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Hey guys, my 02 sable has been acting jumpy and low on power. I pulled over while driving it recently and noticed the rear bank of the engine's cat was glowing red. I can feel the exhaust out of the tailpipe but i'm not sure thats conclusive of anything. Its for sure low on power and I have codes p0301 p0316 and p0305 all relating to a misfire. Mainly i'm just looking for an opinion on the situation. I know I can take the cats off and run some light through them to check but its all rusted and looks like doing that would take about a year off my life lol. Another thing is that while I was doing some other maintenance I accidentally cracked the little plastic guide piece for the cruise control cable. So anytime I got the rpms passed 2500rpm it would get stuck and i'd have to lay on the brakes to get the car to sit still so I can turn it off and unlodge the cable. After about a month or two of driving like that I had a moment of lucidity and realized I could just unhook the cable. Can anybody confirm my suspicions because i'd be annoyed to take it off and realize they are fine. I was told the unmonitored third cat is not likely to go bad but the warm up cats do. Does anybody know any places or websites where I can find the best priced converters for my 02 sable? Maybe I should change my fuel filter while i'm at it just in case. PS: I bought the car secondhand and there was a ton of receipts of work getting done but I don't see any for cats/exhaust. Car has 145k on it. Any help is appreciated.
 

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It's not a great situation to be in, the catalysts are fairly expensive and the work to replace them, especially the rear bank, is quite obnoxious and difficult when there's rust involved. Which engine do you have? I assume the Duratec. The misfire codes you have probably pre-date the catalyst plugging up, since that's the #1 reason they fail. Unburned fuel from the misfires overheats them and the catalyst comes apart. Often times with the rear bank it will shred, flow downstream into the third catalyst and plug it up, so if you remove it and find an empty pipe, that's where it is. As far as the cruise control goes, yes you can disconnect the cable at the throttle body to solve that problem.

Either way if you keep driving it like this you're gonna hurt the engine eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's not a great situation to be in, the catalysts are fairly expensive and the work to replace them, especially the rear bank, is quite obnoxious and difficult when there's rust involved. Which engine do you have? I assume the Duratec. The misfire codes you have probably pre-date the catalyst plugging up, since that's the #1 reason they fail. Unburned fuel from the misfires overheats them and the catalyst comes apart. Often times with the rear bank it will shred, flow downstream into the third catalyst and plug it up, so if you remove it and find an empty pipe, that's where it is. As far as the cruise control goes, yes you can disconnect the cable at the throttle body to solve that problem.

Either way if you keep driving it like this you're gonna hurt the engine eventually.
So you think my best bet is to pull the exhaust and check it out? Maybe pull my plugs and inspect them? I was thinking since a cylinder one and cylinder 5 are misfiring that maybe its just from the rear bank. I noticed the rear bank cat glowing red but the front bank cat isn't.
 

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Now I feel like i'm even in a worse spot. I now have the three misfire codes that have been around for a while, and now this p0351 coil circuit code. I know for the ignition coil I should only get the motorcraft one but they are 100 bucks vs 25 bucks for an aftermarket one. Is there a way I can diagnose a bit further with just hand tools and a multimeter? I have wires and not coil on plug so I cant swap coils to see if that helps and I assume I could technically swap wires if I swap them from the plug and the coil but theyre all different lengths so i'm not sure that could work. The last thing I want to worry about is the catalyic converters because that is the most annoying. Can I swap plugs and wires to see if it gets rid of any of the codes? Ideally I would like to be able to test the connectors in case is just a loose wire or something, and I dont want to just throw a new ignition coil on it without being sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Now I feel like i'm even in a worse spot. I now have the three misfire codes that have been around for a while, and now this p0351 coil circuit code. I know for the ignition coil I should only get the motorcraft one but they are 100 bucks vs 25 bucks for an aftermarket one. Is there a way I can diagnose a bit further with just hand tools and a multimeter? I have wires and not coil on plug so I cant swap coils to see if that helps and I assume I could technically swap wires if I swap them from the plug and the coil but theyre all different lengths so i'm not sure that could work. The last thing I want to worry about is the catalyic converters because that is the most annoying. Can I swap plugs and wires to see if it gets rid of any of the codes? Ideally I would like to be able to test the connectors in case is just a loose wire or something, and I dont want to just throw a new ignition coil on it without being sure.
Took out the three plugs that don't require taking the plenum off. All three looked like this. I'm no expert but they dont look horrible, but that gap is pretty big and the electrode looks pretty worn. Not sure when they were serviced, but they haven't been since I owned the car.
215941
 

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It's kind of hard to tell, but the cylinder may be running too hot. Either that or you had water sitting in the spark plug well at one point, or someone kept using fuel additives like a cleaner or something. Generally speaking if you're getting a coil code you can bet that you need a new coil. Remove the old one and check the bottom, the cracks should be pretty obvious. A new coil and some new wires and plugs should fix the misfires, but the catalyst is likely already a goner so it's not gonna restore your power. But it will at least keep the motor alive, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you guys/ladies, going to do the plugs and wires and check for cracks on the ignition coil while i'm under there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
215959
215958

215957

215956

first plug is rear passenger, the other two are middle and driver side rear plugs(a bit lean?). I had misfire codes for cylinder 1 and 5. Obviously it looks like yall were right. The ignition coil does look cracked in three places.
 

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^ Motorcraft or NGK's for the plugs and Motorcraft or Borg-Warner (BWD) only for the coil pack. Iirc, BWD available at Advance Auto or O'Reilly Auto Parts.
 

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Agree plug gap is excessive. Be sure to clear all codes or drop power from negative battery post to clear the engine computer so it will relearn with the new plugs.
 

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Excess plug gap adds load to the coil. Wider the gap, the higher volts before the spark. Makes the coil get hotter and increases the chance the spark jumps somewhere other than the plug. With double platinum chips the gap remains constant until the ultra thin chip wears out the gap then grows quickly as you have soft backing material. Good platinums should last 100K before the platinum wears out. The rear plugs go first on a coilpack system. That is the reverse polarity side. Only Ford knows why. COPS should last much longer since only half as many sparks per mile, and no reverse polarity. PIC of DOHC plugs over 100K and you can see the back bank plug is loosing it's center electrode as the plat chip is gone. Rear gap open about 0.012" and front gap still factory.
-chart-
 

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I had a similar glowing cat issue on my 01 DOHC wagon last summer while running down a misfire. Turned out to be a intake manifold gasket. I guess I didn't get them back in right after replacing the coil pack. Once I put new gaskets on, she's been running just fine. Of course I spent lots of time checking everything else first, because I had just put that all back together and that couldn't have been it!
 
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