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Questions and Answers

Ford Taurus Cold Start And Stalls

Q. I'm struggling trying to find out what's wrong with my once, great running Ford Taurus. First off, I'm having problems with cold starts. The vehicle will start after a couple cranks and idle for about 10 to 15 seconds before it starts to sputter and stall. Sometimes it may run longer but the idle will vary from smooth to rough.

Ford Taurus Cold Start And Stalls

It takes several starts before the engine warms up enough for it to maintain an idle. The exhaust is white and has a fairly strong gas odor. Then when you step on the throttle at idle or while trying to accelerate the engine hesitates or sometimes will even stall.

And worse yet, after the vehicle has been running for 20 minutes and is shut off, it won't restart unless I wait about 30 minutes. I'm not sure if its a coincidence, but this all started after I had the A/C recharged.

In my efforts to repair this I have done quite a few things. I checked the catalyst and its not plugged. I've recently replaced the battery, alternator, plugs, wires, distributor, rotor, fuel filter, air filter, PCV, ECT sensor, and TPS. I have also cleaned the idle air bypass valve and checked the EGR valve and it does function when vacuum is applied.

I have tested for EEC-IV codes and the only ones that came up were 23 and 85. I replaced the TPS and the 23 code no longer shows up. For the 85 code I tried to bypass the canister purge by venting to atmosphere and plugging the vacuum line. Still no luck. Do you have any suggestions?

  • 1986 Ford Taurus
  • 3.0 liter V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles
  • Fuel Injection
  • P/S, A/C, Cruise control


A. What you need to do is check the basics, ignition timing, idle speed etc. Then you need to put a fuel pressure gauge on it to see what the fuel pump is doing. If the fuel pressure drops to zero and the engine dies, or if fuel pressure does not come up to specification, you have a bad fuel pump.

After that you will need to have the head gasket checked. It is not uncommon for this engine to blow a head gasket at this milage. The white smoke from the exhaust would tend to support this possibility.

If everything checks out, then you will need a Ford Dealer to check your vehicle to see if this TSB does apply to your vehicle.

Article No.: 86-24-18
Date: 12/5/86

Idle - Rolling - Warm/Cold Engine - 3.0 Liter Improved Processor
Stalls - Cold Start - 3.0 Liter - Improved Processor
Idle - Body Boom - 3.0 Liter Improved Processor

1986 Taurus

1986 Sable


WARNING: This modification is authorized only for the listed engines. Performing this modification on other engine calibrations is unauthorized and could create liability under applicable federal or local laws.

Rolling idle, body boom or stalls after cold start may be caused by the fuel and idle speed control strategies of the engine calibration. To correct this, install a new processor assembly, E6DZ-12A650-MK (50 State) or E6DZ-12A650-AFK (Canada).

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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© 2005 Vincent T. Ciulla

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