Ford Club Wagon sputters/dies when its hot
I have been evacuating from hurricanes for the past few weeks. We left New Orleans and our '95 Club Wagon (v6) seemed to be running hot, but it made it to Galveston, TX ok. When we had to evacuate from Galveston (Seawall road was clearly labled 'not an evacuation route'...but who pays attention to signs) we made it ok for a while, then when we got into heavy traffic, the van started to sputter a lot and died on us several times. Each time it did we would wait a couple hours for everything to cool off, then it would be ok again for between 10-40 miles.
We got into a small town in Louisiana (Arnaudville) where we took it to the one mechanic in town who told us that the thermostat and radiator cap were bad. He tuned it up (which it needed BAD) changed the oil, and replaced the thermostat and rad cap.
We picked up the van from the shop and went to take the kids to a state park nearby when the exact same things started happening. As we accelerate from stops, it starts to sputter and cough. eventually it starts to sputter and looses power even at cruising speeds and dies. The engine seems hot, but not excesively. If you lossen the rad cap, it bubbles a bit, but no major gyser like it should if its overheated and its not loosing fluid.
The mechanic here told us that he thinks its the catalytic converter. I have called a couple muffler places and explained what it's doing and 1 of them told me he agrees, and 1 of them told me we needed to hook it up to a computer and see what that says.
I am just about out of $$$ here, and the van wont make it more than about 20-30 miles at a shot, so I am really just about out of options here. anyone out there have any ideas?