My sisters 89 taurus with the 3.0 acts as if it jumped timing. The car has 80,000 miles. She just got it a few months ago from the original owner( lil ol lady). When the car does start I have to hold down the accelerator to keep it running. With the gas pushed all the way down its running at very low RPM and back firing and popping through the intake. To me that is a timing issue. I just dont see how that would happend just like that(according to sister) and with only 80k miles. is there anything i'm missing? Any info would be great, thanks.
Okay, first double check the order of the plug wires to be sure they're routed correctly. Make sure they match the numbering on the distributor (wire #1 goes on tower #1).
Next thing would be to check the timing with a timing light. Pull the SPOUT connector when you are testing. The timing should be 10º BTDC.
My guess on this is somebody screwed up the wires or put the distributor in the wrong tooth. If you can't get it started, you might try loosening the distributor and having some turn it while you start the car. My guess is the timing is too far advanced so you might try turning the distributor clockwise to retard it.
I don't think the engine jumped timing because that's exceedingly rare. I've never heard a case of it yet. Anything is possible, but rule out the ignition stuff first because that's much more likely to be wrong.
P.S. I've seen one case where somebody put the distributor in wrong and moved all the wires over one position on the cap to get the thing in adjustment. If this happened on your car and somebody replaced the wires without knowing about it the timing could get way messed up like you have.
Thanks for the reply guys. We can rule out the plug wires being in the wrong spot or the cap being on wrong. My sister says as she was driving the car started to sputter and run rough and then cut off. I will check the cat and throw a timing light on it when i get a chance and go from there. Any other ideas would be appreciated.Thanks