Misfire Cyl 1 and other issues - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Misfire Cyl 1 and other issues

After searching and reading all day I feel I am still not 100% sure on where to go from here. Maybe you all can help.

Here are the facts of the issues. I am gathering these second hand so bare with me

1. Check Engine Light has been constantly on for months. Had checked and was told it was a sensor. Never checked further than that

2. Car started to experience slight drive-ability issues, shaking and such

3. White smoke (dense, NOT steam) was coming out of exhaust at idle and more pronounced under acceleration

4. Car temp guages starts to bounce up to the top and then back down, does this a few times before going back down to 1/8 of the way.

5. White smoke stops all of a sudden, although car smells like it has no cats

This is where I stepped in

6. Checked overflow coolant res. Almost empty. Filled up with coolant and test drove. No overheated, no drive-ability issues. CEL still on

7. Check codes using scanner. P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected and another P0117 Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Circuit Low Input

8. Let car sit and cool down. Check res again, fill up a bit more to cool range. Clear codes. Test Drive

9. Drive up to 65mph, decel. Did this 3-4 times. On last one CEL comes on this time blinking and then steady.

10. Check codes. P0301 Cylinder Misfire


Car is now parking and I am not sure where to start. Car drives and idles fine. Idle at start is about 1000rpms. At idle it is around 895-920 according to scan tool.

Coolant temp is around 197-207
IAT is around 84-95
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 07:00 PM
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Which year model & engine are we talking about????

Find out whats going on with the cyl-1 misfire.

Perform a visual inspection on the spark plug electrical connections & after dark have a look for a arcs & sparks electrical light show around #1.
Spritz it with a spray bottle of water to see if you can induce electrical breakdown from faulty insulation.

If all electrically seems sound, with a stethoscope have a listen to the #1 fuel injector to determine if it sounds different than the others & is the sound in time with the misfire indication. You could also rig your inductive timing light so you could also be monitoring for ignition misfire while you listen.
Listen around the valve train for any unusual mechanical noise in time with the misfire indication.

Have your scantool perform a STFT & LTFT of both cyl banks, to see if it can provide any fuel trim clues that might suggest #1 injector may be intermittently acting out.

Have the scantool also perform a cyl balance test to see if it can turn up any clues about cyl-1.

With the stethoscope have a listen around #1 cyl for any sounds in time with the misfire indication.

On the erratic coolant temp gauge operation, check the wiring & electrical connection to the temp gauge sensor. Look for damaged wire insulation, faulty electrical connection, or corrosion.
EDIT: With your multimeter, measure the cold & warm resistance value of the gauge temp sensor & post the Numbers.

Some thoughts for consideration, let us know how your trouble shoot goes.

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Last edited by pawpaw; 02-18-2016 at 10:45 PM.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 08:10 PM
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I would be worried about a headgasket if the simple checks do not play out.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:04 PM
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Which engine, year? For misfire, check/replace plug(s), wire(s) and/or coil. Cylinder#1 is firewall pass. side.

Last edited by sheila; 01-27-2016 at 09:16 PM.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:13 PM
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^+1
In light of the smoke compare the appearance of the cylinder 1 plug with the others.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

It is a 1997 Taurus GL, 3.0 V6
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 10:09 AM
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^+1 on pulling the #1 spark plug for a read, compared to the others. If it seems to be really clean, like its been steam cleaned & the coolant level continues to fall, suspect a head gasket leak problem as has been suggested.

If you come to suspect the head gasket, perform a radiator pressure drop test, or a cyl blow down test to see if it'll leak pressure into the cooling system. If it's leaking hot exhaust into the cooling system, that could be the reason for the coolant temp gauge spiking/acting out.
If you remove the radiator cap & can smell exhaust fumes, that can be cause to suspect a head gasket problem, as well as a sweet smell coming from the tail pipe.
Do you see any signs of moisture on the engine dip stick, or signs of a milkshake like deposit on the dipstick, or around the inside of the oil fill cap???
A positive from some, or all of those things could be clues to a head gasket leak problem.
More thoughts for consideration, let us know what you find.

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Last edited by pawpaw; 01-28-2016 at 06:02 PM.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Couple updates

1. checked out dipstick. no signs of moisture or milky color.

2. when driving home yesterday, drove up a large hill and the car didnt seem to want to go any faster than 40-45 and it made a few loud popping sounds (from driver side of engine)
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 01:11 PM
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Ok, good no milkshake signs on the oil dipstick, or oil fill cap.
Get the scantool back on the engine to look for additional pending, or set trouble codes & post All code clue Numbers found.
I'd also consider having the scantool hooked up before the next drive, so it can capture a full snapshot of the drive cycle, as the results could help focus your trouble shoot.
With the scantool, have a look at the MAF & O2 PID's & the long & short term fuel trim Numbers & post them up for review. Sounds like you may have more than one problem confusing things.

Did the popping sound sorta like back fire, or spit back through the throttle body, or was it a mechanical sound????
Lack of power sounds like fuel delivery mischief, but could also be timing, or a clogged cat converter causing excessive exhaust back pressure, so maybe any stored, or pending codes could offer up clues on where best to look next for suspects.

What was the set trouble code Number that was said to be for a sensor???? If you don't have, or can't remember the code Number, what sensor was it said to be for/what sensor was said to need replacement????

Ignoring a CEL/SES warning light for months isn't good practice, as if the warning was for a faulty O2 sensor, that cyl bank fuel trim could be so corrupt as to cause cat converter over heating & internal matrix meltdown & that can cause excessive exhaust back pressure when you go at throttle up, or climbing a hill & cause a lack of power. It'll also cause excessive engine heat/maybe why the temp gauge spiked/maybe why you heard popping on the latest drive????

Hook up your vacuum gauge & perform the restricted exhaust test in scenario 14 here How to Use and Interpret a Vacuum Gauge.
If the cat converter is clogged, it'll typically glow cherry red when it over heats, so have a look underneath at the cat converters next time you drive it & it doesn't want to go at throttle up.
While the vacuum gauge is hooked up, also perform scenario 13 for blown head gasket.
If the problem was serious & ignored for months, it could have caused more problems, so good that your having a go at diagnosing the problem/s.
Keep us posted on your findings.

94 Taurus GL 3.8L PEP204A
99 Ranger XLT 4dr 4.0L 5spd Auto
Payload & Tow Pkg

Details are trifles, but trifles make perfection & perfection is no trifle (Ben Franklin)
Our signature is a sign of a job completed, autograph your work with excellence.

Last edited by pawpaw; 01-29-2016 at 06:30 PM.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the delay on updates. I dont have many diagnostic tools to check things out. So I figured I would start simple.

Pulled the #1 plug and it is definitely bad. So replaced all six plugs. Wires looked good so I didnt replace those.

Cleared the code and have driving it to work. Everything seems to be running great. No issues with drivability

Here are pictures of the old plugs and a close up of the #1 plug.

Wondering if there is something that caused the plug to go bad. I plan to do a coolant flush and oil change today or so.
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