99 Windstar--Fixed just to have it break again!

So I wrestled with a rough running, catalytic converter overheating, check engine light lit, piece of junk windstar for close to a year beacuse I was too broke to replace the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, fuel rails and injectors as suggested by my mechanic. Of course I fixed the problem myself in four hours without spending a dime. It was blocked egr ports, causing all egr gasses to dump into the #1 cylinder causing the misfire. So, ater having that revelation and having my wife drive the now fixed van around for a few days, “Thanks honey it runs like new…”, she called me at work to say the thing wouldn’t start.

Now I supposed that I’d not connected the ground cable to the battery well enough, but that’s not it. I suspect the starter solenoid has failed, but there are all sorts of wierd electrical things happening. The starter solenoid clicks quickly but doesn’t send power to the starter. The wierd stuff is things like the lights staying on, and the key in ignition chime refusing to stop.

So my two questions are this, does anyone else think I’m right that it is the solenoid, and what did I do to cause this (or am I just THAT unlucky).

I doubt it’s the solenoid. It’ll click when the vlotage supplied is low. Are you sure the battery is good and/or well charged? You mention the ground cable, but what about the + cable? Did you check it too? If those are good, try jumping it and see if it improves.

As to the starting problem, it sounds like either the battery, a cable connection, or a failing starter motor; any of which could cause a chattering solenoid.
The vehicle is 11 years old; things do wear out.

As to the performance problem, I have no idea where you went with that one.
If the EGR ports are blocked then exhaust gas is not going to get dumped directly into the No. 1 cylinder, nor any other cylinder. Exhaust gas is passed into the intake manifold and will affect all cylinders; not just one.

Either the problem was caused by a hanging EGR valve that was stuck open or the rough running was caused by an intermittent something else.
Based on the fact this has been an ongoing problem I would expect that you’re going to see other issues crop up in the near future.

Did you happen to disconnect a wire that grounds the engine to the body? Strange things can happen when it is missing or the body end is rusted. It sounds like a bad ground. Ford switch solenoids can stop working at any time too.

MG McAnic,
I should have said, I did have the battery checked, and it came out OK. I have tried starting in neutral, no change, so not the switch. I have checked the ground cable (that was actually my first thought) and it has good continuity from terminal connection to body ground. My latest check was to check voltage through the terminals on the starter (not the selenoid) as my daughter turned the key and I got nothing, that is why I’m suspecting the selenoid, it’s not passing current through even though the plunger appears to be working correctly.

OK4450 As far as the EGR ports, the EGR valve opens up to a closed channel in the intake manifold. When one removes the air plenum one will encounter the intake passages in the manifold, into which the EGR ports open, from the above noted channel, individually. There is a problem (covered, I understand, in a service notice) with oil entering the plenum, this oil enters the intake manifold, and had clogged all but one of the ports; which caused the misfire because of all the exhaust gases going into the valve with the open port. I fixed that with a vacuum and a probe to break the carbon deposits, and the check engine light went out, and it ran very, very well.

The battery has been drained somewhat now, it was at 12.3 earlier, it’s at 11.4 now, so I know I’ll have to charge it somewhat.

I’ve had a motorcycle with almost the exact same issue, and I had to replace the ground cable. I didn’t check the continuity on that one, so I don’t know how that compares. At this point I’ll try anything that does not cost too much.

No I hadn’t removed it, but I did check it a little while ago. There is continuity between the negative terminal and the body ground.

What did you mean about the switch solenoid? Are you suggesting a ingnition switch problem?

That’s not what “pleasedodgevan2” asked. You checked the ground cable from the neg terminal to the body. You need to check the ground cable from the body to the engine block. When strange things happen, usually it can be traced to a bad ground somewhere.

On the negative post of the battery, there are two cables coming off the pole. One goes to the block close to the starter and the other goes to the body just around the battery area. It is easy to see without having to take anything apart.

Secondly, these cars with a poorly charged battery will do all kinds of strange things just as you are describing. My wife’s '96 has done this when the alternator fails and/or battery is in need of replacement.

I assume you have cleaned the battery connections using a battery post cleaning brush. Bad battery connections will cause this trouble. There may also be a problem with the main cable to the starter motor. It could have internal corrosion causing the trouble. You could bypass the cable with a jumper cable to see if that helps.