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Hello all, I am having trouble with a 1999 Ford Taurus 3.0L I recently purchased. It's tough to start (you must pump the gas pedal to get it to turn over) and then it runs rough (misfiring). It gets worse in cold weather or driving up a hill. During the summer, it would tend to run rough in the beginning and start to run better the longer I drove it, but the misfire problem never fully went away. Since it started getting cold, the problem has gotten much worse. Sometimes it gets to the point where I have trouble getting the car up to 30mph and it just doesn't seem to want to accept gas. I have to be very light in the gas pedal to get it to accelerate.

I had it to a repair shop and the hand held scanner said it was code P0300 (0301, 0302, 0303, 0304, 0305, 0306) random misfire on all cylinders, as well as codes for Lean Bank 1 and Lean bank 2 (I can't remember the specific codes but that's what they were for).

They said take it for a comprehensive diagnostic scan. So I took it to another shop that claimed they had a comprehensive scan tool. But I think they were lying because when I seen them scanning it, it was just a hand held scanner... (when I complained they claimed it was more than just a handheld scan tool) and it came up with the same codes I already knew - codes P0301 thru P0306 random misfire on all cylinders, as well as the codes for Lean Bank 1 and Lean Bank 2 (which they said could just be caused by the random misfire).
They didn't seem to have much of an idea of what was wrong with it, but they wanted to start by replacing all the plugs and wires (for $300+) but this didn't really make a lot of sense because I can't imagine that ALL the plus/wires are bad... (And for the price they wanted, I can do them myself).

I just don't want to get ripped off again. I have it set up with another (different) shop for a comprehensive scan. What type of comprehensive scan tool should I be looking for? I want to be able to ask specifically so I don't get screwed out of more money. Also, I did read the misfire sticky. Seems like it could be a fuel pressure problem or vacuum leak? Or distributor cap? Or a coil pack? I know the fuel injectors were checked by the last owner (and 2 were replaced)
Any ideas where I should have this next mechanic start?

Also, my power steering has air in the system. The power steering hose must have been replaced with a piece that was too long. It was hanging too low to the ground and got torn off while pulling out of my driveway. I re-attached it and then my father went to add power steering fluid with the car running and when he took the cap off the reservoir it sucked in a ton of air... So now in order to fix it he says we need to remove the power steering reservoir cap with the car running again and keep turning the wheel until all the air is pushed out.
My question is - will removing the power steering cap with the car running just cause it to suck in a bunch more air again? Or did that only happen because there was already air in the system from the hose getting torn off? (which is what my dad claims) Sorry if this is a stupid question... Can you remove the power steering reservoir cap with the car running on a 99 Taurus?

Thanks for any help you can offer. If you need any more info just let me know.
 

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First thing's first, because you didn't mention it, which engine do you have? There are two 3.0L motors that went in these cars, the OHV(Vulcan, 12v) or the DOHC(Duratec, 24v).

Next thing I would do, is take out the coil and inspect it for cracks, then go from there. If it's a Vulcan, I would check the oil to make sure it doesn't look like a milkshake, and check the coolant to make sure there's no oil mixing in it. This is all stuff you can do on your own, for free, and report back here to see where you need to go. Some "mechanics" shouldn't be working in the field they are and give broad, garbage diagnostics which costs YOU more money in the long run.
 

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Ugh. Yet another set of mechanics that refuse to diagnose anything. "Lel lets throw plugs and wires at it". If both banks are lean its a surefire vacuum leak. Hear any sucking in the engine near the upper intake? Also, prolonged driving with a misfire grenades catalytic converters and valve seats eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much guys. I will check all that stuff as soon as the car gets back. our other car just took a crap late last week, so we've had no choice but to drive the Taurus. Been worried about doing more damage by driving it... Pretty sure the old man I bought it from has been driving it like this for a while though. How could I tell if the valve seats or converter is bad now? Or is that something a mechanic has to do?
Not sure if it's the OHV or DOHC. Will check that also.

Thanks again for the help. I really appreciate it.
 

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Ugh. Yet another set of mechanics that refuse to diagnose anything. "Lel lets throw plugs and wires at it". If both banks are lean its a surefire vacuum leak. Hear any sucking in the engine near the upper intake? Also, prolonged driving with a misfire grenades catalytic converters and valve seats eventually.
Misfires can throw a lean code as well so it's not always a vacuum leak.;)

Thanks so much guys. I will check all that stuff as soon as the car gets back. our other car just took a crap late last week, so we've had no choice but to drive the Taurus. Been worried about doing more damage by driving it... Pretty sure the old man I bought it from has been driving it like this for a while though. How could I tell if the valve seats or converter is bad now? Or is that something a mechanic has to do?
Not sure if it's the OHV or DOHC. Will check that also.

Thanks again for the help. I really appreciate it.
Don't bother thinking of the worse case scenario of internal damage. K.I.S.S method applies here(as well as other places too;)). Start off by inspecting the coil first, then go from there.
 

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I'd recommend on the PS, fill to full mark, run engine 30-45 seconds with turning the steering wheel back, and forth. Shut it off, pull the resivour drain hose, drain a cup full into a catch cup, bucket ect. Is the fluid brown? It might also be the fluid needs changed. Draining the fluid if it is just air should get the air bubbles out with the fluid. You may have to do this 3-4 times.
 

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Ok, it's an SE model. It has to be the OHV. It just says 3.0 V6 on the valve covers. If it was the DOHC it would say 24 valve on the covers, right?

I checked the oil and coolant. Both looked good. The oil looked like new. (I know this guy really kept up with most all maintenance).

I could not hear any type of hissing noise either.
And from what I could tell the coil pack looked ok. I couldn't see any cracks or anything.


As for the power steering - It's definitely just air in the power steering system. I was standing right next to it when my dad took the reservoir cap off to add fluid after re-connecting that hose. When he took the cap off It sucked air in like a vacuum. It was working perfectly before that.
I turned the wheel back and forth a bunch of times (with the car off and up on a jack) and was able to get a lot of the air out and get the power steering working again for the most part. It still whines though and the wheel can be a little tough to turn at times.
I want to try taking the reservoir cap off again and turning the wheel to try and get the rest of the air out, but I just wanted to know if I had to do it with the car off or if it can/should be done with the car running...?
 

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Ok, it's an SE model. It has to be the OHV. It just says 3.0 V6 on the valve covers. If it was the DOHC it would say 24 valve on the covers, right?

I checked the oil and coolant. Both looked good. The oil looked like new. (I know this guy really kept up with most all maintenance).

I could not hear any type of hissing noise either.
And from what I could tell the coil pack looked ok. I couldn't see any cracks or anything.


As for the power steering - It's definitely just air in the power steering system. I was standing right next to it when my dad took the reservoir cap off to add fluid after re-connecting that hose. When he took the cap off It sucked air in like a vacuum. It was working perfectly before that.
I turned the wheel back and forth a bunch of times (with the car off and up on a jack) and was able to get a lot of the air out and get the power steering working again for the most part. It still whines though and the wheel can be a little tough to turn at times.
I want to try taking the reservoir cap off again and turning the wheel to try and get the rest of the air out, but I just wanted to know if I had to do it with the car off or if it can/should be done with the car running...?
Keep doing what you did, remember the car IS running, so act safely.
 

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Ok, it's an SE model. It has to be the OHV. It just says 3.0 V6 on the valve covers. If it was the DOHC it would say 24 valve on the covers, right?

I checked the oil and coolant. Both looked good. The oil looked like new. (I know this guy really kept up with most all maintenance).

I could not hear any type of hissing noise either.
And from what I could tell the coil pack looked ok. I couldn't see any cracks or anything.
Did you actually remove the coil and look at all sides, including the underside? Cracks don't have to be big to create a problem.
 

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Hello all, I am having trouble with a 1999 Ford Taurus 3.0L I recently purchased. It's tough to start (you must pump the gas pedal to get it to turn over) and then it runs rough (misfiring). It gets worse in cold weather or driving up a hill. During the summer, it would tend to run rough in the beginning and start to run better the longer I drove it, but the misfire problem never fully went away. Since it started getting cold, the problem has gotten much worse. Sometimes it gets to the point where I have trouble getting the car up to 30mph and it just doesn't seem to want to accept gas. I have to be very light in the gas pedal to get it to accelerate.

I had it to a repair shop and the hand held scanner said it was code P0300 (0301, 0302, 0303, 0304, 0305, 0306) random misfire on all cylinders, as well as codes for Lean Bank 1 and Lean bank 2 (I can't remember the specific codes but that's what they were for).

They said take it for a comprehensive diagnostic scan. So I took it to another shop that claimed they had a comprehensive scan tool. But I think they were lying because when I seen them scanning it, it was just a hand held scanner... (when I complained they claimed it was more than just a handheld scan tool) and it came up with the same codes I already knew - codes P0301 thru P0306 random misfire on all cylinders, as well as the codes for Lean Bank 1 and Lean Bank 2 (which they said could just be caused by the random misfire).
They didn't seem to have much of an idea of what was wrong with it, but they wanted to start by replacing all the plugs and wires (for $300+) but this didn't really make a lot of sense because I can't imagine that ALL the plus/wires are bad... (And for the price they wanted, I can do them myself).

I just don't want to get ripped off again. I have it set up with another (different) shop for a comprehensive scan. What type of comprehensive scan tool should I be looking for? I want to be able to ask specifically so I don't get screwed out of more money. Also, I did read the misfire sticky. Seems like it could be a fuel pressure problem or vacuum leak? Or distributor cap? Or a coil pack? I know the fuel injectors were checked by the last owner (and 2 were replaced)
Any ideas where I should have this next mechanic start?

Also, my power steering has air in the system. The power steering hose must have been replaced with a piece that was too long. It was hanging too low to the ground and got torn off while pulling out of my driveway. I re-attached it and then my father went to add power steering fluid with the car running and when he took the cap off the reservoir it sucked in a ton of air... So now in order to fix it he says we need to remove the power steering reservoir cap with the car running again and keep turning the wheel until all the air is pushed out.
My question is - will removing the power steering cap with the car running just cause it to suck in a bunch more air again? Or did that only happen because there was already air in the system from the hose getting torn off? (which is what my dad claims) Sorry if this is a stupid question... Can you remove the power steering reservoir cap with the car running on a 99 Taurus?

Thanks for any help you can offer. If you need any more info just let me know.
Lean codes most likely:
1. vacuum leaks.
2. low fuel pressure

Really lean will cause misfire all around. Misfire all around will lead to false lean codes.

Before spending money, I would check fuel pressure, and check all vacuum lines.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Kevinkpk - thank you. Good to know I can do that with the car running. That will make it a bit easier than with the car turned off...

Sousa - oops, no I didn't take the coil off. I will do that in the daylight tomorrow. Thanks.

Chartmaker- I will check the fuel pressure after I check the coil (assuming I find no problems with the coil that is).
According to the misfire sticky thread, I need a cheap fuel pressure gauge and a schrader valve, correct?
I will start with the coil and go from there. I may need to ask some more questions before I check the fuel pressure...

Thanks again everyone. You have all been very helpful!
 

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Easy to tell the difference between the Vulcan and the Duratec - the Vulcan has normal-sized valve covers, and the plugs are in the outside faces of the cylinder heads, just above the exhaust manifolds. The Duratec 24V engine has massively-wide valve covers; the serpentine belt runs over pulleys at the end of each cylinder head at the front of the engine; and the plugs are located in the center of the valve covers, topside of the heads.

Also, the 8th character in the VIN denotes the engine supplied in the car from the factory when it was built. "U" denotes the 12V Vulcan OHV V6 engine. (I phrase it that way for those dedicated members who do engine swaps, create SHO wagons - as I came close to doing :eek: - and plunk Lincoln 4.6L V8s into their cars.)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks. It's the OHV for sure then.

So the coil looks like it needs to be replaced. The plugs are all loaded up too and the gap was wrong on a couple. The fuel filter looked super old. Air filter was pretty dirty too.

So I'm replacing the coil, plugs & wires, air & fuel filter. Hopefully that fixes the problem...
I'll let you guys know how it's running after that.

Oh, it also showed codes for both o2 sensors too (I can't remember off hand what they were. They did it for free at the auto parts store). But I'm not going to replace those yet, in case they are just being caused by all the other stuff.
Could bad o2 sensors be contributing to this problem? Should I replace them if it's still not running right after changing all the other parts listed above?
 

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If you were running that engine in that condition, I guarantee the chambers are full of carbon and other schmutz. Next time you fill the tank, leave a bit of room and add a can of SeaFoam. You'll be appalled/amazed/freaked out at the cloud of crap that spews from the pipe. Drive until you need another fill-up, then repeat one more time. It's far less expensive than pulling the heads for a cleaning.

I tend to hold to the somewhat holistic belief that an unopened engine has its own karma, much like a human. Once you have to commit major surgery, it's never the same again. Reliability goes down the dumper. Silly, I know...given the number of engine rebuilders out there. Still....:rolleyes2:
 

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I had a very carbon-fouled '94 Taurus GL (3.0l Vulcan) last Spring. I used three consecutive cans of Cataclean (that is, on can per tank of gas) over the course of the Summer. All of the terrible ping and loss of acceleration disappeared. What a improvement!

Seafoam is great, but Cataclean produces cleaning vapors during combustion. It removes carbon from the combustion chambers, O2 sensors, EGR system, and catalytic converters. I verified this effect by removing one O2 sensor and found that it was shinny clean! I also checked one piston head with a borescope and found the carbon layer was normal (see photo below).


You will find on the Internet that O2 sensors can be effectively bench cleaned by just a few seconds of hot flame (using a propane torch). Running the car at full throttle (WOT) will I think have the same effect -- exhaust gas temperatures jump from an ordinary 600 degrees to 1,200 degrees F during wide open throttle.

Here is what I did. I ran three tankfuls of Cataclean at ordinary driving speeds. Then, without Cataclean, I drove the car on an open highway and floored it from 50 MPH to 80 MPH. I slowed back down to 50 MPH and repeated this process 30 times. Since each time yields about 20 seconds of WOT, the result was 10 minutes of WOT.

According to its MSDS, Cataclean is roughly an equal mix of acetone, xylene, and propanol. The same chemical cocktail of volatile organic compounds ("VOCs") can be found in a cheaper competitor made by Hi Gear, for about 1/3 the price of Cataclean. VOCs have been used widely since at least the 1950s to clean carbon from internal combustion engines. Three cans of Hi-Gear will cost you $27 after shipping, so it is certainly worth a try after the Seafoam.

Other reports on the Internet find acetone alone to be an excellent cleaner. One person
added a mere 3 ounces of pure acetone from the hardware store to every 10 gallons of gas, for 3,000 miles. It removed so much carbon from the top piston rings that the old car (with 150k miles) no longer burned oil (see minute 17:30)! No damage to the car whatsoever!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok update -

I replaced the coil, plugs, wires, fuel filter and air filter. That made a very big difference. But it still wasn't 100%. So I took it to have that comprehensive scan done (a friend of mine got me a deal at a shop he has a good relationship with). It was still coming up with a code on cylinder 5. The guy ended up checking the fuel injector on cylinder 5 and it was almost totally plugged. So I had that replaced.

Now the car is almost 100%. I'd say it's at 95%. It starts immediately now without hesitation and having to pump the gas pedal. It doesn't seem to be misfiring at all anymore.
The only issue is it was still hesitating just ever so slightly. It seemed to get better as I drove the car longer.
Do you think this is just from the car being driven while misfiring for so long? Do you think it will keep getting better the longer I drive it?

So I also stopped at the auto parts store and bought some sea foam. The guy at the store said I have to make sure I add only 1oz per gallon of fuel. He said if I add too much it can gum up the fuel filter (which I obviously don't want to happen since I just replaced it). He said to run the tank as close to totally empty as I can and then add 8oz of sea foam to 8 gallons of gas (he recommended doing it this way so the sea foam and gas stay mixed up well (from the fuel sloshing around)). He also said to make sure I use a funnel to put it in so it doesn't get in the breather valve on the fuel tank (he said it would make the car want to stall if I did).
Is sea foam safe to use? Do I really have to be THAT precise with it? That guy made me just a little apprehensive to use it... I just don't want to mess up any of the new parts I just replaced.
Should I just go get that cataclean instead?

Thanks again to everyone that helped me. You guys rule!
 

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Yes, you can expect the car to run better, especially if you "floor" the car at highway speed many times.

No, you don't need to be that careful with Seafoam. It's just naptha and will not deteriorate the fuel filter. The official Seafoam website recommends starting with two ounces per gallon and "increase as needed," all the way up to 50:50 (equal Seafoam-to-gas)!

I would highly recommend the Cataclean (or Hi-Gear) after the Seafoam. Seafoam runs smoky and does not clean the O2 sensors, EGR, and catalytic converter as well as Cataclean.
 
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