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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
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Ford Windstar: I checked the voltage to the solenoid..valves..vacuum

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On my Ford Windstar, 3.8, 1997, I have a engine check light on with code readings of 1537 and 1538, which are IMRC problems. I checked the voltage to the solenoid and that is ok. I opened up the butterfly valves and put my finger on the vacuum at the vacuum motor and it stayed open which indicates that the motor's diaphragm is ok. I put my mouth up to the air motor vacuum tube and blew into it. It seemed to allow air through. I am not sure if that means anything. So I think it is either the solenoid or the vacuum tubing. The vacuum tubing (tan) goes from the air motor and goes behind the engine and I don't know where it comes out on the other side (right side, facing the engine). Where is the main vacuum intake? I need to know so I can check the tan vacuum tubing. On the right or left of the engine? I saw a rectangular box near the wheel well on the left side with some vacuum tubes going in. Is that the vacuum reservoir? The tan vacuum tube doesn't go in there. How else can I tell what the problem is?
Hi,

here is testing procedure:

1. Check the operation of the Intake Manifold Runner Control (IMRC) vacuum actuators located on the passenger side of the intake manifold. The actuators are relaxed and allow the butterflies to be open without the engine running. When starting the engine, a vacuum signal is supplied to both actuators causing them to be closed.

2. If there is vacuum to the actuators, but they do not close, the actuators can be checked with a hand-held vacuum pump to verify that they close and hold vacuum.

3. If there is no vacuum signal to the actuators, check the Brown (BR) wire of the IMRC solenoid located at the rear of the engine Key On, Engine Off (KOEO) and when starting the engine. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) should ground activate the BR wire when starting the engine, which results in a vacuum signal being delivered to the IMRC actuators.

4. If there is no ground activation on the BR wire, check the circuit to verify it is not open between the solenoid and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) pin 42.

5. If there is a ground activation signal on the BR wire, and battery voltage to the Red (RD) wire at the IMRC solenoid, check the manifold vacuum supply feeding the solenoid and check the vacuum line from the solenoid to the actuators to verify it is not broken or restricted.

6. If the vacuum signal to the solenoid and the line checks OK, replace the solenoid.


vacuum diagram:
graphic
here is testing procedure:

1. Check the operation of the Intake Manifold Runner Control (IMRC) vacuum actuators located on the passenger side of the intake manifold. The actuators are relaxed and allow the butterflies to be open without the engine running. When starting the engine, a vacuum signal is supplied to both actuators causing them to be closed.

2. If there is vacuum to the actuators, but they do not close, the actuators can be checked with a hand-held vacuum pump to verify that they close and hold vacuum.

3. If there is no vacuum signal to the actuators, check the Brown (BR) wire of the IMRC solenoid located at the rear of the engine Key On, Engine Off (KOEO) and when starting the engine. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) should ground activate the BR wire when starting the engine, which results in a vacuum signal being delivered to the IMRC actuators.

4. If there is no ground activation on the BR wire, check the circuit to verify it is not open between the solenoid and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) pin 42.

5. If there is a ground activation signal on the BR wire, and battery voltage to the Red (RD) wire at the IMRC solenoid, check the manifold vacuum supply feeding the solenoid and check the vacuum line from the solenoid to the actuators to verify it is not broken or restricted.

6. If the vacuum signal to the solenoid and the line checks OK, replace the solenoid.


vacuum diagram:
graphic
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX try that tomorrow and get back to you if I have any more questions.
Hi,

sounds good. I will be here all day tomorrow
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The rear unit won't hold a vacuum. Is it hard to replace? So the diaphragm is probably bad. Can the diaphragm be fixed or do I have to buy a whole new unit with solenoid and valve activator? The vacuum tube is good. It had a 13 inches of mercury. So does that mean if one diphragm is bad, both go bad? Is there anythng else connected to the vacuum line besides the IMRC?
Hi,

you just have to replace the rear unit. they dont sell a repair kit for the IMRC, so you have to buy a new unit. no need to replace the front one if tested good. It does take a couple of hours to replace as the upper intake manifold has to be removed in order to replace it
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is the upper intake manifold the black pipe-looking things on the top? Why does that have to come off. It looks like just a couple of bolts that attach the air-solenoid motor to the side of the engine?
Hi,

how they are situated, they wont come out after removing the bolts unless you have the upper intake off, or at least lifted up.

graphic
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do I need to buy a new gasket (s) and new bolts for the upper intake manifold? My Chilton manual doesn't say anything about that except to add RTV sealant but I don't know if that is just on the lower or on the upper too.
Hi,

you can reuse the bolts, but install a new gasket between the upper and lower manifold. If you dont, you wind up with a lean code due to air being sucked in around old gasket
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Any last tips on problems I might encounter? Do I need a special tool to take off the rings on the linkages?
Hi,

no special tools needed. you can get the rings off with a pick tool.

the procedure is straight forward.

upper intake:
graphic

graphic

graphic



IMRC:

graphic
no special tools needed. you can get the rings off with a pick tool.

the procedure is straight forward.

upper intake:
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IMRC:

graphic
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX question. Some on the internet say that you can wire the IMRC closed to turn off the Check Engine light. Is that an option?
Hi,

I have heard of people doing that, but havent tried it as it isnt a true repair and I would never try some band aid repair on a paying customer's car.

I cant recommend trying something based upon car forums that members are not licensed, certifed mechanics.

It is up to you as to whether to try that, but remember that it is at most a band aid repair, and not one any mechanic would try
Eric and 4 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, I know that you must say that as a certified mechanic. Thanks.