2003 Ford Explorer running high RPMs with difficulty slowing down/stopping

Asked by Nov 29, 2016 at 09:43 AM about the 2003 Ford Explorer XLT V8 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2003 Ford Explorer, and earlier this year I noticed that my car had
began to "lurch" forward as I would come to stops. I took it into the shop
and they replaced the IAC valve.

I drove away and noticed that my car seemed to have a lot more umph to
it. A few hours later, I noticed that my RPMs were running really high and I
would have difficulty stopping (I would be slowing down, but my RPMs
would remain high, making for a lurchy/chunky stop.) If I'm doing a quick
stop, like turning the corner onto a quiet road, I slow down because I'm
pressing the brake, but my car feels like it's about to take off. The best way
to describe that would be if you held onto the back of the shirt of someone
trying to take off running. You've slowed them down by holding their shirt,
but their legs are still moving. Additionally, my car will accelerate itself. I
could slow down to 25 mph, take my foot off the gas, and a half mile later
I'm doing 35/40 mph. I have replaced the TPS sensor, but nothing has
changed.

So this has been going on since last summer (haven't had the funds to take
it back to the shop.) I have noticed in the last week or so, that while it still
does a chunky stop, it will all the sudden stop hard, like a kid who doesn't
know how to properly break. Today, as I was coming to a stop light, it was
doing it's normal, chunky stop, then it all the sudden stopped really hard
then died. When it died the "Check Gage" light came on. I spoke with my
dad, who is a diesel mechanic, and he did not understand why the Check
Gage light would be on (really, my entire car has him stumped.)

1 Answer

36,845

Look for a vacuum leak around the intake. In fact it seems to me you still have a major vacuum leak. Do you hear any hissing, sucking, or howling noises? High idle or dying at idle is a good indicator of a bad IAC valve, which the shop replaced, but they should have continued to hunt for the cause of the high idle. Your era of engine was known for weak intake rubber hoses and elbows, prone to all sorts of vacuum leaks. so just start poking around them for cracked, broken, or loose hoses and connections. Sometimes just spraying the tiniest mist of starter fluid around a vacuum hose can detect a leak when the engine revs as a result of the starter fluid finding it's way into the intake via the leak. As to the hard stopping, that could be the result of the fact you're engine is idling too high, but you may want to have someone run computer diagnostics on your rig to see if the lock speed of the TC is too low/high, as that is governed by the PCM.

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