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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a college student and just picked up a job as a construction flagger which
will require a lot of driving. My car normally would get 28-32 mpg highway and
20-25 mpg city. Just recently, I filled it up and found I got 14 mpg. It was
mostly city driving but that is still a significant decrease.

Basics of the car:

Bought used with 101k in June of 2010. I've used it mainly to commute to and
from college(Michigan Tech) so I've put about 15k on it since I've owned it.

Recently I had some trouble with the RPM's fluttering a bit and the check engine
code came up with a bad cam sensor. I had a family friend replace it and clear
the code but it popped right back up. Next week, I took it to a mechanic and had
him check it out and fix it and the same code popped up 3 days later so I just
forgot about it.

I've noticed that when I go to take off from a dead stop, sometimes it seems
like the engine "hesitates" a bit then catches up. It has done this since I have
owned it. Other than this, I cannot think of any other noteable mechanical
quirks.

I decided to take it to Autozone tonight and have them run my check engine light
again to see if anything pops up. I recieved these codes with probable causes:

1. P0401 EGR system fault (exhaust gas recirculation)

The ECM has detected too little flow on the EGR system

Probable Cause:
Blocked passage on EGR system
Failed EGR valve
EGR solenoid faulty
Failed EGR pressure sensor where applicable

2. P1309 Misfire monitor disabled

ECM disabled the misfire monitor

Probable Cause:
Verify the cam sensor is sychronized
ECM failure
Verify input sensor parameters are correct

From talking to two former mechanics that I know well, the only thing I have
gotten is that my catalytic converter might be clogged.

I'm trying to pinpoint the problem so I don't have to pay for a mechanic to run
pointless tests to tell me something someone else might know off the top of
their head.

I am pretty much broke at this point until my new job starts up here in the next
couple of days so if there is even anything fairly cheap I can do to help fix it
now, I would appreciate any tips. I'm stumped and have no clue what is going on,
but I know that this car has plenty of life left in it. If you can think of
anything, please let me know!
 

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The 401 is either a failed DPFE sensor or the EGR passages in the intake are clogged.

It sounds like the CMP was not properly adjusted when it was installed Assuming the assy, meaning sensor itself along with the syncro shaft). If entire assy was installed, were the alignment instructions followed, or did someone just stab it in the hole and call it good? The sensor itself rarely fails. Usually the shaft goes bad / the tang breaks off and damages the sensor.
 

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^+1. What 3.0 engine do you have? The vulcan 3.0 ohv 12 valve pushrod, or the duratec 3.0 24 valve dual overhead cam? Im assuming the vulcan. Make sure the cmp (camshaft position sensor) AND camshaft synchronizer were properly replaced. For the po401 code, replace the dpfe sensor (egr backpressure sensor) with the borg-warner unit from advance auto or oreilly. Part# bwd egr155.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I found the DPFE sensor you are talking about. I called the local ford dealership and they wanted $139 for it but when I searched "EGR Pressure Sensor" at Autozone, it popped up for $49.99. I will go buy that once I get the extra cash.

As for the Cam Sensor, I bought the part and my mechanic put it in for me so I'm assuming the sychronizer was never touched. I've been doing online research all day for these two codes and the sychronizer and the DPFE sensor are the two most common things that pop up. I really appreciate the help.

Last thing though is how do I go about fixing the sychronizer? Is there a part I need or is it a machine that a mechanic hooks up to time it right?
 

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If all the mechanic did was replace the sensor (screws on to the top of the syncro assy) he did a complete half assed job. ALWAYS replace both parts. If he only replaced the sensor, I wonder if he even looked at the syncro to see if it had any play in it or if the tang was broken off or damaged. When both syncro and sensor are replaced, the crank is set to TDC on the compression stroke, and the sensor is aligned to a specific angle using an alignment tool or measuring an angle. Do a search here. Alignment has been discussed many times.

Get the BWD DPFE Sheila suggests. Higher quality than the AZ part, and only a few $ more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll see what I can find. From what you are describing, it seems like something I can figure out on my own being a math major and all =)
 

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!Achtung! Dont get the dpfe (duralast-wells) sensor from az or youll be replacing it in short order! Get the bwd #egr155 from advance auto or oreilly with lifetime warranty. Also, dont get the the chinese dorman brand cmp and cam synchronizer no matter how tempting the price. I realize youre a poor college student, but spring for motorcraft parts on these 2 essential items. Might click on the topic finder and search features at the top of this page and read some of the numerous threads, how-tos and tutorials on these 2 cam parts. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've searched the topics for a sensor and read some of the horror stories about buying certain brands (such as Dorman). I went to Rock Auto and found the Synchronizer for $63.79.

I have one question. Why when I search most of these parts sites, does my 1998 Taurus SE not pop up? Only the SHO, LX and GL come up. I have been going with the GL because it seems most similar to what I know about my engine(not flex fuel, DOHC or the V8).

Thank you for all the help
 

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engine

I've searched the topics for a sensor and read some of the horror stories about buying certain brands (such as Dorman). I went to Rock Auto and found the Synchronizer for $63.79.

I have one question. Why when I search most of these parts sites, does my 1998 Taurus SE not pop up? Only the SHO, LX and GL come up. I have been going with the GL because it seems most similar to what I know about my engine(not flex fuel, DOHC or the V8).

Thank you for all the help
If the 8th digit in your VIN is U you are a Vulcan.

A 2 is flex fuel, same engine. S is DOHC. Duratec 30.

SE and GL are just trim packages. Along with LX. SHO is a specialty Y is 3.0 DOHC and P is 3.2 DOHC.

If I can read my cheat sheet of ford engines.

-chart-
 

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Yes Evan, on those parts store sites, by selecting lx usually pairs you with the duratec, and choosing gl, with the vulcan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all of you! I just replaced the DPFE sensor a minute ago in my taurus and I can already tell it is running better. It almost seems quieter and the RPM's were steady when I drove around the block and while it sits in park.

I'll let you all know when I get the money to replace the cam sensor and synchronizer and if that helps as well.
 
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