Difference between starting car in Park vs. Neutral

have a 2000 Windstar, 38000 miles.
when i tried to start it this afternoon (temperaure around 50 degrees) it would start up, then immediately die. if i pressed the accelerator a little
it would keep running. as soon as i released the accelerator it would die again. tried this several times.
finally, i put the van in neutral and it started up right away and kept running with foot off the accelerator. drove it around the neighborhood. shut the van off and this time it started fine in park.
is there any difference between starting a car/van in park vs neutral? any idea why i originally couldn't start the van in park but could in neutral?
also noticed last night (after driving about 50 miles, car rested for 7 hours, then another 50 miles) that there was a faint rotten egg smell when i got out of the car. also, noticed it today. postings on newsgroups say it's the fuel (put in about 8 gallons to fill it up yesterday before driving the 100 miles), the catalytic converter, or an O2 sensor.
i'll keep an eye on the smell to see if it gets worse but any thoughts on whether my not being able to start in park is related to the smell (i.e. could something like a bad O2 sensor prevent you from starting the car)?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

little
any
the
when an auto box is in park the internals are locked to prevent the vehicle moving. also creating drag between the engine and drive. your engine must be out of tune just enough for this drag to not allow easy starting of the engine. i've come across it before. when in neutral the engine is totally disengaged from the drive therefore allowing more free movement. the eggy smell is not the fuel or the o2 sensor - its the normal smell of a catalytic convertor - nothing to worry about
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 23:35:37 +0100, "CHRIS 159"

AFAIK, The park pawl just locks the output shaft, preventing it from turning. If the vehicle isn't moving anyway then there's no difference between the "drag" in park or in neutral. My guess is that the reason it keep running in neutral was because after the several failed attempts to start and run in park it was finally warmed up enough that when it started in neutral it kept running.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I second. The park position merely moves a pawl into position to effectively engage the ouput shaft. (FWIW, locking of the planetary set itself is only effected by the usage of a dragracer's transbrake. This required the converter to experience 100% slippage (and heating) at a stop.). The rotten egg smell is due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide and is caused by a fail(ed/ing) catalytic converter. In this instance, the converter may well be partially blocked. A quick way to check is to hook up a vacuum gauge and check manifold vacuum at idle. Excessive exhuast backpressure (restriction) will lower manifold vacuum. A vehicle this new *should* have thrown a DTC of one type or another, probably for fuel trim, O2 monitor, cat monitor(s) and/or "can't control idle speed" type of code. If the vehicle is never driven long or far enough to complete the monitors' drive cycles, a code may not be set even though a problem exists.
On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 17:17:51 -0600, AZGuy wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ive got the same problem with my 99, I havent gotten around to looking into it too much yet, it seems to be somewhat random, most of the time it does start when the engine is cold but on occasion it just stalls, seems like the fast idle isnt kicking in.

little
any
the
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

little
any
the
Could be a problem with the selector position switch, its tells the ECM what gear it is in. Also could be just a dirty throttle bore and/or idle control.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

little
any
the
The rotten egg smell is usually a sign of a failing cat. If that's the case take it to a dealership and have them replace it under the 60,000 mile emissions warranty.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Could be the IAC getting stuck. I think the tranny isuue is just a coincidence. I would remove the IAC and clean it.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
well on mine while the idle is getting extremely low and I have to hit the gas pedal to save it from stalling I hear a sucking of air noise, almost a pop but not quite, any relation to that?

coincidence.
it
die
neighborhood.
neutral?
got
it's
on
(i.e.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
i haven't had any more problems starting the van nor do i smell the rotten egg smell anymore. weird??
now, i'm starting to wonder (as far as the starting problem) if it was because the gear shifter wasn't fully engaged in Park. so the question is, is it possible for the gear shift lever to be "close to Park" such that the engine cranks and then dies. that might explain why when i put it in neutral it started up right away and why i haven't had any more problems even with the van in Park?

it
die
neighborhood.
neutral?
got
it's
on
case
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mine is random, sometimes it will go quite a while starting normally.

kept
7
driving
(i.e.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.