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Old 05-14-2015, 02:20 PM   #1
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High idle at start, stalling at stops with AC on

Have a 2002 Ford Focus ZX5 Zetec with 170,000 miles. A month ago it started stalling at stops/turns/low idle, mostly when the weather and the engine were both warm/hot. It would start right up sometimes, other times I'd have to let it sit for ten or so minutes. I took it to a mechanic for a diagnoses and after having it a week he was unable to recreate stalling issues. Also, there haven't been any CEL or codes. He told me to take it to the dealership. I did and they also could not recreate the stalling issues and were unable to pull any codes. I took it back to the first mechanic, got the TB cleaned and he also suggested using Sea Foam for a bit. I did. I put a full bottle in the engine/oil hole (excuse my ignorance) and continued to put a bottle of sea foam in the gas tank each time I filled up for a month. Nothing improved. It still stalled. So I looked on this forum and contacted a few long distance mechanics in my life and they all (4 of them) agreed that the IAC would be a good place to start. So I just had that replaced. Now my idle is extremely high at start up, it drops about 30 seconds after start up, but remains a tad jumpy throughout my commute. When I turn the AC on the idle soars, the rpms really don't drop back down , instead they jump around between 1000 and 3000 while driving, I have to "fight" for the car to brake (car lunges forward even after brake fully applied) and often the engine stalls when I come to a stop.
The mechanic I took it to is basically done with my car and probably me too. He has once again told me to go to the dealership. I don't mind taking it to the dealership, but I was wondering if it was necessary to pay the dealership price when perhaps just a more competent mechanic is all I need. Thoughts? Advice?


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Old 05-14-2015, 04:23 PM   #2
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Warm stall on the Zetecs is commonly the IAC. But you replaced that, and presumably have driven enough for the computer to reset. I would check the PCV hose, prone to collapse at the elbow.

The idle is supposed to jump when the AC comes on, otherwise it'd stall under the extra load. But it shouldn't rev so high that you have to shift into neutral to brake properly.

How long since you've done plugs and wires? It might just be time for a tune-up.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:29 PM   #3
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Hope you've changed that oil by now, can't run that stuff in there for more than a VERY short time.

Does it ever idle at the right speed now? (ya kinda skipped that part)

Could be on the right track with the IAC replacement, but some cheap replacements don't function as well as they should.

IAC IS supposed to bump up the throttle (so to speak) when the A/C kicks on or when turning hard, both to prevent stalling - NOT enough to affect idle speed (RPM) appreciably.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:30 PM   #4
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I change my oil regularly without fail. I had it changed 50 miles ago and then again two days ago when I had two oil leaks repaired. I will definitely mention I want a tune up and good cleaning when I drop the car on Monday.
I expect the AC to cause a higher rpm, but it isn't consistent. It jumps up and down, which effects the acceleration and overall control of the car. The AC performance is great when moving (cold solid air), however without fail every time I stop the engine will stall. I have tried adjusting my braking "technique" a bit but it doesn't help. I have been told the IAC might need to relearn so I have been using the AC and just restarting my car after it stalls at stops. Today I pulled into my driveway and the engine dropped from 2500 to stall immediately when I stopped. That is the most dramatic drop so far. Usually it tries to stay running and somewhat slowly cuts out.
I have read a lot of posts about the possibility of bad/faulty IAC and the recommendations that you should by motorcraft parts so I will also ask them to check the installation of the IAC and the part itself for any defects.
I don't really trust the mechanic I took it to. He came recommended highly by friends and neighbors, but I had a very hard time communicating with him. In fact a month ago I asked him to clean or change if necessary the IAC and when I picked it up he told me I didn't have one. He gave me some bullshit about how I have a computer component that controls that. Well I got home and found this site and after a few days of research I found out I DO have one (duh!) but to his credit it does seem as though the location of it is sort of non intuitive, but he could have consulted the Internet as I did instead of flat out lying to me. Also, when I took it back (I KNOW I SHOULDNT HAVE TAKEN IT BACK!!) he lied again and said he didn't say that. I wanted to just scream, "then tell me why you didn't change it a month ago when I asked the first time!"
Thanks for your help. I am really appreciative of your insight. I feel better about what I am looking at as far as repairs and also have more knowledge so that will help when dealing with the new mechanic.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:38 PM   #5
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I understand the comments about when the A/C is on, did want to hear about idle RPM when it isn't to help with the guessing.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:48 PM   #6
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Also, I suspect a good inspection of my PCV is in order. Perhaps that has been the culprit all along. I just had so much trouble getting the warm stalling issue diagnosed, I felt I needed to take some action myself to get the problem fixed because no one could diagnose it.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:54 PM   #7
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RPMs are better when no AC. When the engine is cold and I start it up in the morning it shoots to 3000 and stays there for about 30-60 seconds then drops to normal and is fine. Acceleration and braking are not as smooth as I'd like it to be when there is no AC, but it is definitely better. I will be sure to be more observant when I drive to work tomorrow. Would a video help? Maybe one with AC and one without?
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