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I noticed my 2006 3.0 Taurus has a fluctuating idle while waiting at stop lights. At night, I can see the headlights flicker. Any ideas?
 

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Have the plugs been replaced?

You may have a poor ground connection,
the flicker lights is one symptom.

Check the battery terminals for corrosion.
Easy to remove the cable clamps and clean the
terminals with inexpensive tool.

Is the Check Engine indicator on?
 

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i think the flickering lights is just because of the rough idle, could be getting too low of an idle and makes the alt not charge as much and makes the lights dim.
 

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Be sure to check for DTC's and also check your alternators voltage and amp output.
If your idle speed is ok, but the headlights are flickering (you can notice it on the back of the vehicle in front of you at night), chances are good that you either have a ground/connection/battery issue, or that your alternator is bad. I had the same issue, and a new alternator solved the problem. I suggest one from a Ford dealer.
 

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How big is the fluctuation? My car fluctuates maybe 100 rpm when just sitting idling, it needs one of the o2 sensors replaced..
 

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Check for a vac leak around the gasket for the intake runner control valve gasket.
 

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I have exact same problem. I have replaced the Mass Airflow sensor, alternator, plugs, wires, idle air valve, coil pack and it still persists. I can't tell if the lights are dimming because the engine is dropping below 700 rpm or an intermittent electrical draw is putting additional load on the engine at idle (like when you switch the rear defrost on, or the heater motor) causing it to have to compensate..


The flickering coincides with the rough idle.. (when there is no flickering, idle is smooth) It is also completely ransom.. Like it will flicker 20 times in 10 seconds or will flicker 1 time in a minute. It seems like something is putting additional load on my engine through the alternator (grounding out)..

I have spent hours and hours on this problem, as well as many hundreds of dollars. Can someone PLEASE help?
 

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I have exact same problem. I have replaced the Mass Airflow sensor, alternator, plugs, wires, idle air valve, coil pack and it still persists. I can't tell if the lights are dimming because the engine is dropping below 700 rpm or an intermittent electrical draw is putting additional load on the engine at idle (like when you switch the rear defrost on, or the heater motor) causing it to have to compensate..


The flickering coincides with the rough idle.. (when there is no flickering, idle is smooth) It is also completely ransom.. Like it will flicker 20 times in 10 seconds or will flicker 1 time in a minute. It seems like something is putting additional load on my engine through the alternator (grounding out)..

I have spent hours and hours on this problem, as well as many hundreds of dollars. Can someone PLEASE help?
I've been living with this problem since I bought mine in '07, 2 dealers said they couldn't find anything wrong with mine, soon after I bought it. I test drove 3 other Vulcan Taurus, from the same year, and they all did the same thing mine does. I guess most of them do this, even I can't find anything wrong with mine, and I have a code scanner with live data, no codes, nothing to suggest vac leaks, or bad sensors. On some days, mine will idle as smooth as a Honda, on others, the idle is as unstable as a tweaker on ice. New plugs and wires at 96k didn't do anything.
 

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I've been living with this problem since I bought mine in '07, 2 dealers said they couldn't find anything wrong with mine, soon after I bought it. I test drove 3 other Vulcan Taurus, from the same year, and they all did the same thing mine does. I guess most of them do this, even I can't find anything wrong with mine, and I have a code scanner with live data, no codes, nothing to suggest vac leaks, or bad sensors. On some days, mine will idle as smooth as a Honda, on others, the idle is as unstable as a tweaker on ice. New plugs and wires at 96k didn't do anything.

Well, I have had 2 different ford dealers look at it, I own an OBD scanner.. There are no codes at all and nothing to suggest a vacuum leak. Everything seems to point to an electrical load being randomly put on the engine, making it compensate, therefore causing a rough idle. My guess is that when the engine is 1000+ rpm, the short is still happening, but the change of alternator load is negligible, so i don't notice it. (when you're engine is 1000+ rpm and switch the rear defrost on and off, it also isn't noticeable)

Electrical shorts are f'ing impossible to track down when they only happen when it's running. I suppose the next thing i will try is replacing the ECM, but this car is making me poor. :(

BTW, this is a 2006 Ford Taurus 3.0v6 SE. It only has 60k miles. I will take ANY tips or suggestions anyone can give.
 

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Ford calls it the intake manifold air valve assy. Its the black plastic thingy that sits between the uim and firewall on pass. side. Its been known to cause a vac. leak on 04^ vulcans. On a cold idling eng., spray around the o-ring gasket area with carb. clnr. etc. and listen for changes in idle. People have successfully replaced the o-ring gasket with certain oil filter gaskets: Bosch#3312 from autozone and Microgard#MGL9688 from oreilly. Ive got 2 ford part#s? #87072-s91 and #4x4z-9h490.
 

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There was also a pcm re-flash technical service bulletin (tsb) issued in 06 by ford. Symptoms: po300 code and eng. hot @ idle with ac off. If tach bounces up and down 50-100rpm, pcm needs re-flashed.
 

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There was also a pcm re-flash technical service bulletin (tsb) issued in 06 by ford. Symptoms: po300 code and eng. hot @ idle with ac off. If tach bounces up and down 50-100rpm, pcm needs re-flashed.
I wonder if that is what causes mine to do that? But the tsb dosen't cover the '07 year. On mine, the idle issue is random, and I've lived with it since I bought mine over 3 years ago. Over the years, I had the po300 code pop up only 3 times, but I suspected bad gas with moisture in it that caused po300. My lights only flicker when it does it's wierd idle thing, if I'm at idle.
 

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I wonder if that is what causes mine to do that? But the tsb dosen't cover the '07 year. On mine, the idle issue is random, and I've lived with it since I bought mine over 3 years ago. Over the years, I had the po300 code pop up only 3 times, but I suspected bad gas with moisture in it that caused po300. My lights only flicker when it does it's wierd idle thing, if I'm at idle.

does yours have daytime running lights?
 

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So glad to find this old thread

I just bought a 2006 Taurus SE (on condition that it passes my mechanics' inspection next weekday), and the only troubling thing I notice is the irregular idle speed and a mild throbbing through the steering wheel when stopped in drive.

I love its comfort and solid, quiet performance on the highway, but this fluctuating idle thing had me a little concerned. Seeing that it seems to be a typical issue here helps me a lot. I don't feel like I got a particularly defective Taurus.

I notice in the Carfax that it has a new alternator and that a recent check of the electrical system was done. That clicks with some of the suggestions above...hm.

Interestingly, I found this pretty gold car on Cinco de Mayo (today) and that puts the purchase in the sign of Taurus astrologically for any New Agers out there.

I'll continue to study and print out the suggestions for my mechanic to check out this coming Monday. I can arrange for another "pre-owned" car if this doesn't work out, but seeing that one of you found that ALL the Tauruses you tested had this irregular idle thing tells me that maybe I should just live with it. This was the prettiest Taurus on the lot.:rolleyes2:

Good to be here!
 

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I just bought a 2006 Taurus SE (on condition that it passes my mechanics' inspection next weekday), and the only troubling thing I notice is the irregular idle speed and a mild throbbing through the steering wheel when stopped in drive.

I love its performance and solid, quiet performance on the highway, but this fluctuating idle thing had me a little concerned. Seeing that it seems to be a typical issue here helps me a lot. I don't feel like I got a particularly defective Taurus.

I notice in the Carfax that it has a new alternator and that a recent check of the electrical system was done. That clicks with some of the suggestions above...hm.

Interestingly, I found this pretty gold car on Cinco de Mayo (today) and that puts the purchase in the sign of Taurus astrologically for any New Agers out there.

I'll continue to study and print out the suggestions for my mechanic to check out this coming Monday. I can arrange for another "pre-owned" car if this doesn't work out, but seeing that one of you found that ALL the Tauruses you tested had this irregular idle thing tells me that maybe I should just live with it. This was the prettiest Taurus on the lot.:rolleyes2:

Good to be here!
I have a 2004 with the Duratec 24v, and mine has an irregular idle as well. I've been trying to hunt down the cause, and have yet to find anything wrong. On warm engine sitting at a light, its a very faint flutter occasionally, maybe 50-100 rpm. However, on a cold startup in the mornings, it's much more apparent, more like 200-300 rpms. I've cleaned the MAF, IAC, tried a new IAC (same results), new PCV (PCV elbow was still in perfect condition), fuel filter, and nothing has changed it. You aren't alone! lol
 

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Thanks, Ben! I'm even more reassured now. I tend to be a bit OCD about these things, but since this car is so comfortable and performs so well in every other way, your and the others' posts are helping me let this idle thing go. Think I'll keep it.

Dave
 

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It's worth having the intake air valve gasket checked FWIW. The source is so innocuous even mechanics tend to overlook it. A friend at work spent a lot of money and time fixing everything under the sun, finally took it to a Ford dealer who was militant about checking it on every Taurus that came his way.
 
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