Cold Stalling Grand Marquis 2001

I just bought this 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis with 87k on it. It runs and idles smoothly, good gas mileage, no sign of trouble–except a cold start. It actually starts fine, but when I shift into drive the engine dies. If its 0, it just dies. If I idle it a minute or two, it will do OK. At 20 degrees, it slows like its going to die, but then recovers. Once I have it running in drive (or reverse) it behaves completely normally. Since this thing is presumably computer controlled with no adjustments, I am puzzled. The only clue is that this was an estate-probated car, and probably sat around for 6 months or so.

I had no clue on purchase–probably because the seller warmed it up before I got there to try it out.

Any advice/ideas?

So–all the experts out partying on a saturday evening?

Sounds like the cold is causing your idle air solenoid to be slow when first started. If you can repeat it everyday it’s cold, maybe try a blow dryer to warm up the IAC before you first start it and see if it works better.

What Pete said and or there will be thermometer, usually in the air intake somewhere, that provides a signal to the computer (ECM) which the computer uses to adjust the fuel mixture (sort of like a choke) during warm-up. A fault in this circuit can cause a lean start-up mixture and stalling…

that certainly sounds like a reasonable explanation. thanks.
i would think of adjusting the screw for the cold idle speed–which dates me I think.
it should not be expensive to fix. is another place to ask questions about Panthers

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Wait a minute–shouldn’t a malfunctioning sensor (thermometer) trigger a "Check Engine"
light? I don’t have one.

Not necessarily. Only if it’s like maybe stuck at -40 or maybe 300 degrees. A temp sensor that is askew will probably not turn on the light. However you could have a trouble code stored which may give a clue. Not all codes are going to turn on the light. There are parts stores that will scan for codes for free. Don’t forget a DTC is just that, not a part replacement code. If you have a DTC we can probably help , we just want the code, not the description.

If a trouble code is read, does that erase it? I wouldn’t want to go to a parts place and lose information that a repair shop might need later.

On most code readers, it is the operators choice to erase all stored codes or not. Ask them not to.