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Discussion Starter #1
My mom has a 2003 Taurus SES with only 38,000 miles. 3.0L Vulcan not flex fuel

She has had Ford take good care of it ever since new, but it is now out of warranty and decided to die shortly after starting on her yesterday. She didn't even make it out of the parking lot. She said it ran very rough and died after she drove a short distance. Then she could not get it started again. She never applied any throttle when trying to start it again. She said there was never a check engine light when it was running.

When the wrecker showed up, it of course started right up like nothing was wrong. The wrecker looked under the hood and mentioned he noticed a cracked hard vacuum line. She decided to have the wrecker tow to a nearby Ford dealer, but they are obviously not reputable and are quoting a sky high diagnostic fee.

I figure I am going to drive it to my tools tomorrow and hopefully fix it.
I know that she is good and always keeps the gas tank full, so I don't have to worry about water in the fuel.
I know that a not starting Ford is usually due to a bad Idle Air Control Valve and I can change that pretty quick and cheap.
I know I will fix the hard-line vacuum line and look for any more leaks first thing, but I am skeptical that would cause a car to die without a check engine light.

Where else would you look? Do you think if I took it to a parts store and had the codes pulled, that there would be code of any use? What maintenance could Ford have overlooked while it was under their care that could cause this sort of major issue on such a young unused Taurus?

I want to tread lightly because the miles are so low because she basically only drives to and from church.

A point in the correct direction would be greatly appreciated. I will have my digital camera and laptop with me when I am working on it so I can post updates.
 

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hmm.... with such low mileage, I would guess that the car sits a lot. If the car sits a lot, I would look at 2 things....

The fuel injectors may be dirty, clogged, yucked up... These things will happen to cars that sit. Also, the gas might have been bad from sitting. It really doesn't last long anymore before it goes bad. You might want to check into some Heet for your mom since her car doesn't move much, and sits a while.... You also might want to check into some Seafoam to help out the fuel injectors. You can put about half the can in her gas.

A lot of people don't believe in adding things to gas especially if you don't know if it is the problem. I say add it to the gas to prevent future problems... But that's just me.

I would also look at her battery. Batteries fail when they are not run. Check the charge on her battery and see what it is. It costs nothing to check a battery, and will give you some piece of mind that that is not the problem if the battery checks out good.

So, the check engine light isn't on? You might be able to get a code read anyway if the car registered a code long enough for it to be stored in the computer.

If you go to Autozone to try to get the codes read, do it BEFORE you pull the battery out to be checked. If you get no codes, then let them pull the battery out to be checked. If you get codes out of the car, come back and let us know what the codes are. After you have the battery checked, let them check the alternator and the starter. They can check all these things free of charge.

If everything checks out at Autozone and you have no codes, look at the fuel and the fuel injectors. These 2 things would be suspect for a car that sits a lot.

Hope this helps!

PS while some people allege that Seafoam does not help a vehicle, I have never know it to hurt a vehicle.
PPS If you don't know when the fuel filter was changed last, pick one up and change it
PPPS Report back & let us hear what you find out at Autozone
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the fast reply. Those are great ideas.

First thing, I'm going to get to the Ford dealership tomorrow and pour in a bottle of Heet and maybe 2 bottles of Chevron Fuel Injector Cleaner. I will drive straight to the nearest Autozone from there for those tests.

(I have nothing against Seafoam and I do not want any debate about it in this thread. I simply prefer Chevron and I have it on the shelf.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
UPDATE : Moms Taurus is good to go. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Here is what happened Saturday morning :

I got a ride to the stealership. After they handed the car over to me, I immediately opened the tank and poured in a bottle of Chevron with Techron FIC and Iso-Heet. I did this where the porter stopped the car, right in front of the whole service department.

I then drove to an Autozone with the transmission in drive, to keep the rpms high. Seemed to run great.

I opened the hood when I got to Autozone and noticed the red ball in the battery eye glaring at me. No need to test this battery!

Now here is where it gets very very funny. The paperwork the stealership gave me said the usual, "customer declined to have diagnostic tests run" blah blah blah, but on the second page there was a paragraph explaining how it passed the Ford Rotunda battery tester. What a load of B.S. They obviously never popped the hood. Anyone could notice that the red ball in the battery eye was red! How could a battery in that condition pass any test. :posticon_rant:

I replaced the battery, fuel filter, air filter and fixed a cracked hose going from the PCV valve to the intake manifold.
Parts $150, Labor $0
Score: Dave - 1 and the Stealership - 0

Thanks Taurus Car Club of America :cheers: :thumb:
 
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