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My car keeps shutting off when driving

ttourtel1ttourtel1 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Lincoln
Had the oil and transmission fluid changed on Dec 16th. 2 weeks later found out the mechanic doing the work "forgot" to take out old oil and added 5 more quarts!! Oil all over engine and smoking like a wildfire!Took it back, had them fix it, dipstick read "full" - everything OK. Not so, now oil light keeps flashing on and off when driving - intermittently. Still reading "full" and no leaks. So why would light keep coming on? Also now another problem developed. Car stalled in traffic when making a left turn - good thing truck behind me was going slow. Got it started again and then it stalled again at a stop light! Got it going again (on the way to work) and got into parking lot - you guessed it - stalled again! Started it up again and revved it up to see if if oil light would go out. It did, but then sitting there, the car stalled again. Shut the darn thing off and went in to work. Asked around and got some suggestions - crank sensor, electric throttle, fuel pump fuse or fuel pump itself, inline vacuum filter to intake manifold clogged, idle setting too low or engine coolant not reaching normal operating temperature! Wow it could be anything! Does anyone have any ideas before I have to take it to the dealer and pay beaucoup bucks to get it fixed? I am a Senior lady who loves her car but hates paying for work I may not need. Thank you.


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Well, you're right, it could be any number of things. I used to have an '86 Towncar. I believe ours had the same engine and ignition systems. Mine did something very similar to yours. It would die at random times, then restart after sitting a little while. After determining it was an ignition problem, I discovered the problem. There is a small box, probably light gray in color, mounted on the side of the distributor. This module is known for overheating and cutting out. When it cools, it works just fine. Seems like it cost me around $30 at the local parts store. After I did this repair, I read in an automotive publication that Ford had admitted this was a "big" problem.

    Other suggestions might include the Idle Air Control Valve. This would cause your car to die when at a stop light or pulling into a parking lot. A malfunctioning Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve might have these symptoms.

    At this point I'm just throwing out ideas. Tell me more about how the car acts and when does it die. Does it die only at idle, but run fine going down the road? Does it do it at random times without any regard to engine speed or other factors? Does the car run roughly at idle before it dies? Tell me more.

    As far as the oil light goes, I have no idea. It's possible the monkey could have screwed it up. If the light is coming on, I would make sure there is plenty of oil in the engine. You might want to check the oil level every morning just to be safe. The reason I say every morning, my '86 as well as my parents '89, would have a bad habit of "eating" a quart of oil at random times. The oil would be up to the full mark one morning, then the next morning the Oil Level light would come on. Check the oil, it would be below the add mark. Fill it up and drive it for 10,000 miles without any incidence. Then it might do it again twice within two weeks. The car never smoked nor left any oil in the garage. I have no idea where it would go. But I digress.

    Tell me more, I'll see what I can come up with. Maybe someone with more professional experience will chime in.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Replace the oil pressure sending unit. Some cars have an ignition cut out if the pressure drops below a certain level. The sensor could have been damaged by having too much oil in the engine. Best bet is to start there, it's a cheap thing to try, and you can do it yourself.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I didn't realize those cars had that switch. I never did let my oil get that low, so it's possible mine had one and I never knew it. This is a very good possibility. The coincidence of the oil change is too great.
  • ttourtel1ttourtel1 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you everyone who replied to my problem and especially mullins87. Your description is EXACTLY what happens to my car. It's a nuisance, not to mention dangerous when driving in traffic! You came up with some good ideas that I will try and I will let you all know what happens. I've made a list for my son so maybe we can get some of it done this weekend. I'm willing to try anything at this point. As for the oil light staying on - now it's on all the time yet the dipstick still reads on the "full" mark. I do check it every morning before I even start the car, so possibly there's a clog somewher else in the oil lines - or - better yet - the guy that did the oil change damaged something. I will keep you posted as to what happens. Thank you all again.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    The possibility of the oil sensor mentioned by "jgmilberg" is a good one IMO. Have your son look at it first. Assuming the '86 I had and your '90 have the same engine and most things about it are similar, there should be a sensor on the side of the oilpan. I don't know how much a new one is or how to check the old one, but I would at least take it out and look at it. Who knows, it may just be stuck in the down position causing the "low oil" light to stay on. The PCM thinks the engine is low on oil and shuts down the motor.

    If that's not it, fire it up and listen to it idle. If the IAC is acting up, the idle speed will probably bounce up and down and maybe eventually die. One simple way to check the IAC is to unplug it. BTW, the IAC is located probably at the junction where the plastic or rubber intake hose clamps onto the aluminum intake plenum on top of the engine. The car probably won't idle with the IAC unplugged, but you can run the idle screw up to where it will idle again. Mine went bad and I drove the car for a couple of weeks with the IAC unplugged. The only drawback is the engine may want to high idle when you first crank it.

    If it's the EGR valve opening when the engine is idling, that will cause the engine to slow down considerably or possibly quit. If the car is idling in the garage and suddenly the engine chokes down, unplug the vacuum line to the EGR valve. If the sensor controlling this valve is malfunctioning, then the engine will immediately return to its normal idle. If the EGR valve itself is stuck open, then the EGR will need replacing. I really don't think this is the problem, but I believe in starting with the simple, inexpensive stuff first.

    If your son has determined that it is none of the above, I'd suggest looking at the ignition module on the side of the distributor. The module failure is very intermittent and the problem will go away once it cools down. Only to resurface when it heats up under operation. If the engine suddenly shuts off, as if you turned off the ignition, immediately pull one of the spark plugs and turn the engine over to check for a spark. Use a spark testor, not your hands. I did that once, now I have a testor for that purpose. If the module is bad, there will be no spark. I found my problem by slowing pouring cool water over the module. This cooled the module, and the car would fire right up, only to die a couple of minutes later when the module got hot enough.

    I have heard stories of unscrupulous mechanics messing things up on purpose just to get you back for more business. A family member took his Grand Cherokee to have the oil changed. Three or four days later it would not accelerate past 30 mph and the engine would not rev past 1,400 to 1,500 rpms. It turns out that the distributor retaining bolt had been loosened, as evidenced by fresh wrench marks on it, so that it would eventually rotate and retard the timing so the engine wouldn't perform as it should. I'm not saying this is what happened to you, but have your son do a thorough inspection under the hood to look for anything out of the ordinary.

    I'll bet your problem is something very simple to fix, just finding it is the hard part. If your son understands how an engine works and how the parts fit together to make it work, he'll be able to find it. Just be analytical and do some good 'ol troubleshooting.
  • warzonectx2warzonectx2 Member Posts: 7
    I got a 1993 town car. It has 170000.oo miles on it! Do I need to rebuild the Engine? I just got the car. It runs good. I got the town car for $2000.oo is it a good deal? Can the town car go to 300000.miles! O and how fast can the town car go!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you leave blue or white clouds behind, if it drools oil like you opened a can and set it down upside-down, if you are driving over your own parts... these are all good reasons to consider you need a rebuild.

    if it's running well, just keep checking the fluids regularly and add the right stuff when needed... directions are in your owners manual, or ask a real mechanic next time you're at a shop how to do the owner checks. even if they charge a tenner for it, it's worth it.

    don't forget to check the tire pressure when cold, a $2-3 tire gauge should be on your shopping list.

    if you didn't get an owners manual, they can be purchased even now at www.helm.com, the official publisher for ford and lincoln.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    What did your son find out? Did he get it fixed?
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    If it's the add oil light it should be on the oil pan, if it's the oil pressure light the sensor is usually on the block itself, or the intake manifold. Let us know how it all works out.

    mullins87-If the sensor for the oil pressure has 3 prongs on it it usually has the ignition or fuel cut off to save the motor.
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