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Thread: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Guru
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    Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    My 1997 Taurus wagon has been having running a little rough when starting in the morning, and i smell a lot of raw fuel. I verified there is no leaking hose or fitting under the hood, so I think it's in the EFI system or the control systems. The car is in good tune (plugs, wires, etc.) It has plenty of oil and coolant, so it's not one of those systems.

    Usually this goes away once the 3.0L engine reaches operating temps. Today, while driving and before it got to operating temp, the light was flashing "Service Engine Soon." I drove it a few more miles and once it warmed up the light stopped flashing.

    My car EFI system experience is to replace the oxygen sensor. I am thinking this is something else though?

    I'd appreciate help from anyone who knows how to proceed to fix the Tortoise.

    thanks,
    Cooter
    2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200, 2007 DRZ400SM Suzuki, 2004 Suzuki SV65
    Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
    US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...kes/index.html
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  2. #2
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    Probably not but my wife's car had a similar problem a few years back...took it to the dealer...said it was the fuel cap. Think they just cleaned it some how. At the time, it was a good way to get rid of $90. All I'm saying is just thoroughly check the cap (sealing, cleanliness, etc) before spending major bux. I try to cross the cheap stuff off the list 1st...

  3. #3

    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    If the light is blinking then you are experiencing a misfire. It is possible that your taurus just needs a set of spark plugs. However don't throw parts at your car. Go to one of the parts stores like Advance Auto Parts and have them pull the codes. If the codes are P0300 thru P0306 these are the misfire codes. At that point buy a set of spark plugs and check your wires if any look like they arecracked or rubbed thru replace the wires too. If you have any codes other than the ones above call me: (nine one eight) 906- one one nine six
    and we can figure it out from there. DO NOT take advice from the parts store guy, although he could be right in most cases he won't be. I don't know how many times I've had a customer say : they told me it was the oxygen sensor so I bought one and it didn't make any difference.
    Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

  4. #4

    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    Quote Originally Posted by pawpawkow View Post
    Probably not but my wife's car had a similar problem a few years back...took it to the dealer...said it was the fuel cap. Think they just cleaned it some how. At the time, it was a good way to get rid of $90. All I'm saying is just thoroughly check the cap (sealing, cleanliness, etc) before spending major bux. I try to cross the cheap stuff off the list 1st...
    Although a loose or bad gas cap will set a check engine light (on a lot of cars) it won't cause a running problem.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    I will get it checked in the next day or so and get back with you OGK.

    Many thanks!

  6. #6
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    I checked it and its' a P301, which is a misfire on cylinder #2. Unfortunately I think I had to remove the darn intake manifold and fuel injection rails to get to the back plugs last time. I got to thinking, that the car started running a little rough when I changed the oil a few months back. I went with a Ford Diesel Synthetic blend that was on sale at Wal-Mart. Then I read that diesel oils are not always good for cars since they have things in them that can cause problems with car EFI sensor.

    I am taking it in the shop this weekend for an alignment and will have them change the oil too. I'd normally do it myself but I have a list of honey-do's and they can do it faster. I'm driving 300 miles Sunday/Monday to Roebling Road and will have a report on how it does after that. I'll also throw some Seafoam in the gas to see if can clean up things.

    What do you think - sound like it could work?

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    Hmmm........... so I started the car this morning and it ran terribly, check engine flashing then solid. It felt like an O2 sensor was out, so I headed to the auto parts store to check the code again P301, misfire on #2 cylinder. I was on the way to have the front end aligned, and called the shop (Tires Plus) for a quote on plugs and wired. The answer: $400.... not sure if that included the alignment, however I bought Autolite Platinum for under $20 a set and put them in myself in about 30 minutes. Not a big deal, did not change the wires. Now the car runs great. Still getting it aligned.

    As I was installing the plugs, I noticed something strange. See the pic below - two left plugs were in the car, right one is the new style.



    I went to the Autolite web site and it says....

    http://www.autolitecatalog.com/Application.aspx?b=A

    AP764 (what was in the car) use until inventory is depleted, half-thread design. AP104 is the right hand plug, new design.

    I wonder what the difference is? If the cylinder head is only threaded for the short thread section, and the plug seals against the shoulder, then there should be no difference in how far the plug projects into the chamber. Perhaps a heat range improvement? Plugs had 40k miles on them and had a little bit of light (white) deposit on them.
    Last edited by Cooter; 11-27-2010 at 01:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Miyagi-san Danno's Avatar
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    Some bean-counter figured out it was cheaper to only cut the threads halfway.

  9. #9

    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    I'm amazed at the buttpoking the service centers want to give you for reading codes.... My check engine light came on yesterday, so I call around to the dealer ($120 for a "full diagnostic", 50% credited towards the repair) and the local service guy ($60 to read the code, no credits back for the repair...)..

    So, I went to AutoZone... They read the code and ran the number for FREE. Total time, less than 90 seconds to walk outside, read the code, walk back inside, run the number and hand me a report.

    Result: Low Coolant (forgot to check at last oil change )
    Repair Cost: ~$14.00

    AutoZone has a new customer. Me.
    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” ? Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

  10. #10
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    Re: Ford Taurus - Check Engine Light is blinking...

    I went to Advance Auto Parts and used their code reader (free) to read the codes myself. I have a Clymer or Haynes manual and it has all the codes, so there was no big deal there. The Tires Plus place though really wants to put it to me. They now told me I need 4 new shocks (struts) ball joints, one tie rod end, sway bar kit, both lower ball joints, and an alignment. I know it needs something, and all this should make it like new. The car is only worth $1500 so i'm going to ship two more estimates (only free ones) and then either sell it or get it repaired.

    However, it now runs fantastic.

    Thanks to all for the comments, especially OldGrayKaw!

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