My new old 96 Ford Contour is sputtering when accelerater is pressed


As the title says, I just got a 96 Ford Contour given to me for an early B-day present. I knew it had problems when I got it. I thought I would come here to get an opinion before I take it to a mechanic. The car starts ok sometimes it is slow to start but usually starts right up. The problem comes when I put it in gear and give it gas. It starts sputtering. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fuel system but which part. If I pump the gas lightly it gos a bit easier and once it reaches 30 or so it seems ok. It idels great when I come to a stop even while in hear. The problem again just happens when I give it gas to make it go and it is slow to get up to speed. Does anyone have an idea of what may be going on with my new baby blue?




Change the fuel filter if it hasn’t been done recently. This is the easiest trouble shooting step (providing) the fuel filter is in-line and not in the fuel tank.

If changing the filter doesn’t help, have a fuel pressure test done to the system to possibly locate other faults. (like a weak fuel pump)

All that is provided the problem IS fuel supply related.

Other than that, there MAY be an electrical glitch somewhere.


Test the computer by disconnecting the battery. If it still does it all the time, it’s probably not the computer. If it works great for a few days or part of a day and starts running bad again, it could be the computer. Make sure the duct work is tight (not leaking). Cold air isn’t good. If your radio needs a code for it to work, you will have to have it after disconnecting the battery.


I would also suggest trying to remember when the last time you replaced the air cleaner, plugs and wires. Now might be a good time to do that and eliminate them from the possibility list.


If the other suggestions don’t eliminate the problem, then I would suggest cleaning the throttle body, as a gunked-up throttle body can also produce the type of symptoms that you described.


In addition, you should also test - or have tested - the ignotion coil pack itself.


Also have the throttle position sensor checked as it supplies data to the engine computer when the fuel delivery is in open loop. I am not sure if this engine uses a Mass Air Flow sensor. It it does, that might need to be cleaned and checked.


Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who responded. I still have not found out what is wrong but then again I haven’t been able to do anything to it yet. I’ll write back and let you all know what it was if I find out. The lucky thing is that I can still drive it on short in town runs and I have learned that when starting to accelerate, if I give it gas very slowly, it dosen’t miss or sputter at all. Puzzling it is. If this new discovery gives any ideas please let me know. Thanks again for the responses.


Again this information points more at the throttle position sensor as it tells to computer that demand is being placed on the engine and to enrichen the mixture to fill in for a possible stumble. It serves as the modern substitute for the acceleration pump on a carburated car. It gives transition enrichment to prevent the exact problem you describe.

Hope that helps.