97 T-Bird Engine Fan/Starting Problem

I am the owner of a 1997 T-Bird V6 3.0L with 128000 miles. I am able to start the engine ONLY after the engine fan stops running. Sometimes it takes 30 seconds, sometimes 10 minutes. The problem does not seem to depend on the engine temp., duration between starts, or outside temp. When I turn the key to ‘ON’ the fan starts. If I attempt to start the engine immediately it will crank but not start. If I sit and wait until the fan stops it starts up right away. I have heard I need to replace the PCM/computer. Any other thoughts? Shared problems? Thanks!

I suggest you find out if the ignition system works when you first try to start the engine and the fan is running.

My mechanic had trouble doing this because the fan would time out before he could test the ignition fully.

Perhaps there is a grounding problem to the engine that is causing this. The operation of the ignition system should not depend on the the fans running, or not running as far as I know. There very well may be something wrong with the PCM. There may also be something wrong with the temperature sensor for the fan that is making it turn on when it shouldn’t.

Could you give me any more info. on the temp. sensor for the fan? Location? Degree of difficulty to replace/repair?

I’m not sure where it is on your vehicle. It could be in the radiator or possibly the engine manifold. I wouldn’t replace it unless I knew it was bad.

Until the problem is solved, try to find a vent or defrost position that will prevent the fan from coming on. There used to be one or two that would keep the engine fan from coming on. Air conditioner usually has to be off also. Switch to any position after the car starts. The fan motor must be using too much juice as it ages. Ford designs them to drive you crazy.

Having a related problem on a chevy corsica 1993; The car starts fine, but the fan does not run. Previously the fan would not stop running.

The temperature sensor is in the engine near the thermostat housing. I changed that out, but it didn’t solve the problem. I don’t know if there is a timing relay somewhere; the book at the autoparts store just indicated the sensor was connected to the computer, and the control for the fan relay was wired to the computer. I replaced the relay as well; but it sounds like your relay is fine.

Well, first of all, it’s a 3.8 V6, not the 3.0 that was in so many of Ford’s other cars (it is the same engine that was in the Mustangs of that vintage, and there was FWD variant in the Taurus and Windstar).

There is a relay group called the Constant Control Relay Module, and I’m assuming that this part is your problem. It’s not cheap, but it’s cheaper than a PCM.

The Thunderbird & Cougar Club of America will have a definitive answer:


Best of luck!