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Discussion Starter #1
Ok....I've been on before but things have been good, so I'm sure no one remembers the basic issues I've had with this car. Now it's something new...97 Taurus sedan. Today coming home, the Service Engine Light began to blink, and the car shudders (like a chugging) on slowing up. It's had a sad story, but I've been trying to keep up on things with it. Any ideas? Thanks so much for any....
 

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The flashing check engine light indicates there is a severe misfire occurring that can damage the catalytic converters.

The next step will be to check for codes and see which cylinder(s) is misfiring and then go from there. If it's a single cylinder misfire, then the issue could be ignition related, high fuel pressure, stuck injector, or a bad valve, among a few other things.
 

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DO NT drive the car with a flashing CEL. Even half an hour of driving it with a severe misfire can kill the cat(s), which are VERY expensive to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the replies. I'm 66 (not a grandma yet), and have no clue as to what I should do. Will this account for the "chugging" that happens when my DIL slows up? There's no sound of a "misfire"....is that the same as the "pop" from a backfire? Are those the same? If so, there's no loud "pop" backfire sound :( Thank you for your help!
 

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Get the car scanned for free at a parts store if you don't have a scantool, and report back here with code(s). Check/replace plug(s), wire(s) and/or coil.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well....but one of the guys said to not drive it, that it could take out the cat :( I'm so stupid with this kind of stuff...you'd think with all the car problems my family had thru the years I would have picked up some "smarts" :( Why don't I have a scan tool thing???? I think everyone should have one of those right in their tool box :( Anyway....could it be as simple as spark plugs? A quick run-down on this car....my DIL had the misfortune of coming home around 11pm 2 years ago in Nov...she does drug testing for the railroads/Amtrak. She was on I205 going to the I84 change near the Moda Center....transients use that stretch of the freeway and one climbed over the guardrail and ran right in front of her car...went thru her windshield and died on impact. The city keeps those freeway lights off, so it's a darker stretch and that's how they get from one side of the freeway to another. SO....her Camry was totaled, she needed another car, and a friend of her's has a mom who owned and operated a tow company. My DIL needed a car for work, this woman was closing her company to retire, and gave my DIL this Taurus that had been sitting in the back of her lot for a few months. The owner was himself a transient, lived inside the car for a year or two, and he got put in jail, the car towed, and that was the end of that. Car stank to high hell, took weeks to get it cleaned up and smelling decent again. It has/had minor issues....key would get stuck in the ignition, the one small back side window was kicked out, just niggly stuff. Nothing "big"....until now. This has been a great car considering it was free. My DIL was able to buy her boss's 2000 Altima, so she gave me the Taurus which has been great for getting me back and forth to the store, etc. It had lots of miles on it, and because of my DIL's job, she added more, but it never failed to start, and the ride was always smooth with good pep. Last spring she sent it thru DEQ and it passed great, so that was taken care of....now this. I so appreciate the responses I'm getting!! Thank you!
 

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If you don't need the car on a daily basis, you can just buy a scanner like the BAFX ELM327 on Amazon, about $22 and it works with an Android phone/tablet. If you're just going to guess, check the wires, the plugs and look for air leaks, maybe something is loose like the air cleaner or something near there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh gosh...thank you!!! Would I be so lucky that it might be just the plugs or wires or something like that? :D I'm going to Amazon right now to check it out...thank you!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok...just checked it out. It says I need to get an App for it also? it's quite a price range ($5 to $60)....do you have one in the lower price range you could suggest? And this scan tool can be used on any vehicle, right? This is awesome :D
 

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I know this thread is old :) Atleast if they never reply, its got some answers.
Torque is one app people like, its got free and pay versions. If you type OBD2 or OBD II in google play youll find tons of free and pay to use apps.

It will work with any that has a compatible port to read from. (most cars)
Ive used it on 2 of my own cars, both of my parents cars and 3 different people at work as well. Only 2 of those cars were Fords.
 
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