Codes: No code - Engine Stalls
Idle Air Control (IAC) Valve

What do you do when...

... your engine stalls immediately after starting it when it's cold?

Additions will be preceded by a yellow asterisks.
Updated: November 06, 2005

Here is a short presentation about correcting the famed "Engine stalls immediately after starting when cold" problem on your Windstar.

* If you found this page through Google or some other search engine I think you will truly want to check out I found this site a great source of information regarding this and other auto-related subjects. People that post there have been very helpful as well. In my experience, this sites has not been like other forums, where those who ask questions are ridiculed, schoffed at, and told to RTFM! I think you will really like the site and will find it very helpful.

Beside changing an air filter, you won't find many easier things to fix on modern cars than this odd stalling problem. I am not a mechanic by trade, but I have extensive experience with automotive maintenance, repairs, rebuilds, and restoration. This repair took me about 15 minutes.

First some legal stuff.

The information contained herein is presented with no expressed or implied warranty or promise with regards to any of its content. Further, if you use the contents shown herein as a guide you could break something if you have much, little or no experience with automotive mechanics. If you chose to continue, you do so at your own risk. I shall not be held liable for any damages caused by your interpretation of this document, references to it, your use of it, or anything you may do either on purpose or accidently to your any anyone's vehicle.

Take your time and get everything ready before you begin. Here is a list of the tools I used for this repair.

  1. 10mm box end wrench
  2. 10mm 1/2 drive socket
  3. 1/2 drive torque wrench
  4. Ice pick or similar instrument
  5. WD-40®
  6. Rags


Now, let's get started.

Loosen and detach the negative cable on the battery. Sorry... no picture.

Idle Air Control Overview
Engine Compartment with IAC circled in red.

This is just a shot of the engine compartment with the IAC encircled [red circle] to point it out to everyone.

Idle Air Control Close up
IAC Close-up

First, disconnect the small connector [blue cirlce] shown above. This is accomplished by pushing in a small tab with your finger in the direction of the green arrow. The one on my car was stuck so I had to jiggle the connector back and forth gently to get it to come loose. Then suddenly it came off easily.

Using the 10mm wrench remove both bolts [circled in red]. The are long!

Once they're loose the IAC valve should come off without a problem. With the motor part (cylindrical mechanism) to your left look in side the ports on the bottom side. On the IAC from my 2000 Windstar there are two ports. One close to the cylindrical mechanism (motor) and one towards the end of the IAC. The one closest to the end is the culpret. Mine was clogged with soot.

Give both ports a good shot of WD-40® and let it sit about fifteen minutes. Afterwards use the ice pick to gently remove the sooty carbon build-up on the motor's shaft. Once done, squirt it again to remove loosened carbon. Use the point of the pick to move the little valve down in there. There is a spring on the motor shaft on the dirty port side (towards the end). This spring keeps the valve of the IAC for my 2000 Windstar open when there is no power to the IAC. Make sure the valve can be opened and closed freely. If yours doesn't move freely, check the spring, it may be broke. Once the valve can be opened and closed freely you are ready to reassemble the removed part. If the spring is broke or the valve on your IAC will not move freely, you will buy a new IAC. They are about $96.00 at your local Ford parts dealer.


You should have no trouble putting this back together.

Place the IAC in the correct position and install both bolts by hand. Snug them by hand with the 10mm box-end wrench. Then, in the same order tighten each bolt to 7 ft. lbs. with a torque wrench.

Now reconnect the connector.

Remove all tools from the engine compartment.

Reattach the battery cable and start the engine. It should start and continue running as you'd expect.

For the curious. With the engine off, disconnect the connector discussed above. Attempt to start the engine. It should stall as if the IAC was still dirty. If it does, the stalling problem you been nagged with was likely caused by the IAC.