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Discussion Starter #1
I have had this strange problem for a long time and it really bothers me. The symptom is engine hiccups from time to time while idling and it feels that the engine is about to die. It does not happen all the time but typically while the engine is cold. I replaced spark plugs and wires. It seems all right for about two weeks and it started to do the same thing again. It then threw a misfire code indicating cylinder 3 misfire. I checked the spark plug, wire, and coil pack. They all looked all right. I replaced PCV. I also replaced another new spark plug and swapped wire of cylinder 3 with cylinder 1 anyway. The code never comes back again since then and it has been over 500 miles till now.

However, engine still hiccups during idle. What I found it while the idle speed is relatively high 900RPM, it hiccups and the idle speed drops a little during hiccups and comes back to 900RPM. During good idle with no hiccups, idle speed keeps at 880RPM. I applied Chevron fuel injector cleaner twice. For the first time, engine idled fine with the whole tank of gas with cleaner. But after filling up the tank, the engine ran like crap and it threw up the misfire code I mentioned earlier. For the second time, engine idled fine with the whole tank of gas with cleaner. But after filling up the tank, the engine again ran like crap. However, it did not throw up any code, instead, after 50 miles, it starts to behavior like normal, still hiccups though, till now for another 200 miles. I did sometimes feel sluggish during acceleration though especially at ~40MPH.

I am totally confused now. What could be the problem? Could somebody please recommend what my next move is?
 

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We had this problem before. Over time it got worse and worse the car wouldn't idle 5 minutes with out dieing. Eventually we were firing on 2. it went into the shop the next day. bad coil pack and plugs. Then to fix the idling problem there was a vacum leak thats the idling problem if u have had it fixed in the past then it started a new leak or there is another one.

best of luck,
Justin

added*

I would try running a bottle of isopropyl. its the red bottle of HEAT. that can also help clean out injectors and remove any form of moisture in your fuel.
 

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its possible that its the idle throttle control valve by the throttle body... mine used to cut off a few seconds after starting, but once i changed that and cleaned out the throttle body, it was a okay... what i suggest if your going to buy a new one instead of cleaning the existing one, make sure you buy it from the dealer.. for some reason the ones from the parts store barely works for a year, but the dealer ones you can get a few years out of..
best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
QUOTE (2000_se_24valve @ Mar 4 2009, 03:15 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=705268
We had this problem before. Over time it got worse and worse the car wouldn't idle 5 minutes with out dieing. Eventually we were firing on 2. it went into the shop the next day. bad coil pack and plugs. Then to fix the idling problem there was a vacum leak thats the idling problem if u have had it fixed in the past then it started a new leak or there is another one.

best of luck,
Justin

added*

I would try running a bottle of isopropyl. its the red bottle of HEAT. that can also help clean out injectors and remove any form of moisture in your fuel.[/b]

Where can I find isopropyl? Does it has similar function to clean fuel injector as fuel injector clean? I have never heard about it before, just a little concerned about if it will cause any harm.

BTW, how do I check vacuum leak?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
QUOTE (auto @ Mar 4 2009, 05:45 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=705471
its possible that its the idle throttle control valve by the throttle body... mine used to cut off a few seconds after starting, but once i changed that and cleaned out the throttle body, it was a okay... what i suggest if your going to buy a new one instead of cleaning the existing one, make sure you buy it from the dealer.. for some reason the ones from the parts store barely works for a year, but the dealer ones you can get a few years out of..
best of luck[/b]
What do you use to clean idle throttle control valve?
 

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You can get a bottle of isopropyl alcohol at any corner drugstore.

You can clean the idle control valve with the alcohol or with TB cleaner. If that doesn't fix it, then replace it.
 

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QUOTE (batrachian @ Mar 2 2009, 10:44 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=704813
I have had this strange problem for a long time and it really bothers me. The symptom is engine hiccups from time to time while idling and it feels that the engine is about to die. It does not happen all the time but typically while the engine is cold. I replaced spark plugs and wires. It seems all right for about two weeks and it started to do the same thing again. It then threw a misfire code indicating cylinder 3 misfire. I checked the spark plug, wire, and coil pack. They all looked all right. I replaced PCV. I also replaced another new spark plug and swapped wire of cylinder 3 with cylinder 1 anyway. The code never comes back again since then and it has been over 500 miles till now.

However, engine still hiccups during idle. What I found it while the idle speed is relatively high 900RPM, it hiccups and the idle speed drops a little during hiccups and comes back to 900RPM. During good idle with no hiccups, idle speed keeps at 880RPM. I applied Chevron fuel injector cleaner twice. For the first time, engine idled fine with the whole tank of gas with cleaner. But after filling up the tank, the engine ran like crap and it threw up the misfire code I mentioned earlier. For the second time, engine idled fine with the whole tank of gas with cleaner. But after filling up the tank, the engine again ran like crap. However, it did not throw up any code, instead, after 50 miles, it starts to behavior like normal, still hiccups though, till now for another 200 miles. I did sometimes feel sluggish during acceleration though especially at ~40MPH.

I am totally confused now. What could be the problem? Could somebody please recommend what my next move is?[/b]
So you checked for cracks in the coil pack? I had the same problem a while ago and took a peek at the coil pack. You couldn't actually see the cracks in the coil pack unless you took it off. Just got one at Autozone and replaced it. Check the threads here, lots of people have had this very common problem. I would at least take off the pack and look around the entire pack for cracks.
 

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The types of "cracks" that HenrySel is talking about don't even have to be a crack in the sense of the word...a blemish like the one in the pic below would cause misfiring....and a lot of the time cracks will form under the coil pack....
[attachment=28760:IgnitionCoilCrack.jpg]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
QUOTE (fonicsmonkey @ Mar 5 2009, 01:40 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=705661
The types of "cracks" that HenrySel is talking about don't even have to be a crack in the sense of the word...a blemish like the one in the pic below would cause misfiring....and a lot of the time cracks will form under the coil pack....
[attachment=28760:IgnitionCoilCrack.jpg][/b]

The check engine turned on last Friday again, cylinder 03 misfire like beofre. While planning to change coil pack, today the cel disappeared. Things like this happened once in the past. Cel came and went. Really need to know if faulty coil pack can cause cel to be on and off automatically.
 

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QUOTE (batrachian @ Mar 30 2009, 09:44 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=713826
The check engine turned on last Friday again, cylinder 03 misfire like beofre. While planning to change coil pack, today the cel disappeared. Things like this happened once in the past. Cel came and went. Really need to know if faulty coil pack can cause cel to be on and off automatically.[/b]
It's really looking the problem with mine is the coil pack. I keep getting P304s, and it looks like there's a crack right beneath the tower for that cylinder.

It's gotten really bad in the last week or so, and there have been a couple of instances in the last few months where I got the CEL, even once when it flashed, and it cleared itself with time.

So, yes, this can deteriorate over time and act intermittent. And I'm almost certain that my problem is the coil pack. Also, it has been very humid here lately (Denver is usually almost as dry as a desert), and it really went south when we had a big, long, very wet snow.

BTW, on a related note, it ran fine for a long time on Bosch +4s. When I get the coil, I'm going to get Motocraft plugs to replace them, though.
 

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i had the same problem some ppl told me it could be my EGR because it had thrown an egr code, replaced, still had studder, changed fuel filter, helped a little bit as i had some dirty fuel in there and finally i found a plug with the top super corroded(sp?) and turns out the plug wire wasnt reaching the top of the plug completely and was arcing causing deposits to build up, ended up changing plugs and wires and bam no problem, also i got the "flashing CEL" i still get a CEL ive reset it and it wont come back on enless i go over 60mph for more then 10minutes, and clue on that one? just been a lil lazy to get the code read
 

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QUOTE (Sniperx9119 @ Apr 25 2009, 08:38 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=720564
i had the same problem some ppl told me it could be my EGR because it had thrown an egr code, replaced, still had studder, changed fuel filter, helped a little bit as i had some dirty fuel in there and finally i found a plug with the top super corroded(sp?) and turns out the plug wire wasnt reaching the top of the plug completely and was arcing causing deposits to build up, ended up changing plugs and wires and bam no problem, also i got the "flashing CEL" i still get a CEL ive reset it and it wont come back on enless i go over 60mph for more then 10minutes, and clue on that one? just been a lil lazy to get the code read[/b]
A flashing CEL is the more serious misfire...better fix it before you do worse damage...like to your CATs
 

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Good (left) and bad (right, cracked) coilpack bottoms:

[attachment=29304:New_and_..._cropped.jpg]
 

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QUOTE (Sniperx9119 @ Apr 25 2009, 09:38 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=720564
i still get a CEL ive reset it and it wont come back on enless i go over 60mph for more then 10minutes, and clue on that one? just been a lil lazy to get the code read[/b]
Is it a solid CEL or still flashing?

You know, I've been working on cars since I was a 15 year old kid in 1974. This newfangled stuff frankly has me frustrated. I had a 2.5 TEC-powered Contour, and was never able to devote the time to troubleshooting individual sensors to see what was going on. Same symptoms as I've found here, except with very severe surging.

What made me crazy about it was, had it been an old-school American car - and the Contour was far from old school, and a so-called "world car" to boot - I could have fixed it fairly easily, the worst case getting someone to go over the carburetor (as I had to with my GTO once).

I ended up giving up on it and donating it to charity. This particular one (13th Step here in Denver) is pretty cool because they pay detailers and a mechanic to spiff up the car so they get more money for it when they sell it, which means a better deduction for the person donating the car, and gainful employment for people that have had substance abuse problems they are in recovery from.

They got $600-some for the Contour, which means they must have fixed it. I've considered trying to contact their mechanic to find out what the problems were.

I have seen somewhere in these forums where there was a gasket that goes bad for some gizmo on the upper intake, that someone figured out that you can replace with a gasket from a Bosch oil filter for many KIA applications. This gasket going bad was causing surging.

I'm not sure if that's still a symptom. To the extent that I have a clue about these newfangled cars, (which isn't really - truth be told), I would need to know more symptoms of yours to provide anything better than the wildest guess. My wild guess is that you are still experiencing fuel problems, though it could be a lot of other things, like a hinky MAP sensor.

One very good thing that has come out of the fiasco with the Contour was that I bought a code scanner. Personally, I think that newer cars are sufficiently complex systems that it's not a good idea to try to troubleshoot them without one. Mine's an Innova 3100, which came with software and a computer cable, for about $125 at a local parts chain. I think the list price is about $200, and they may have upgraded the model by now. I managed to lose the software and cable, and it's capable enough to give you good information as a freestanding unit. It will even catch freeze frames, which has made me even more confident that the coil pack is the problem with mine.

For instance, in my case it's throwing P0304 codes (and the occasional P0316 I think). Lo and behold, there's a hairline crack in the coil pack, right under the tower for number four cylinder.

Yes, you can get Autozone to read your codes for you, and the others are right about being careful of damaging your cats by driving a car with a severe misfire.

Now, I have been running Bosch platinum +4 plugs in mine (which worked fine until recently but absolutely weren't worth the extra money), and the wires look original. My plan is to replace those also with Motocraft parts while I'm putting the new coil pack in mine.

If it does turn out to be a bad coil pack, it will have ruined that plug, anyway, and I have found out on these forums that running Bosch plugs in a Vulcan is a gamble at best. The plug wires are pretty cheap ($20 for Motocraft), and (as far as I'm concerned) that's just a sensible way of protecting my investment in the coil pack and plugs.
 

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Another hypothetical example of the value of having a scan tool (based on what I've seen in the forums, not personal experience).

OK, so you have a miss, and let's say it's on cylinder #4. You look at the freeze frame, and the fuel trim is way out of bounds for that banke (way over 4% - say 10%). Looks like it could be a hinky injector. So you carefully swap the number 4 injector with another cylinder, and see if THAT cylinder starts misfiring now. I honestly don't know if it would be better to clear the codes before trying it again, but my guess is it would be.

Another reason to have a code scanner is that the ECU stores information, including data on potential problems, sometimes even before turning on the CEL. If you had someone along with you to watch the code reader, you may be able to find out that there's still a problem, even before the CEL comes on. In fact, it might show up before you leave your driveway.

The update on my saga is, even after I told the counter guy twice that I have OHV and not DOHC, he sold me the plug wires for the latter. And I even had to drive about 8 miles further to go pick them up, because he didn't have them in stock. I had the wife's Focus yesterday afternoon (so I wouldn't have to drive my sickly bull and maybe ruin the cats, which I think are still OK), and I don't this afternoon.

I'm even madder at myself for not taking 5 seconds to open the box and check to make sure I had the right ones, when it would have been a lot easier to do something about it.

I can ride my bicyle to the first store, and it looks like they can get the right wires in for me today. It may take two trips, though.
 

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Mist the coil and wires with water while it's running. If it starts to miss badly then there are problems with the sprayed parts.
 
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