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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I just recently got a 88 Taurus with a 3.8L V6 engine from a friend of mine to hopefully get me by until I can save and get something else. Supposedly this car has about 50,000 miles on it. I was told this car had a problem with the transmission a few years ago with a pin that fell out and was glued back in instead of having the transmission replaced. As of now, the transmission seems to shift fine. I was just told one day that pin could slip out again and it would need a new transmission. However, I am having current problems with this car, and I don't have really much money at all to fix it. So I would like to try to fix what I can myself to keep this thing going for awhile if I can. I was hoping you guys here might be able to help.

1. The check engine light comes on... I jumped the EEC-IV connectors and got a code 89 (torque converter solenoid circuit). In memory I have codes 39(Transmission Torque Converter clutch not engaging ) and 69 (AXOD transmission (O) 3/2 switch closed (possible short circuit) ).

2. My a/c was working when I got the car a few weeks ago, then started spsporaticallyot working, and sometimes it would stop blowing out the panel vents and would blow out the defrost vent. Now the a/c blows hot all the time. I listened for the compressor to come on tonight and I don't think it was coming on. Bad switch?

3. My temperature gauge is showing the car is getting hotter recently. I did replace a small question mark shaped hose when I got the car because it was leaking. The car could use a flush, and there is some rust in the overflow tank and the top of the radiator neck.

My questions for you all are, can anyone help with any of these? Secondly seeing I don't have a lot of money right now, which is more important to fix right now?
 

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3. My temperature gauge is showing the car is getting hotter recently. I did replace a small question mark shaped hose when I got the car because it was leaking. The car could use a flush, and there is some rust in the overflow tank and the top of the radiator neck.
Hello, I have a 92 with the 3.8l V6 and these motors are well known to blow head gaskets so I'd check this out before anything else. You may find that this maybe your main problem.

1. The check engine light comes on... I jumped the EEC-IV connectors and got a code 89 (torque converter solenoid circuit). In memory I have codes 39(Transmission Torque Converter clutch not engaging ) and 69 (AXOD transmission (O) 3/2 switch closed (possible short circuit) ).

As for your Tranny, I suspect that you will need a rebuild on it as these trannies are pretty weak. Maybe just get the Torque Converter replaced might do it.

Really, check the overheating out first, my 3.8 runs very cool and that bothers me as it just does not seem normal. Oh and my AC went out this spring... Some fool forced me off the road and it broke the AC line under the car. :angry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I understand overheating, the whole reason I got this car was because I let my other car overheat and blew the head gasket. Seeing as this car is older I am a bit afraid to use a chemical flush in it. Ive heard it can open holes. Should I use a chemical flush, backflush or what?
 

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I spent $12 at a local rad shop to have them test my coolant for combustion gases. If the gases are present, you have a bad head gasket or cracked casting.

This is absolutely where I would start with your '88 3.8L engine! They do the test right at the radiator cap, with the engine running.

As far as your A/C, you have a leak in the vaccum lines behind the dash, almost for sure. When the vaccum goes away, the Defrost vents get the air by default.

Start in the engine compartment, at the little black plastic vaccum line that feeds between the heater core tubes. This is the vaccum supply line to the inside of the car. I can send you diagrams, if you need 'em.

As to the problem of blowing hot air only, I'm not so sure. I fear that you might not have any refrigerant left in your system. Do you know what your accumulator is, passenger side of the firewall? There is a switch on top of it, pull the electrical connector off. Check to see if the switch is closed. It should be, IIRC. If not, I think your R-12 may be gone.

Let us know what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I spent $12 at a local rad shop to have them test my coolant for combustion gases. If the gases are present, you have a bad head gasket or cracked casting.
What you dont know cant hurt ya? No really if there is a problem that bad with the car I wouldnt fix it (i dont have that kinda money right now plus I dont have that kinda knowledge) I would just drive it until it died.

As far as the A/C is concerned, this car has been already retrofitted to a r134a system, thankfully. I figured I probably have 2 problems like you describe. I started to look behind the glove compartment yesterday for the vacuum leak but it got too late. I was unable to get the a/c compressor to kick on last night, but my neighbor told me that it was fine and just was low. So I got a can of r134a from Walmart. Its a measure and charge set up with the refridgerant and oil, leak sealer and cleaner in it. Im a little scared to try this myself. I am not sure if this will fix my problem or if im just throwing money away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also Dan,
I would be happy to see some vacuum diagrams but Im not sure I will be able to understand them. I looked at a few diagrams in the Chiltons but it looks like greek to me.
 

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Yeah I understand overheating, the whole reason I got this car was because I let my other car overheat and blew the head gasket. Seeing as this car is older I am a bit afraid to use a chemical flush in it. Ive heard it can open holes. Should I use a chemical flush, backflush or what?
I don't know about the chemical flush, just a backflush would be best I think. I need to flush my 92 as I have a little rust in the overflow tank, and I don't know when it was done last. Also, check to see if the water pump is flowing coolant around the motor. Easy way to tell is to open the rad cap with the motor cold and then start it up. Once the car is hot you should see the coolant moving around in the rad. Not sure if the water pumps in these cars are strong or not. Anyone know?

Just a quick note on your tranny, it is full, right? :p
 

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Yep, its full. Im not bad for a girl huh?
Did not know you were a girl :D Funny thing is I knew a girl that was a auto repairman/woman/person until she was in a car accident and then could not longer to that job. And my mother is better @ working on cars than me. :lol2: So, not all women are bad at cars, a lot just are scared to look at them. Hell, I know I am!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Im not scared to look at them, I just hate the grease and grime. Other than that I like to repair things. Ill fix anything else without complaint.

I had some time this morning to go out and look at the car some more. I was trying to hunt down the source of the vacuum leak for the A/c problem. I found one rubber hose about as big around as my pinky finger under the hood that was very cracked and deteriorated. I assume its a vacuum line, but its not like those small hard plastic vacuum lines. Can vacuum lines be that size?

Secondly, I was following the lines for my A/c and noticed some connectors have old grease and grime around them. I thought I once heard that meant they were leaking. If so, then what should I do?

Lastly, I can not locate the torque converter solenoid anywhere. Its driving me nuts. I know its supposed to be at the lower left hand rear of the engine.. but I still cant find it. Any help there?

Thanks guys
 

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The cracked, large vaccum line you found may be your PCV line. Where was it? Around the valve cover in the back?

The connectors that have grease and grime: Vaccum lines? If so, yeah, the vaccum that is present will try to suck in any particles it can through a leaky connection. Electrical connectors come with grease in them, in an attempt to ward off corrosion.

IIRC, the torque convertor solenoid is inside the trans itself.

I can send you some diagrams and troubleshooting charts, at least for my '87. But they'll be the same, or very close. PM me an e-mail address, if you want the stuff. It will be late tonight at the earliest before I can get it out to you.

BTW, do you have a vaccum guage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The cracked, large vaccum line you found may be your PCV line. Where was it? Around the valve cover in the back?
The rubber line came off a metal line that ran out from under the fuel injectors and across the back over the thermostat housing. The rubber line itself ran down under the backside of the engine (drivers side) under the air filter and to a square container. The line is not attached by any clamps.

As far as the connectors, I was talking about the A/C lines that the refridgerant runs through that the o-rings sit in. I was gonna call them orifices but I wasnt sure thats what they were called. So to avoid looking stupid I called them connectors. Guess I still looked stupid.

Ok so if the torque converter solenoid is in the trans, how can I check the circuit for faulty wiring?

Lastly.... no I dont have a vacuum gauge. I read that you can use non-flammable brake cleaner and spray it on the vacuum lines while the car is running. If there is a leak it will suck it into the cylinders and cause it to sputter. I was contemplating trying that method if replacing this line doesnt work.
 

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Originally posted by reganetal@Jun 16 2004, 11:50 AM
As far as the connectors, I was talking about the A/C lines that the refridgerant runs through that the o-rings sit in. I was gonna call them orifices but I wasnt sure thats what they were called. So to avoid looking stupid I called them connectors. Guess I still looked stupid.

We all gotta learn somewhere....

I'm wondering just how the conversion to R-134a was done; the R-134a is a smaller molecule than the R-12, and will escape past the o-rings of an older R-12 system if they haven't been changed. Our generation of Taurii were noted for this problem of o-rings, too. I don't think you'll hurt anything to try re-charging the system with the can of refrigerant you bought.

As far as testing the solenoid in the tranny, the easy way is to find the electrical connector, open that, and then put voltage across the terminals and listen for something to happen inside the trans. Such as a quiet click, or something. I'll get you the diagrams of what connector and wires to look for.
 

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Did you get the 4 pages I e-mailed you ok?

I'll tackle the trans prob when it's not so late... but yes, I can see codes 39 and 69 coming up as a result of code 89.

When code 69 came up, were you in Key On Engine Off mode, or Continuous mode?

BTW, took me awhile to tell which codes were coming at me; KOEO is what comes at you first, then you'll get one short flash, then the Continuous codes come at you. Chilton's wasn't real clear about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The code 89 was a hard fault during the key on engine off test... it came before the short flash... the others were in memory.
I got my information off the net. Check out that webpage its very clear how to do a self test.
http://www.dalidesign.com/hbook/eectest.html

As far as the emails, I got them they are great. I appreciate it very much. I ran up to the library here tonight and looked at the Chiltons they had up there (couldnt check it out) but I found one diagram that shows where this "Torque converter solenoid" is. Unfortunately it doesnt show it very well but it does confirm the general area where I am looking.

Thing is, I replaced the bypass hose that comes off the thermostat housing because it was sputtering coolant on a couple wiring harnesses in the area... guess what.. thats the area where that thing is..... I think in the morning Im just gonna clear those codes off the computer and see if now that the leak is fixed if the "short" is gone. May save me a lot of hassle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well I cleared the codes, the CEL came back on....

Yesterday, I went to see the guy I got the car from, on the way I stopped by a service station to have a screw pulled out of the tire. Well the tire was fine but the car wouldnt start and the mechanics all were gone. I had the battery tested at an auto parts store, it tested fine. When I pulled it out I noticed the neg battery cable insulation was cracked pretty bad at least 5 inches down. So, I was gonna replace that in hopes thats what was wrong, but it got to dark to do that.

This morning the mechanics were there so I had them look at the car. Low and behold the car started just fine, but the mechanics there told me that it needed a starter at $300 and also my A/C compressor bearings were bad and it was going to seize up breaking the belt, thus the alternator, waterpump etc wouldnt work. (at least another $800 )

I brought the car home and I talked to a guy I know and he suggested it might be the starter solenoid since it was having a hard time starting sometimes when the engine got warm. So I went and got one of those for $10. That didnt work. Its still having a hard time starting. But this guy suggested that the reason its having a hard time starting is because of the A/C compressor starting to seize.

Now this doesnt make any sense to me. How can a bad A/C compressor keep a car from starting? Seems likely to me its either that neg battery cable shorting out or the starter. What do you guys think? Secondly, will this a/c compressor really cause more damage to this car or can i just drive it for awhile without a/c? Is there any way I can just take off the ac compressor and reroute the belt?

Just trying to figure out how to keep driving this, the most cost efficient way.
 

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Run a string around all your components except for the A/C then go to NAPA and ask for a belt the length of the string.
QUOTE 
I spent $12 at a local rad shop to have them test my coolant for combustion gases. If the gases are present, you have a bad head gasket or cracked casting.




What you dont know cant hurt ya? No really if there is a problem that bad with the car I wouldnt fix it (i dont have that kinda money right now plus I dont have that kinda knowledge) I would just drive it until it died
I would get that checked and if thats the problem and you cant fix it and are gonna drive it till it dies,then dont spend any money on anything else either.
 

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Originally posted by snakeeyes@Jun 20 2004, 02:59 AM
Run a string around all your components except for the A/C then go to NAPA and ask for a belt the length of the string.
Or she can just remove the clutch and hub from the compressor in the meantime, allowing the pulley to spin freely. Unless its the pulley bearings that are bad... then you'll have to replace the pulley and bearing, or remove the compressor and go the shorter belt route.

Or do what I did, and let it seize, stranding you across town in the rain with a passenger. <_<

Sorry I don't know your name, so I'll just call you Regan.
Regan, if the A/C pulley seizes completely, the stoppage will be enough to stop the engine as well, and give the starter one hell of a time restarting the engine, if it does restart at all. Been there; it ain't fun. Trust me. :(

And of course... welcome to the club! :thumb:
 

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Originally posted by reganetal@Jun 20 2004, 12:58 AM
but the car wouldnt start and the mechanics all were gone. I had the battery tested at an auto parts store, it tested fine. When I pulled it out I noticed the neg battery cable insulation was cracked pretty bad at least 5 inches down. So, I was gonna replace that in hopes thats what was wrong, but it got to dark to do that.

This morning the mechanics were there so I had them look at the car. Low and behold the car started just fine, but the mechanics there told me that it needed a starter at $300 and
When the car wouldn't start, would it just 'click'? As if the battery were too low to crank the engine?

That bad battery cable: Does the cracked insulation begin at the battery post, then continue on for 5 inches? If so, what is the condition of the copper inside it? Pretty badly corroded and greenish, I'll guess?

Am I on the right track?

Change the battery cable - any resistance here can cause a big drop of battery voltage. If the battery's 12 volts, and you're dropping 3 volts or so due to a bad cable, the starter motor gets only about 9 volts and that just won't get the job done.
 
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