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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Figured I'd start a build log for anyone who's mildly interested in what I've been messing with for the past two months. I picked up this 1998 Taurus SE locally, but it was originally purchased new in Blackfoot, Idaho by an older couple who eventually moved to Salt Lake to be closer to their family. Apparently when they passed, it ended up in the possession of a relative who lived in the same neighborhood, but it had some issues so it didn't get driven much. They then sold it to a friend of mine, who also didn't really drive it due to financial reasons. So this car has been sitting for 3-4 years by the time I got it, if not longer. So of course, it was in rough shape mechanically. I've had to change literally every gasket on this engine, including head gaskets which were corroded through from sitting with what looked like dex cool in the system. Some maintenance was performed before I got it, however. The transmission had clean, fresh fluid, the water pump had been changed, and someone did the brakes, tires, and CV axles before it was parked. It's currently running very nicely, with only a few things left on the list to address. I changed the front motor mount and have to do the other two, as well as replace both radiator hoses (the lower has a crack in the plastic T that leaks a little bit of coolant once it gets hot). I also put new tires on it, since the ones on it had been on there for 7 years and were badly dry rotted. Car is relatively rust free (surface rust only except for the rear wheel well), and has ticked over 134,000 miles. Third gens are rad, so I'm glad I got to own one before they all disappear. This one is a relatively standard SE, performance white with 15 inch alloy wheels, grey interior with cloth. Vulcan with AX4S. It has the rare rear disc brake option though, which is pretty nice to have.
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I may be alone here but in my opinion and prior experience with a couple of Ford Ranger pickups the 3.0 Vulcan is perhaps one of my favorite motors from Ford. It may not have ever been the most powerful thing in the world but with proper maintenance it will run forever! The OHV design makes it fairly simple to work on, at least compared to the DOHC, VVT, direct injection design of the newer 3.5 that while definitely more powerful; are expensive to maintain.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I may be alone here but in my opinion and prior experience with a couple of Ford Ranger pickups the 3.0 Vulcan is perhaps one of my favorite motors from Ford. It may not have ever been the most powerful thing in the world but with proper maintenance it will run forever! The OHV design makes it fairly simple to work on, at least compared to the DOHC, VVT, direct injection design of the newer 3.5 that while definitely more powerful; are expensive to maintain.
Ive owned both the Vulcan and Duratec and im inclined to agree, but this was definitely the most needy Vulcan I've had. I don't expect to have to touch it again though. The Duratec seems to have fewer weak points, but if something does break, the lack of room really sucks. My favorite thing about the Vulcan is the easy access to everything, especially on a third gen.

I will say that for a neglected motor, the wear in the bores was practically non existent even at 133k. This thing could easily do 300k if the trans allows it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you figured out your O2 problems yet?
I replaced both upstream with new Denso units, and unfortunately the problem remains. It's adding less fuel when I open the throttle than before, but just barely. Trims still jump to 20% as soon as I open the throttle. Still rich on warm idle as well, around -10%. I also replaced the alternator and added an extra ground for the PCM/cleaned existing grounds. Also worth mentioning that both ECT and IAT sensors are working properly. At this point I'm going to throw a MAF at it and see if the issue stops. If it's not that, the only other thing I can think of is that the cam timing is off somehow, either from a bad synchronizer or sensor. Seems unlikely given I have absolutely no drive-ability issues at all.
 

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I may be alone here but in my opinion and prior experience with a couple of Ford Ranger pickups the 3.0 Vulcan is perhaps one of my favorite motors from Ford. It may not have ever been the most powerful thing in the world but with proper maintenance it will run forever! The OHV design makes it fairly simple to work on, at least compared to the DOHC, VVT, direct injection design of the newer 3.5 that while definitely more powerful; are expensive to maintain.
With the Taurus, Ford is a "make it or break it". If it failed, there would be no Ford today. They could see the GM fail at their first front wheel small car, really bad. They used much of the experience in valve train from the small block V-8 which had been around over 20 years with good success. Quite conservative and with max torque at 3K it is peak at the road speed. Roller lifter technology was available but too big a step and risk at the time. The ignition module on the distributer was a bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I had a revelation on my issue. The evap purge valve may be stuck partially open. The solenoid is likely working given the lack of codes, but it would explain why the idle is overly rich and the car is overly lean on throttle. I'm going to test it tomorrow by just isolating it from the intake. Fingers crossed. I was hesitant to throw a MAF since flow rates looked believable, so I did some thinking instead.
 

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I think I had a revelation on my issue. The evap purge valve may be stuck partially open. The solenoid is likely working given the lack of codes, but it would explain why the idle is overly rich and the car is overly lean on throttle. I'm going to test it tomorrow by just isolating it from the intake. Fingers crossed. I was hesitant to throw a MAF since flow rates looked believable, so I did some thinking instead.
Since there is no feedback on the valve position it is possible but it would have to close while idling or when it is suppose to be close. Maybe if there is a flow restrictor in the canister or tubing to limit the airflow and it is too large of a hose is off in the gas tank area. The computer checks for tank tightness but nor sure if it checks purge flow.
 

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I think I had a revelation on my issue. The evap purge valve may be stuck partially open. The solenoid is likely working given the lack of codes, but it would explain why the idle is overly rich and the car is overly lean on throttle. I'm going to test it tomorrow by just isolating it from the intake. Fingers crossed. I was hesitant to throw a MAF since flow rates looked believable, so I did some thinking instead.
If the PCM does not get accurate temperature readings for coolant and air inlet, lots of things will be off base. Just a thought.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since there is no feedback on the valve position it is possible but it would have to close while idling or when it is suppose to be close. Maybe if there is a flow restrictor in the canister or tubing to limit the airflow and it is too large of a hose is off in the gas tank area. The computer checks for tank tightness but nor sure if it checks purge flow.
Welp, wasn't that unfortunately.
If the PCM does not get accurate temperature readings for coolant and air inlet, lots of things will be off base. Just a thought.
-chart-
Those were one of the first things I checked :( MAF time. I've eliminated everything else pretty much. And this all started around the time that I accidentally left the entire intake boot untightened for a little while because I forgot about it on re-installation. I'm thinking it got damaged during that. I'll swap it tomorrow and update.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Used MAF fixed it! Was very satisfying watching all the negative short term fuel trims pull everything back down to sanity. Appreciate all the advice with this odd issue.
 

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Used MAF fixed it! Was very satisfying watching all the negative short term fuel trims pull everything back down to sanity. Appreciate all the advice with this odd issue.
I have a JY spare air plenum with the MAF in it. I have switched it with one of my 4 DOHC and it made no difference so I concluded my JY unit is a good one.
I have missed clamping the accordion more than once, and left the fresh air hose off the accordion and one time made a 1300 mile trip with the EGR vacuum hose off. CEL on all the way. Had dealer left the ground cable to the starter hanging down but it still started but with very slow. Dealer replaced brakes on my Buick, had a stuck guide pin and one front running hot. Could make a list of others so my few aren't bad.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good job on the fix! Do you think it will actually do anything on fuel economy or drivability or just change the trim numbers?
We'll see on the fuel economy, but the car definitely drives better. It has more power on throttle. It even runs less rich at idle now, only about -5% instead of double that before. The main thing is the car will stop popping lean codes on both banks now. But thank you!
I have a JY spare air plenum with the MAF in it. I have switched it with one of my 4 DOHC and it made no difference so I concluded my JY unit is a good one.
I have missed clamping the accordion more than once, and left the fresh air hose off the accordion and one time made a 1300 mile trip with the EGR vacuum hose off. CEL on all the way. Had dealer left the ground cable to the starter hanging down but it still started but with very slow. Dealer replaced brakes on my Buick, had a stuck guide pin and one front running hot. Could make a list of others so my few aren't bad.
-chart-
I guess I just got unlucky. I've never seen one of these units fail before, especially not in this way. Goof ups inevitably happen though haha
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is kind of impressive. After driving for 20 minutes and sitting through the drive through these were my fuel trims, haha. I did perform a full reset to clear the old tables, but I'm very impressed at how much better its running.
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This is kind of impressive. After driving for 20 minutes and sitting through the drive through these were my fuel trims, haha. I did perform a full reset to clear the old tables, but I'm very impressed at how much better its running.
View attachment 217347
Brrr, chilly up there. Cool shot on the gauges, what type of unit is that?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Brrr, chilly up there. Cool shot on the gauges, what type of unit is that?
Today was actually better than usual because of a storm front, its been pretty cold lately. Makes me glad I put a new heater core in :) The gauges are dashboard view in ForScan Lite for Android. I took a screencapture on my phone. I connect to the car with a bluetooth OBDII interface. Very handy for logging data, reading codes, and a few other neat things. It's not as full featured as what the windows version can do, but it's still a great tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Fresh haul from Rock auto. Hoses weren't in bad shape given the age, but the plastic T portion of the lower has a crack in it, so I decided to swap both to stop the occasional coolant leak when the car is cooling off. Camshaft synchro squeaks when it's cold, then cleans up. Figured I'd get that done too. Unit is the Standard Motor Products CSA5. Normally I'd grab the Motorcraft part only, but it's $112. I haven't heard any horror stories about this particular one, so we'll see if it's OK. If I get 50,000 miles out of it, I'd be happy. It's nice that it comes with a sensor and the alignment tool as well. I think it's the newer style so I'll have to reuse mine, but that's OK. For $45 it seems like a pretty decent deal overall. Made in Taiwan instead of China, so we'll see. I'm going to swap by the book to make sure the timing is dead on, with the car's age I have no idea if someone put a unit in there before and messed it up.
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Drilled a 1/16 inch hole in the top of the sensor on my chirping Synco and used one of those red straws on a lube stray and gave it a few squirts. I sealed the hole with silicone. It prolonged the swap for almost a year. Just if you are not ready to replace just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Drilled a 1/16 inch hole in the top of the sensor on my chirping Synco and used one of those red straws on a lube stray and gave it a few squirts. I sealed the hole with silicone. It prolonged the swap for almost a year. Just if you are not ready to replace just yet.
Good trick to have on file!
 
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