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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Within the last 4 days our Taurus wagon has developed a problem I have never encountered before. The following symptoms are more likely to occur when the car is good and warm.

1) It dies when I back up. No warning at all, it just quietly passes away. If I put it in Park or Neutral to start it, it might not immediately start. If it doesn't, it smells like it isn't firing, and, well, it ISN'T firing. If I turn the switch all the way off and try again, it will start. It may die one more time, but only one more time (so far).

2) At speed I will occasionally see the alternator light flash, only once and very quickly. A second or two after that the car hiccups, which indicates to me there was a temporary loss of electrical power, which briefly shut off the fuel pump.

3) Sometimes, again at speed, it will hiccup once or twice, but without the flash of the alternator light. It only seems to do it under moderate throttle and at about 60 mph. It has not yet done it under hard throttle acceleration or when coasting.

I suspect a problem in the electrical part of the ignition switch, or maybe an intermittent short somewhere that is momentarily shutting off power.

If any of you have any other ideas, I would sure like to hear them. I have about a 300 mile trip to make tomorrow, and I don't feel too confident about doing it in this car. :eyecrazy:
 

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WHen the battery light comes on do other lights come on, (indicating an engine RPM shut down)? Have you checked any of the basics like battery connections, alternator connections, main ground at block?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WHen the battery light comes on do other lights come on, (indicating an engine RPM shut down)? Have you checked any of the basics like battery connections, alternator connections, main ground at block?
Only the battery light comes on. I did a few checks this morning and found one of the bolts holding the alternator down was loose. I tightened that and checked the main positive feed from the battery to the alternator, and it was tight. I THOUGHT that might be a problem because is fiendishly hard to get a wrench on that nut to tighten it. The connection was fine.

I tried to do my trip this morning and had to turn around. Here is what it did:
1) At around 60 mph it would try to die. Either I would see the battery light flash, and/or the tach would drop about 500 rpm. Then it would recover. The problem was much worse at 70 mph, and it was at this point I decided to turn around at the next exit and head home.

2) Drove fine, for the most part, around town.

3) It dies in reverse. Curiously, it does not die when I shift into reverse, but only when the car is in motion. (Just long enough for the car to be fully in somebody's way.) When it dies, it dies quietly.

4) As I headed home, after driving through town and now on country roads, I noticed that it began acting up at progressively slower speed, so by the time I was almost to the house, it would cut out at about 40-45 mph.

5) It seems to be more speed related than rpm related, except for reverse gear.

I tried disconnecting the MAF sensor to see if that made a difference. It only ran worse, so I think we can rule the MAF sensor out. Heck, I even turned off Traction Control to see what happened when I did that. (No difference, of course.)

At this writing I've been home about 15 minutes, and I'm going to let it cool off some more before I go out and check grounds and such, since all the connections have been strategically placed where I am likely to fry my hide if I try to check them while it's hot.

I'm bumfuzzled. I saw an ad last week for a '56 Ford Mainliner. I may have to check that out. :D
 

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I'm bumfuzzled. I saw an ad last week for a '56 Ford Mainliner. I may have to check that out. :D
Then you'll really have fun with electrical wiring. :eek:

Have someone put the car in reverse and apply power with the parking brake and service brakes engaged. Check under the hood looking for any wiring harness that may be shorting out on the motor or transaxle as they move. I would also clean and reinstall all battery and alternator connections to be sure. Just checking for tightness isn't always good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Then you'll really have fun with electrical wiring. :eek:

Have someone put the car in reverse and apply power with the parking brake and service brakes engaged. Check under the hood looking for any wiring harness that may be shorting out on the motor or transaxle as they move. I would also clean and reinstall all battery and alternator connections to be sure. Just checking for tightness isn't always good.
Well, I found the problem. I cleaned connections I could get to from the top, then jacked the car up so I could look at things from below.

Would you believe the crank sensor wire had come in contact with the CV joint? Not only that, but it had contacted the CV boot right where the big clamp is, so it has been in contact with a rapidly rotating sharp object? It had worn through the cloth wire cover, the sheathing, and one of the two wires to the sensor was worn almost in two - in fact, it broke a mild tug.

SOOOOOO..... I cleaned all the gunk off of it, cut back the now defunct cloth "protection," peeled of what was left of the sheathing and fixed it (for now) with a butt splice. I replaced the sheathing with aluminum foil (for now) and wrapped it all up with electrical tape.

I suspect I will need to see if Ford carries a pigtail that I can properly replace everything with. It should work for now.

I hope. :thumb:

Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Crank sensor will kill it every time.
There are times when I miss points-type ignition. It's a lot easier to diagnose and easier to fix. Then I think about the fact that I don't have to work on an electronic ignition every 12-15,000 miles, and I feel a bit better. :p
 
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