Problems with 03 Lincoln LS

I have been having problems with my 03 LS for a couple of months now. It has 77K miles on it, and I have had it at the dealership 4 times in the last couple of months for the same problem with no resolution. The car loses power and will not accelerate. Soon after, the wrench indicator light comes on, followed by the check engine light. The mechanics at the dealership have done the following to try and solve the problem:

1st - Replaced the throttle control valve

2nd - Replaced both fuel pumps and cleaned the gas tank

3rd - Replaced ALL six coils

I have had the car back now for a couple of weeks and managed to put a thousand miles on it before the same problem happened again. The last time I picked it up, the mechanic metioned that he was having nightmares about my car. Any ideas or suggestions out there??


Need more info.
Check Engine Light on?
Bucking and jerking when it does this or just a gradual stall?
Has it been scanned? If not, drop by AutoZone, have them do this, and post back with any results. They will do this for you free.

They DID replace the fuel filter I hope???

Ok, the car has been at the dealership’s shop five different times for this same issue. They have had it connected to a computer for days at a time with Ford Engineers on the phone trying to diagnose the problem. The car does not shake or shudder. As I begin to accelerate from a complete stop (either at a stop sign or a red light), the car does not respond to the accelerator pedal being pressed. The engine continues to run, but it does give the impression that it could stall at any minute. It does not matter how hard or soft I step on the accelerator, the result is the same. After a second or two, it decides to respond. Sometimes it backfires, but not always. Then the wrench indicator light comes on (every so often the check engine light comes on as well, but that does not happen every time the wrench light illuminates) and the car’s RPMs jump without any acceleration response. I can still drive the car, but it takes a VERY long time to get it up to highway speeds. The very last time the car was returned to me, almost two weeks ago and after having all six coils replaced, I was able to drive it 1000 miles before it happened again. Once it happens though, it does not go away until the shop has completed some type of repair. I just dropped it off at the Lincoln dealership again last night. They now believe intermittent spikes are causing the problem from the alternator.

I was hoping that maybe someone out there might have some suggestions or ideas, as this has really frustrated me to no end. I brought it to the dealership thinking that they were the experts, but a couple of months later with no end in sight and a thousand dollars in repair bills, I am left wondering if anyone can fix my car.

Unless your car is still under warranty, there is no way you should be taking it to that dealer. In any case I would guess the dealer has read the codes and you should ask them to tell you exactly what the codes were. They likely will be something like “P1234.”

If it is not under warranty stop paying an apparently incompetent dealer big dollars to not fix it.   Find a recommended local [b]independent[/b] mechanic.  

 We need to know what those codes are before starting on this on.

I brought it to the Lincoln dealer ship initially for two reasons. First, I figured (perhaps incorrectly) that they were the experts. Second, I purchased an extended warranty to cover the car for 100K miles. Much to my dismay, I discovered that the Ford “base” care extended warranty does not cover much. The service manager also told me that the dealer who sold me the car 3 and a half years ago should not have sold me the base care extended warranty. Hindsight is 20/20, and I cannot do about that now. The only reason I have continued to bring it back is that I trusted that since they were well involved in the repair attempts, they would know the history, whereas a different mechanic might repeat some of the previously attempted repairs. Obviously, I should not keep throwing good money after bad.

Now the service advisor has told me that they have not been able to get any error codes to show up, even though they have been able to duplicate the problem by driving the car. They also indicated that the fuel pressure throughout the system has checked ok. The fuel filter was replaced a couple of months ago during my 70K mile service.

I don’ t understand the shop?s approach. If this were my problem I would be hopping mad unless they could give me a good explanation. It seems to me that they are throwing parts at a problem that they don?t understand. Was fuel pressure low? If not, why replace the fuel pumps? That must have cost a bundle. If a coil is bad, you should have an individual misfire code for each cylinder. The chance of all coils going at once is rare unless someone washed the engine with a power washer. As you know, they are pretty expensive too. That is why they are not usually replaced as a set, but individually.

The first coil was replaced in November of last year. At that time, the car backfired and then the check engine light began to blink. Then two more coils were replaced on the third attempt (early June) to fix the “throttle control” warning light. I was told that they tested the coils individually and that those two failed their “stress” test. At that point, I asked if it would be a good idea to replace the remaining three. I was told no because they did not fail the test. Then a couple of days later, my car did the exact same thing and I brought it into the shop. This time they stated that the last three coils failed their most recent round of testing and needed to be replaced. At that point, I thought it was very coincidental that all six coils would fail within 6 months of each other, so I called Ford to register a complaint. Now that the car is again in the shop for the VERY SAME reason, they are suspecting that the alternator is sending an intermittent spike through the system, which has caused the coils to fail at different times.

The tech needs to check the transmission relay; sounds like the transmission and engine do not communicate properly; also, has the ignition control module been checked or replaced?

Recap of the history:

Nov. 06 - Needed the number 4 coil replaced
at 67,000 miles

Jan. 07 - Needed thermostat replaced just a hair over 74,000 miles

February 07 - Lincoln dealership replaced the throttle control valve.

A couple of days later - Same failure mode. Kept the car for two weeks, then decided it must be the fuel pumps causing a problem despite pressure reading that were all good. Replaced both fuel pumps.

A week later - Same failure mode. Kept the car for two and a half weeks. Decided two more coils were bad. Replaced them and returned my car, confident that this had fixed the problem.

A couple of weeks later - Same failure mode. Now I am well over 75,000 miles, which is key to what Ford will actually do to help me in this situation. Dealership decides that the remaining coils must be problematic as well and replace them. Now ALL six coils have been replaced. I am left wondering if this will solve the problem. Contacted Ford to help with this problem since I am responsible for over a thousand dollars worth of repairs despite having a Ford Extended warranty. Granted I purchased the base care 100,000 mile warranty, but I would have hoped that they would have covered something.

One month later - Same failure mode. Kept car again for a couple of weeks. Replaced the mass air flow sensor. Not really sure why they thought that would fix the problem?

And here I am now - Same failure mode (go figure). Dealer has had the car for over a week now. Decided to go back since they have the history and I have been trying to work with Ford on assistance with the mounting repair bills. They have been on the “hotline” with Ford several times as well as having a Ford Engineer actually troubleshoot my Lincoln LS. They don’t know what is causing the issues. I suspect that there is an electrical surge that shoots through the system and kills the coils. I am no mechanic but it seems like the alternator might cause such a surge.

Now for the kicker. I am done with this car, mentally and physically. However, I am not done financially with it. I still owe $6,400 on the original five year loan. I contacted Ford’s customer care line and asked for assistance. They asked if I wanted to pursue a “buy-back” on the car. I said sure, that is exactly what I want to do. She then asked how may miles I had on the car currently. When I told her 78,000, she calmly explained that the mileage was over the limit for Ford and that there was nothing further they could do for me. And the limit for Ford? She said it was 75,000 miles?!?!?! C’mon now. I have been dealing with this issue since the car had 67,000 miles, and there is nothing Ford can do? I want out of the car but I can’t sell the car to an unsuspecting buyer. I really want Ford to own up to the mechanical problems and take it back. Any ideas or suggestions?

Has the fuel filter been replaced? It’s hidden inside the left front fender.

Forget my last post. For some reason when I looked at this there were no responses showing. ???

About all I can suggest is drop by an AutoZone and have them pull the codes. Post any results back here. Sometimes another set of eyes ( but not a diagnosis) can help.

The only other thing I could mention at this point is connecting a vacuum gauge and making sure manifold vacuum is where it should be. This would also show a partially clogged converter. A converter, if partially clogged, should be covered under the 8/80 Federal emissions warranty.

Your car is over the buyback mileage limit so I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere with that, UNLESS you spend a 100 bucks and have a lawyer send a letter.
Sometimes a law firm banner can get some movement.

Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with this and repair bills are mounting up with no resolution on the problem.

If I was working on this trouble I would first set up a voltmeter on the dash to watch the TPS sensor voltage and make sure that changes were happening as they should be with changes to the accelerator pedal. If that was okay then I would move on to the ECU. There may be a problem with it. Before replacing it though I would have to have some evidence that is was bad.

The problem may also be with one of the engine sensors I suppose. Perhaps something is failing enough with one of those but not enough to cause a error code to be set.

As another poster mentioned the problem may be with the transmission control also. Wherever this bug is it seems to be due to an electrical problem.

There are scanners made that the shop may have that will allow them to watch numerious inputs to the ECU while driving. It will also record the data for reviewing later. It sounds like for this problem it would be good to have one to help solve the problem.

One other thing I might add is you may want to try and find a shop that specializes in electrical problems and see if they can help you with this problem. Someone that specializes in this kind of trouble may be able to figure out the problem pretty quickly, especially if they have a scanner like I mentioned previously.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will add that the dealership has driven the car several houndred miles with a diagnostic computer hooked up, supposedly recording a lot of different things.

As for a shop that specializes in electrical problems, how would one go about locating one? Just need a general starting point.

I will try that. The strange thing is though that the dealership has reported very few if any error codes during the seven visits to their shop over the last four months.

Fuel filter was replaced in April during the 75K mile service. Just another note to consider, I have brought the LS back to the dealership religously for service every 5000 miles, per the owner’s manual. Plus, I am not sure why the fuel filter would cause a coil to fail.