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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been having an issue with my 2005 Ford Taurus SEL recently, and I was wondering if anyone here had any idea about what might be causing it.

Sometimes the car just "turns off" while I am driving.

Specific symptoms:

1) Engine goes off, accelerator does not work

2) Lights / power work, battery life comes on

3) Display says '--------------' or 'FUEL COMP ERROR' (the latter is if I had the display showing 'miles remaining' or something -- if I'm displaying nothing, I get the dashes).

4) After I slow down and I'm nearly stopped (i.e. low speed), I see an oil pressure error message. The power steering turns off when this happens.

5) Right afterward, the car does not attempt to turn over when I try to start it. However, if I just sit and wait for a few minutes, it starts just fine.



Some background info:

This happened to me once a few weeks ago and I took it to a mechanic -- he said he didn't find anything wrong and the computer had no error codes. He drove it around and thought it was fine. He said there was a bit too much oil (I had just had an oil change) and he removed some.

Then I drove it for a few weeks without it happening at all (but it was all fairly short trips).

Yesterday, I had it happen again (unfortunately while I was hauling a bunch of stuff from my old apartment to my new one), and it happened 4 times on the way home.

Both times when this happened I had parked the car (for 30 minutes or so) on a steep hill -- no idea if that could have something to do with it.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Definitely sounds like it could be a low/no voltage issue. Terminals, connections and cables bear inspection. Cables can corrode inside the insulation. It is not unheard of for new batteries to fail and load tests are simple enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Definitely sounds like it could be a low/no voltage issue. Terminals, connections and cables bear inspection. Cables can corrode inside the insulation. It is not unheard of for new batteries to fail and load tests are simple enough.
Checked out the battery terminals, they look really clean (since it's so new). The connectors were a little grody -- I gave both of them a good cleaning anyway (with battery cleaner + round inner/outer wire brushes). Maybe that will fix it but I guess only time will tell since it is sporadic.

I'll see about doing a load test -- I don't suppose there's a way to get that info without a voltmeter?

Thanks for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just saw the Engineering Test Mode post on this forum, so I gave that a whirl to see the voltage.

I wish I had tested it before I cleaned the battery connections...

But the test now showed this:

Engine off: it was sitting between 12 - 12.1 volts
Engine on (in park): over a few seconds it slowly increased from 12 to 14 then hovered between 14 - 14.4 volts
Engine on (in park) with AC/fan full blast, radio on, and USB charger charging my phone in the cig lighter, it sat around 13 - 13.5 volts


Does any of that indicate a problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just got a load test at an O'Reilly Auto Parts and the guy told me the battery was bad -- "It's jumping all over the place".

Another guy nearby said maybe the cause is the alternator.

Sound legit to you guys?
 

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Just got a load test at an O'Reilly Auto Parts and the guy told me the battery was bad -- "It's jumping all over the place".

Another guy nearby said maybe the cause is the alternator.

Sound legit to you guys?
I believe the load test is done without the car running that way it just tests the battery and not the alternator too. If the voltage is jumping with the car running then it could be wiring or alternator.

Where did you buy the battery because they should replace it under warranty. It may have broken internal connections to one or more cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I believe the load test is done without the car running that way it just tests the battery and not the alternator too. If the voltage is jumping with the car running then it could be wiring or alternator.

Where did you buy the battery because they should replace it under warranty. It may have broken internal connections to one or more cells.
Yeah, the car wasn't running. Is there a chance the alternator can damage a new battery? (I know it can fail to charge it, but I haven't had that problem -- I can always start it).

I got it at O'Reilly... need to find the receipt. I just don't want to put in another battery and wreck it if the problem is with the alternator
 

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Really the only ways I know to hurt a battery is to overcharge it or not charge it and run it down to below 50 percent charge or less. In you let a discharged battery sit for long periods without charging it it will kill a battery. If they are saying its a bad battery and you bought it from them then I would let them honor their warranty. They should have also checked to see if the charging system was ok also.

So you are saying the voltage was bouncing around on a battery in a car that was not running? That's either a bad battery or a random high amp draw from the car even when it isn't running.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Really the only ways I know to hurt a battery is to overcharge it or not charge it and run it down to below 50 percent charge or less. In you let a discharged battery sit for long periods without charging it it will kill a battery. If they are saying its a bad battery and you bought it from them then I would let them honor their warranty. They should have also checked to see if the charging system was ok also.

So you are saying the voltage was bouncing around on a battery in a car that was not running? That's either a bad battery or a random high amp draw from the car even when it isn't running.
Yeah, the car wasn't running. To me it looked like the gauge was stable when the leads were connected, but was bouncing around when he toggled the switch on the load tester.

Load test has nothing to do with charging system. Sounds like bad plates in the battery
Thanks for your advice guys, I appreciate it. I found the receipt and will go exchange the battery soon.
 

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Yeah, the car wasn't running. To me it looked like the gauge was stable when the leads were connected, but was bouncing around when he toggled the switch on the load tester.



Thanks for your advice guys, I appreciate it. I found the receipt and will go exchange the battery soon.
I wouldn't wait too long because a battery that is doing that stuff could damage your alternator.
 
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