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Rough running while moving

I hope somebody can help me. I have a 2002 Ford Windstar. Just replaced a TPS, went to town was coming back home, and all of a sudden it started to spit and sputter while in gear. But, in neutral she runs alright. I use mid-grade gas. I put in two cans of Seafoam in the tank. Wrecker operator smelled the exhaust and told me the it was too rich. My question is and this sounds stupid, could the previous owner. Had never replaced the fuel filter or if they did replaced it, that it was installed backwards. I drove it almost 20 miles before it died. I figured that the fuel in the gas line emptied and it refuse to go. And since it only runs good without strain on the engine

Is the Check Engine light on?

Wild guessing, while human nature, won’t get to the root of the problem. This symptomology could be caused by a myriad of different problems. Start by having a reputable independently owned and operated shops diagnose the problem. In the long run, you’ll likely save lots of money and aggravation.

Oh, and you may want to move this post from the “power/fuel” section to the “maintenance/repair” section. Having it in the more specific category of “power/fuel” may not field as many responses.

If a new fuel filter was installed backwards – if that is even mechanically possible – I don’t think that would cause any problems. I’d guess fuel filters are pretty much symmetrical. As long as you didn’t afterwards install it the right way, after having driven it. Which seems unlikely.

Drivability problems when the engine is under load but not at idle in neutral, I’d start with these

  • Check the computer diagnostic codes for clues first
  • No codes? Replace the engine air filter and fuel filter & check the fuel pressure.
  • Replace spark plugs then check for good, hot spark, and check ignition timing
  • Have the cat checked , it might be plugged up

It’s not on now. About 200 miles back , I replaced the TIPS that threw up a check engine light. I reset the computer then, and. Drove it another 200 miles. Then this problem shows up.

Ok. I will do that. Kinda new at it.

Will do. When it died the last time, a little bit of black smoke came from under the van.

“When it died the last time, a little bit of black smoke came from under the van.”

That’s a good clue. It suggests that the engine probably got a transient shot of too much fuel. That would, to me, suggest either a malfunctioning sensor or faulty fuel pressure regulator. It’s also possible… even likely now that I think about it… that you have an injector sticking. That would be consistent with the observation the wrecker driver made that he smelled raw fuel in the exhaust.