Misfires, Idles High, No heat, check engine light, the list goes on and on.


Bree_j
10-28-2006, 12:46 AM
This car is driving me crazy. Ford Taurus LX 1998 V.6 3.0 130K
I'm not sure which info is relevant so I'll list everything that's happened.
I bought this car a month ago. As soon as I brought it home, I noticed a small oil leak. A few days later, I noticed a slight misfire and had the plugs and wireset changed. This didn't help. It was misfiring between 40-50 mph and it idled high (around 1300 rpm when in park upon startup) (it drops back down after idling for a few minutes)The check engine light came on and I took it to a autoparts store and had the codes pulled. It was the camshaft position sensor. I bought the part and had it replaced. This seemed to help the high idle for a day or two and then the check engine light came back on and it started again. I took it back to the parts store and it came up with the same code. The guy cleared the code and the check engine light went off. Twenty minutes later, it came back on. My heat doesn't work but the air does. The heat comes on but it only trickles a luke warm heat. The clock loses time if the car isn't driven everyday. The radio when turned on tells me that there are no FM stations and after a fiddle with it, it starts working again. Meanwhile, the miss has gotten more profound and now when it misses, the rpms shoot up to about 2000 and then they drop suddenly to 1500. I used fuel injection cleaner and I think it made it worse. Someone told me to put rubbing alcohol in the tank to absorb any water but I'm afraid to do that until I find out more info. Today the check engine light when off and hasn't come back on (knock wood) I'm sure this is gonna cost a fortune:crying: but I'd like a few opinions about where to start. Thanks in advance.

TaurusKing
10-28-2006, 08:37 AM
You need to get the codes read and post them here, then people here can give you ideas,,, code doesn't necessarily mean part replacement, could be wiring, resistance, bad connection, a multitude of things.. heater issue could be blend door not working correctly, partially plugged core, again several things, you must have electronic dash with the LX version??? Radio could again be caused by any of several things, clock also... I think, not sure, that the mlps, or neutral safety switch, has played a role in some of these items, with the wiring issues anyway,,, someone can correct me on that, maybe not.. anyway, post the code you're getting...

Bree_j
10-28-2006, 11:41 AM
Thanks TaurusKing. My husband is going to look at the car today and I'll run it up to Autozone and ask them to give me the code number. I'll post it here when I get it.

Some one mentioned to me that because I added a fuel additive and the problem got worse, I probably need to change the fuel filter. That seems logical and its a cheap fix if it works. So, I'm going to pick up one of those today and have it replaced.

Also, I checked the carfax history report and learned that my car was used as a "fleet" vehicle and 30K was put on it last year. I kinda think that it wasn't properly maintained during this time and I need a major tuneup among other things.

Thanks again!

way2old
10-28-2006, 06:03 PM
If the code is a P0340, look at the piece the sensor bolts to. There is a little "C" shaped piece that will bend and cause the code to come on. If there is no problem with the sensor or the piece it bolts to (syncronizer), look at the DPFE sensor. If it is metal, replace it with the updated plastic one. The metal sensor will create a magnetic field that the cam sensor wiring picks up as a wrong signal. Good luck and keep us informed.

Bree_j
10-28-2006, 06:22 PM
Thanks way2old. My husband looked at the car today and the hose that goes from the engine into the coolant is cool at one end and hot on the other so we think the thermostat may be stuck and we've ordered a new one.

As for the codes, there are no codes stored on the car and the check engine light has gone out. I've bought a new fuel filter and we're gonna install it tomorrow. The funny thing is that, yesterday it was cold and pouring buckets of rain and the car ran like crap. Today, it's sunny and warm and the car ran great except for the slight misfire every now and again, so that has me baffled. I thought maybe it was getting moisture somewhere it shouldn't have. (I know nothing about cars.) Maybe it's just a coincidence.

Thanks and I'll keep ya posted on how everything goes tomorrow when the work is done.

Bree

way2old
10-28-2006, 09:40 PM
If there is a misfire and wires and plugs have been changed, the coils may be the cause. When it gets dark, mist the coils with water and start car and look for a light show. Hi tech hillbilly way to find intermittent misfire.

Bree_j
10-29-2006, 02:26 AM
Awesome! I'll try that. That's one I hadn't heard yet. Its good to get some real advice about this car. I've scoured the internet for days before I found and learned how to use this forum. Before now all I heard was "It's a Ford and that's what ya get!" or "It's a head gasket. Sell it now before it costs ya a fortune." First off, my dad and husband swear by fords and secondly, I know it's not the head gasket cause it shows no signs. The oil isn't milky, it doesn't give off white smoke etc.... Anyway, Thanks and I'll keep ya posted.

Millermagic
10-29-2006, 06:19 PM
Yeah, the Vulcan isn't the engine that blows head gaskits all the time. Thats the Essex, which in my opinion is an awesome engine. What you started off with, I was going to say CMP (camshaft position sensor) ... but then I read it in the next sentence.

The high idle problem and radio problem could be related - if you disconnect the battery, you will lose the radio settings and the computer has to "relearn" the specifics of that particular engine and your driving style. Maybe when you turn the car off, the computer loses power along with the radio.

The heat problem sounds like either thermostat or clogged heater core (common problem). I had a thermostat that failed shut and I had no heat last winter and after 20 or so minutes of driving it would have terrible spark knock. Changing the T-stat helped.

Now you say the engine will rev up to 2000 RPM while driving down the road? That might be transmission related. If the transmission isn't bad, I'd stick with the car.

Bree_j
10-29-2006, 11:56 PM
Thanks again everyone. We changed the fuel filter and it seems like it's got better power, the one that was replaced was probably the original. I've been worried about a transmission problem as well. I'm a fanatic about checking my fluid and making sure it's the right color and it doesn't have a burnt smell. So far it's been good but I freak out about things like that anyway.

I'm pretty sure the thermostat is stuck open but I had another question: Are the coils just called coils or are they the coil pack or what? Where would these be? If I can learn where they are I can test them, but I have no idea where to even look. My husband's not much on working on cars so I always deal with everything and make sure the cars get their repair and maintenance. So if someone could tell me where they're at it would be much appreciated. I don't know alot about cars, but with this taurus it looks like I'm going to get some experience.


Thanks again! :)

Millermagic
10-30-2006, 10:04 PM
Coil packs for the Vulcan engine.

As far as the trans fluid, there are a few schools of though on that. Some people would say change the fluid and some say not. Sometimes changing the fluid can help or if it has never been dome, some claim that it ate up their trans.

Salty25
10-30-2006, 11:31 PM
Bree,

I have a 97 that would not blow heat. I had the same indicator as you, hose getting hot at one end but cold at the other.

I found it was my water pump. When I pulled my pump off the vains were flat as a wall. I replaced it and now I have plenty of heat.

Not saying it is the problem but it seems this engine does have some significant waterpump problems.

Bree_j
10-31-2006, 12:23 AM
Thanks Salty,

I never thought about that! Thanks! What are they symptoms of a failing water pump? Is there anyway to test it?

We live in Myrtle Beach South Carolina so I won't have to worry about horribly cold days for a little while and I hope to get this all straightened out before the temps start dropping.

And Millermagic, how will I know when it's time to change the transmission fluid? Do you recommend doing it?

Thanks guys!

Bree

Bree_j
10-31-2006, 10:56 PM
New symptoms for my clunker: I noticed today that with a half tank of gas, when I make a sharp turn, the car flutters and it's starting to misfire and flutter more often than it did before. Check Engine Light has stayed off and there are no codes. I think it may be water in the tank and my brother told me to pour a bottle of rubbing alcohol in to evaporate the water. He claims it works better than anything on the market but I'm leery about putting this in the tank. So my questions are:

1. Does this sound like there may be water in the tank?
and 2. If so, is it a good idea to put rubbing alcohol in?

I thought at first today that it was a tranny problem because it would rev up, go into third gear, misfire, gear down, and then gear up again. But my husband says it's probably only doing that because of the misfire.

I'm going on a 600 mile trip for Thanksgiving to visit my family and I want my car in top shape by then. Any suggestions?

I've thought about biting the bullet and taking it to a mechanic so they can run a diagnostic test on it but I just don't want to be over charged for something simple that I or my husband can do at home. So do ya think this is something I should just let the ford dealer handle? :crying:

shorod
11-01-2006, 12:17 AM
1. Does this sound like there may be water in the tank?
and 2. If so, is it a good idea to put rubbing alcohol in?

My brain's not functioning really well right now, so I cannot come up with many suggestions for you. However, there will be no real benefit from adding rubbing alcohol to the fuel. Isopropyl alcohol is what you want to use. Rubbing alcohol is Isopropyl that has already been diluted with water, it will no longer continue to absorb additional water. If you read the label on rubbing alcohol it will say something to the effect of "70% isopropyl." The remaining 30% is water. Maybe I have those percentages backward.

-Rod

Bree_j
11-01-2006, 12:24 AM
Thanks Rod. I think I'll have to skip on the alcohol then. Will dry gas work to elimanate the problem if there is water in the tank. Fuel system cleaners haven't helped but I was hoping dry gas might.

shorod
11-01-2006, 02:30 PM
If there's water in the tank, isopropyl alcohol will work, and is usually the main (or sole) ingredient in gas line drier. My point was you don't want to use rubbing alcohol as it is already saturated with water and will not remove water. Rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are technically two different products.

It won't hurt you to try isopropyl or dry gas, but I don't have a good feeling it will fix your issue.

-Rod

Bree_j
11-01-2006, 06:20 PM
I've tried misting the coil and starting the car to see sparks but there were none. Think I'll have to take it to the dealer so I can be charged out the butt.:banghead:

TaurusKing
11-01-2006, 07:56 PM
In my opinion, dry gas is a waste of money.. the only time that I can see moisture being an issue is when there are large temp differentials in the weather, such as the so-called January thaw, where the temps sometimes kick into the seventies, usually following an extended cold snap,, at least here in NY that's how it works... I know my house, block and stone const., gets considerably moisture-coated with that change,, I'm assuming the gas tank would encounter the same issue, however I've never used the stuff... if anything, maybe use an injector cleaner instead on a semi-regular basis, likely more benefits to that product... if you choose to use drygas anyway, that's your choice if you want, use the isopropyl as Rod suggested, I believe it's better then the cheaper ones that use methanol.. you will pay a little more.. as an aside, my mother knows my views on the stuff, she's old-school though, she already has her 12 pack of the stuff, in fact she's already used a can or two, it's only been down to 30 degrees, she won't listen, too set, too worried.

Bree_j
11-01-2006, 11:25 PM
Could one of you guys tell me where to buy the isopropyl? I've only seen the stuff that Rod was talking about-- the 70%-- and I don't know where to get the other stuff. From what I've read on the net and on this forum a warm miss is often due to a faulty coil but as I mentioned earlier, there are no sparks when I mist the coil with water. I'd really like to try a few more "simple" trial and error deals before I bite the bullet and take it to the shop. I've been reading somehorror stories about how mechanics will charge you a fortune and do work that doesn't need to be done. I'm new to the Myrtle Beach area and I don't know a mechanic. So let me ask you guys, how do I find an honest one?

shorod
11-01-2006, 11:51 PM
Isopropyl can usually be found at your local drugstore and sometimes even at a department store. Or, you can just purchase some HEET from the automotive section.

If you interface with locals on a daily basis, check with a few that you trust and see if they can recommend either a shop to take your car to, or a shop to stay away from. Either piece of information may help.

-Rod

Salty25
11-02-2006, 01:44 PM
Thanks Salty,

I never thought about that! Thanks! What are they symptoms of a failing water pump? Is there anyway to test it?

Bree

Bree,

I just popped off one of the top hoses on mine and started the engine. I didn't see any water flowing like it should have been with the hose off. I think I actually took the hose from the top of the resevoir.

Hope you get your car ready for the trip.

Bree_j
11-03-2006, 04:31 PM
Update on POS car: Thanks for all the great suggestions guys. It turns out that my mechanic found that the transmission is bad, the car isn't shifting into overdrive, the engine mounts are bad and he believes a head gasket could go at any time. His advice: Get rid of the car asap.

My hubby went to speak with the dealer and he claims nothing is wrong with the car and he'll have his mechanic check it out and he "won't charge me a dime" WoW What a favor! Sell me a piece of crap car, but have your mechanic look at it for free! Ah! Ain't he a doll? The sorry SOB hasn't even gotten my tag and title back and we bought the car 4 weeks ago! :banghead: :banghead:

Anyway, thanks for everything,

Bree

ilLUMINAteddriver
11-03-2006, 04:48 PM
Update on POS car: Thanks for all the great suggestions guys. It turns out that my mechanic found that the transmission is bad, the car isn't shifting into overdrive, the engine mounts are bad and he believes a head gasket could go at any time. His advice: Get rid of the car asap.

My hubby went to speak with the dealer and he claims nothing is wrong with the car and he'll have his mechanic check it out and he "won't charge me a dime" WoW What a favor! Sell me a piece of crap car, but have your mechanic look at it for free! Ah! Ain't he a doll? The sorry SOB hasn't even gotten my tag and title back and we bought the car 4 weeks ago! :banghead: :banghead:

Anyway, thanks for everything,

Bree

So take it back to the dealer and tell him that you had a mechanic check it out and that you'd like it fixed free of charge, very politely, or you'll have to talk to a nice man in a suit with a briefcase, but only after his mechanic has "checked it out". Usually threatening lawyers over sales of merchandise that was defective before it was sold will loosen up those purse strings a bit. Worst case scenario, tell him to take the car back and either give you another one off the lot, offering to pay the difference in purchase price or for a refund if you take a lower-priced one, or your money back flat out. Might work, might not, but it's worth a try. Bring hubby along, if you can, because he's less likely to try to cheat you (if he is in the first place) if you have backup.

On another note, it usually takes about six weeks to get the title and stuff in, at least around here (New York State).

Good luck!

TaurusKing
11-03-2006, 05:55 PM
Doesn't it come with a used car warranty, even like 60 days or so????

Bree_j
11-03-2006, 07:26 PM
Nope, no warranty. In South Carolina, (I'm told) they don't even have to guarantee you'll get out of their lot. Anyway, the dealer is swearing up and down that there's nothing wrong with the car and that my mechanic is lying. Here's the clincher (the mechanic I took it to is the same guy that his mechanic works with)! Anyway, the dealer has another car on his lot that's two years older with 20 thousand more miles and I think it's only reasonable that he AT LEAST take this piece of crap back and give me that car. Dont ya think?

Oh and my mechanic's exact words "You've inherited somebody else's problem and this car is going to nickel and dime you to death. You need to get rid of it while you still can." Cant get any more straightforward than that.:crying:

Bree_j
11-06-2006, 12:26 PM
WOOHOO! I took the car to the dealer's mechanic and he said the only thing that was wrong with the car is the motor mount and that he'll replace for nothing if I buy the part. $107.00 for the part and that makes me very happy! (Beats the hell out of $2000 or $5000)

Anyway, my husband talked to our mechanic and he said, "We'll it could be a blown head gasket, a cracked head, a fuel problem and the transmission may need to be flushed." So that proved to me that he really didn't know what was going on. This other guys says there's nothing wrong with it except the motor mount.

Yay! I'll let you guys know if it works.

Bree:grinyes:

shorod
11-06-2006, 09:52 PM
So let me get this straight, the dealer's mechanic says the engine mount will fix the oil leak, misfire, poor heat, high idle, clock losing time, and check engine light? I think your mechanic has a better idea of what's going on than the dealer's mechanic!

-Rod

Bree_j
11-06-2006, 10:02 PM
Good point. According to the dealer, the misfire I thought I heard was the clunking of the motor because the mount was broken. He claims that the reason it fouls up 3rd gear is because it's a hydraulic mount and it has to come into sync with the transmission and motor at the same time (keep in mind, I know nothing about cars, so I'm ready to believe anything as long as I don't have to shell out 5 grand to fix my car) :cwm27: (yeah.... I know) Anyway, we believe the thermostat is stuck open and (we hope) this will fix the heating issue. I told my husband that I would drive the heck out of the car for the next few days to make sure its fixed and if not, I'll take it back to the dealer and have another go around. I know I need an oil change so I'm hoping a new oil filter will help with the oil leak. I believe the leak is coming from the filter.

I will pick up the car tomorrow or Wednesday and I'll post here what I've found out.


Thanks everybody!

shorod
11-06-2006, 11:28 PM
You're right, if the mount does fix the "misfire" and the thermostat is the heat problem, you'll be in pretty good shape for a reasonable cost. In addition, if the filter was installed without removing the gasket from the prior filter, that would likely cause a leak and a careful oil and filter change could fix that leak easily. I hope all goes your way!

If all that pans out, you may want to consider buying a lottery ticket. :)

Good luck!

-Rod

Bree_j
11-09-2006, 11:26 PM
Rod, you were right. It didn't fix my car. I drove it and let it get warm and sure enough, between 35 and 50, I felt a clunk. I took it back and they said they'd change they plugs (he said I goofed by putting Bosch plugs in and that Fords run much better off of Autolite). He changed the plugs and the coil pack and it made no difference. And then he called me with the news that the mechanic found out exactly what was wrong: one of the fuel injectors was bad. He says he'll have the car fixed in the morning and that he won't charge us anything so I'm so glad that he's standing by the car this way. (it makes me have alot more faith in him as a person). Anyway, I'll let you guys know tomorrow.

Bree

shorod
11-10-2006, 11:25 PM
And I have to agree with him on the spark plugs. I haven't really found a vehicle yet that the Bosch plugs work well in. You should be in good shape with the Autolites.

Good luck, and I hope the injector gets you all fixed up!

-Rod

Bree_j
11-11-2006, 12:26 AM
:shakehead We'll I got the car back this afternoon. The dealer told me that he and his mechanic drove the car thirty miles and it runs great. The good news is: it starts on the first crank. The bad news is: it didn't fix the clunky feeling at 35. I'm tired. Not counting labor, just for parts I've put $500 in this car in the last 30 days.

This is the list of repairs and I don't know what else it could be:

2 new sets of plugs
a new set of wires
a new coil pack
a new fuel filter
gas treatment
a new motor mount
all new fuel injectors
a new camshaft position sensor

Am I missing anything?

Thanks!

shorod
11-11-2006, 11:59 AM
Does the car lot/mechanic have a scan tool with datastream capability? If so, have them monitor what the misfire counts are doing when it acts up in the 35 mph range. Monitor the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) as well to see if the TPS is faulty in the throttle position that corresponds to 35 mph cruising.

Also, have them ride with you to witness the "clunky feeling." Maybe they have not been able to duplicate that like your driving style can. Or see if you can find another technician that you trust to ride along with you to give you their thoughts. Offer then a few $'s for their time.

Check the transmission fluid for signs of burnt or low fluid. Maybe the transmission is hunting around for the proper gear, and feels like a misfire. Did they fix the issue of the transmission not shifting into overdrive?

-Rod

Bree_j
11-11-2006, 08:39 PM
We'll they claim that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the transmission and they say that because the miss is intermittent, it's hard to determine what's going on. I keep a close eye on my transmission fluid and it's a good reddish-orange color and doesn't smell burnt. I wonder if it may need a change?

Anyway, I think I'm just gonna wait until I get my title back and put the car up for sale. I love the looks of it but I just can't handle the fact that everytime I leave the house, I wonder if I'll make it back without a tow truck.

I do know that the next car I buy, I'm going to take it to another mechanic and have them check it out before I hand over the cash.

Thanks,
Bree

Huney1
11-11-2006, 09:08 PM
Yes, dry gas will definitely help. I live near Hilton Head and you can find dry gas at most Marinas or WalMart. I don't think making a turn would give gas/water time to go from the tank to the engine and make it sputter.

I share your feelings about a sorry, aggrivating vehicle because I bought a rotten egg Chevy Venture van and it ran good at first but I sunk a grand in it in four months fixing things that had no reason to go wrong. I got it fixed and unloaded it for a Taurus and what a world of difference because it has been relatively problem free and the only work I've had done was maintenance items. Needless to say, that was my last GM product and if GM goes down the tubes I could care less.

Add your comment to this topic!