Reader Question: My wife and I got a hold of a very nice 1997 Ford Windstar van about five months ago. Over the last few weeks, it has developed a nasty little problem. At first, it would idle rough while stopped in traffic, in gear with the brakes on.
The problem has since become worse. Now the van idles fine in park, but once you put it into reverse or drive, it dies. I have to put one foot on the gas pedal and another on the brake and carefully put it into gear while giving the engine enough gas to keep it from shutting down.
I have listened to the engine. It sounds as though there may be air sucking or blowing somewhere but I have yet to find any broken or loose hoses. I have changed out the air filter and I have added fuel injector cleaner to the gas tank. These things seemed to help but only temporarily.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
I would first triple check under the hood for a vacuum leak like in a rubber hose or hose connection or in the hard plastic hose from the air cleaner to the engine.
If you do not see anything, I would have you mechanic clean the throttle body and the idle control motor. Both items are notorious for getting dirty and once dirty they can cause idle issues like you are having.
It is a quick and inexpensive repair, which really should be done routinely as maintenance anyway.