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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone.

I joined about a year ago when I first got my car, but have never posted until now. I've been searching for possible solutions to my issue, but haven't had any luck, so I figured I'd throw this out there and look for some suggestions.

I have a 2003 Taurus Wagon with the 3.0 liter engine in it. It's been running great since I got it, but today I noticed an issue.

I was on the highway and was attempting to pass another car. As I accelerated to about 4,000 RPM (give or take a couple hundred) the car began to act like it wasn't getting any gas. It stuttered and hesitated and sputtered. Laying off the accelerator caused the car to go back to running perfectly at 75 MPH.

So I tried again, and again I got to about 4k and the stutter came back. It really does feel like the engine isn't getting any gas.

When I got off of the highway for work, I tried accelerating from a dead stop. It goes past 4k just fine when it's not going anywhere near highway speeds. Basically, it only has the issue when you're going highway speeds and trying to accelerate to pass. For instance, from a stand still to 55 MPH, it didn't hesitate or stutter once, and it went past 4k for two shifts.

The car only has 64,000 miles on it. I got it with 50,000 on it. I haven't really done much as far as tuning up goes because it has run so well since I got it. With that said, I'll be doing a thorough tune up on it in the next couple of days (or, I should say, the ASE certified mechanic that I work with will be doing it for me). My mechanic friend said that since the car has low mileage on it, it's possible that it sat for a while without being driven and that could have caused some of the things that normally wouldn't need to be replaced yet, like spark plugs and wires, to possibly need replacement earlier. I know for a fact that the car sat on a dealers lot for at least six months before I purchased it, so it's possible that it did a good amount of just sitting around not being driven before I took possession of it.

I have put a can of Sea Foam into the gas to try and clean up the injectors in case that was part of the problem. I will have a new fuel filter installed, a new air filter installed, new spark plugs, and new plug wires.

I was wondering if anyone else had any suggestions for things that I should possibly look for while trying to fix this?? I figure the car needs a tune-up regardless, so no matter what I'll be changing out the items listed above. But if anyone has any idea if it might be something else causing this, let me know so that I can check that out while we're working on the vehicle.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Jeff
 

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At higher speeds, the engine needs to consumer more fuel to overcome wind resistance. So you might have no problem at lower speeds. But if the engine just can't get enough fuel, its not going to have power at speed. I concur, replace the fuel filter and see if that doesn't help. Spark plug wires not delivering proper spark energy is a possibility too.

I know someone will bring this up, but catalytic converters that are partially plugged can also cause the same symptoms, however the converters usually only fail when something else goes wrong first. I would address the simple stuff first, like the fuel filter and tune-up stuff and see if that doesn't fix the problem. From there if that doesn't work, we can address the more serious things like converters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome.

Thanks for the quick replies!

I'll be going to the auto parts store to get the stuff today. I was going to do it all myself, but it's rather cold here in Michigan right now and my garage isn't heated, so I'll let my friend do it. He's got a lift in his heated garage and stuff, so it'll be easy for him to get the fuel filter installed. Not to mention, the fact that it's heated will make it a bit easier for him to do the plugs and wires. :D

I'll gladly pay him $50 or whatever if it means I don't have to go outside in this weather!!!:rofl:
 

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Awesome.

Thanks for the quick replies!

I'll be going to the auto parts store to get the stuff today. I was going to do it all myself, but it's rather cold here in Michigan right now and my garage isn't heated, so I'll let my friend do it. He's got a lift in his heated garage and stuff, so it'll be easy for him to get the fuel filter installed. Not to mention, the fact that it's heated will make it a bit easier for him to do the plugs and wires. :D

I'll gladly pay him $50 or whatever if it means I don't have to go outside in this weather!!!:rofl:
motorcraft wires and plugs (or autolite plugs). No Bosch plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Alright, went to the Advance Auto Parts today and got the stuff.

I went with the Autolite double platinum plugs and some Autolite wires. I can't remember what brand the filter is (it's out in the back of the car right now) but the guy at the counter told me it was probably the best one they sold.

I'll be taking the car to my mechanic friend on Sunday for him to take it home and work on it. Hopefully when I get it back the hesitation is gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi everyone.

I got the stuff all put in today...new plugs, wires, fuel filter, and air filter.

The problem persists. It doesn't seem to be as pronounced as before, but it's definitely still there.

Again, it's ONLY around 4,000 RPM and only at freeway speeds (55 mph and up).

I'm thinking my next course of action would be to check the EGR and the PCV valves?? After that, I guess maybe vacuum leak?? Other than that, I'm at an absolute loss. The car still hasn't thrown a CEL.

Any other suggestions?
 

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vacuum leaks are most noticable at idle.. of course check for vac leaks.. if u have time /resources clean and change the upper intake manifold gaskets.. clean it up in there.. might not be that dirty but the carbon build up coculd cause the butterfly valves to stick shut.. jus a suggestions.... get a good fuel pressure reading too.. a fuel filter change wont to much for a bad pump.. a bit of time/money yes but keeping good on tuneups is an invesment for the future.. again jus suggestion. thnks for reading and thank u TCCA
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright...mechanic now thinks it might be the coil pack.

The fact that the new plugs and wires made the problem a bit less noticeable and where it occurs in the RPM has led him to this conclusion.

The good news?? He's got an extra coil pack for this car at his garage, so he's going to bring it in to work tomorrow (yah, on Christmas even) to put it on the car so that we can see if the issue goes away with the new coil pack. If it doesn't, he's going to move on to checking crank sensors and other sensors. I'm hoping the coil pack will fix it.
 

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Does it only happen after it's warmed up after a spell?

If so, you can try checking/swapping out the thermostat. I had an issue awhile ago where, after the car had been run for a spell, upon spirited accelleration, the engine would cut out as if it were hittng the rev limiter. Changed out the plugs and wires, cleaned the fuel system etcetera, didn't help.

Turned out that the thermostat wasn't opening fully and the guage wasn't indicating the issue. Once I replaced the t-stat, the problem was gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Does it only happen after it's warmed up after a spell?

If so, you can try checking/swapping out the thermostat. I had an issue awhile ago where, after the car had been run for a spell, upon spirited accelleration, the engine would cut out as if it were hittng the rev limiter. Changed out the plugs and wires, cleaned the fuel system etcetera, didn't help.

Turned out that the thermostat wasn't opening fully and the guage wasn't indicating the issue. Once I replaced the t-stat, the problem was gone.
Oddly enough, that is EXACTLY what it's doing.

It only does it after the engine is warm...I hadn't really thought of that at all. And the "hesitation" is EXACTLY what the car does when it's hitting the rev limited in neutral.

I will have to give that a look if the coil pack he puts in tomorrow doesn't do anything...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Coil pack switched out...problem still persists.

I'll be changing that thermostat out later this week to see if that solves the issue. If not, then it'll be time to start looking at various sensors. I'll probably just give him the car for a few days so that he can actually watch fuel statistics and such while his OBDii scanner is hooked up while he drives.
 

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Gimp,

I had a similar problem on my 03 SEL. It was around 45-60 MPH and if i stepped on the accel the car would bog down. The problem ended up being a bad PCV Valve. I did have an error code of P1506 though. Hope the info helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Alright guys...she FINALLY threw a CEL at me today. I happened to be literally down the road from the Advance Auto so I went and had them scan it.

Turns out it's a bad O2 sensor on bank 2.

This is where my next question comes into play...the guys at Advance were a bit confused because their computer says the car has two upstream AND two downstream O2 sensors, and the scanner would only say "Bank 2."

I'm gonna have my mechanic replace the O2 sensor, but here's my question...are there actually two downstream O2 sensors on this car, or is the parts computer at Advance giving them some funky information?? Obviously my mechanic will hook his scan up to it and figure out which one is bad if there are in fact two per side, but it just seems odd to me that a car with single exhaust would have two downstream O2 sensors.
 

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There are two downstream, o2 sensors, you have two catalytic converters, then the exhaust Y's into a single pipe.

I had the same thing happen a few weeks ago while on a trip. Refueled with a better gas than I've been running, dumped in some techron and haven't had the code come back yet after 2,500 miles.
 

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This is one of those multi-layered problems where anything can be game. I'm gonna go with either its an electrical or fuel problem. The other thing about solving this problem is the approach. That is the taking the best approach, much like landing an airplane on a runway.

A couple of observations...
We have no previous history of the car of what was done maintenance wise. However I do agree the fuel filter, spark plugs and ignition cables were probably due for a change (miles & age). If it were me I would have used Motorcraft parts as a baseline. Just because the parts are new doesn't mean they are good (defective). When I buy engine/transmission parts I look for reliability and endurance (I've got better things to do than work on my car). The problem with non-Motorcraft parts is you are mixing them the factory OEM parts and not all parts work and play well with each other.

Thermostats are a good example of this. I have read many posts after trying "something" else that the Motorcraft thermostats are best ones to use. Why? Because that's what the Ford engineers had designed the engine for.

There are a few exceptions with OEM parts (e.g. Magnecor, B&M Supercooler) but a limited list.

After a couple of months goes by you have this multi-layered tier of swapping OEM parts with non-OEM parts creating a non-compatibility. This reflects in the performance or non-performance of the engine.

If you happen to swap-out the O2 sensor I can only hope it's a quality one.

I'll get off my soap box now. Just my 2¢.

BTW what the hell is a Toyota advertisement doing at the bottom of a Ford forum? Where's the patriotism?

Monsoon
 

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What was the numerical code? Don't tell your mechanic to replace the sensor, just tell him to re-evaluate it for you and let you know what's wrong.
 
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