96 E350 - major power loss, rough idle, etc - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:35 PM
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96 E350 - major power loss, rough idle, etc

Hey y'all, first time poster here, but I've been reading for a while now. Lots of great info on here, really like it. I'm fairly new to these PSD's since up until now I've only had a little Toyota Corolla that's served me incredibly over the past few years. I'm anxious to learn more though. Anyway, I have a 1996 E350 Club Wagon XLT with about 215,000 mi on it. I bought it back at the end of March and up until recently it's been awesome.

Anyway, last Tuesday I was driving the van home from a show we had here in town. I noticed the headlights and all the dash was a little bit dim, along with the voltage seeming a little bit low. The next day the van wouldn't start and the battery was dead. Jumping the battery seemed to be a temporary fix to this. I tested the alternator using a multimeter and it read 11.9 dcv or so. I don't know if it means the battery is dead, or if it's the alternator. I haven't gotten around to replacing either.

Anyway, on Saturday I had the van all charged up overnight on trickle, and while we were jamming I made sure the battery was charging so I wouldn't be left stranded 20+ mi from home when I had a date that afternoon after practice. I started up the van, and the engine was running rough. I should say that about a month and a half ago it would periodically run rough with about 1/2 power just after starting, then clear up soon after. This time it was the roughest it's ever been and didn't clear up in the least. I had an incredible time getting the van to get anywhere close to a reasonable speed and I limped it a little over half way home on the freeway before I got off to miss the insane long-weekend traffic. As the van was running in this pitiful state, I was driving along a busy two lane road and the van just right died on me. From here I had to get out and flag traffic for a good hour on the hottest day of the year until help arrived.

My friends came and helped me push the van a little off onto the shoulder while we waited for my friend's dad to come and pick the van up. We jumped the van with another battery and it started up with the same running problems, before loading it onto his trailer and towing it home to my house. I'm lost at this point as to what to do about this whole situation as everything I own seems to be self-destructing and falling apart right now.

All in all, not a good day (or time) for me or the Ford - being towed home behind an '07 Dodge Cummins 3500. Thanks to good friends for being there, but hopefully someone can help me here and give me some advice to restore some honour to my precious ride. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:25 PM
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From what I read, It sounds like your alternator is not charging. With it running you should have 13-14.5 volts comming from it. You have to have greater than 12 to charge a 12 volt battery. With low power of the batteries, this can make the running of the engine be rough. When you lost battery power the computer has been rebooted and has to learn all its settings over again. The injectors need plenty of power to operate correctly. I would fix the electrical problem and get every thing charged up or replace and see where you are then with the drivability problems.

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Old 07-03-2008, 06:43 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Jim.

I changed the alternator (but not the battery, limited funds at the moment...) with an OEM after some hassle (three trips, ugh) from the local chain parts store on a Bosch one with the wrong size pulley.

After changing the alternator it wouldn't start. It was turning over and the engine sounded like it was trying to fire, but just wouldn't quite hit and ignite. I tried replacing the cmp sensor with one that the guy I bought the van from had as a spare. I don't know if the part was good or not. It was sealed in a Ford bag like it was new, but it looked like it was used (had some gunk and stuff on it). I changed it out with the spare, and no luck. I'm going to the dealership tomorrow to get a new cmp sensor and try that. If no luck there, I'm hooped and it's off to a mechanic unless any more kind souls on here have some bright ideas and advice for a keen young guy with limited knowledge.


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