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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm working on a 1994 Taurus with the 3.8l v6. First things first, it was owned by my uncle's ex-wife's sister. She drove it every day and began to have problems with it. She got someone who I was told has no mechanical skills to work on it. Someone else told him over the phone, without seeing the car, to put a toggle switch on "it." Nobody knows what "it" is, but now there's a toggle switch next to the dimmer on the dash that seems to do nothing.

When I went to start it, it wouldn't start. I cranked and cranked, but it wouldn't even sputter. Finally it did sputter. And it didn't start. Fast forward almost ten minutes, and I got it to start. It's coughing and barely staying alive, and as soon as I let off the gas it died, but fired right up again. After keeping it running for ages, I could let off the gas, but it idled barely fast enough to keep running. Idle picked up after a while. Greyish/white smoke came from the exhaust, so I thought it was oil, but a visual inspection of the top of the engine displayed the problem. Around the intake manifold was a small bit of water, so obviously the intake manifold leaks. I'm told it overheated at one point, so hopefully the head gaskets aren't blown.

I tried to pull the codes after running it a bit- no koeo codes, but I got two koer codes- 536 and 521. 536 makes sense, because the power steering is going out, according to my uncle. As for the brake on/off sensor, I don't know.

Any ideas for solutions? Part of the deal with this car is that I figure out what's wrong with it and get started on a repair, otherwise my uncle wants to haul it off as scrap metal.

Also, there's a ground wire that seems to be unplugged. It's near the hood latch next to a bunch of other wires, and it's just dangling there. I have no idea what it plugs into.
 

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The 536 and 521 are there because the KOER test was not run correctly. You need to tap the brake to exercize the BOO circuit / switch and turn the steering wheel at least 1/2 a turn to exercize the PSPS circuit / switch.

Have you checked fuel pressure to be sure it is in spec?
 

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I would guess a blown head gasket (or a leaking intake manifold gasket) and at least one mostly plugged catalytic converter.

Mind posting a pic of this switch that you are talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The 536 and 521 are there because the KOER test was not run correctly. You need to tap the brake to exercize the BOO circuit / switch and turn the steering wheel at least 1/2 a turn to exercize the PSPS circuit / switch.
I can retry when I get home, but I think I did that right.

I haven't checked the oil and coolant yet, but I can do that today. I can snap a few pictures later today as well.

Another thing I was just recently informed of is some kind of electrical problem. My uncle says that occasionally it will just die like someone turned off the key, and after that it won't start for a while. Also, the electric fan isn't hooked up because the person who drove it before it broke down says that it will "blow up." Neither me or my uncle know why she says this...

I don't have a pressure tester. The fuel pump was one of my first thoughts also.

Anyway, expect some pics and maybe a video later. I'm stuck in class right now...
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I found out that the ground wire is something the PO added on. A switch for that fan, apparently. The car fired right up yesterday, no smoke or anything unusual, and this morning my uncle was driving it around.

As for the fuel pump, I suspected that the whole time.
I found an article on how to check the fuel pressure, but where would I get a pressure tester? Would O'Reilly's loan me one?
 
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