I have a 1998 Ford Escort which I drove about 450 miles in frigid weather over about 8 hours in mid January. After arriving at my neighborhood and getting off the expressway, I couldn’t get the idle on the car (manual transmission) to go below 2500rpm’s. Further, upon taking off, the car was trying to stall, and I was forced to feather the clutch through town driving and keep the throttle up so it wouldn’t stall, even with the clutch in.
The weather at the time was about -7 degrees (f). The next day the weather continued, and thee car would start, jump to the same idle for 10 seconds, then drop suddenly to 500rpm, then stall out.
I wrote the car off, cleaned it out over the next week, and then I tried to run the radio while doing so last weekend. I got the car to start, and run normally.
I have no Idea what happened. I think it may be a computer issue, but it may also be the temperatures. I would like as much information as possible on this.
P.S.: the car has 207,000 miles on it.
Couldhave been that at those temps…the engine thought of it may have been under operating temp…if that is the case it was trying to warm itself up maybe?
Could also be a malfunctioning Idle control valve.
Sounds to me like you just have an idle air control (IAC) valve that’s either sticking sometimes or is failing (or its wiring has a problem).
If that’s it, then this is no big deal. You can easily pull it off and clean it to see if that does anything. It sits right on top of the throttle body with all of two 8 or 10mm bolts holding it on. If you decide to pull it off, take a close look at the wiring harness and wires while you’re at it.
I’d clean it and keep driving (you’ll need a new gasket for it - simple, cheap, paper type). If it happens again I’d check the power supply for it and if that’s ok probably just throw another one on there.
Did the check engine light come on during this time?
I just had a similar issue with my truck, it did it two days in a row. The second day I opened the hood and was looking around the engine compartment and by chance pulled pulled the PCV valve to get it out of the way and when I did I found it was totally gooed up. I cleaned it out with brake cleaner and some gas until it was passing clear cleaner thru it. Dried it off and put it back in and the truck has run jam up since. I know this was an easy fix and I am thankful for that. And no, inside the valve covers is not full of gunk, just normal buildup for a 20 yr old truck.