2001 Taurus Starts but then Sputters and Dies


I have a 2001 Ford Taurus that has been acting up for about 5 months now. If it’s been sitting overnight or several hours during the day without moving, it acts fine when I start it. But if I drive it for a while and then park it for a little while and try to start it again, it starts, but then sputters and dies. If I wait roughly 30 minutes without touching it, it will start again. I’m in southeastern Minnesota, and this is something that started happening in late May. The first couple of times it happened, we’d driven the car for an hour or more and we thought it was related to the fact that the engine was hot. But lately, it’s been acting up when I just drive a few miles across town. Any ideas? I took it to our mechanic, but they couldn’t recreate the problem and said there was no record of any malfunction in the computer system. I’d really like to figure this thing out before the snow flies.

Thanks for any advice you can provide!


One thing that can cause this is a defective ignition module.

The ignition module operates in two modes. These are the start and the run modes. When starting the engine, the ignition module allows full battery voltage to the coil(s). This ensures that the engine starts. Once the engine starts, and the ignition switch is allowed to go to the run position, the ignition module switches to the run mode. This is where it reduces the amount of voltage going to the coil(s). This is done so the secondary ignition components last longer.

So, it could be that the ignition module is failing in the run mode once it gets hot from the engine heat.