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98 Ford Contour dies when put in drive

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New User

May 14, 2015, 8:36 AM

Post #1 of 3 (1011 views)
98 Ford Contour dies when put in drive Sign In

The Car:
1998 Ford Contour, 4 cylinder, 165k miles

Recently my car has been having problems when shifting into drive. It starts and idles fine, but sometimes after I shift to drive it jerks a little and then smooths out and drives normal, and sometimes it jerks then dies. If it dies I have been able to switch it back into park, then it starts fine. After it dies the "Charging System" light turns on, if that makes a difference. It has died twice while driving, once at a stop light the other while moving, both times there was no jerking, it just died.

Looking at a few online sources it seems the most common explanations are the torque converter or ignition coil.

Any idea what's wrong? I'm not really car smart but I'll try to give more info if needed.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2015, 8:49 AM

Post #2 of 3 (1003 views)
Re: 98 Ford Contour dies when put in drive Sign In

1st get the codes read and post the #s. Charging light comes on normally with a stalled engine as it isn't charging - that means nothing alone,


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2015, 7:07 PM

Post #3 of 3 (984 views)
Re: 98 Ford Contour dies when put in drive Sign In


First eliminate all vacuum or air leaks in the system (very important)

. You may have a bad IAC ( idle air control) but try cleaning the throttle body first. Remove the intake snorkel, have someone hold the throttle wide open for you and scrub the back side of the throttle plate and surrounding bore with an old tooth brush and some carb cleaner. Be sure to spray some into the small holes next to the throttle plate. That should help stabilize the idle. If it still has a problem, replace the IAC.


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