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I just purchased a 95 Taurus and i have had some issues, but the latest is a bear. I had a leaking power steering pressure switch so i changed that out, then the car started smoking. I figured it was residue PS fluid so i sprayed it down. This morning my roommate was driving back from work when the car started bucking and jerking and losing speed.The rpms were still holding but the car was dying. When he stopped the car caught fire. He put out the fire with water and called me. When i got there i cleaned what was left of the PS fluid residue off of the pressure switch and it fired up and drove for around 12 miles when it started doing the same thing to me, sans the fire. I looked at everything, there was no melted wires, but the cat was cherry red and the heat was unbelievable. My thoughts is the leak has fouled the cat and the water didnt help. The symptoms all match to a bad cat, but im not real saavy with fords. Can i remove the cat without messing up the ECU? I really dont have a strong income right now and i live in the south so emissions arent an issue. Anyone else agree that its most likely the cat? Thanks in advance
 

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look for a vacuum hose either off or broke in some way.
this radically changes the fuel mixture.

When i changed the engines in my 97, the idiot that did it
forgot to put on a large vacuum hose in the firewall side
i had to rev it to keep it running and the cat was cherry red.
put the hose back on and all was well

bob
 

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I just worked on my cousin's 00 taurus, timing chain, cover gasket, water pump, brake lines and when I fired it up it had a rough idle. I looked for vacuum leaks and pulled the PCV out and the rubber elbow that connects the hose to the valve was rotted and leaking. Bought a new valve and some hose and everything was great. Sure sounds like you have a vacuum leak.

As for the fire that was the power steering fluid, I have seen this before when my cousin overfilled a leaking power steering system and it sprayed out the relief hole all over the engine.
 
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