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Old 09-11-2007, 08:36   #1 (permalink)
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Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

Hi,

I recently purchased a 2001 Ford Taurus SEL at a local auto auction. After the auction, while driving the vehicle on the auction lot, the check engine lite came on and the engine started missing.

Thier techs pulled the code and found "#4 cylinder missfire". They couldn't find anything and thought maybe a plug wire was loose. (They said that some people would loosen wires and such to make the car run rough hoping to gain an advantage during the sale) They reset the code and everthing seemed fine on the test drive.

We picked the car up two days later and the exact same thing occured again.


Engine lite on constant, car seems to run fine. Lite begins to blink and car stumbles.

Code still read "#4 cylinder missfire". Local garage diagnosed as the intake manifold leaking at the #4 cylnider. I authorized $317.00 for the repair and it did not work. They now say they don't know what the problem is.

The car has new plugs, wires and coil.

I have it at a local Ford dealer hoping the "experts" can fix it.

Anyone have advice?? Thank you.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:08   #2 (permalink)
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confused Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

The latest update to my problem....


A local Ford dealer said the engine had a loss of compression in the number four cylinder and asked for authorization to pull the valve cover to check for a broken valve spring.

They called today and said there was no evidence of a broken valve spring and that the best case scenario would be to replace the head (broken seat) at a cost of $2820 or simply replace the engine at a cost of $5720.

It is a 2001 with 95,000 miles on it. Regardless, I don't have the money to replace the engine.

Is is wise to replace just the head with the amount of miles the car has on it?


Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:35   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

I find it hard to believe that a problem with the head would cause intermittent missing. If the compression is low due a bad valve seat or other mechanical problem in the head, it would miss all the time. A leak-down test would determine exactly what the problem is, including which valve (intake or exhaust). I would expect an intermittent miss to be due to an electrical problem or an injector problem (not sure what injection type your motor has). It sounds like you have replaced all the stuff that might cause an electrical problem, but I would want to be sure what the problem is before I drop $3k, unless they can guaranty that it will fix the problem.
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Old 09-12-2007, 15:03   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

Thank you for the reply Luxury. What you say makes a lot of sense. Shouldn't the dealor have done a leak down test prior to pulling the valve covers off to search for a broken valve spring? They said that the #4 cylnder had a loss of compression but the Mom&Pop gargage that looked at it originally said it did not when they checked it?????

My wife says that the car does seem to run (slightly) rough all the time but that the check engine lite is not always on.

The injectors have been checked and supposedly were fine.

I'm considering putting a used engine in it.

I just don't know what to do. I was hoping the car would be dependable enough to give it to my 16 year old.
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Old 09-12-2007, 17:18   #5 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luxury
I find it hard to believe that a problem with the head would cause intermittent missing. If the compression is low due a bad valve seat or other mechanical problem in the head, it would miss all the time. A leak-down test would determine exactly what the problem is, including which valve (intake or exhaust). I would expect an intermittent miss to be due to an electrical problem or an injector problem (not sure what injection type your motor has). It sounds like you have replaced all the stuff that might cause an electrical problem, but I would want to be sure what the problem is before I drop $3k, unless they can guaranty that it will fix the problem.
You can have a valve seat leak enough that it will not miss all the time. Depends how bad the seat in the head and the face of the valve is burnt. A leaking valve seat will not cause a large compression leak. You can do a compression test all day and it will be within a few psi of every other cylinder. You have to leak down test it and you have to make sure it's at top dead center of the compression stroke. I will also say they should have swapped injectors between the missing #4 and #5 or #6- you should be able to lift the fuel rail in the front enough to swap the injectors without pulling the upper intake to lift the rear of the rail too.
If they did this already, and they leakdown tested the cylinder, and you are religious about your oil changes or the past owner was, then I'd say do just the one head. Since you did not say they said the motor was sludged up when they pulled the valve cover then you should be safe. Neglected oil changes causes sludge build-up, not what brand of oil you use like Castrol is trying to make you believe in their commercials. A sludged up motor will have blocked up oil passages and will eventually have a catastrophic failure, where you will end up doing a motor.
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:57   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

Tbird.....very useful information. I appreciate you sharing it with me.

I don't have any idea about the previous owners attention to maintenance. However, the Ford dealer said that there wasn't any sludge build up so I assume all is good there.

I am going to pull it out of the Ford store today as the only way they will move forward is if I authorize the head replacement. (They have said they won't replace the head if it is not neccessary but want to have it authorized just in case....???).

I'm going to ask the garage to do the injector swap and see what the results are as well as the leak down. The garage feels that it is mechanical but that it shouldn't need the head replaced, but rather machined if anything.

I am trying to get the Ford dealer that took the car to the auction to particpate in the repairs. They had looked at it several times for the previous owner and when they couldn't fix it easyily (inexpensively) she traded it in on a new Taurus. The dealer then brought it to the auction hoping to find.....me!!
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Old 09-13-2007, 16:56   #7 (permalink)
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cool Re: Check Engine Lite!!! Please Help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EKande
Tbird.....very useful information. I appreciate you sharing it with me.

I don't have any idea about the previous owners attention to maintenance. However, the Ford dealer said that there wasn't any sludge build up so I assume all is good there.

I am going to pull it out of the Ford store today as the only way they will move forward is if I authorize the head replacement. (They have said they won't replace the head if it is not neccessary but want to have it authorized just in case....???).

I'm going to ask the garage to do the injector swap and see what the results are as well as the leak down. The garage feels that it is mechanical but that it shouldn't need the head replaced, but rather machined if anything.

I am trying to get the Ford dealer that took the car to the auction to particpate in the repairs. They had looked at it several times for the previous owner and when they couldn't fix it easyily (inexpensively) she traded it in on a new Taurus. The dealer then brought it to the auction hoping to find.....me!!
They are trying to cover their a... What I mean is, lets say they say it's just a slightly burned valve and they need to just replace and lap in the valve and that's it. The head still has to come off. If they pull the head and find out that the seat in the head is too damaged to lap in a new valve. They now scall you and say it's going to cost more money for a cylinder head. Generally, any time we told a customer that we have to do more for more money they were not to thrilled about it. "If this could have happened then why didn't you warn me ahead of time???" By pricing the job for the worst case scenario and prepping the customer for it the result is much better in the end. Granted, the customer doesn't like the fact that it could cost this much to fix the car but if they get the thing apart and find the seat isn't too bad, and they fix the car right and it costs less, then the customer will feel more that their money was well spent.
When you lap in a valve you are match wearing the valve seat in the cylinder head to the valve face on the valve itself. This creates an optimal seal. What you do if put a small amount of valve lapping compound (usually green in color) on the valve face, put the valve in the cylinder head and spin the valve against the seat in the head. You do it until a uniform wear ring is on the valve face and the valve seat in the head.
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