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I've been having a lot of problems with my 2000 Taurus SE Wagon with DOHC engine. Over the past few years it started acting up and progressively got worse and I'm at a loss. Me and the girlfriend are both veterans and first symptoms we noticed was some occasional sputters coming home from a 53 mile trip to the nearest VAMC, thought maybe it was bad gas or tune-up time. Then we had a few incidents where the car wouldn't do anything when turning the key, one time jumped off so thought it was bad battery, but taking to a service center they said battery and charging system good. Anyways, after a few more times of it happening, my girlfriend was going to drive as I had a surgery recently prior to this, and it wouldn't do anything. So she got mad and kicked with her foot under the dash area, suddenly we heard the car whirr to life and then it started up. So after that, whenever it happened, we'd kick under the dash and it would crank. Initially it did it once in a blue moon, random. Then it started becoming more frequent to where for a while we'd nearly have to do it every drive, but then it would not do it again for a while.

All during this the sputtering grew progressively worse too. I did all the tune-up stuff, even took it to a shop to have a tune-up done.Changed EGR, changed all o-rings in upper and lower manifold area after smoke test revealed what was thought to be a vacuum leak. Then it started throwing random codes once in a while. Saying #2 misfire, then another time saying p0171 and p0191 codes. Took to Ford Dealer, they could hardly get it into the stall, they left me with the car with their scratching their heads unable to explain it claiming it was showing 1 and 6 misfire and possible clogged intake. I had took all that apart when I did o-rings, all of that should have been fine still. They wanted $1200 with no guarantee or warranty that it would solve problem. As far as the sputtering problem, started out only doing it on the hottest of days after car got warmed up. Then it got to where it started doing it even in cold weather. But would always crank up and run smooth until the temperature gauge starting moving up. I mean, it would have power and I could get on highway and do kickdown before it warmed up and it would pull away strong. But, as I said, once temperature needle started moving, the sputtering would start and grow progressively worse the more you drove it and the hotter the car would get, but it has never overheated so its not an overheat issue. Summertime it was all it could do to make it to the nearest grocery store 2.5 miles away. Then be worse on the return trip. But after a few hours of sitting, crank up and run strong until it got warmed up and then it would start all over again. I ran ChevronTechron through one tank of gas, next tank of gas I ran a can of Sea Foam, then next tank I ran the stuff by Lucas oil and even used Heet in case there was a water issue in the tank. None of that stuff solved the problem either. Sputtering would be like it was bogging down, like trying to kickdown to pass a car and it would sputter so bad it would bog down and fall back and I'd have to get out of everyone's way on the highway. Sometimes it would diesel but that was rare. Most of the time it would be like a hard PUFF-PUFF-PUFF-PUFF sound. If I had to compare it to something, if you ever saw that movie "Escape From New York" when Snake Plisken and company are in that old station wagon car that made that loud puffing sound, my 2000 Taurus sounded exactly like that.

Now the car has quit while I was at my nephrologist's appointmoent for my kidney disease. Had it towed to shop, they were scratching their heads but since car wouldn't crank they wanted to change fuel pump claiming that must be bad since car would try to crank but then shutoff right after firing up. Wanted $600 with no guarantee or warranty that it would solve the problem, so I got a friend to just tow the car home and ate the $175 "diagnostic fee" the shop stuck me with but couldn't produce any paperwork to show what any problem was. A friend ended up helping me change the fuel pump ourselves, but now car won't do anything at all. Turn the key and dash lights come on, seat belt light beeps, but there's no whirring sound of electronics coming on, can't hear fuel pump run, turning the key does absolutely nothing. We're stumped.


Is it possible the ECU on backside of fuse panel might have gone out over time?? I'm wondering if that would explain why kicking around that area would suddenly cause the car to whirr to life and start up. If it's not the ECU, then possibly a wiring problem somewhere doing? Cause now kicking around there does nothing, even took the fuse panel loose to look at wiring while checking all fuses that I can, everything looks to be in working order. I have no multimeter so I'm limited in that, but I've done pretty much every other check on your misfire checklist page while the car was running. I've done nothing but throw money at the car and change everything that codes or advice or best logic would tell me was the problem, but to no avail, the car only ended up getting worse and now doesn't do anything. I had also thought maybe the catalytic converters might be plugged on it, but without a way to get the car running, I have no way to test that now. I do have an OBDII Reader that I was using with an android tablet to see if anything would give clues, but fuel pressure prior to stopping running was apparently good staying between 35-40 psi range most of the time. So now I'm worried I've bought a new fuel pump and put that in when it may not have even been a fuel pump problem to start with. So what's the chances it is the ECU or something else??

Any suggestions to help this crippled old man out would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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What codes are currently present? Has the ignition switch been replaced/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Last code I believe was that p0191 and it's been long cleared by the shop and/or battery going dead. Last time I tried I couldn't even access the ECU to communicate with anything via the tablet and OBDII thing. Car hasn't been running in probably a month and a half and most of that time the battery out of it.

I was just out trying to look at stuff on it earlier, and I'm wondering about the ignition switch now too. Radio will only work in accessory mode,turning towards you. If you turn away from you to turn ignition on, radio will come on but won't play or that they were nothing coming out of speakers and antenna doesn't go up. Turning back to accessory mode or whatever it's called when you turn top of key towards you, radio plays just fine and antenna goes up and down. That supposed to be that way? Trying to crank car I hear the one touch down relay clicking on and off, but little else, except a brief power-up of something in the rear of the car that I hope is the fuel pump. Sounds like it powers up for a second then a bump like it shuts off. And that only happens about once or twice every ten or so tries.

So yeah, now I'm wondering about ignition switch. Maybe that's why a kick under there would jar something into working.
 

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These problems sound earily simular to my Granddaughters car problems she had. Random codes, rough running like water in the gas, ECU would not always talk to code reader. I cleaned (sanded) the ground going from the battery to the body last year and she has been going ever since.
 

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Key ground is the PCM ground at the firewall. This one causing bad idle speed. Ford bolts the ground to the body over paint. Not one of the better ideas. Clean this one should be under routine maintenance. The ground to the fender only important when engine is not running. When Alt is charging the one in the pic is prime.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for tips on checking ground wires. I'll check that soon. Earlier I changed out the ignition switch and still does nothing.

Let me ask you guys this. In Owner's Manual it says when you turn key to run position the Theft light is supposed to stop blinking after a few seconds. Mine never does. Not sure that it ever has stopped blinking except when being driven. I'm guessing since the Theft light doesn't go out when key is in run or on position that indicates a problem?? All it ever does is the standard blink every 2-3 seconds and doesn't go out unless I turn to crank mode.

Is there a way to disable the anti-theft system on a 2000 model?
 

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I've been having a lot of problems with my 2000 Taurus SE Wagon with DOHC engine. Over the past few years it started acting up and progressively got worse and I'm at a loss. Me and the girlfriend are both veterans and first symptoms we noticed was some occasional sputters coming home from a 53 mile trip to the nearest VAMC, thought maybe it was bad gas or tune-up time. Then we had a few incidents where the car wouldn't do anything when turning the key, one time jumped off so thought it was bad battery, but taking to a service center they said battery and charging system good. Anyways, after a few more times of it happening, my girlfriend was going to drive as I had a surgery recently prior to this, and it wouldn't do anything. So she got mad and kicked with her foot under the dash area, suddenly we heard the car whirr to life and then it started up. So after that, whenever it happened, we'd kick under the dash and it would crank. Initially it did it once in a blue moon, random. Then it started becoming more frequent to where for a while we'd nearly have to do it every drive, but then it would not do it again for a while.

All during this the sputtering grew progressively worse too. I did all the tune-up stuff, even took it to a shop to have a tune-up done.Changed EGR, changed all o-rings in upper and lower manifold area after smoke test revealed what was thought to be a vacuum leak. Then it started throwing random codes once in a while. Saying #2 misfire, then another time saying p0171 and p0191 codes. Took to Ford Dealer, they could hardly get it into the stall, they left me with the car with their scratching their heads unable to explain it claiming it was showing 1 and 6 misfire and possible clogged intake. I had took all that apart when I did o-rings, all of that should have been fine still. They wanted $1200 with no guarantee or warranty that it would solve problem. As far as the sputtering problem, started out only doing it on the hottest of days after car got warmed up. Then it got to where it started doing it even in cold weather. But would always crank up and run smooth until the temperature gauge starting moving up. I mean, it would have power and I could get on highway and do kickdown before it warmed up and it would pull away strong. But, as I said, once temperature needle started moving, the sputtering would start and grow progressively worse the more you drove it and the hotter the car would get, but it has never overheated so its not an overheat issue. Summertime it was all it could do to make it to the nearest grocery store 2.5 miles away. Then be worse on the return trip. But after a few hours of sitting, crank up and run strong until it got warmed up and then it would start all over again. I ran ChevronTechron through one tank of gas, next tank of gas I ran a can of Sea Foam, then next tank I ran the stuff by Lucas oil and even used Heet in case there was a water issue in the tank. None of that stuff solved the problem either. Sputtering would be like it was bogging down, like trying to kickdown to pass a car and it would sputter so bad it would bog down and fall back and I'd have to get out of everyone's way on the highway. Sometimes it would diesel but that was rare. Most of the time it would be like a hard PUFF-PUFF-PUFF-PUFF sound. If I had to compare it to something, if you ever saw that movie "Escape From New York" when Snake Plisken and company are in that old station wagon car that made that loud puffing sound, my 2000 Taurus sounded exactly like that.

Now the car has quit while I was at my nephrologist's appointmoent for my kidney disease. Had it towed to shop, they were scratching their heads but since car wouldn't crank they wanted to change fuel pump claiming that must be bad since car would try to crank but then shutoff right after firing up. Wanted $600 with no guarantee or warranty that it would solve the problem, so I got a friend to just tow the car home and ate the $175 "diagnostic fee" the shop stuck me with but couldn't produce any paperwork to show what any problem was. A friend ended up helping me change the fuel pump ourselves, but now car won't do anything at all. Turn the key and dash lights come on, seat belt light beeps, but there's no whirring sound of electronics coming on, can't hear fuel pump run, turning the key does absolutely nothing. We're stumped.


Is it possible the ECU on backside of fuse panel might have gone out over time?? I'm wondering if that would explain why kicking around that area would suddenly cause the car to whirr to life and start up. If it's not the ECU, then possibly a wiring problem somewhere doing? Cause now kicking around there does nothing, even took the fuse panel loose to look at wiring while checking all fuses that I can, everything looks to be in working order. I have no multimeter so I'm limited in that, but I've done pretty much every other check on your misfire checklist page while the car was running. I've done nothing but throw money at the car and change everything that codes or advice or best logic would tell me was the problem, but to no avail, the car only ended up getting worse and now doesn't do anything. I had also thought maybe the catalytic converters might be plugged on it, but without a way to get the car running, I have no way to test that now. I do have an OBDII Reader that I was using with an android tablet to see if anything would give clues, but fuel pressure prior to stopping running was apparently good staying between 35-40 psi range most of the time. So now I'm worried I've bought a new fuel pump and put that in when it may not have even been a fuel pump problem to start with. So what's the chances it is the ECU or something else??

Any suggestions to help this crippled old man out would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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Thanks for tips on checking ground wires. I'll check that soon. Earlier I changed out the ignition switch and still does nothing.

Let me ask you guys this. In Owner's Manual it says when you turn key to run position the Theft light is supposed to stop blinking after a few seconds. Mine never does. Not sure that it ever has stopped blinking except when being driven. I'm guessing since the Theft light doesn't go out when key is in run or on position that indicates a problem?? All it ever does is the standard blink every 2-3 seconds and doesn't go out unless I turn to crank mode.

Is there a way to disable the anti-theft system on a 2000 model?
So, Destin65, did you figure out the issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, Destin65, did you figure out the issues?

Unfortunately not, car still won't do anything.

Some additional peculiar symptoms:
Turning key to accessory position (towards you) the car's radio will work and play music and antenna go up and down.
Turning key to Run position (away from you) the radio will stop playing, only static and antenna will come to a stop.

Lights all work, don't get reverse lights coming on like I'm told you would with a bad neutral start switch (but maybe still be bad?) unless the car is actually in reverse will the lights come on, battery was charged, even a friend with a diesel truck and dual batteries jumping to it couldn't get it to do anything while thinking it was a bad battery. Pulling relays at the fuse/relay box under the hood reveals that area of the car is getting power to it. Moving relays around to different positions has no effect.

Attempting to crank only gets a single click from a relay in fuse panel under dash. All dash lights appear to work like they should when turning key to run and/or crank positions. Have not tried moving relays around under dash area as with my spinal issues I get vertigo really quick if I'm laying on my side or have my head lower than body level. I'm still hurting and unsteady from friend coming over Saturday and helping him do stuff to figure it out. He noticed some of the relays under dash looking like they had gotten a little hot on their prongs, but nothing melted and no signs of heat damage over than a little bluing. At the time we didn't think to try relays in different positions, but it's likely they wouldn't have made a difference?

All fuses under hood and under dash are all good and appear to be getting power throughout both.

Have tried different keys, have tried the trick of locking doors with remote, opening with key and attempting to start car. Also tried same process but simply turned to run, then to accessory, then removed, then reinserted to try to crank. Have done as some suggested to leave car in run position for 10+ minutes to attempt reset if alarm issue. Have changed out the ignition module under steering column.

Usually when I could put the key in and turn to Run position, you'd hear the car whirr to life from electronic stuff activating briefly. Doesn't do that now. Hasn't done it at all since I changed the fuel pump. Knocking around on things and relays seems to have no effect.

Have tried starting car in all positions from Park to Reverse to Neutral to Drive to all positions. Nothing.

Only thing I can figure is maybe one of a few things,

1. ECU possibly bad, soon as I can find my OBDII scanner I'll try to communicate with it again.

2. Neutral Start Switch possibly bad? But would that malfunctioning cause any other symptoms or prevent the car whirring to life in Run?

3. Battery has a dead cell? Would that prevent car working as normal even with 2nd vehicle applying power?

4. Wiring issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Car did develop a power steering leak before this all happened. Could a fluid leak from reservoir, pump or rack area have caused an electrical issue maybe? I know the rack & pinion was leaking as I'd have to put some in to top it off occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lastly, due to the way the switch position is giving different symptoms, is it possible the ignition switch module I changed out was also defective or not correctly installed? I'm thinking about troubleshooting that just to double-check.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just had some interesting symptoms when trying to do diagnostics on the car with the OBD-II scanner.

Tablet connects to scanner, but scanner isn't then able to connect to ECU. Hmm.

Also, while fiddling waiting on it to search through protocols, I was fiddling with buttons/knobs on dash. If I turn fan on, then move knob to vent, suddenly the radio starts playing music and antenna goes up. If I turn off fan, or move fan/ac selector to OFF, then radio goes off. 🤔
 
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