I recently bought a 1997 Ford Taurus. It ran fine when I got it but the third time I drove it, it started acting up. I was driving down the highway and I noticed it was missing a little bit. Then about 10 minutes later it started not being able to keep up speed. It just seemed to kinda bog down or something when I gave it more gas. The longer I drove the slower it would go until it eventually stopped. I took it to a mechanic and he said it was a cam sensor and cam synchronizer or something like that. When that didn’t fix it he said it was the fuel pump and filter, which didn’t work either. Took it to another and he said to try changing spark plugs and then coil pack after that didn’t work. It runs fine when I first start the car but the more I push the accelerator the faster it starts bogging down. I’m about to give up on the car, I have paid half what I paid for the car in mechanic bills. Any ideas?
Find a good mechanic. The first ones you had were simply throwing parts at it and charging you a pretty penny without properly diagnosing the problem. This might have been a cheap problem to fix from the very start. Try looking through the mechanics files on the toolbar above to find a highly rated mechanic with good diagnostic equipment.
+1 with eraser.
Is the check engine light on?
If so, get the code pulled for free at pepboys or autozone and report back with those codes here.
I had the code ran before changing plugs and coil pack and it said something about misfire on 5 and 6 but that’s not really what it feels like. No shops around have more than one or two reviews.
So was the check engine light on from the beginning? First thing in that case is to check the codes, not change the camshaft sensor and synchronizer… then don’t disregard what its telling you - there are pretty standard diagnostic procedures to narrow it down.
There are a few things I can think of that it might be, but I hesitate to offer them up if they aren’t going to be diagnosed properly before replacement…
I had the codes ran at first before they worked on it (came up sensor and synch), again after they changed that by the same people and then they said fuel pump. Checked again after fuel pump (all times by a mechanic working on it), and now it wont make it that far. I’m not sure why you think I wouldn’t have checked the codes before changing those parts…
“I’m not sure why you think I wouldn’t have checked the codes before changing those parts…”
If you did have the codes checked prior to repairs, then I congratulate you, Jes.
However, the questions that Remco and eraser asked about codes was based on the reality that most of the folks who come to this forum with car problems are simply throwing parts at the problem–at random–without checking any trouble codes.
You are apparently the exception to the rule, and for that I congratulate you, and I urge you to not take offense at what they said in their replies.
My brother is a mechanic and was helping. I asked his help after the first shop said it was fuel pump and said $600 to change. He changed pump, filter, plugs, etc., and finally gave up. I don’t have the money to keep taking it somewhere just to be charged $500 for something that doesn’t work so I was hoping to give him some more ideas.
Not that I’m suggesting you change any parts yet, but you clearly have a good spark and fuel delivery. A mechanic looked at it. No doubt it is timed correctly because that’s one of the first things to check.
How about the air intake?
How about its MAF sensor? I wonder whether it somehow sends a wrong airflow reading down to the ECM. It makes all sorts of adjustments based on that reading and you have a badly running car.
I’m pretty sure you can dynamically read airflow with a decent OBD2 reader. Perhaps compare that with other people that have that car to see if what you have is normal.
What condition was the fuel filter in when you changed it? This car didn’t by any chance sit with less than half a tank of gas in a damp (and seasonally cold) climate for several years before you bought it? I had the same symptoms with a 76 Eldorado that had been sitting in a parking garage in Detroit through several winters. We changed the fuel filter three times and put fresh gas in it and it still kept silting up with dirt/scale, losing power and dying. We were coming back from Greenfield Village on a Friday at rush hour on the interstate when it happened the first time…a real bummer with the wife and (then) very young kids. The only solution was to remove and steam clean the tank.
I borrowed another MAF from a friend with the same car to check that already. It didn’t run any different.
The filter was pretty rough looking, but I’m not sure about the previous owner.
When the mechanic checked the fuel pressure it was way down. That’s when he said fuel pump was bad. Could something else make the fuel pressure drop when the car gets warm?
If someone put some bad stuff into the gas tank, it’ll keep clogging even new filters. I think london is right, there may be crud in the tank.
Fuel pumps are cooled by the gas they are immersed in so clearly they get hot.
Maybe one of the bearings in it seizes up when it gets hot. If your pressure steadily drops or is down to begin with, a good suspect is your fuel pump.
But you had that replaced already, no?
How about it maybe being electrical in nature? Maybe the voltage to the fuel pump drops over time? Not sure what mechanism would cause that but it wouldn’t cost anything to check the voltage across the fuel pump when you’re having this issue.
Sorry, but from your wording about checking codes prior to changing the coils, I assumed that you meant it was checked then but after the pump and filter and cam sensor/synch were changed. Sorry for misinterpreting that. As @VDCdriver suggests, a lot of people just throw parts at cars and then come online to ask for help.
Apart from other things that have already been mentioned, what you describe at the beginning (miss combined with a weak feeling) sounds suspiciously like my 1997 Taurus behaved as a fuel injector began performing intermittently - awhile after which, the car started throwing a misfire code for that cylinder. That doesn’t explain the vehicle slowing to a stop, though, as 4 of 6 cylinders should still be good enough to keep going, though it will feel terrible… Still, it might be worth diagnosing their performance while the car misbehaves. The fix was cheap for me.
Thanks, I’ll definitely ask him to check that if I can get him to do any more to it.
The car is at a new mechanic right now. He says he has tested everything else and that is has to be the fuel pump. I told him it has a new fuel pump. He said that the car is a flex fuel and that changing the small fuel pump was not enough. So, my question is, is there really a special fuel pump for this car that is more than the one AutoZone sold us? This mechanic has spent 3 days diagnosing this car, so I don’t think this is just a diagnosis off the top of his head. Thanks for the help.