Rattling sound, loss of power/acceleration?
My 2002 Ford Explorer started losing acceleration/power suddenly while going down the road. It struggled to climb hills, and there was a loss in about 90% of its power even with the gas pedal pressed to the floor. I turned off my vehicle, waited a couple of hours, and it ran fine. The next day, after driving for about an hour, it did the same thing again. Once I parked it, I tried to crank it up again and it will only start up for about 5 seconds and then slowly sputter and die.
Before all of this happened, I ran out of gas TWICE in a period of 2 weeks. It's possible that a very small amount of water may have been in my fuel can that i used to fuel-up my car, but I highly doubt it. A local mechanic also told me that he has had to repair 6 cars in the past week that were getting gas from the same station that i use, and he says there was water in their gas and all the cars needed new fuel pumps.
Since replacing a new fuel pump is 500 dollars, I'm really wondering if there is a cheaper solution I can try. Maybe draining my tank, or cleaning my fuel lines or my filter? Perhaps adding some sort of additive to my tank or filling it up with new gas and try running all the gas through my engine?
EDIT: I just put 5 gallons of new gas in my tank, and ran my vehicle for about 5 minutes to try and cycle some gas through. I could hear a distinct rattling sound that sounded like it was coming from under the drivers floorboard. I've been hearing this rattle for the past couple days, and when I opened my hood I noticed my catalytic converter was red hot. This could have been from me revving the engine, but the rattling sound also sounded like it came from near the catalytic converter also. Could a bad catalytic converter be causing my power and acceleration issues?