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1st Gen - 1997 - 2002

97 Expedition stalling, then theft light blinking


This is a discussion on 97 Expedition stalling, then theft light blinking within the 1st Gen - 1997 - 2002 forums, part of the Ford Expedition Forum category!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Sorry to disappoint but I'm not doing any scraping on the fuses. I'm just replacing them all. Hopefully this pic is showing up right



First is the pcm diode. It's like new and Autozone didn't sell them. Then the 5 amp PCM fuse from the very rear fuse box under the hood #1 location. Then another 5 amp fuse from the fuse panel under the dash, location #15 that goes to the GEM and Anti-theft. Somehow or another it has a gnat inside it but it's not blown. Then there is the 30 amp maxi fuse from loaction #24 under the hood. It's not blown but does has a crack in the housing where air can get into it. The terminals are pretty oxidized too...dunno if the pic is gonna show that well enough to see or not. Then there's the 30 amp fuse from under the dash in location 30 that goes to ignition coils, PATS and PCM relay. Left out the relay in #6 position...forgot to put in pic but it's getting replaced too.

I have about a 15-17 mile ride home. Assuming I make it all the way here, how can I keep testing it to make everything is good to go? Keep it idling, jacked up and in gear, or keep driving around my farm for a couple hours? I don't want to try it with my trailer under it's thoroughly tested.

Shoo. That's it for now.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Well, just got everything swapped in and she fired right up, no issues at all. Let it idle, still no codes. Took off towards home and didn't make it 3/4 mile when it died. Luckily I had enough speed to coast to a bar parking lot. Now I'm looking at another tow bill to either get it home, to a mechanic or to the dealer.

This incident is different from the others. It had only been running 2 minutes if that long when it died. It stumbled one time and I knew it was coming....only took another 5 seconds.

Ok....now what? I just got done reading a bunch more posts. If truck starts every time, can I ABSOLUTELY rule out any PATS issues? One thread said he reprogrammed his and it fixed it. My truck is starting so that confuses me.

Could it need a new transponder in the column? Maybe it's going bad and allowing it to start then kicking out?

I'm about out of ideas and almost ready to buy a new pcm from Autozone and have it flashed. HOWEVER...I forgot to mention this, I talked to the lead tech there and he told me if I tried another PCM and had the same issue, more than likely, like 95%, it's not a pcm issue. What else could it be?
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:51 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Just got back from the dealership and the shop that specializes in electrical work. I don't believe it....both said there was pretty much nothing they could do!!!. Dealership said they could scan it again but that was it. The problem with that is OBDII port is shut down when it occurs and you get code U1147. The shop who specializes in electrical just gave me a printout of TSB 01-6-2 where it states "NOTE: IF THE VEHICLE (SYSTEM TYPES A, B, C, D ONLY) IS A NO START WITH THE THEFT LIGHT FLASHING AT IGNITION ON, AND WITH NO DTC P1260 STORED IN THE PCM, CHECK PCM POWER, GROUND, AND VREF CIRCUITS FOR OPENS OR SHORTS. THE PCM MAY NOT BE OPERATING PROPERLY"....which sums up my situation. I saw one ground under the pcm on the frame but it looked good. Since I don't know how to use a multimeter, there's no way I can do this on my own is there? Where are the other grounds?

What does VREF stand for? I cannot believe both places pretty much said they couldn't do anything with it. And I called the shop that did the original diagnostic and they said the same thing. For the record, it was the dealership that said if I already tried a new pcm and the same thing happened, it's not the pcm.

I'm ready tom put full coverage on this thing and let someone run into it when it stalls.

Why is everyone so quiet? Haven't gotten any more help for a few days.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:58 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I haven't been on the forum much since Tuesday. My past 72 hours hasn't been exactly ideal, and depending on quotes today I may spend the rest of my vacation working on my X in my driveway.

y e a a a a


So about your situation . . . I just re read this thread. From a top down view, you have an issue that is not intermittent. If you start your rig, IT WILL DIE. That variable is - how long will it take to fail and leave you stranded? What you have is UNDERTERMINED in that no one knows what the root cause is, just the symptoms.

We spoke of doing some diagnostics. The shops have tried to read codes but were unsuccessful. You have tried a few inspections and replacements and are unsuccessful.

The depth of the diagnostics on both cases are not extremely deep and doing more requires a strategy for debugging that involves expensive equipment and technical expertise. This will cost you.

The thing you do have control over is testing and replacing parts that might be the cause, and you have covered most relays and fuses. Have you sufficiently touched and tested all of them? Dunno. You swapped the PCM and main relays afaik.

There's still a zillion things I could mention, but they are more fringe things.

1) your battery connections
2) the fuses and fuse holders connected to the positive if there are any
3) alternator diode short
4) mass airflow sensor connection
5) engine relay\relays that provide pwr to the ignition coils.


And we could keep nickle and diming this forever until you replaced everything.

There are some major consideration such as the fact that in order to run at all, you MUST have gas, air and electricity. To the extent that any of those are not available or managed a vehicle will not run. If the gas pump stops, no go. If the mass airflow sensor is kaput, no go. If the 12v to the coils is not available, no go.

When the X dies, and you try to turn it over, you can make observations. Do you actually have spark? If you remove one of the coil plugs and can see\hear tack tack tack then you have spark. If you are pumping un-burned gasoline out of the exhaust pipe then you have gas.

We could say, based on observation that your rig will start from a cold engine. Once it has warmed it dies. This could be electrical or mechanical or both.

A $4 volt meter will tell you what you need to know. Buy some at Harbor Freight and keep them around, for $4 you don't have to care if the dog ate it or you ran over it.

The cables only plug in to 2 places, and you want to be sure and plug the RED in to the spot that says VOLTAGE or has a V symbol. Do not plug it in to the CURRENT location with a A or VA letters.

Set the dial to the 20V range and test a AA battery. If it reads appr 1.25 volts, you have the right settings. Now touch the leads to the car battery, it will read appr 12v when not running. If you do this and nothing sparks melts or smokes, you're good, leave the meter on that setting.

This will allow you to test if you get voltage to the fuel pump, to the coil packs, to relays etc.

Beyond what I've added to this post, unless I have some epiphany, I just have nothing else to add. I think the best you can hope for is to find someone else on the internet that has your same symptoms and discover how they fixed it.

An illustration: I was driving down the interstate and I head some god-aweful sounds so I pulled over and start inspecting. I removed the 2" receiver licence plate holder and drove again, this wasn't the source of the noise. I stopped again and put that back on, poked around some more. AHA! I find something I had not seen since I bought the vehicle. There is a support arm for the air intake tube and it rests on the bolt that had no nut. This would let the support arm bounce up and down as the air moved through the vehicle at higher rates of speed. This must be the noise, so I grabbed some big wire-ties from the cab and secured the support arm in place. This turned out to not be the hellacious noise and not the permanent fix for the support arm.

I get out in the rough country and my vehicle stalls, over and over again. Your situation came to mind. I opened the hood and started to physically inspect everything and found that the whole breather assembly was loose. It didn't look loose, but when I wiggled it man was it not connected at the throttle area. No nut on the support arm and all that shaking from the logging roads made the connection come loose.

I got the big tool kit out and removed the plastic cover, seated the tube and tightened the metal bands. I then used about 2 dozen wire ties to prevent the air intake and support arm from moving in any direction. This was a 20 minute investigation and fix and I was back in business.

Today I'll replace the missing nut and lock washer. The point is, that you can have a lot of grief over something as simple as a missing nut; that the problem may be systemic as one thing causes another thing to not work properly; that the way to find the problem is to inspect and test one thing or system at a time methodically.

I feel your pain and frustration and hope you will eventually resolve the issue. I'll continue to reply, albeit I'm starting to officially claim "out of ideas".


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Old 07-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Well, just got home. Borrowed a heavy trailer for nothing. It started right up, straightened her up to load onto trailer and it died when it hit the ramps. Tried to restart...theft light blinking. Keep in mind this is a bar parking lot. I unhook the negative on the battery, go inside and drink a couple beers, come back out and rehook battery. Turn key over, no theft light but it wouldn't start. Two more tries and theft light came on. Unhook battery again and go back into bar. Come back out after 25 minutes, hooked battery back up, theft light still blinking.

When I turned it over once, I asked a guy to put his ear next to the fuel tank and he heard nothing. Could a bad fuel pump or fuel pump relay cause this? I think I read somewhere where it could.

So when the wifey gets home, having AAA tow it home. Today's occurence ruled out something....it's been sitting for days and it only ran for 20 seconds. I'm thinking of ruling out the heat issue b/c the engine still had to be cold after 20 seconds.

This thing is just asking to be torched....losing my sanity on it. Regardless of my lack of skill using a volt meter, I'm buying one to see if I can find something out.

I do appreciate your input Capt.

Last edited by PO'dexpd'nowner; 07-06-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:07 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Ok...bought me a multi-meter at Wally world and just got back in from the barn (had it towed home yesterday....sigh).

I have power/12 volts to PCM and Fuel Pump relays. I have 12 volts going to the little 5 amp PCM fuse that's in the samllest most rear fuse box under the hood. Also have 12 volts going to #24 30 amp fuse. I have not checked under the dash yet....that's next.

I have no power/voltage going to Fuse 19 to Fuel Pump nor to fuse 18 or 16. I don't know if this is significant or not. This was after the theft light tripped. I do have 12 volts going to fuse #17. Weird how the left side is showing no voltage???

First time I ever noticed this but after the fast flashing, the theft light flashed out code 16, which I'm gonna look up after posting this.

LAstly, it would not even start. This has become the new symptom over the past couple days. It has gone from stalling randomly on the road, to stalling in 10-20 seconds, to not even starting before the theft light comes on.

This is a 2 beer break right now. I'll try to update a few more times today as allowed by this friggin heat, until I run all the tests mentioned in this thread and 60+ others I've read.

Last edited by PO'dexpd'nowner; 07-08-2012 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:39 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Beer is gone. Read few more posts about code 16...nothing definitive. However, this thread does seem similar to my issue.............post #7 on this Theft Lamp Flashes Code? - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum

My factory voltage gauge has always dropped pretty low on start-up. After years of it being this way, I never gave it a second look. My batery is less than 2 yrs old though and shows 12 volts. I'm gonna swap in another battery right now and see what happens. Saw another thread indicating replacement pcm code may be off so I'm gonna put the original back in.
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Old 07-08-2012, 02:34 PM   #38 (permalink)
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took battery out, put original pcm back in, immediately same thing...no start, theft light. This IS NOT a pcm issue. It has progressed and their is no difference between the pcm's.

To add insult to injury, I broke 4 vacuum lines on firewall right above where pcm goes in. I hooked it up to battery before going through firewall to test it out and bumped the lines.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:11 PM   #39 (permalink)
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"I have no power/voltage going to Fuse 19 to Fuel Pump nor to fuse 18 or 16"

This may be by design. If the antitheft kicks in, it probably disables the fuel pump (via the PCM)

You can test the battery voltage with your new meter, at rest and while running. I mentioned both cleaning all of the connections with sandpaper or an emery board, and the possibility that the alternator diode is going bad.

You could go as far as to have the voltmeter running in the cab while driving and if the voltage plummets then you know more than you did otherwise. You should get an indicator lamp if this happens, but you don't have a typical situation after all.


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Old 07-08-2012, 04:38 PM   #40 (permalink)
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tested the battery voltage at rest and was 12 volts. Never had a chance to test it while running.

Took the bottom part of the steering column off to check for any loose wires coming from what I assume is the transponder or receiver, one or the other. Nothing loose and really couldn't back probe it either.Checked all the fuses related to PATS, PCM, ignition coils, etc under the dash and got nothing. As mentioned by Capt in previous post, this may also be by design.

I got a whole page of notes of things to check in a notebook and have done them all. Really don't know where to go from here. I find it especially odd that the progression is completely independent of pcm. Gonna let it sit overnight and just turn the key over tomorrow to see if I can get voltage to fuse #19.

As for connections to battery, they are less than a month old and still bright and shiny.

Battery dropped down to about 10 trying to start...not down to 7 like it was mentioned in the link I posted above. Alternator diode??? Never heard of it.....will look to see where it's located and look at it.

I knoww what I forgot!!! Relay #303 and #203....located behind thepassenger side kick panel. I've read several posts that these are also fuel pump relays. Anyone got an idea about these before I tear off the panels? I think they are non-serviceable IIRC and one is located on an actual circuit board.

Last edited by PO'dexpd'nowner; 07-08-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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