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Old 05-28-2013, 10:25 PM
ZRX Doug ZRX Doug is offline
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96 3.0 Aerostar cam syncronizer questions

First, I searched the site 'til my eyes were bleeding, couldn't find the answers, so please don't kill me for asking.

The story:
Drove my '96 Aerostar about 1/2 mile to the local gas station, oil pressure was good (according to the semi-useful OEM guage) for the trip there..as I pulled in a parking space and stopped, the engine quit on its own.
Weird, but it re-started immediately with no issue, so I shut it back down and went about my business. On leaving, the van ran normally to the exit, and then died in the driveway..tried starting, and it acted like the engine was seized.
Pushed it back to the parking lot and started looking..the engine didn't wanna turn over at all, even with a breaker bar on the crank bolt..
Towed it home, pulled the cam position sensor and discovered that the "rotor" was wiped right off the shaft and the pickup was destroyed..pulled the synchronizer and found that the teeth were wiped off one side of the driven gear. At this point I had other things to attend to and left the van alone for about a day..next day I came back to it, and just for grins tried cranking the starter. It worked, engine was spinning free.
I confirmed that the oil pump was free and that the cam gear looked undamaged, drained the oil & found nothing resembling bearing material, so I ordered a reman synchro and installed it..engine cranked, started, ran badly for about three revolutions, and then became locked up again.
I've since dropped the oil pan (dunno why, I knew it never got hot enough to do any damage resulting in a seized engine) and confirmed that everything was un-cooked in there.

My question:
I don't have a factory service manual for '96, and am not 100% sure what the cam position sensor controls for this model year..is it possible that an out of time sensor would cause hydro-lock? I may have been 180 degrees off on my installation of the reman unit..
Soon as the perpetual rain stops, I'll go pull the spark plugs and find out for myself, but a little confirmation would be nice..
This come & go seizure stuff is driving me nuts..
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:32 PM
ZRX Doug ZRX Doug is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Never mind..the rain stopped, I pulled the plugs, and the little $%#@ was STILL tighter than..well, tighter than something that probably isn't allowed to be spoken of in this forum..

Dunno what's bound up..it never got hot, never flashed an oil pressure idiot light, and the bottom end looks just ducky.
Engine is on it's way out, soon as some out of the weather work area is cleared for it..I'll share the post mortem results when I get to 'em.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:32 PM

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