2002 Taurus Duratec CEL flashing - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Question 2002 Taurus Duratec CEL flashing

I have a 2002 Taurus SES- Duratec engine - had it two years - CEL has been on the whole time. I have a pocket scanner - it keeps showing P0301 and P0316 - I have cleared the codes numerous times and they keep coming back - I have replaced all four O2 sensors, cleaned the Mass airflow sensor, replaced spark plug wires and spark plugs, checked/replaced bad or loose vacuum lines. Recently, in heavy rain or after spray wash, the CEL started flashing - then it would only flash when climbing a hill - would go back to unblinking CEL after reaching top of hill and leveling out. I took the upper intake manifold off to replace the rear plugs - can remove/replace easily now - could it be the coil pack? or maybe the injectors?

joshaughne
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 11:23 AM
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A few pieces of the puzzle to start...
  • The flashing check engine light (CEL) indicates the engine computer has detected the engine is misfiring - and lots of it. You should be feeling the engine struggling to run and 'stuttering'.
  • Electrical basics:
    • The coil generates a high-power electric charge
    • The sparkplug wires carries that charge to the sparkplug
      Sidebar: The computer (PCM) times the electrical charge to get to the sparkplug at just the perfect time when the air/fuel in the cylinder is ready to fire
    • The electrical charge enters the sparkplug and ignites the air/fuel into a controlled explosion (of energy).
  • Electricity will take the path-of-least-resistance, especially if there is water/moisture to travel along
To tie it all together...

If there is any weakness or flaw in the connections between the sparkplug wires and the coil, or, at the other end at the sparkplug, the electrical charge is going to escape, or take a detour and not make it all the way sparkplug!

So in this case, focus your efforts on finding where the electric charge / 'spark' is escaping:
  • review sparkplug wires - make sure they are in the correct firing order and connected firmly

    Might as well do the sparkplugs while you're in there if you did not use double plats
  • Inspect the coil for any signs of cracks or breaks / flaws in the surface.

    Electricity often leaves a light gray-colored track on the surface of the coil - a good indicator of leaking at the wire/coil connection point.

Last edited by Mark Oreman; 07-16-2012 at 11:26 AM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 02:53 PM
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Flashing CEL = bad missfire = damaged cats = BIG $$$ to fix. Do not drive the car until the missfire is fixed. If the engine has been missfiring (301 code) for 2 years, your bank 1 cat is likely already somewhat damaged. The CEL is there to tell you there is a problem that needs attention. Ignoring it likely means more $$$ to repair than if it was taken care of shortly after it came on.

Likely coil pack failure. Use a good quality coil (i.e., NOT AZ junk).

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I have taken this car to a local general repair garage and I've spent $1200 trying to correct the problem. The last time, they told me I could fix it myself because they had already run my bill up to $540 replacing coil springs and strut mounts, to pass the Pa safety inspection. I have had a lot of older cars but never a computer problem like this. I'm going to take your advice and replace the coil pack - and I'm going to switch #1 and #4 injectors to see if I get a P0304 code instead of a P0301. If so, it would indicate a bad or plugged injector, right? Here's a question - how does the computer know which cylinder is misfiring? Is there a sensor on each cylinder? If the coil pack uses the "waste spark" system, and each of the 3 coils fires 2 cylinders on every revolution, why don't I have 2 misfiring cylinders?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshaughne View Post
Thanks for the info. I have taken this car to a local general repair garage and I've spent $1200 trying to correct the problem. The last time, they told me I could fix it myself because they had already run my bill up to $540 replacing coil springs and strut mounts, to pass the Pa safety inspection. I have had a lot of older cars but never a computer problem like this. I'm going to take your advice and replace the coil pack - and I'm going to switch #1 and #4 injectors to see if I get a P0304 code instead of a P0301. If so, it would indicate a bad or plugged injector, right? Here's a question - how does the computer know which cylinder is misfiring? Is there a sensor on each cylinder? If the coil pack uses the "waste spark" system, and each of the 3 coils fires 2 cylinders on every revolution, why don't I have 2 misfiring cylinders?
1) Camshaft position sensor detects when it changes rotational speed without input from user, and looks for repeating patterns, From there the computer says "Hey this is messed up, I believe it is a misfire on #1 due to the patterns"

2) No there isn't

3) Good question but each "sister" isn't connected to each other in such a way that if one doesn't work, the other won't. Fail safe
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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MARK OREMAN - Thanks for your answers - I had an old 2 cylinder British bike - a BSA - wouldn't run right - took out the 2 coils and put in a single Harley-type coil - fired both cylinders every rev - so if one cylinder fired OK and the other one didn't, you knew it couldn't be the coil.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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JEFF K - Thanks for your help - I've had and fixed 25 or so cars - Chevys (10), Buicks(2), Olds(4), Toyotas(5), Saabs(3) - and one Mazda - but it was the newest one - a 1995 - computers and codes are Greek to me.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 07:07 AM
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PCM determines missfire using the CKP (crank sensor) to measure the slight acceleration rates of the crank when a cyl fires. If PCM sees a lower or no acceleration (compared to other cyls) due to a missfire it will set a code for that cyl. Its actually more complex than this, but thats the basic idea.

If CMP (cam sensor) was out of sync, the PCM would set a P0340 code.

Has anyone checked base engine parameters, like compression and leakdown?

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Question Still codesgetting P0301 and P0316

I had a flashing CEL - I replaced the coil pack - now it runs a lot better and doesn't shake and shutter after turning on the AC. But, I'm still getting P0301 and P0316 codes - have cleared it, had it come back 4 or 5 times. Does this mean #1 fuel injector is clogged or defective?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 11:31 AM
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Might check injector, then do a compression/leak-down test. Did you use a quality coil like Motorcraft or Borg-Warner?
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