Mazda Tribute Strangeness

My brother in law owns a Mazda Tribute. Since I am on vacation he wants me to fix it, but I haven’t the foggiest what could be wrong with it. Sometimes it starts fine, sometimes it acts like it has a low battery. It will stutter and die at an idle. So to get a sometimes fix he shuts it off and starts it again. Sometimes it doesn’t work, so they end up sitting at a busy light in town till they can get a jump.

I’ve tested the alternator and the battery, looked for bad connections or frayed wiring, and run a diagnostic on it. The diagnostic threw a code for ABS, and nothing else.

I am at a loss. any ideas?

What year? The Tribute shares the 6 cyl w/ the Mazda 6. This is what my 6 was doing when the engine self-destructed. I am currently awaiting delivery of a remanufactured engine–total bill will be a little south of $5k. Get a compression test and check the oil both for level and for metal.

Its an '04. Theres no metal and the oil level is good. We took it in to a mechanic buddy of mine. I’ll tell him to check the compression.

Have you replaced the IAC yet? How about the DPFE? Are these acronyms making you say WTF?

WTF definitely however a quick google search tells me the IAC is an Idle Air Control Valve,and the DPFE sensor can make the car run lean (lean misfire). We have it in a mechanic right now I’ll add these to the list of things for him to check.

You might reconsider telling the mechanic what you THINK is wrong with it. He’ll be forced to “fix” those things even if they are not what’s needed. If you trusted him enough to take the car to him, let him do his own diagnostics.

Youre probably right about that hes a friend but times are tough. Thanks for the advice.

You can’t SEE, or feel, a bad connection. Disconnect the battery cables and clean the cable terminals and battery posts with a wire brush. Where the battery cable connects to the STARTER, loosen and re-tighten that nut (to improve electrical contact).
When you have the battery and alternator tested at the auto parts store (free), RAISE the engine rpm to 2000 for the test. The alternator should have an output voltage of 13 1/2 to 14 /12 volts.