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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to be looking at a 2003 Taurus tomorrow to review:unsure::unsure::unsure: for my son that has no maintenance records as I am told the daughter/seller’s mom only drove it from 101k to 106k miles over the past 5 years and no longer drives (not crazy about that but will be careful about looking at fluids). Car looks very clean but I was told that it “idles rough” but runs good. Apparently seller husband tuned it up but rough idle persists. That condition and lack or records are a concern to me but at relatively low miles and asking price at KBB in my son’s budget I still want to look at it as we have tight schedule to get him a car.


Reason for my post here is to get some opinions on how risky a “rough idle” might be in terms of potentially being something major. Obviously I will test drive carefully and will bring an OBD2 to see if any codes (and data read from Torque) but I am thinking potential is probably low that it would be major engine item like valve train-- and maybe fixable by myself an ok minor backyard mechanic. Daughter did not know which engine and I will not buy if husband cannot tell me what his tuneup entailed (I figure intake manifold off for Duratec and maybe not Vulcan). I am wondering if it most likely could be something not that costly I could repair (PVC, coil pack, IAC, vacuum leak {tracing could be pain}) If I test that car runs well otherwise.

I figured I’d see if you folks that are familiar with 2003s might have thoughts on that and things for me to look out for in testing car.

Thanks for any tips on this rough idle issue!

PS – my other big other item on Taurus is transmission as if fluid not done at 30k intervals by POs could be issue so I will be examining fluid, looking for leaks and really listening for good shifting).
 

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I am going to be looking at a 2003 Taurus tomorrow to review:unsure::unsure::unsure: for my son that has no maintenance records as I am told the daughter/seller’s mom only drove it from 101k to 106k miles over the past 5 years and no longer drives (not crazy about that but will be careful about looking at fluids). Car looks very clean but I was told that it “idles rough” but runs good. Apparently seller husband tuned it up but rough idle persists. That condition and lack or records are a concern to me but at relatively low miles and asking price at KBB in my son’s budget I still want to look at it as we have tight schedule to get him a car.


Reason for my post here is to get some opinions on how risky a “rough idle” might be in terms of potentially being something major. Obviously I will test drive carefully and will bring an OBD2 to see if any codes (and data read from Torque) but I am thinking potential is probably low that it would be major engine item like valve train-- and maybe fixable by myself an ok minor backyard mechanic. Daughter did not know which engine and I will not buy if husband cannot tell me what his tuneup entailed (I figure intake manifold off for Duratec and maybe not Vulcan). I am wondering if it most likely could be something not that costly I could repair (PVC, coil pack, IAC, vacuum leak {tracing could be pain}) If I test that car runs well otherwise.

I figured I’d see if you folks that are familiar with 2003s might have thoughts on that and things for me to look out for in testing car.

Thanks for any tips on this rough idle issue!

PS – my other big other item on Taurus is transmission as if fluid not done at 30k intervals by POs could be issue so I will be examining fluid, looking for leaks and really listening for good shifting).
As to engine maint, see pic, on the DOHC you can see the insides easily. I bought this as a repro at 80K, unknown history. Just turned 162k this week.

As to rough idle, HIGHLY likely vacuum leak. PCV hose very common leak area. I have now 2 '03 DOHC's and sold my '01. They are very reliable. Ignition coils crack on both engines and make for misfire. You can pull the tranny stick and look at the fluid condition.

-chart-
 

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As Chart mentioned, PCV hose leak is a definite possibility. Also, upper and/or lower intake manifold gaskets. IAC valve and ignition coils round out the most likely suspects. You can check the gaskets by spraying some carb cleaner on them and see if the idle changes.

BTW, you don't need to remove the upper intake manifold to change the rear plugs on a DOHC. You can remove the cowl at the base of the windshield and get enough access to change the plugs.
 

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As Chart mentioned, PCV hose leak is a definite possibility. Also, upper and/or lower intake manifold gaskets. IAC valve and ignition coils round out the most likely suspects. You can check the gaskets by spraying some carb cleaner on them and see if the idle changes.

BTW, you don't need to remove the upper intake manifold to change the rear plugs on a DOHC. You can remove the cowl at the base of the windshield and get enough access to change the plugs.
And from experience, you have 2 of the ells as in the pic. Simple, available at "Help" section as parts stores. This OE is sure fail and with a leak, it causes "un-metered" air to enter the intake system. The one in the rear takes a bit of effort to reach, one in front is 60 second fix.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That car went - but reply still maybe helpful on my Sable

Thanks for responses. Turns out viewer before me bought the Taurus.

BUT – These responses were helpful because I own a 2003 Sable DOHC since September and with some help from this site months back solved a fast idle issue on that by replacing the PVC valve. It brought down idle nice but ironically just the other day it started that fast idle thing occasionally and then ok… ect. the old PVC valve when pulled looked clean and rattled but replaced with Motorcraft anyway and I inspected the tubing. From PO records new the hose system was replaced a few years ago with what I was guessing was Motorcraft newer version that had the heavy ribbed large elbow at back end.

When I did the PVC replace I recall that I thought that one of the connections (by memory; the short hose to hard plastic tube) I thought was loose fit. I did not have right size short rubber hose available at house so left it. From what you said above I am suspect that wimpy connection at that point might be the issue why it occasionally has started to leak again (Not sure If I understand elbow shown in your pic). Hmm..

I priced a complete replacement -- Looks like the KVC116 (Amazon Prime $17.47). I might replace that if my Sable idle started to gets erratic (before my initial fix was constantly high).
 

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Thanks for responses. Turns out viewer before me bought the Taurus.

BUT – These responses were helpful because I own a 2003 Sable DOHC since September and with some help from this site months back solved a fast idle issue on that by replacing the PVC valve. It brought down idle nice but ironically just the other day it started that fast idle thing occasionally and then ok… ect. the old PVC valve when pulled looked clean and rattled but replaced with Motorcraft anyway and I inspected the tubing. From PO records new the hose system was replaced a few years ago with what I was guessing was Motorcraft newer version that had the heavy ribbed large elbow at back end.

When I did the PVC replace I recall that I thought that one of the connections (by memory; the short hose to hard plastic tube) I thought was loose fit. I did not have right size short rubber hose available at house so left it. From what you said above I am suspect that wimpy connection at that point might be the issue why it occasionally has started to leak again (Not sure If I understand elbow shown in your pic). Hmm..

I priced a complete replacement -- Looks like the KVC116 (Amazon Prime $17.47). I might replace that if my Sable idle started to gets erratic (before my initial fix was constantly high).
That hose ell in my pic: you have 2 of these, one on each valve cover. Any leak in the ell causes un-metered air to enter the system and equal to bad calibration of the MAF. And in my earlier post today, the hose needs to be plugged into the accordion to work. :angry:

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #7
missed the ells

Chart,
Sorry I misread idea of your first mention of ells - I did not realize referenced the valve cover ones. I had checked those and all the hoses including those prior. I just went out and looked at front ell and it looks very supple and snug - very new looking. Hard to see the rear one. I may get new ell and change the rear one since I'll have to remove stuff to get to it - But I sort of have PVC on the brain as when I changed the PVC valve it totally fixed the idle issue for number of months. But now just yesterday it was fine then fast idle in couple trips I took - and when I did PVC work that short hose connection to hard plastic curved hose seemed like a loose fit. If I have to remove stuff to dig into PVC hosing may as well get that back ell...
 

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Chart,
Sorry I misread idea of your first mention of ells - I did not realize referenced the valve cover ones. I had checked those and all the hoses including those prior. I just went out and looked at front ell and it looks very supple and snug - very new looking. Hard to see the rear one. I may get new ell and change the rear one since I'll have to remove stuff to get to it - But I sort of have PVC on the brain as when I changed the PVC valve it totally fixed the idle issue for number of months. But now just yesterday it was fine then fast idle in couple trips I took - and when I did PVC work that short hose connection to hard plastic curved hose seemed like a loose fit. If I have to remove stuff to dig into PVC hosing may as well get that back ell...
U can reach back to the rear one and feel it. Been there, check mine during the Fall maint. Both Sables.

-chart-
 

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Did you use a Motorcaft PCV replacement one? They are the only ones that last and work well in these motors. Aftermarket ones turn into junk quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
yes I used Motorcraft PVC valve. In fact the one that came out of there was motocraft, not the original, and rattled and looks really clean but I replaced it anyway as cheap. I'm still a bit suspect of the hose connection just above the PVC to the hard plastic line but I'm waiting on that as lately the car has been running perfect and only does the fast idle occasionally.
 
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