Ford Explorer Rough Starts

Does anyone know how to end the rough starts for my 2001 ford Explorer? It cranks fine and revs, but then shudders and sputters and dies. We have cleaned the MAF, but haven’t replaced it. We disconnected the battery, ran the A/C drove it for 20 miles. Next day, back to the rough starts. Any advice? Trying to stay away from the dealer!

When was the last tune-up?

Hasn’t had one; the owner’s manual says to do the first at a higher cumulative mileage than 40,000; I can’t remember what right now. But I will check. I neglected to say that it never dies when idling after it’s warmed up, no dying at red lights for example. It runs fine after warming up.

The spark production system needs to be in tip top shape. There are many reason why spark plugs won’t reach that overly optimistic mileage. First, clean the idle air control valve (iac) and the throttle plate and bore. The cleaner, Seafoam receives high marks from a number of mechanics. How does the engine run then? If it’s still runs rough, change the spark plugs. If the check engine light is on, or flashes sometimes, have the engine computer scanned, and bring the trouble codes here. A number of auto parts stores will do the scan for free. If not, a Code Reader is cheaper than paying to have the codes pulled. It’s easy to do.

We did clean the air control valve, but not the throttle playe and bore yet.
If you think it’s the spark plugs, why would they fire just fine after the car’s warmed up?
The engine light doesn’t come on.

Seven year old plug wires can give you problems. Depending of various factors they could have problems cold and less when warm. They also might not be bad enough yet to trigger a CEL. I would do that full 40,000 mile maintenance now.

I agree. Cold start problems can usually be fixed with fresh plugs and wires for this rig. Use the Motorcraft platinums from the dealer. I’m assuming V6, and $49 for plugs every 7 to 10 years is not bad.

Thanks everybody.