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Tony ASKED THE GUIDE

Ford Falcon 2002: Why does the engine keep cutting out?

The engine on my 2002 Ford Falcon cuts out while driving. I replaced the throttle-position sensor and it seemed okay for a while but is doing it again periodically. I went through the TPS reset procedure but that made no difference. Any ideas on what is going on?

Computer-controlled engines like the one in your Falcon, Tony, require a range of sensors to provide the information to the computer to allow the engine to run properly. If just one of those sensors sneezes, the engine can shut down without warning.

As well as a throttle-position sensor, there are also camshaft-angle, crank-angle, air temperature, coolant temperature, oxygen sensors and more. So the best advice is not to start replacing the sensors one by one, but to have the computer interrogated electronically. The computer will be logging problems as they happen and should be able to tell you exactly which sensor is nodding off intermittently. A Ford dealership along with many independent workshops will have the computer-scan gear to do this. It will save you time and money in the long run.

For what it’s worth, since the car cuts out completely, my hunch would be the crank-angle sensor is overheating. So, if you want to persist with a home diagnosis, try this: Carry a bottle of cold water in the car. Then, the next time the engine cuts out, pour the cold water over the crank-angle sensor. If the car suddenly restarts, you’ve found your problem.

But to be honest, you could also be looking at a dud fuel pump, a blocked fuel filter and literally a hundred other possibilities.

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