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Old 09-29-2005, 12:50   #1 (permalink)
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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?
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Old 09-29-2005, 13:26   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ford Club Wagon sputters/dies when its hot

If your catalytic converter is in a straight section of pipe in your exhaust, you can order a universal free-flowing catalytic converter made by Catco (got 'em on my station wagon and I love them!) on eBay for $50 and most shops will only charge $25-50 for installation.

It sounds like what was happening to my brother-in-law's truck. We disconnected the cat and it ran fine, so we replaced it. Won't be that easy on a stock exhaust, though. If you're going to hook it to a computer, do it, but if you need a cat, you'll save $140 by ordering a brand-new one on eBay (most muffler shops run Catco cats, so it's not like it's a cheap brand at all- they're fantastic).
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Old 09-29-2005, 14:07   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ford Club Wagon sputters/dies when its hot

Yea, i was thinking of going the 'test pipe' route, though I am in a hurry to get mobile here. You think a muffler shop might carry one?
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Old 09-29-2005, 14:58   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ford Club Wagon sputters/dies when its hot

I doubt it, but you can try. If you Buy-It-Now on eBay, you should be able to get the cat in a couple of days. Tell the seller you're in a rush and I'm sure they'll work with you. That's all I can recommend. Good luck and let us know how things turn out.

BTW- are you going back to New Orleans? I'm only about 45 minutes away.
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Old 10-03-2005, 14:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ford Club Wagon sputters/dies when its hot

Hey neighbor!

oh yes i will DEFINITLY be going home.

Found out today that it is the fuel pump. Got the van into a slightly more reputable shop and the guy checked it out. he noticed that the fuel pressure was running low (around 35-40) and when you gunned it it droped from there...had me drive around till it messed up with a gauge on there testing the pressure and it ended up dropping to ~15-20.

Of course everythings a 'module' today, so the repair is going to be ~$500 with parts and labor...but at least we know what is up now.
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