2002 Windstar starting issue

I have a 2002 Ford Windstar that will not start. Last week we drove to Lansing MI and back (total of 4 hours round trip) with no problems. The next morning tried to start the van and while it tuns over normally it will not start. Had a friend remove the fuel line after the fuel filter and got gas with good pressure there. I do not seem to have any gas in the rails or spark at the plugs.

Any ideas as to what could be the problem?

The problem might be with the crankshaft position sensor. This sensor tells the computer if the engine is rotating. If the computer doesn’t see a signal from this sensor, the computer won’t fire the injectors or the spark plugs because as far as the computer is concerned the engine isn’t rotating.


Thank you for the prompt reply to my question, and it seems to be the consensus on this. I picked up the part and a new set of plugs as well and will try this fix once my mechanic is available.

I have another question, that you may be able to answer. On the old diesel trucks I had we use to have to bleed the injectors any time we ran out of fuel. Do you need to bleed injectors on gas models and if so how would you do that.

You don’t have to bleed the injectors. To see if this really is a fuel problem try spraying some starter fluid into the intake and see if the engine will start then.

Ok here we go with the ongoing saga. Did what you suggested Tester and it worked like a charm.Van started almost with the first crank and ran a little rough, but it was running. Drove for an entire day with some rough idling at stop lights. Got into it this morning and it would not start. Spoke to a couple of local mechanics and was told it could be a couple of things.

  1. The new crankshaft position sensor was bad. 2) The fuel pump may be bad. and 3) The spark wires could have been crossed on the back side of the engine. ( causing the rough idle ) Using an ODB reader I got 3 codes 171 174 and 300.
    Any other ideas or are the locals on track??

Help - this is my wife’s van :wink:

Well, 171,174,and 300 means that your computer has detected that the car is running too lean and it has found a random misfire.

Lots of possible causes there… But a bad fuel pump I could easily see causing all three, but I’d look to do more diagnostic work first. Has anyone actually measured the fuel pressure or did you just see that fuel was coming out?

We did not do a pressure reading but we did see fuel after the filter and also in the rails or at least where the fuel pressure regulator sits. I did have the van looked at yesterday with a full ODB reader and the mechanic told me the 171 and 174 could be caused by the O2 sensors.

What do you suggest in diagnostic testing

171 and 174 could be caused by all sorts of things, but it does mean that your car’s computer thinks there is too little fuel being burned. I could see bad O2 sensors causing that, but I would also anticipate decent odds of an O2 sensor specific code being triggered, and we aren’t seeing one here. But basically, we’re seeing a random misfire combined with the sensors saying that both banks are running too lean. It has to be one of spark, fuel, or air… I’m leaning towards ruling out spark, as the O2 sensors should pickup unburned fuel, not too little fuel… and for it to be random you would need pretty much the entire coil pack to fail at once. That leaves air or fuel, or simply bad sensors. I think we can also rule out the crossed wires suggestion, as that should hit those cylinders only, rather than causing a random misfire. It would also likely only affect that bank, not give you a lean signal for both banks.

A good diagnostic scanner should be able to record O2 sensor signals as the vehicle is running, so that could help figure out if they are behaving properly. If they are, then I would get the fuel pressure actually measured and checked to make sure the pump and regulator are working properly. They can easily give intermittent types of problems. I’d also suspect a bad MAF sensor or a vacuum leak that could be allowing too much air into the engine - that would run the thing lean and possibly cause random misfires if the balance gets too far out of whack…

You don’t really learn very much about the fuel pump just by getting fuel past the filter. In fuel injected cars the fuel has to show up at the rail at a fairly specific pressure. You need to find out what the pressure spec is and actually put a fuel gauge on it.

Got the van running and it is working better then ever. Turns out it was a vacuum hose that got knocked off when we changed the spark plugs.
Having another problem with it though. Driver side window does not want to move. Checked voltages at the motor connection and get a good 12 volts. Replaced the motor and the window worked fine for a while then stopped again.
Any ideas?

Ever figure out that window? There is a fuse under the hood that controls that.