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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, everyone. After reading XlSuruat's suggestion that replacing his cam shaft position sensor solved his acceleration lag problem, I got excited and decided to replace mine, as well as replace my spark plugs, as per the advice of the Bosch thread.

So, I replaced the camshaft postion sensor, and I noticed NO difference in anything. No sound difference, the engine didn't run better, nothing. So, I guess that wasn't the problem with my engine causing my really bad lag.

Next, I replaced my Motorcraft single-electrode spark plugs with Autolite double platinum single electrode plugs. 5 of the 6 Motorcraft's threads were covered with oil. The 6th was semi dry, but even it had a little bit of oil. Most, if not all of the plugs lacked any oil on the electrodes.

This presence of oil started the thought that maybe my engine had problems with the piston rings or something, but this didn't seem likely; one, even with 121k miles, my Duratec doesn't seem to burn any oil over a 3k mile period; two, I get very good emission tests, and three, the performance lag isn't there all the time (I'm assuming bad piston rings would cause poor performance and low compression at all times.)

So, now I'm contemplating replacing the Coolant Temperature Sensor (probably the next step) and then the ignition coil in my everlasting mission to give my Duratec it's kick back.

My question, though, is: does anyone have any reason why my spark plugs would be covered in oil? Like I said, the car doesn't burn oil, and it has very good emissions. The engine has a noticible lag when it heats up (often meaning to move, the engine has to be floored, and even then it doesn't "grab" untill after about 2 seconds.) The TPS was replaced, the Camshaft position sensor, and now the spark plugs, and nothing has made a difference (in anything, including idling or driving power.) The car pulls like a bat out of hell when it is cold, and sometimes after highway driving (I haven't figured out why.), and the lag does not dissappear when things like the AC are shutoff.

Ok, I'm done.


Btw, I thought doing my girlfriend's explorer's spark plugs was hard. The Duratec puts that crap to shame. I couldn't belive I was able to fit my hand and my socket and the two extensions into the back of that damn engine. Plus, the spark plugs are recessed like a half damn foot into the engine.

What a nightmare.
 

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actually i find changing my sparkplugs on my duratec is really easy. pulled off the upper intake manifold and viola easy access.

As for a lag problem i would almost bet this is a PCM (powertrain control module or EEC-V as ford calls it) calibration issue. It will probably have to be re-programmed. I believe there is a TSB for it. The dealer ought to print you out a copy of the TSB.
 

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At least on the 4.0 SOHC Explorer, taking off the passenger wheel makes it VERY easy to change the passenger side plugs. The driver's side are a cinch. You can do those from the top of the hood in about 10 minutes.
 

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the valve guides might be worn. It wouldn't take very much oil seeping past the valve guides to foul up the plugs pretty bad. I would try and find the oil leak. Have you pulled the plugs since you replaced them to see if the new plug are fouled yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by sablerider@Apr 23 2004, 11:30 PM
actually i find changing my sparkplugs on my duratec is really easy. pulled off the upper intake manifold and viola easy access.

As for a lag problem i would almost bet this is a PCM (powertrain control module or EEC-V as ford calls it) calibration issue. It will probably have to be re-programmed. I believe there is a TSB for it. The dealer ought to print you out a copy of the TSB.
I elected to remove the cowl, as I haven't had much luck in removing the manifold, so I had to cram my hands underneath the manifold above the cams. It was tight


Could you elaborate on the TSB? What should I tell the guys at the dealer? I looked at alldata's TSB listing for a 96 DOHC but all I could find was something called " 99-4-3 MAR 99 PCM - Reprogramming Out of Vehicle " and " 97-9-8 APR 97 PCM - Reprogramming Tips ", nothing that seemed like it screamed "ERROR: REPROGRAM." Any tips as to what I should do?

Replaced the coolant temperature sensor--man, that thing was buried. Going to drive around and see if it helped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally posted by SHOZ123@Apr 25 2004, 11:01 PM
Have you taken the intake off and cleaned it?  Put in a new PCV valve?  Cleaned off the IRM?  Do you have any codes stored?
I haven't taken the intake off to clean it, but I don't see how that would help-- the performance issues arn't always present, like I said. Sometimes the car pulls like a bat out of hell (it did all throughout winter), but most of the time, when it's hot, it bogs bad.

I have a new PCV valve in there. I had a lean condition sometime last year that was caused by the PCV hose being torn open somehow...the lean condition was fixed by replacing the PCV valve and hose.

I'm assuming you mean the IMRC? I haven't had mine cleaned, and I'm sure my secondaries are dirtier than mud pie, but I don't believe this is the problem; the IMRC acts predictably when I rev the engine in park (shifts, shifts back), and when the car is running correctly, there is a very large power increase around 3500, so I suspect my secondaries are still working alright.

I do not believe any codes are stores; I have a code reader, and although I haven't checked in a while, I haven't ever had a check engine light relating to this problem (and haven't had a check engine light in a long time.) I've had this problem for I don't know how long, but it's always been an issue with me (pretty much the only thing that makes me want to sell the car).

I did just replace the coolant temp sensor, and I'm waiting for warmer weather to see if that helped (rainy day today, cool weather and good performance.) If the lag is still there, my current plan is to take it to the dealer to have them check the PCM, and if that's alright, maybe see if my cats are clogged--would that affect hot performance?

Thank god for birthday money.
 

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98' Duratec, 92,000 miles having the same EXACT problem and it's driving me crazy! Car had major tune-up (at dealer) less than 5,000 miles ago and problem wasn't there before. Everything checked out fine. New plugs, wires, inj/throttle body cleaned, new fuel and air filter. Everything checked out fine. No stored codes, etc. Last 2,000 miles or so especially with AC running, car just boggs down when taking off. Usually happens in alot of stop and go traffic, 80 degrees out. Otherwise, car drives like a dream and will haul butt! Also, pulled front plugs off yesterday to check the "gap" and first plug had oil substance around the threads. Car uses no oil and doesn't smoke. Only 1,200 miles left on ext. warranty. Let me know what happens when you take your car in. My dealership here is NOT the brightest in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update time:

Took the car to the detailer today after school (around 1). I drove up, got out, and went inside, where I talked to this lady. She was sitting next to one of the mechanics, but apparently she was supposed to be the one to talk. So, I said, "Hi, I need to have my PCM updated or reprogramed or something..." And she said, "Oh, ok. We should probably run a diagnostic, though." I contemplated spending double to get a diagnostic AND have my PCM relashed, and rejected the idea, and said I would like to just get the PCM reprogrammed.

At this point, the mechanic chymed in. He asked me to explain the problem, which I did. He asked all the same questions, had all the same responses, and I had a counter for each one. "It's summer, so the AC is kicking in more." I responded "Yes, but even without the AC, I still get horrible performance and bad gas mileage." He suggested a CEL, which I didn't have, and I countered that I've replaced the TPS, CTS, and CPS, along with cleaning the MAF. I also told him my secondaries were still working, despite the old age. He theorized the plugs were bad; I told him that although I replaced the motorcraft with Autolites, the problem didn't go away. He said the fuel filter was maybe bad; I said I had replaced it twice.

I then told him if he could search for a TSB on the subject; he got my VIN, but couldn't find a TBS relating to the PCM. He also said he would prefer to run a diagnostic instead of flashing the PCM (I guess reprogramming the PCM can be bad? Maybe destroy the PCM?) Anyway, he took the car in and ran a diagnostic, and told me "Hey, everythings fine. The tranny seems ok, the fuel system is optimal, all the pistons are firing, the oxygen sensors are cycling correctly (this was a concern of mine), BUT, I did find that the PCM needed to be updated. So, right now, I'm recalibrating it. This update addresses 9 different issues that have come up over the years. I'll only add 25 bucks to the diagnostic cost (as opposed to the 90 it would have been alone.)

So, he recalibrated everything, and 125bucks later (argh), I drove away. The drive home was uneventful, although the car had tons of power when I needed it (not much stop and go driving). The test will really be this weekend, when I drive down to Galveston, to see what my gasmileage is like.
 
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Hmmm...recalibrating it, eh? Let us know if this fixes it. Just curious, what was your gas milage before this recalibration? Anyway you can get a hold of the 9 issues which this supposedly fixed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The mechanic was unavailable after he finished, so I wasn't able to get a print out of the problems it fixed. He mentioned stuff like the CEL light and, I believe, fuel management, but i didn't get a chance to really ask.

During the winter, I was pulling a steady 22mpg and up, regardless of city or highway. Summer started creaping around, and it started dropping, first to around 20, then to my "usual" 18, and my last tank was a dismal 17. I'm hoping this fixes everything, though!
 

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Biteableniles, was wondering if I could get an update on your problem? Did dealership fix "lag"? mine is still doing the same after changing sensors, etc. Taking in on Monday and wondered if I could fore warn the dealer of a possible problem.
 
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