the car seem to shudder and the rpm's went as low as 500. It just shudders and low RPM's. I have heard no whining, or clacking, it just shudders. No unusual sounds from the engine compartment that I can tell.

    While driving the car it acts normal, but whenever I came to a red light it acts like it wants to stall. I called the gas station and they gave me the number of the district manager and he said he hadn't heard any complaints.

    The next day at a red light it shuddered and cut off on me and the check engine light came on.

    I looked at forums like this and some said run the gas out and refill with super unleaded and see if that works. I tried that and I still have the same problem.

    The first few stop signs I come to when the car isn't fully warm yet it doesn't do it as bad, but the more I drive it, the more likely it will stutter and stall at a red light.

    Today it scared me because it actually died while going around 20 mph. It is the first time that has happened and my power steering and power brakes went away.

    So I went to auto zone to figure out the code, but the trouble code reader didn't work when the guy hooked it up. He said maybe a fuse was blown.

    Also, on his way he said it will probably be the gas cap but then he said maybe a fuse when the reader didn't work. So I checked all the normal fuses and found one blown, #17 which looks like the lighter. I don't really know about the big fuses under the hood but I checked all the little ones. (Hope I put them back in the right spot )

    Now back to the gas cap. I'm not sure but it seems like it is acting normal. Is there anyway to figure out if its the gas cap by hand. If I start it and then try and hold in down real tight would that tell me is there is a problem there?

    I was hoping the reader would say idle control valve because I saw some easy instructions to fix this, but I am somewhat of an imbecile when it comes to fixing things, so even that worries me.

    To be honest the car is running great except for this idle issue. I am petrified of car dealers because I don't have a lot of money and it's never, ahh it was only the gas cap, $50 and I'm on my way. I'm thinking they will find all kinds of stuff and I will at their mercy, but I am at my wits end.

    Tricky situation because now I'm worried the car will cut off again while driving, and at the same time, I could go through a series of troubleshooting and be left in the same spot while changing a bunch of things that don't fix the problem.

    I am so sorry with my long winded post. The car hasn't had an issue since I've owned it after buying it used a couple years ago, but I'm nearly flat broke so I'm trying to avoid the dealer.

    Thanks for reading this long winded monstrosity and I look forward to any advice, even if it's take your fool ass to the shop and let a professional look at it.

    Drew
     
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  3. FordTruck270

    FordTruck270 New Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2003 Ford Explorer XLT
    Hi, I have a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT!

    I am wondering if my problem is the same as yours. The car sometimes stalls when backing out of the driveway. I have never had it stall while going down the road. I can't seem to understand as to why yours stalled while going 20mph down the road, and losing your brakes. I can understand why you lost your power steering, the car shut off, the belt stopped turning and the master cylinder lost power. The breaks would possibly lessen but not give way. If it ever does it again to you just rev the engine and it should stay running.

    When you turn right or left at low speeds do you feel the whole car vibrate? The only conclusion I can come to is it is a warped rotar.

    Does your hood rust at the edges by the grill? It may only look bubbled, but it pops and metal is exposed.

    Thanks, Adam
     
  4. Nytroman

    Nytroman Member

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    City, State:
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    how many miles on the truck? when was the last time you replaced fuel filter?

    my guess, and only a guess at this point is a clogged fuel filter and or MAF sensor
     
  5. oneblack02xls

    oneblack02xls New Member

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    Check the seal on the gas cap for cracks. If you find none that should rule out the gas cap idea for you. I have an 02xls and i have had a drop in rpms at idle before and just put some fuel system cleaner in and it fixed it right up. Did you get the codes read again after you checked the fuses?
     
  6. FordTruck270

    FordTruck270 New Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2003 Ford Explorer XLT
    Mileage on '03 ford explorer 4.0 V6

    There are 95,000 on the truck. It gets serviced every 3,000 miles with synthetic oil and supposedly has had fuel filters and everything checked or fixed
     
  7. DrewCanaday

    DrewCanaday New Member

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    My Explorer has around 70k miles and I know it hasn't had a new fuel filter since I've owned it.
     
  8. DrewCanaday

    DrewCanaday New Member

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    I actually went home and checked the fuses after it died when pulling into the driveway, and only found one out, the cigarette lighter fuse.

    Not sure why that code reader wouldn't communicate with my vehicle.

    I will check the gas cap when it gets light out.

    I am to the point of taking it to a Ford Dealer in town. Someone mentioned automotive supercenter in town but I'm thinking while I will probably pay more at a dealer at least they should have dealt with the problem before.

    I just don't want top hear something like, "it looks like you need a new timing chain too"
     
  9. DrewCanaday

    DrewCanaday New Member

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    I haven't noticed any rust. It has never shut off when driving like it did yesterday. I think I actually moved the gear to neutral since I was coming up to a stop sign and that may have been why it died on me.

    I have resorted to using nuetral while dealing with this at red lights and stop signs but obviously that can be a little dangerous.

    I didn't lose brakes, but it just felt funny, and would have been terrifying if I was going 60 mph i think. :D
     
  10. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    might try another autozone, or someone else who can pull codes.

    check the obvious, any vacum leaks? what makes you think its the gas cap? If so what about a wally world, or autozone for a new gas cap, might be a quick cheap test.

    do you have fly by wire, no throttle cable? If it is then i don't think there is a idle control valve. They have a motor/sensor instead of a cable and those do go out.
     
  11. Nytroman

    Nytroman Member

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    the Cigarette Fuse also controls OBD2, thats why the code reader would not work, go get your codes checked
     
  12. DrewCanaday

    DrewCanaday New Member

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    Ok I took it to the shop after I felt I couldn't worry about it again and it turned out to be a $34 part. A PCV House that I have seen posted several times.

    They replaced the hose, did my inspection for me and changed a brake light and total cost was $237.

    I was so tied up in the idle control valve and if I should try and do that myself that I never really noticed a hole, or damage to the PCV hose assembly.

    He also had some notes for me. Said my HVAC wasn't working and I had to ask what that was, and he said your air conditioner blower/climate control.

    I told him that it should be working, but then I realized when I checked the all the fuses at one point I was like, Hmm where did this one go I just pulled out? On my ford explorer some are empty and I guess I screwed up and placed it in the 4X4 slot instead of the climate control slot, so everything is working fine now, thankfully.

    When I went to check the fuse box to fix my error, I noticed the cigarette fuse I had marked as bad was replaced. At first I was thought why would they replace that and not notice the climate control one wasn't working?

    But after reading your post I now see that he had to change it to use the trouble code reader.:D

    Wow, live and learn. I probably couldn't have replaced that PCV hose without screwing it up probably. I'm not sure how easy that would have been to replace and I am afraid to look.

    Thanks for all of your help. I probably should have posted here the day it started acting up.

    I can at least sleep normally again.
     
  13. CM2001XLT

    CM2001XLT New Member

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    City, State:
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    2001 Ford Explorer XLT 4D
    2001 Ford Explorer XLT keeps stalling

    My Ford Explorer keeps stalling at idle. When I drive the SUV in drive its fine but when i pull my foot off the gas it stalls while Im driving. It stalled like 30 times. I dont know what to do.
     
  14. kschlege

    kschlege New Member

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    my 2002 4.0 stalls while driving. were you able to fix your stalling problem?
     
  15. jcmuscarello

    jcmuscarello New Member

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    City, State:
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    Bad Idle ,loud humming from intake

    Mine was doing the same thing. I replaced the Air Intake control valve with one from an aftermarket supplier. It got worse. I noticed the new IAC had a small piston that went all the way through it(The factory one goes half-way) . So I returned it and got another one after making sure they had the right part. Still bad. Changed the PCV,EGR vave,nothing seemed to help. After taking it to a mechanic ,we came up with the same theory of getting the wrong IAC. Swapped it with an OEM Ford IAC. All fixed,runs like new!! Hope this helps anybody out there!!:D
     
  16. kschlege

    kschlege New Member

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    Finally figured out my problem. It was an issue with a bad inertial switch. When I pulled out the plug from the bottom it was all burned up. So check your inertial if you are having issues with stalling.
     
  17. jimborasco

    jimborasco New Member

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    Stalled twice in exact same spot on two separate occasions

    Mine has done this twice in the last two times I've driven it, in EXACTLY the same place! About 4 miles from my house, I have a long downgrade and it has started to stall in a curve about halfway down the hill. I only notice when I have no powersteering. It makes no noise, no jerking, nothing to warn me. It starts right back up with no problems and hadn't stalled anywhere else. I will be checking the gas cap and then perhaps the fuel filter but I have to admit I have no idea what an "inertial switch", what it does or where it is. I have noticed since the weather has gotten cooler, it sometimes seems to idle a bit slow when stopped at lights and stop signs, especially before it warms up. Any info about the inertial switch would be great. I'll post back if I find anything. Thanks in advance for your time!
     
    Last edited: October 18, 2013
  18. kschlege

    kschlege New Member

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    It's behind a panel on the passenger side floor on the right. If you remove the panel, you'll see the switch. It has a red button on the top. You can just use a short piece of wire to short out the plug and see if it doesn't stall anymore.

    Basically the switch will detect if you've been in an accident (like an airbag) and will shut off your fuel to the fuel pump. So if you have a bad switch, it will cut your fuel off and you'll stall out.
     
  19. jimborasco

    jimborasco New Member

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    Wow! That was quick, kschlege! If I can't find something with the gas cap I'll check on that. If the switch is bad, would it allow the thing to restart without any more trouble? Or is it something that keeps it from restarting once it's triggered. Thanks for the speedy reply.
     
  20. kschlege

    kschlege New Member

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    I was able to restart my Explorer almost right away after stalling, most of the time while even driving. I'd just put it in Neutral, then start it up. Sometimes it would stall 2-3 times in one day, sometimes not for a couple days.

    Before removing the connector on the bottom, I would push on the red button, and it wasn't tripped. The connector was all burned up. Eventually I just clipped off the connector and twisted the wires together with a wire nut. No more stalling. But hopefully I never get in a really bad accident where it needs to shut off the fuel pump. ;)

    So pull off the panel and yank the connector out of the bottom of the inertial switch and see if it's good. I'd short it out with a short piece of wire and drive it for a couple days. If it's not stalling anymore chances are it's a bad inertial switch.
     
  21. Mump

    Mump New Member

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    My 2005 Ford Explorer XLT runs great, but wants to stall out at idle. Doesn't do it all the time, but today it cut off at a red light but started right back up. I have changed the fuel filter and put in new plugs. Not sure what to try next after reading all these post. I'm disabled and dont have alot of money to just try alot of different things. So what is wrong with Explorers not wanting to idle? It doesn't do this all the time, but it's starting to happen more often.
     

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