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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,
I've been a member on here a few years back so I'm not too new here, and I know my way around. I've searched and searched and found some "Maybe's" but nothing too helpful.
I just bought a 3rd, 4th Gen Taurus. It's a 2002 Taurus SE, 3.0 V6. It has 127,200 miles. I bought this car knowing it had a few kinks that need to be worked out. I'm not sure if the fuel/cooling can be related but here's my issue. Any input will be much appreciated.

When I bought the car, the CEL was on. The previous owner said he thinks it needs two fuel injectors. While driving, the car seems perfectly fine with minimal loss of power, if any. While at a stop light for 15+ seconds, sometimes the CEL will start blinking. If you shut the car off, and turn it back on it will stop blinking and stay solid again. The previous owner said he never filled the tank, just put in $5 here, $5 there... when I got it, it had about an 8th of a tank.

The cooling issue...
After purchasing the car, on the drive home I noticed the the temp. gauge was laying down. didn't seem to even try to be going up. The heater works but it's not very hot at all. I checked the coolant and it was full, and a nice green color as it should be. So my bet is the T-stat. If that doesn't fix it I'll move to the temp. sensor.

I filled the tank with Regular (87) fuel, And I read the codes which are:
P0316 - Misfire on startup
P0442 Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (small leak)
P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
P0305 Cylinder 5 Misfire Detected
P0125 Insufficient Coolant Temperature for Closed Loop Fuel Control
P0171 System too Lean (Bank 1)

I cleared the codes, Drove it around with the full tank for about 5 miles, and it seems to be running perfectly fine now. Without the CEL on.

I read the fuel issues could be caused by running too low on gas. Hopefully that was the only issue. If not and the CEL eliminates again, what would be the sensible thing to start with first?

Thank You
 

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Make sure your coolant temperature is good. It appears your engine is not warming up, not reaching the close loop setting. This results in an engine that runs to rich and will result in carbon deposits which could cause misfires etc.
 

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Small evap. leak could be the gas cap not sealing properly. I would check/replace plugs, wires and coil in that order for the misfire codes. Po125 is prob. signalling the need for a new thermostat and/or ect (eng. coolant temp. sensor). Po171 is most assuredly a vac. affecting bank #1. Po174 (vac. leak bank #2) may show up in short order.
 

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^ Might be a good idea to run a couple bottles of chevron techron through the gas tank given the cars history. Also, might clean the maf sensor with crc maf spray cleaner.
 

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Check under the trunk (spare tire) under the car for loose, damaged, broken or disconnected vac. hoses (lines) at the evap. black box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone for your input. I'll be picking up a thermostat, and the things I need to do a tune up on it, and see if that clears the issue.
 

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A NorthEast 2002 with a small evap leak that appears to go away with a full gas tank. Please check for a gas tank leak at or above the seam at the tank rear, near where the filler pipe enters the tank. Not saying that's the cause, but it's happened before....
 

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Can anyone tell me what would be the best temp. thermostat to get?
Let me save you a lot of headaches on this one. Go to rockauto.com or your local Ford dealer and purchase a Motorcraft thermostat for this engine. Keep it simple.

There have been numerous write-ups with non-Motorcraft thermostats and unhappy owners.

Monsoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^^ Thanks guys, I'll order everything up and get to work this week. Also, What should the spark plug gap be?
I appreciate the help.
 

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The spark plug gaps should be on the sticker under the hood.

Make sure to avoid Bosch Platinums as they have been known to cause more misfires and other problems in our engines.

Stick with Motorcraft plugs if you can, or Autolite double platinums which are a good value that work well.

If your in doubt about which parts to get and can't find an answer Motorcraft usually is one of the best options.
Also check Rockauto if you plugs are Motorcraft AGSF12PP they are on wholesale closeout @ $1.82 each! A good price for the double plat plugs
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How's Autolite? I'm ordering the parts through my local Kragen/Oreillys. While they have motorcraft tstat that I'll get, they don't have motorcraft plugs. I'd like to order everything at once but can get the plugs elsewhere if absolutely needed
 

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I am just curious how a bad thermostat can cause insufficient coolant temperature. An inoperative water pump may.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am just curious how a bad thermostat can cause insufficient coolant temperature. An inoperative water pump may.

Water pump was replaced about 12,000 miles ago


The temp. gauge stays below the cold mark while cruising at highway speeds. Stop and go traffic, it can reach upto normal but never goes higher. Then when I gain speed, it drops back down to cold.

I'll stick with the original plan for the t-stat, if a new one is a no-go, I'll do the coolant temp sensor, and go from there
 

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From your previous post it appears you may be running your engine without a thermostat. And if that is the case what is the rationale for running a car without a thermostat?

Only reason why I can see this happening is if the engine is known to overheat. And if the car overheats what is the root cause of this?

Monsoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I'm not positive if it has a thermostat. I bought the car like this, and I've been busy until now. I ordered about $200 worth of parts today. As many Motorcraft brands as possible, as well as motorcraft spark plugs, the store ended up having them in stock. Should be here Wed. so I'll work on it sometime after that and post up what the status is.

Wouldn't it overheat without a thermostat?
The car does warm up at idle, and the heater works just fine.
 
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