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Northlander

97 Taurus running ruff at slow speeds

Question

Northlander

My wifes car is running ruff. I put some Seafoam in it and that didnt do the trick. Its only at slow in town speeds and still shifts and cruises well.

Air or anyone else have any ideas? Fuel Filter? Where is it on a 97 Taurus? The plugs and wires look ok. Only 56,000 on it. Mostly in town to work miles.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.

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upnorth

Did you trace all the vacum hoses? Fuel filter may be in the tank. I would try googleing it.

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Capt. Don*

Can you describe the roughness, does it feel like a misfire, is it only under load, is it consistant and can it be duplicated at any time? The fuel filter is under the car on the passenger side frame rail just in front of the fuel tank. You need special disconnect tool to remove the fuel lines from the filter. I strongly doubt replaceing the fuel filter is going to solve the problem, fuel volume reqired is higher at high speeds and the car is fine then. I searched my database for technical service bulletins and nothing turned any lights on in my head. Is this a 12 or 24 valve motor? Its easy to tell the upper intake manifold on the 24 valve is huge and covers up the whole top of the motor and everything looks hard to get at. Does the car idle well or is it rough at idle and off idle, is or has the check engine light come on? If you could give me some answers to these questions we sould be able to narrow it down.

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LMITOUT

I had an '89 LeBaron that did the same thing....turned out to be a sticky EGR valve. It would run fine at cruising speeds but when you were trying to idle around a parking lot, etc it would spit and sputter something terrible.

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Northlander

Capt. Don the check engine light did come on. Ya everything looks real hard to get to. It runs a bit rough at idle but seems to pause when giving it gas in town. When in park and you give it gas it seems to miss. I can duplicate it every time I start it now.

I disconected the battery and the check engine light did not come back on after about 1/2 hour of running it. It does have a small "ticking" noise coming from the top right section by where the air hose comes from the air filter.

Maybe a mass air flow sensor took a crap?

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vikzilla

I agree here. The Excess Gas Recirc (EGR) is supposed to be fully closed at low RPMS. The engine vacumm pulls the diaphragm open and allows for excess gas to be recirc. Hence the name. If its sticking open then the engine will run likes its missing at low speed. Runs just fine at higher RPM's

My chevy S-10 had this problem. Check vacuum hoses first.

If you're going to change it yourself, rather easy most of the time, I would suggest working on it after its been warmed up. The engine heat will help prevent Galling up the threads.

I learned that the hard way. Buggered both bolts real good.

Ended up having to drill them out and use new.

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Bobb-o

sounds like a similar probelm i had on a car i used to own, check to see if the car has a fuel pressure regulator, small little part, that is easy to swap out, but can cause major problems when it goes bad.

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Surface Tension

Could be a lot of things Steve. As others have said open the hood and listen for a vacuum leak.

Bumper to Bumper has a code reader that they borrow out.

This may or may not point out the specific problem.

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Jeremy airjer W

Steve, we need to know what the code is/was. What engine do you have? 3.0 OHV, 3.0 DOHC, 3.4 DOHC (SHO only). I'm going to guess that you will see one these codes. P0300-P0306, Misfire codes identifiing Which cylinder if any are affected. A lean O2 code for both sensors, which would tell us there is a vacuum leak, possibly upper plenum/intake gaskets which seem to be getting pretty popular with Ford especially when the temps start to fall.

Does the missfire ever go away after the vehicle has warmed up?

Have you tried spraying the ignition wires with soapy water?

You said you heard a ticking noise by the air snorkel, isn't the ignition coil in that area? Could it be spark jumping from the coil to ground or a plug wire to ground? The injectors can also make this noise which is normal and the pcv valve will also make a clicking noise.

I would deffinately get it scanned to narrow down the possibilities!! Let us know what code(s) they found.

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bucketmouth64

You may want to check out the MAF (mass air flow). I believe that is connected to the hose that goes to your air filter. Or one of your O2 sensors might be going out and check engine light hasn't gone off yet.

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Northlander

Air its a 3.0 V-6. Thats all I know without having it here. I started it this AM and ran it around the neighborhood for a 1/2 hour. No check engine light and no pausing or sputtering. crazy.gif So I had my wife take it to work. Only 5 miles and she has her cel. I tried to get the check engine light to come back on but couldnt. In park it idled ok and when reving it up a bit it was ok. Yesterday she would miss and sputter.

I dont know. I made a appointment to ahve it checked. Ill call bumper to bumper and see if they have that code machine Frank.

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Macgyver55

If you can get a scan tool to check the codes that'll make it easier. But, it may only show a misfire code. So, even if the plug wires "look" ok on the outside, at 10 years old that would be one of the first things I'd go after. At this point, it needs them anyway and it will eliminate one more possible factor. I just worked on a 99 Taurus flex fuel car with 90,000 that exhibited very similar symptoms. Wires and plugs cured it. Customer called back a few days ago and said it hadn't run so good in years!

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LMITOUT

That LeBaron did the same thing. One day it ran like a champ and then out of the blue weeks later it did the jerking and sputtering deal for a day or so and then it'd be back to normal again.

I took it over to the garage to have them look at it but by then it was running OK and their scan tool showed nothing. He told me to bring it over ASAP the next time it starting running rough so a few weeks later it acted up and I drove straight over so he could hook up the scanner. Sticky EGR.

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Jeremy airjer W

These engines are not known for EGR Valves going bad so it is unlikely. If something was up with it it would store a code with "DPFE" in the description. If it was a 3.8 litre than I would say you may be on to something. These had individual EGR ports to every cylinder. Guess what, one by one they started to plug up leaving 1 or 2 cylinders to process all the EGR gasses. Yup, missfire on acceleration smooth as silk cruising!!!

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Capt. Don*

OK N'Lander, sorry it took me so long to get back to you but fishing and passenger boat season is over and I just got done at my winter job (a driveability mechanic for a Ford dealer). If you can get me the 1st 8 characters of the VIN, I can tell which engine you have, I'm guessing it a 24 valve 3.0. Which would make more sense cause the OHV 3.0's are pretty reliable. Drive that thing and get that light to come back on then get the codes to me, if it is p0171-174 we have some vacuum leaks to fix, as air stated p0300-306 is a misfire, typically when these miss while your driving you will see the check engine light begin to flash and then stay on steady. If you can get a scantool hooked up that someone can read the data stream on it would be very helpful. If possible have them monitor and record short and long term fuel trim numbers for me. Whatever you have heard about disconnecting the battery to erase the code, disregard it, if anything is going to be fixed this info is critical for proper diagnosis. Don't let anyone talk you into "trying this part" unless it has been properly diagnosed, you'll be throwing money away. Don't replace the MAF sensor without knowing exactly what the BARO reading is and recording the number in Hz. These are pretty simple systems and with the proper info you be back to normal pretty soon. Very possible to have secondary ignition concerns on that motor, plugs and wires are a real treat to replace if you've never done it before and the upper intake needs to come off for access.

If the light won't come back on there are some other ways to narrow it down.

Let me know

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Northlander

Thanks Ill see if the light comes back on.

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bucketmouth64

A problem I had years ago that couldn't be diagnosed easily was the ignition module. Car would sputter and the such and then it would run just fine. Sometimes it would konk out. I would let it sit for a bit then it would start and run like nothing was wrong. No check engine light came on. I know that water/condensation really affected it. I've told this to others and a couple of times the module was the problem.

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Jeremy airjer W

Ah the old thick film ford igniton module. Thank goodness they got rid of those. Those where actually more sensitive to heat from what I understand. Capt. could probably shed some more light on that. In fact I just replace one on an old grand marquis a couple of weeks ago. Had to blow the dust of the special tool after I figured out where it was! grin.gif

Do Fords even have modules any more? I don't think they do for some reason. After they switched everything over to DIS I can't recall ever replacing one. I have seen a lot of coil packs go bad. Especially the escort and contours (4 cyl).

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Surface Tension

Is this happening at a cold start or after the car has been started recently after warming up?

I had a similar thing happen. The van would run fine when started first thing in the morning. Once it got to temp it would continue to run good. If I shut it off and restarted it while it was still hot it would miss bad. Had me baffled as to what it could be so I brought it in. The Ford tech spent hours on it, after some time he started to suspect something in the distributor. Swapped the distributor out with one from the bone yard. That was the culprit but as to what component went in the distributor went bad is still a mystery.

Let us know how it turns out.

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bucketmouth64

air, I'm no motorhead. Just throwing ideas out from past experiences. I thought the module was part of the system in all vehicles. Oh well. I guess I've learned something new.

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Northlander

Its running fine now. Check engine light hasnt come back on and wife says its runnin great now. crazy.gif

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Jeremy airjer W

Chock it up to the solar flare, sun spot theory!! Sounds goofy but I swear every time there is a big sunspot breakout we get swamped with goofy drivability problems!!

Northlander, don't be afraid to get the codes pulled. This will give you a better idea of what’s happening and will provide us, if you choose, with the info we need. The check engine light, annoying as it is, is our friend and gives us valuable clues as to what is going on. Otherwise at this point I wouldn't worry about it until it happens again.

Sometimes I think Fords theory on the check engine light ultimately dwindles down to one simple fact, There’s a bulb there we might as well use it!! grin.gif

Might be time to get the wife a new Camry! Whats here email address again, I might have to plant that seed for ya!! grin.gif

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Northlander

Wifes family is from the Iron Range so no way you will ever get her in a Toyota man. If they made a real sized truck I may think about one though. At 6'6" and 270 I cant fit in one. blush.gif

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Surface Tension

Next time this happens note the weather. I have a sneaky feeling its your plug wires or distributor cap.

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Valv

Out of curiosity wait until very dark at night, open the hood and note if there's any arcing or sparking.

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Surface Tension

Good tip Val. If you trust your wife enough have her set the emergency brake and put the car in drive then give it a little throttle while stepping on the brake. That extra load will increase the chance of an arc.

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